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Filmmakers participate in competition

Monday, March 10, 2008  
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By Emmalee Mattern

In two to ten minutes, incorporate the phrase "The roses are lovely in Paris," and flip or toss a coin. These are the requirements for submissions to SGA's Moondance Short Film Competition.

The name is derived from the annual Sundance Film Festival in Utah, and is an event formed to encourage aspiring filmmakers to submit their cinematic creations for judging.

As long as the directives are followed, the films are allowed to follow any theme or plot the director wishes. The films may be in real life or animated.

"I don't make funny videos, just funny for me, so it will probably be a dark comedy," senior broadcast communications major Titus Ellis said.

The films will be judged based on four different categories. Winners of three of these categories will receive $30, and the grand prize winner will receive $100.

The $30 categories are "Most likely to bring a tear to my eyes," "Most likely to tickle my funny bone" and "Most likely to keep me on the edge of my seat."

The last category is "I don't know what it is, but I like it." Participants must win the majority vote in this "best-in-show," category to get the grand prize.

SGA President Ryan Smith initiated an event similar to this one last year and said it was a lot of fun.

"I had a lot of fun working on that, so I figured I'd do it again," sophomore Dustin Kaps said.

Both Kaps and Ellis plan on using their own camera equipment to complete their projects.

SGA Vice President William "Butch" Martin wanted to follow up last year's film event with another one, so he sought guidance from the film department about how to make the competition a reality.

"Any excuse to make a movie that can be seen by an audience, I am all over," Ellis said.

But making movies for a fun little on-campus competition isn't all aspiring cinematic artists are pursuing.

"It started out as a hobby, but now it is a career path," Ellis said. "I really love making movies, and I would love to do that for the rest of my life."

Ellis just returned from spending an entire semester working on the production process of the show "Robot Chicken" in Los Angeles. Seeing the professionals at work with stop animation inspired Ellis to want to experiment with stop animation and present his experimentations to "an uncritical OC crowd."

The technique of stop animation has been used in the production of entire movies, such as the claymation movies "Gumby," "Chicken Run" and "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride." It is also found in smaller sequenced scenes that required special effects, such as the original 1933 "King Kong," "Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back" and "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark." The art is defined in Lexico Publishing Group's dictionary at as being "frame-by-frame." According to this source, the technique "makes a physically manipulated object appear to move."

Kaps, who is majoring in corporate media, also looks forward to spending a whole semester interning through the Los Angeles Studies program sometime in his scholastic future. His talents have been utilized in the making of many OC sponsored videos for events such as Earn Your Wings and Freshman Fanfare.

This video competition is an opportunity for movie-making students to see the technological and creative process that goes into making a quality short film. Of course, there are a few limits.

"We'll weed out the films that are not OC appropriate before the public viewing," Martin said. Our vision is to have the audience participate in the judging process. We'd love to have a judge score and an audience score."

But until the viewing the first week of April, held in the DAH auditorium, no one will know a single detail of the masterpieces that will unfold on screen.

Students still wishing to compete in the film competition must sign up on the form outside of the SGA office and submit their film by 5 P.M. March 28. Any questions can be submitted to Martin at William.martin@student.oc.edu.

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