11th CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival

November 22-26, 2023 Globe Cinema

21st Calgary Underground Film Festival

April 18-28, 2024 Globe Cinema

48 Hour Movie Making Challenge

REGISTRATION FOR THE 48 HOUR FILM CHALLENGE IS NOW FULL. If you are interested in being on the waitlist please fill out the form below

The Calgary Underground Film Festival is once again challenging you to make a short film as part of our 48-Hour Movie Making Challenge. This year, we have partnered with NUTV on the annual challenge. The completed shorts will be screened as part of the 20th CUFF taking place from April 20-30, 2023.




Registration Opens: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Shoot Weekend: March 31 – April 2, 2023 (7pm - 7pm)



You will randomly be given a GENRE, PROP and a LINE OF DIALOGUE to include in your film. 

All creativity: writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack, must occur within the 48-hour window beginning Friday evening at 7pm and ending Sunday at 7pm. The event is limited to 24 teams, and based on the first 24 teams to register with full payment, so please register as soon as you confirm your team to guarantee acceptance. The festival screening will have a live jury to determine the award-winning shorts.

There will be prizes awarded to the top two teams selected by our jury, as well as an audience choice award.

The 48-Hour Challenge is open to filmmakers at any stage of their career – from first-time filmmakers through to experienced directors. Anyone can participate.



1. Completed shorts MUST be uploaded to our webcargo link (included on Tech Delivery Sheet), with the upload completed no later than 7pm on the Sunday, April 2. Your film file must be clearly labeled with your team
name: teamname_CUFF48  Contact tech@nutv.ca if you are having issues or would like to physically deliver your project.

2. FINISHED FORMAT must be a self-contained full resolution H.264 QuickTime file (.mov), with no proprietary
codecs. More info on included Tech Delivery Sheet.

3. SLATE/INTRO CREDITS: The file must have 10 seconds of black followed by 10 second introduction credit
reading: Team Name, Title, Genre, Prop & Line of Dialogue.

4. ASPECT RATIO: All films should be shot at a 16:9 aspect ratio. Everything will be packaged within a Flat (16:9) container for playback. Eg. Scope images will be letterboxed.

5. During the official competition period, all creative aspects must be completed: Writing, Rehearsing, Shooting,
Editing, Graphics & Visual Effects, Sound Design & Music*. *Please note that you are able to use copyright free
music in your projects.

6. RUN TIME: The length of your short, including introduction and closing credits, must be a minimum of 2 minutes and no longer than 5 minutes. Total combined credits can be no longer than 30 seconds making the maximum possible final project file length 00:05:30. Do not feel like you need to use the full time allotted, shorter can often
work out better!

7. All cast & crew must be volunteers and cannot receive payment for their work.

8. LATE FILM ENTRIES: Films received after 7pm on Sunday will still be screened but will not be eligible for any awards. Any film received after 10pm will be disqualified and will not be screened.

9. The films may contain mature content and themes but may not contain real-life violence, hate speech or any
forms of pornography.

10. ABSOLUTELY NO ADVANCE SCREENINGS: Once completed, you are not permitted to screen your film to any audience, including cast and crew, in advance of the CUFF screening. Your short must premiere at the festival.
Team leaders will be made responsible for ensuring that these rules are followed.

11. After your film has been screened as a part of CUFF'S 48 Hour Film Challenge, you are free to use, screen and post it as you please. If you are proud of the film, we strongly suggest submitting it to other film festivals all over the world.

12. Any type of camera may be used and there is no limit to the number of cameras that can be used. 

13. PRIZES: There will be prizes awarded to the top two teams selected by our jury as well as an audience choice award. The jury not only takes the overall quality of your film into account but also how creatively you used your

14. Have fun and make the best film possible!


Frequently Asked Questions

When is the CUFF 48-Hour Movie Making Challenge?
Shoot Weekend: March 31 – April 2, 2023

When is the screening for the 48-Hour finalists?
During the 20th Calgary Underground Film Festival, which takes place from April 20-30, 2023 at Globe Cinema. The event will take place on Sunday, April 23. Time: TBC
Can I hand in my short after the deadline?
Yes you can – however it WILL NOT be eligible for any juried awards, only the audience award, if your film is delivered after 7pm. LATE ENTRIES WILL BE ONLY ACCEPTED UNTIL 10PM ON April 2 and will be screened with the package at the festival - subject to space availability.
When do we find out if we've successfully entered?
You are all good to go once you have filled out the registration form and made a payment.
What is the Entry Fee, and what is it used for?
The entry fee is $60 per team. This is to cover the basic costs of the event and provide the cash and other prizes for the winning teams.
Can I hand in a rough of my short before Sunday at 7pm and then switch it for a final copy at the last second?
No you cannot. This is a time challenge, and we will judge what is submitted on time. No edits or updates can be made after your film is submitted.
Can I put my short up on YouTube or some other site?
You cannot post your film or show it anywhere before the festival event in April. After the scheduled screening, you can do whatever you like with your film. The short time delay between the shoot and the screening is needed to get your films transferred to our exhibition format, as well as have them watched by the special guest juror. We want to have the CUFF Festival screening be the first viewing experience for the teams and audience, as it makes the screening that much more exciting. If you do decide to host a screening of your film, you will be disqualified from the competition.
Can I compete if I don't live in Calgary?
Yes you can! We can email you your elements to include in the film, and you must still have the final version uploaded by 7 PM MST on the closing Sunday.
Who are these people known as the Judges?
The judges are a range of industry professionals who are highly regarded in the film and TV industry. The judges for this year are TBA, but we assure you the special guest judge will be someone you want to impress!
How do they judge the films?
The judges look to see how well teams have stayed true to their genre and how they've integrated the random elements (prop & line of dialogue) into the finished film. They also judge based on the innovative story and scriptwriting, entertainment value, directing, acting and production value of the finished project. The ultimate goal for each filmmaker is to make a short film that stands on its own outside the competition, but obeys all the rules of the challenge.
What are the awards?
There will be two jury awards as well as an audience choice award. Only films submitted on time are eligible for any juried awards.
Can a team who wins a jury award also win an audience award?
What is the duration of the films?
Films must be a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes long, including credits.
Can I use any existing footage not shot in the weekend?
No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time outside of the 48 Hours may be used in the finished film.
Can pre-recorded music be used?
Pre-recorded music can only be used if it is purely incidental background material and not a focal point for your short. If you want the short used for more than this CUFF screening, and may be submitting it to other film festivals, you may want to consider using an original soundtrack.
Can I use animation or digital effects?
Animation and digital effects are permitted, but must be created during the 48 hour time period.
NOTE: The person who fills out the registration form will be the team leader and point of contact.