Wednesday, January 31, 2007

IFFR – Short Film Awards

The results came in on Monday night about the short film awards. Before I get to that, I want to mention how Henk, one of the two students who were running the contest by handing out phones (but not one of the judges), told me there was one other entry that I needed to see. He brought me back, behind the scenes, where the computer server was and cued up a short.

It was called “Whatever Makes You Happy.” And I’m the star of it.

Apparently, when Adam, his friend Andy and I were at de Doelen finishing up our cell phone movies by adding titles and adding music, there was a guy at our table who was also entering the contest unbeknownst to us. He had turned his camera phone on me, catching me laughing and being amused with what was happening on my phone. The guy stopped filming when he thought we caught him doing it.

I’m happy to be in the movie, but I take issue with the title. It seems a little ironic, a little distant, like it’s scoffing at somebody who is having a good time. I’m also a little surprised at how big my beard has gotten. My face is silhouetted in profile against a window and POW! Look at that beard!

At that time, as Adam was adding music (the phones have stock music that can loop under the movie you make, which is cool) he also needed to add titles. His titles weren’t snappy enough, so for his movie that pans along mannequin heads in a store window, with the music from Psycho playing underneath, I suggested something that became “Dressed to de Palma,” which plays off of De Palma’s Dressed to Kill and his love of/appropriation of Hitchcock. Adam did another one with his friend Andy sort of walking and spinning on those metal planks with the Pathé theater in the background. The movie got good when he added silent film music, but he still needed a title. I suggested “Pathé Ballet.” I forget what his third one was called off the top of my head.

Anyway, I’m at the awards. I had eaten dinner with Adam earlier and he said he would meet me there after he went to a screening of something or other. I was hanging with friends of Henk and Emile, other students, and Henk kept asking me if I thought I would win. To be honest, the day before I did believe I would win, but then I got past that because thinking that way leads to madness.

Oh, then Henk told me that he got into a bit of trouble because apparently Adam and I were not supposed to be able to enter the contest. It was only for directors who came to the festival, and not for industry. This became an issue because the two best movies, according to the judges, were not made by directors visiting the festival.


So the awards ceremony starts. It’s a ceremony for the short films in competition at the festival, but they start with the One Take Challenge winners. There’s two categories, a student category and a directors category. But we don't care about the student category because we don't know anybody there.

And the winner of 500 Euros and a brand new phone turned out to be… Adam Sekuler! Which is awesome. If it wasn’t going to be me, I’m glad it was him. After all, I wouldn’t have even joined the competition without him. And the movie he won for? None other than “Pathé Ballet.” I do believe that the title helped push it over the edge and into the winner’s circle, but that’s because it works well with the content and the music. Taken separately, that’s not a winning movie. Together, that makes Adam 500 Euros richer and the recipient of a brand new, James Bond edition of a Sony Ericsson phone.

But Adam wasn’t there. Part of me wanted to pretend to be him while accepting the award, but that would have been a hollow victory. So I went on stage to accept for him and said he was at a movie. And for Seattle! Adam, if you’re reading this, come get your phone. As for the money, they were smart enough not to give it to me to give to you.

Oh, and for those who want to know the winners of the official Tiger Awards for short films, they went to Hinterland, The Flag and Video Game. The judges said it was very contentious, and they gave out a couple of honorary mentions. The judges said they argued quite a bit, and I can't tell if they gave out three awards because they couldn't agree on one, because it looks like they did the same thing last year. Maybe they always give out three awards. Actually, looking at their official site, it looks like maybe they do present three every year. That's nice for the judges, especially when they disagree.

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