July 26--TRAVERSE CITY -- JohnPaul Morris' 62-second paper animation film will be seen by nearly every moviegoer during the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival next week.
The Traverse City native and grand prize winner of this year's film festival bumper contest, sponsored by the FIM Group, said he works best under pressure when it comes to creating the quirky clips that play before each movie.
"It always seems to come down to the last day and I'm scrambling to put something together," said Morris, whose 2011 bumper also took first place honors. He won third place in 2010.
"This year I vowed not wait until the last minute, but I ended up using paper animation out of necessity because it was filmed two days before the deadline," he said.
Morris' $1,000 prize-winning bumper, "Paper Cut," was one of 25 entries judges chose from. It features a 2-D film fan who chooses which movies to see based solely on the picture in the festival guide.
"There was a huge degree of polish and it was very visually engaging with a nice warm narrative," said Lars Kelto, pre-show content manager for the Film Festival and a bumper contest judge.
Morris, who based the stop-action animation short on old educational videos, is more than a casual filmmaker. The Grand Traverse Academy graduate started eleven35 Productions based in Grand Rapids in 2009 and has worked on projects around the world.
Even so, returning to Traverse City and the Film Festival is a highlight for him.
"I think it can be hard for people to relate to what I do, not making summer blockbusters but working as an independent film company," he said. "The Film Festival raises the awareness of the quality of independent films."
Aspiring filmmaker Brian Steinberg of Ann Arbor has dreamed of one day making an independent film that would be featured in the Traverse City festival.
His second-place 38-second bumper may not be feature length, but Steinberg can't wait to see it on the State Theatre's big screen.
"When I heard that I had gotten second place I realized I've done it, I'm in the festival," joked Steinberg, who will be attending the festival while on his honeymoon.
"I'm getting married on the 30th, and then we are heading up to the festival. We really love it," he said.
TC Film Festival Bumper Contest winners
--First place, winner of $1000: JohnPaul Morris for "Paper Cut"
--Second place, winner of $500: Brian Steinberg for "TCFF the 9th"
--Third place, winner of $200: Nancy Rampson for "How Many Stars"
--Honorable mention, winner of $100: Colin Campbell for "Treasure Hunt," Matthew Soltysiak for "Just Great Movies" and Dick Evans for "Rock"
(c)2013 The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.)
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