Short Cuts

If you run into Josh Provost this weekend, make sure there's no spinach in your teeth. You never know -- you might just wind up an extra in the 28-year-old's latest short film. Along with the six other members of aptly named Matter of Chance Productions, Provost will be hurriedly hitting the streets -- as well as libraries and coffee shops -- creating his entry for the Almost Famous Film Festival's 48 Hour Short Film Challenge. Filmmaking factions from across the Valley will have exactly two days -- from Friday, February 18, through Sunday, February 20 -- to write, shoot, edit and submit a finished flick of nine minutes or less.

But Provost says the company has survived similar competitions before and thrives under the frenetic conditions.

"Actually, we kind of prefer it, since the directors from the French New Wave did cinéma vérité, where they'd go to a location and start filming," says Provost, who also runs 727 Records. "We're going to go somewhere, pull out a camera, and see how far we get without people telling us to get lost."

Organizers will unveil guidelines on Friday night, both at the kickoff event and online (as one California group will submit its film via e-mail), preventing participants from jumping the gun. Each entry must follow a central theme -- like "escape" or "rescue" -- as well as incorporate a specific element, which could include a certain prop or line of dialogue. The use of excessive violence and explicit nudity is also forbidden, in order to foster creativity.

Regardless, Provost and company -- who rotate positions for each film they do -- say they're constantly brainstorming different tricks to use in their productions, and once the particulars are unveiled, they'll determine what's going in. There are no kill shots or money shots being planned, however.

"We're more into creative directing, cool angles, composition of shots, and telling a good story," Provost says. "I couldn't get anyone to get naked in front of my camera, even if I wanted them to."