May 16--Today, we have the privilege of helping a handful of talented local filmmakers walk down the red carpet for their 15 minutes of fame.
Actually, 15 minutes is overstating a bit. It's the annual 3-Minute Masterpiece filmmaking contest. And the carpet at the SIFF Uptown Cinema, where the films will screen Saturday (May 18), is more purple than red. Regardless, the results are in, and The Seattle Times and our partners at the Seattle International Film Festival couldn't be more elated. Our inbox got stuffed with submissions. Watching them all was fantastic, and winnowing the list down to 11 winners was no easy task. The grand prize will be announced at the 3-Minute Masterpiece screening:
10 a.m. Saturday, SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle; free (206-464-5830 or www.siff.net/cinema).
"THE LAST SLICE," by Philip Baca, Caleb Melvin, Jason Thompson and Ryan Trudeau
In this one, the fight over that last lonely piece of pepperoni pizza has never been more ruthless. Under the direction of Philip Baca and Caleb Melvin, actors Jason Thompson and Ryan Trudeau compete neck-and-neck for the coveted slice.
"SEATTLE IS GREAT!," by Phoebe Wall, Jessica Salmon and Abby Salmon
This is the second year 12-year-old Phoebe Wall has entered the 3MM contest. She submitted two videos in 2012, two more this year and just completed her first feature-length film. "I'm kind of obsessed with iMovie," she admitted. The film that put Phoebe in the winners bracket this time around is a stop-motion piece about the best and worst traits of our city (great seafood, bad traffic, no snow, too much rain, etc.). The soundtrack is a song she wrote and performed with her friends Jessica and Abby Salmon. They all sing, and Wall plays the ukulele.
"POST NUCLEAR FAMILY," by John Williamson and Lily Williamson
John Williamson must have been watching "The Walking Dead" or reading Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" recently. His short film -- which stars his daughter Lily -- is by far the darkest of this year's winners. Filmed in Gas Works Park, the film casts Lily as a tough-as-nails girl trying to survive without her family in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. John made it clear the filming process was more lighthearted than the subject matter; Lily is a very accommodating actress. She only balked when John tried to make her get grubby to better fit the part. "He tried to rub dirt on my face!" she said indignantly.
"HISTORY IS WALKING IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES," by Eric Porkorny
Eric Porkorny is fascinated by the oldest pieces of Seattle's cityscape, and his short film captures that fascination beautifully. It is, as Porkorny described it, less of a movie and more of "a moment in and out of time" set to music. It overlays old video footage of Seattle circa the 1962 World's Fair with footage of the same locations as they appear now. It's a neatly edited trip down memory lane.
"LASER RABBIT," by Matt Wells and Chase Helgeson
This short plays on a deep-rooted cultural phobia: the fear of cute, cuddly rabbits with supernatural powers. Examples abound: the sanguinary bunny in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," for instance, or that bane of all vegetables, Bunnicula. Now, 14-year-old Woodinville filmmaker Matt Wells used skills he learned in a video editing class last year to make his pet rabbit shoot lasers. "My rabbit is albino and has red eyes, so it's fitting that he would shoot red lasers," he said. (Wells' work can be viewed on his YouTube channel, angryflash.)
"TOM MCGEE AND THE OFFAL WAFFLE," by Robbie Cribbs
Continuing in the vein of good things turned bad, Robbie Cribbs' film employs wonderful Claymation to tell the story of a gluttonous waffle that tries to gobble up a little bug named Tom Mcgee, who proves a little harder to swallow than his appearance suggests.
"LIKE THIS," by Jessie Brugger
Video-game contests can look really silly when taken out of context -- at least that's what Auburn native Jessie Brugger thinks. Her short, "Like This," is made from footage she shot of her family playing a rowing game on the Nintendo Wii. There's no linear storyline; it's just looped clips of her brother, mother and father paddling ferociously. It's oddly captivating.
"FREDDIE HITS THE PIPE," by Parker Briggs
In Hollywood, a young director usually means a filmmaker in his late 20s or early 30s. In the case of "Freddie Hits the Pipe," the term refers to 9-year-old Parker Briggs. He said "I Love Lucy" is his "favorite show of all time," and the excellent slapstick comedy in Briggs' film proves he's been paying close attention. His screenplay, which he adapted from the 1921 children's book "The Old Tobacco Shop," is rife with one-liners and great slapstick that would make Lucille Ball proud.
"COME ALONG SPRING," by Madeline Lootens
Rain + sun = spring. Madeline Lootens' video, which stars her two younger sisters, begins with this simple equation, set to cheery bluegrass music complete with whistling. The story that follows, told through a series of still photographs, is similarly uncomplicated. A girl wakes up and goes outside to play with her friend in the sun. It's an endearing celebration of the stretch of warm weather to come. When asked how she chose the topic, the 17-year-old from Everett simply said "My two little sisters ... they'd kind of been having cabin fever, and we had a few days [to film] when it was nice and sunny."
"A FINAL CONVERSATION," by Scott Graves
At the age of 15, high-school freshman Scott Graves already understands the beauty of making a film short, sweet and to the point. Clocking in at just 54 seconds, Graves' stop-motion video begins as a polite conversation between two dads. They discuss their wives, and last night's basketball game before things turn violent. The twist? The two dads are toy Lego men. Graves filmed "A Final Conversation" on his kitchen table one afternoon before dinner. "After dinner, I went upstairs, did all the editing and finished before 10 p.m.," he said.
"ALONE," by Travis Vogt
Did you watch the "Home Alone" films a few too many times as a child? Travis Vogt's 3MM film suggests that he did. In "Alone" he pokes fun at his own paranoid streak to hilarious effect. In the short, Vogt, 34, confesses his belief that a violent, alcoholic former tenant is going to rampage into his home any minute, seeking revenge for some unknown reason. Vogt layers his laughably neurotic narration over mile-a-minute transitions in an attempt to "find something funny in a mundane situation," as he put it.
-- Joseph Sutton-Holcomb: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @analogmelon
More about SIFF:
Capsule review of SIFF opener, "Much Ado About Nothing"
3 SIFF documentaries tell Northwest stories
SIFF's Northwest Connections program focuses on local films
SIFF announces 2013 films, events and special guests
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