Film Contest Shows Another Side Of Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – It’s a spinoff of the tried-and-true love story: Two superhero nemeses forced to do community service together fall in love … but then, things get twisted.

It’s also the plot of a six-minute, 45-second film created in just 24 hours by Anna Sawyer’s team of four for the Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival, a scavenger hunt-style contest held around downtown and north Boulder.

“We live in a society where we watch a lot of TV and go to the movies, and we forget that we can create our own films, hometown style,” said Michael Conti, executive director of The Shoot Out Boulder. “It just encourages people to be creative and have fun and shows a side of Boulder that we don’t normally see in terms of people telling stories.”

The event, in its eighth consecutive year, was held last weekend. This year marked the first that teams were divided by age in two categories: 17 and younger, and 18 and older.

All filmmakers were required to follow a series of strict moviemaking guidelines: Final projects could be no longer than seven minutes in length and had to incorporate at least five elements from a list of 11 predetermined props, locations and phrases.

Since editing video was also banned, the films needed to be shot sequentially, which Sawyer, a videographer, said helped level the playing field for novice competitors.

With other film contests, “It ends up being about who has the best software,” she said. “The Shoot Out sort of constrains the competition in a way that empowers people, so that’s why there are people even younger than 17 (participating). That’s because almost anyone can do it.”

Sawyer’s team was one of 27 that vied for the competition’s $1,000 grand prize for Best Film, which also comes with a submission to the Boulder International Film Festival. Other giveaways included two days of director training with filmmaker Darin Scott — whose producer credits include work with Renee Zellweger and Danny Glover — for Best Director, gift certificates for video equipment, and several passes for acting classes.

Each year there are generally 10 categories for which competitors can be recognized, including acting, producing and directing. The newest was this year’s addition of the Best Boulder Family award.

Conti said winners are selected by a judging committee made up of volunteers who are filmmakers, film instructors and former competitors.

Ashley Albiniak, a five-year veteran of the Shoot Out, said competing gives her a way to stay involved with her hometown community. On Sunday, Albiniak, 39, hosted the awards ceremony at the Nomad Theater, where at the age of 5 she acted in her first play.

“It’s kind of awesome that it’s come full circle,” she said. “It’s going to make it more intimate.”

– By Leezia Dhalla, Daily Camera

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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