First of all, I need to get something off of my chest. I don’t really like awards shows. I rarely even watch the Oscars. So, it is a bit ironic that I find myself as the producer of our awards ceremony every year. People love them though and I want to make sure that we give the people what they want. Awards can be great validation for filmmakers as well, so we take the responsibility of granting our main awards pretty seriously. Plus, the after parties are usually really fun. This year, we really decided to have some fun with it. Sealth played a couple great sets while their specially created videos played behind them. Host Emmett Montgomery was great as usual with group hugs and air high-fives for all of the filmmakers who attended. Also all of the filmmakers who won were actually there to get their Great Glass Dildo. Voltaire wins an additional award for greatest acceptance speech. Video of the event will be posted soon.
The Winners of STIFF 2010
Grand Jury Award Winner: Jagger Gravning Syndrome, the Greatest Documentary of Our Time
Best Feature Winner: Cure for the Crash
Best Short Winner: Day Labor
Audience Award Winner: Book of Zombie
Best Animation Winner: DemiUrge Emesis
Best Documentary Winner: Roll Out Cowboy
Most Kick Ass Winner: i heart doomsday
Film Challenge Audience Award Winner: Looks of LA
Film Challenge Jury Award Winner: Looks of LA
Best Awards Ceremony Host: Emmett Montgomery
Best Acceptance Speech: Voltaire
Every year STIFF invites some of the best local film makers to take part in what we call the Film Challenge. Each year the challenge evolves as we try to get teams to think outside the box. This year we changed the format from narrative filmmaking to music videos. In keeping with the tradition of evolving the challenge we thought music videos would be the perfect way to showcase the talents of local filmmakers. Each team is working with a band of their choosing and given creative license to take the video in any direction they see fit. Teams shot the videos over this last weekend and have until the 11th to deliver a final project. So, who are these teams? Below are just a few of the film makers and the bands they are working with.
"Team QWAH productions are a collaborative and (mostly) democratic set, where jobs are shared and traded along with ideas for whatever best serves the project. This team has worked together under various personal production names, creating multiple short films and music videos. They have also completed two features; last year's "Bite Size" was winner of 2009 "Best Opening Credit Sequence" STIFFY & 2009 "Best Horror/ Comedy" at Indie Gathering. The second feature, "Off Camera", is premiering at STIFF 2010. This is the long awaited, nearly lost in postproduction, first project to bring together the members that would become Team QWAH! Be sure to also check out the shorts made by the Team QWAH members better known as "Pucker!" playing in assorted programs throughout this year's STIFF!" Team QWAH will be working with a band called Kincaid. Kincaid is a two-piece bathing suit of a hard rock band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in 2006, their debut EP "Burnt Face Pussy" is set to release via digital download in 2010. The band is named after the character Kincaid from the film "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. Chris Green aka Asgoth A.D. aka ScorpOnyx on vocals/guitar/programming, and Ty Huffer on vocals/bass comprise the current lineup.
Heading up yet another team is Zachary Gore. Zach is directing the video. He is the writer/director of "Here and Gone," a short film being featured at this year's STIFF festival. He currently is also producing videos for local artists Twig Palace and Fox and the Law and is curating a new quarterly multimedia collaborative webzine called Through This Window [http://www.ThroughThisWindow.com]. Patrick Richardson Wright [http://wrightmight.com/] is shooting it. In addition to shooting some pretty amazing video, he is a great photographer and web developer. Also on crew are Kelsi Johnson, who was production manager for "Here and Gone," as well, and Meaghan Nanson, who has worked on numerous film and video projects in recent history. They will be working with the band Friday Mile [http://www.fridaymile.com/] Friday Mile is a local indie-pop band who recently released their second LP, titled "Good Luck Studio." It was recorded with veteran LA-via-UK producer Dennis MacKay (Bowie, Harrison, Lou Reed) and was mixed at Avast by MacKay and Stuart Hallerman (Built To Spill, Death Cab for Cutie, Soundgarden). They're gaining a reputation for their keen sense of songwriting, lyrical imagery, and gratuitous use of melody and harmony.
Henry McComas is a two year veteran of the film challenge. Henry is working alongside UW film student Lindsey Marcus and long time collaborator Colin McLoughlin. Henry has been directing for the past 6 years and done such film as Emerald City which was part of the STIFF 2009 program. Henry and crew are working with a hard rock/metal band from the south sound.
Other filmmakers putting together videos this year are, Garett Garrido, Rylan Morris, STIFF veteran Amy Enser, Dan Schwert, and Hugh Berry.
Team Leader: Joe Sexton
Odds: Not Applicable
Previous coordinator Chris McBride hasn’t gone anywhere, but he now has a toddler and another on the way and wasn’t sure he could dedicate the time necessary to pull it off. So, last year’s B-movie team captain, Joe Sexton has stepped in as the new WFC coordinator and he has been doing a bang up job. I met Joe during STIFF 2006 when his film Coup Poudre screened. Joe said he wanted to be involved, kept after me and now is an integral part of the team. Joe really likes horror and he mentioned that he was heading to some remote cabin with a bunch of people to shoot, so it sounds like he found a really authentic location. There is no doubt that Joe will be able to put together a quality, horror movie that audiences will enjoy, but while none of us see any ethical problems with making a WFC movie, it just wouldn’t be right to actually have a member of the team compete. Team Ramrod will be the last film to screen and now that you have a little more background on the teams, I hope you are as excited to see the finished films as I am.
The first screening kicks off TONIGHT at the Rendezvous' @ 6:15PM (Be sure to stick around afterward for RFK!). The other screenings are at Central Cinema on Wednesday June 11th @ 7PM and again at the Rendezvous on Saturday, June 14th at 1:30PM. The Awards Ceremony hosted by comedian Emmett Montgomery happens on Saturday the 14th @ 6:15PM. Please come check these movies out and vote for your favorites!
Team Leader: Craig Packard
Odds: 10 to 1 (the long shot)
Craig Packard also has a feature film playing in STIFF 2008 called Big Plans. Craig told me that he spent quite a bit of time living in LA, trying to get screenplays made into movies, but eventually became frustrated and moved back to Seattle to go the indie route instead. He has the means, patience and the other strengths that come with completing a feature. What makes Craig the longshot for this years’s WFC is that as of the kickoff Craig was actually a one-man crew. He told me not to worry and that he would be able to put together something cool. I honestly believe him, but starting out as an army of one comes with some obvious disadvantages. I can see that there will (hopefully) be few arguments on set, but I can’t help wondering how Craig is going to pull it off. One of my favorite music performers last year was Ricky Lee Robinson. Here’s to hoping that Bloodstone becomes my favorite one man band from STIFF 2008.
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – Team Ramrod
Team Leader: Dan Tharp
Odds: 5 to 1 (sleeper pick)
Peek Productions blew onto the STIFF scene last year with their short film Soup (actually, it would almost be a misstatement to call Soup a short film since it clocked in at around 40 minutes). When people find out that Soup was essentially a movie about a cook’s rise to prominence in the culinary arts by peeing in the soup, they sometimes roll their eyes and automatically discount it. But the truth of the matter is that Dan Tharp and Damon Morris actually did an incredible job mixing some real depth of character and a strong story into that off-beat humor. They told me about some current documentary projects that sound interesting and more importantly are probably helping them grow as filmmakers in a variety of ways. This is their first year taking part in the WFC, so on paper Peek isn’t the strongest team. I think it would be a real mistake to count them out though. But, they might just prove to have the right mix of quality and funny to bring home the glass STIFFY. They are my sleeper pick for this year.
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – Bloodstone
Team Leader: Andy Peters
Odds: 3 to 1
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to say that I have been slowly working on a documentary about the alternative Comedy Scene in Seattle for about the past year. P.R.o.K. or The People’s Republic of Komedy is a huge part of that project, so this may be a bit biased. But, I think that these guys are some of the funniest human beings I have ever had the opportunity to know. A few months ago a filmmaker came up from LA for a screening and I invited him to check out their weekly show Laffhole. I later found out that he is actually a pretty accomplished stand-up comic who works with people like Sarah Silverman, Brian Posehn and Paul F. Thompkins on a regular basis and he told me that Laffhole blows away any room that they have in LA, so there are obviously a lot of people in town who agree that the P.R.o.K. rocks. Travis and Kevin consistently churn out hilarious short films for Pabst and Dewars (the Laffhole sponsors), not to mention films for their own wildly successful Entertainment Show that happens once a month at the Sunset in Ballard. So, there is no doubt in my mind that the P.R.o.K. mockumentary will be funny. The real question is, will funny be enough to win?
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – Peek
Team Leader: CB Shamah
Odds: 5 to 1
CB had a hand in the feature film SPREE which is screening as part of STIFF 2008 and it proves that he has the means to put together something truly unique and very cool. Team ASCOT has some excellent film and music connections around town, which will most likely come in very handy for their very first WFC Film. There is one big question on my mind though. While it is an incredible feather in a filmmaker’s cap to complete a feature, making a concise short film is a whole different task. Many accomplished feature filmmakers have struggled with the short form and nothing is worse than a short that is too long. Can Team ASCOT successfully transition back into a team that can tell a short story that is short enough? We know it is going to be good, but just how good is a mystery (which makes the genre selection super appropriate!)
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – P.R.o.K.
The New Originals
Team Leader: Chad Cobain
Odds: 2 to 1
Members of the New Originals have taken part in every Weekend Film Challenge so far and one thing is certain – these kids have skills, always finishing in the top three. Chad, Christian Hansen and Matt Dy were part of last year’s winning team and they possess just the sort of mix of youth, raw talent, and willingness to take risks that gives some of us older guys a bit of a complex. They are bringing back some key talent from last year’s Sunday Market, which means that they are the odds on favorite to win the top spot in 2008. Some questions are afoot though: They set the bar pretty high last year, will they be able to hit their own lofty standards this year? Can a team that makes serious movies win it in this year’s comedy-rich field? Western? Very hard to pull off, but I heard that they were heading to Eastern Washington and that sure sounds like the right direction to me.
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – Team ASCOT
Team Leader: Elizabeth Westerman
Genre: Erotic Thriller
Odds: 3 to 1
Elizabeth had the honor of leading the winning team from the 2006 Weekend Film Challenge, which was a hilarious send up of Blue’s Clues. That team consisted of several talented improvisers from Unexpected Productions which holds court at the Market Theater and produces the long running Seattle favorite - Theater Sports. Elizabeth and the Blues Clues team went on to produce a show of their own called the Cotton Gin which blends puppets and improv and was quite delightful. Members of our screening team already know that I actually have a secret weakness for puppet movies (and musicals) that may be firmly rooted in my childhood love of Sesame Street. They have managed to find a really good chemistry between the live action performers and the puppets, and chemistry is hard to beat. Improv skills have proved to be a real asset in past challenges. Can they capture that magic with this year’s longer format? Will those skills be stifled as they strive to write something a bit more cohesive? Surprise genre selection with this year’s number 1 pick. Can erotic thriller win the top spot two years in a row?
Coming up… Handicapping the Weekend Film Challenge – The New Originals