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Theatre Student Takes the Lead in Award-Winning Short Film "Birthday Boy"

John Paul Green, an Acting Major in the Division of Theatre, stars in this winning entry into the 48 Hour Film Project

While most of Dallas was resting over the weekend of April 15-17, scores of dedicated film crews and actors were sleeplessly crafting their entries for the 48 Hour Film Project, a city-by-city competition in which teams have to write, shoot, edit and score a movie in just 48 hours.

More than 40 teams took up the challenge in Dallas. The films were screened at the 41st Annual USA Film Festival at the Angelika Film Center, and winners were announced on Sunday, May 1. One of the films was “Birthday Boy,” starring John Paul Green, soon to be a senior acting major in the Meadows Division of Theatre. It told the story of Dave Matthews, a man who "received the best present on the worst day." The film, created by production company HunterThomas Media, won two awards in the Dallas competition: Best Director and Best Sound Design.

Green says of the filming process, "It was difficult! But really fun." His acting call was from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. "I got an email from HunterThomas a few nights before the filming saying they had found my demo reel online somehow and wanted to know if I wanted to be a part of their film," Green recalled. Though he didn't know anyone in the film, Green said yes. "I showed up at this steakhouse in Cedar Hills at 8 a.m. and found out I was playing the lead. I thought for sure I'd have a bit part or a minor role but there it was: Dave Matthews." Green felt free to make suggestions to the script as they filmed. "They told me to run with it," he said. Indeed, the Project provides the competing teams with only a small set of rules every year to encourage creativity. To satisfy the rules of the 2011 Project, Green's team had to include "a certain prop (a ball), a certain character (a waiter named Dennis or Debbie) and the line 'When do you need it?'. As long as we hit those requirements, we were golden." Though his group didn't win the first prize, Green's experience was positive. “We did win best directing and best sound design, which is awesome,” he said. “I'm very excited to have worked with an award-winning film. I can't wait to work with these guys again."

Now in its 11th year, the 48 Hour Film Project is a contest devoted to promoting film making and film appreciation worldwide. This year the Project will host the two-day event in 100 cities throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Last year, nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in 80 cities on five continents; this year’s event is even bigger. The Project's stop in Dallas marks only the seventh competition locale for the 2011 season.

Watch "Birthday Boy" here: *Note: Mildly crude language

See all 2011 winners and learn more about the 48 Film Project here:

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