News Column

Winners say film fest brings filmmakers together

October 13, 2013


Oct. 13--The Stepdad Productions crew was unsure of how the audience would take their attempt at humor.

But when the pink toddler chair flew out of nowhere, hit the guy on the screen and knocked him to the ground, the theater burst into laughter.

It was then that Jack Hanrahan, a member of the crew, realized they had done it right, he said.

Stepdad Productions won the best amateur film award at the 72 Film Fest this week for their film called "Chairs," which shows chairs attacking people and attempting to wipe out the human race.

The group, which is made of mostly Frederick Community College students, accepted their award Saturday night at a finalist showing at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. In all, 36 teams participated, said 72 Film Fest director Clark Kline.

Moon Slaves, which includes the owners of Carlton Colby Designs, won the award for the best professional film. Lounge Rat Productions, a group of students from Frederick Community College, won the award for the best student film. Others were awarded for best cinematography, screenwriting, science challenge, editing, acting, music/sound.

Each year, the festival asks participants to envision, film, edit, and complete a short film in 72 hours. Groups are given a theme to follow. This year, groups were given a scientific theory or law, along with an interpretation of the theory or law.

Stepdad was given the second law of thermodynamics, a physics law that explains states of energy.

The chairs were Cody Burrier's idea. He was the guy on the screen who got hit by the pink chair.

Burrier said the idea came to him even before he heard about the theme.

Hanrahan was glad it worked.

The eight crew members went to Frederick County Public Schools' Career and Technology Center, and participate every year now to stay in touch.

"It's a reunion," Burrier said.

For the members of Lounge Rat Productions, the festival is a way to be with others that share their interests, said member Dillion Schmidt.

"It's about getting together with like-minded individuals with similar passions, and that is hard to do in filmmaking," Schmidt said. "That is why so many people move to LA or New York."

That was Kline's idea when he started the film fest, he said.

"(Filmmakers) feel there is no place to show their work," he said. "It was to get everybody under the same roof."

Also, it was to give participants experience in every aspect of filmmaking, he said.

"It's a film course in a weekend," he said. "You find out all the problems that could go wrong."

Lounge Rat was given Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Their film showed a man who was cursed to die in a new situation every time he left a park.

He got hit by a car. A backpack fell on his head. A man walked by and bumped him into a stream. He tripped on his shoelace.

"The only way we could do this justice is if we killed Gabe as many ways as we could," Schmidt said.


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