I got giddy when I saw the 'sold out' scribbled sign taped to the wall at the Lensic on Saturday night. I love a dark theater, I love an enthusiastic crowd. Who doesn't? If I had massive disposable income, I would've shelled out for a red carpet for the handlebarred cowboys and tight-legged hipsters and pin-striped mafiosos and IATSE members to mingle preshow and post, elbow-to-elbow, eye to eye.
Man, I love our annual Three Minute Festival. Can't you tell? As I was waiting in the line for will call, our publisher Andy Dudzik handed me a jury ballot, written on what looked like a blank Rolodex card, and a copy of the program as printed in our paper. I took the honor very seriously. In the glow of my cell phone's display, I scored every film on a five point scale. Then, when the house lights came up, I carefully marked my choices.
It seens I thought a too carefully about it. By the time I got to the lobby, Rolodex card in hand, Mission Control was already announcing the results. I'm disenfranchised.
Having spent so much brain power on the ballot, I now feel obliged to reveal my votes. And since these won't count anyway, I've decided to add a few categories.
Swipe, by Max lustin
OK, anyone who actually saw my ballot knows this isn't what I put down, but I'm a reviser. Give me a few minutes extra on something, and I'll keep revising it. I'll talk about my first choice in a second. Hold on.
Anyhowz, Swipe was a cathartic little film with a simple premise: Snooty, sexy working girl comes home to depressed, unemployed deadbeat dude. A stroke of brilliance later and deadbeat dude's come up with his own solution to the credit crisis.
It's funny, polished and delightfully deadpan. Get in there my son.
The Santa Fe Prize
Powerball, by Gary Farmer
This was my first choice for Best Overall Film, mostly because I wanted a local film to win. Directed by you've-seen-that-actor-everywhere Gary Farmer, this is probably the best short film about Santa Fe I've seen, like, ever. Powerball was one of the few films at the fest that didn't rely on a twist or a punchline, but on thoughtful cinematography and the strength of its characters (not to mention Farmer's patience to produce a three-minute film over, what, three seasons?).
For the record, there was no Santa Fe Prize.
Greed, by Alli Sadegiani
Mission Control, take this is as constructive criticism. Next year, there's gotta be a Best Animation category, because, really, animation is always in a league of its own. This year, I also thought, the selection of cartoons was especially diverse: from CGI to creepy dolls to low-tech cut 'n' paste. There was even a flippy booky one parsed together from 1,800 pictures or some such number (we'll get to that later).
I don't think there was much disagreement in the audience that Greed, the pimply, Hitlerly first film of the night, was the best animation overall. That's probably why it was first. You need to start with a crowd pleaser. Here 'tis:
Like the jurors documented by the Capital Jury Project (see this week's Reporter), I went in having already made up mind. I was gonna vote for Meow Wolf for something. In the end, "Best Comedy," was the closest fit, though, I'm tempted to rename the category "Most Meow Wolfy."
I also think that if I had to watch the film fest again and again before making my vote, this short film, somewhere between a David Lynch picture and an Aphex Twin video, would ultimately prove itself best in show. Again, on the effort and achievement tip: Old people and children are notoriously difficult to stage manage.
Albertson's Italian Loaf from Toast of the Town
I can understand why my friends suggested the guy in the tin foil hat from Marital Awards: He was charismatic, funny at a point in the fest that we really needed it: at the end, which is also why he came first to mind. I actually decided to go with this guy Jake ("Blow me or I'll slit your throat" from The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking), who I met at True Believers once. Man, that dude was funny...and boy did he hate Final Crisis.
On hindsight, I think the choice was clear. Bread rose to the roll.
El Sueno de Isi, by Isi Sarfati
An afro, an Elmo and 1,800 photographs. I don't know that this actually counts as film, so that's my juror vote...I vote for it to be best flip book.