1st Annual Show Me Digital Film Festival

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Festival premieres to a sold out crowd

by Meri Kidd

Those who said a film festival in Cape Girardeau wouldn't draw much of a crowd should have been at the UC Ballroom on November 12th. Festival attendees began arriving in groups at 5:00 p.m. and they were still coming through the door when the films began just before 6:30 p.m.

By the middle of the first slate, late arrivals were having trouble finding a seat and resorting to lining up against the back wall. As soon as everyone had found their seats, Bondsy, the emcee for the evening, introduced Matt Hopkins, the first guest of the night. Hopkins had come from the Cape Girardeau Mayor's office to welcome everyone to Cape and invited us all to partake in all the town had to offer. Up next were Pat Bond and Michael Huntington, the coordinators of the 1st Annual Digital Film Festival and founders of the Cape Filmmakers Cooperative. They each gave a short speech welcoming those in attendance, congratulating filmmakers on their submissions and promising many more Digital Film Festivals to come.

The first set of films began with a welcome message from Jim Uhls, the screenwriter of Fight Club. Uhls is a native of Cape Girardeau and is currently working on films in Hollywood. The brief welcome claims to take place in Cape Girardeau, with Uhls being interrogated by a mystery man. Uhls speaks briefly of his time in Cape, although he admits "he never actually made a film while living in Cape Girardeau". He goes on to congratulate Pat Bond, Mike Huntington, the Cape Filmmaker's Co-op and the Missouri Film Commission for starting this film festival and closes by advising everyone to "keep the cameras rolling".

The 12 films included three youth films and 4 films from Cape Girardeau and Scott City. They were shown in 3 slates starting at 6:30pm and running until 10:00pm.

The films wrapped up about 9:30pm, at which time the judges' left to make their decision and the 1st Award was given. The SPIRIT Award was given to J.W. McCrary for his loyalty and wide range of acting ability. Then the audience was told to clap for their favorite film, and the Audience Choice was awarded to Patrick Bond and Tim Bearden for "Double Feature". The judges then came back in to award the final three winners. Best Youth Film was awarded to Zach Harris for "The Chase", Best Director was awarded to Patrick Bond and Tim Bearden for "Double Feature", and Best Picture was awarded to Josh Williams for "Sausage Head".

Many of the festival goers left the Festival and headed straight downtown, to the after-party taking place at Breakaway's. Free pizza and nachos were provided by Pizza Inn and Burritoville, and the filmmakers were able to kick back and enjoy the well-loved music of the Tone Def Allstars. It was a full house and the perfect way to end a night of good film.

THE CHASE - 3 min - Zach Harris - Scott City, MO

To watch the Chase was to be transported back to the days of Charlie Chaplin, only this time the characters are wielding Super-Soakers and wearing T-shirts. Though once you get past the trivial changes, the Chase was actually a very funny silent film, complete with Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. Laughter filled the theater and the editing was very well done.

THE BLUFF - 4 min - Chip Rosetti - Marion, IL

The Bluff was a short animated film, in which you have a look inside the mind of a man with a horrible poker hand. At times you question the actual plot of this story, but as the only animation short entered into competition, it attracted attention.

THE GUN - 6 min - Adam C. Pavelka - Cape Girardeau, MO

Set in the Old West, this movie follows the story of "the Gun", to a riverfront battle between two cowboys. While this movie had some decent editing and effects, the fight scene at the end went on about 1 minute too long and the ending of the film left much to be desired.

ILLCOM: The Uprising - 4 min - Jesse Russell Brooks - Los Angeles, CA

Described as Hip-Hop Poetry, this music video followed two rap artists from the Mojave Desert to a club in Underground LA. This short stood out by being the only music video submitted to the festival, but the cutting edge sequences and rap music didn't earn much appreciation from the crowd.

BARKER'S BEAUTIES - 35 min - Dustin Bowes - Springfield, MO

Set as a mockumentary, reminiscent of the days of This is Spinal Tap, Barker's Beauties: Slumber Party follows a journalist as he joins a band that single-handedly resurrects the Springfield music scene. The characters were likable and the film was handled with an enviable sense of humor, but the movie took a very long time to make its point, and although the graininess may have been intentional, it took away from the overall production.

GETAWAY - 8 min - Noreen Adair - Tamms, IL

Following in the line of 70's slasher flicks, Getaway tracks 4 teenagers as they are held at gunpoint and finally murdered by 3 crazy kids living in the forest. The actors were the downfall of this film, if they wouldn't have been smiling during their death scene or stumbling over their lines, this movie would have been in the running for 1st place in the Youth category.

SAUSAGE HEAD - 12 min - Josh Williams - Branson, MO

This film was easily a festival favorite. It had the best audience reaction and some of the best film quality I have every seen on a small budget short. The film tells the story of a girl who is being followed by a clown who wants to eat her head, because it tastes like sausage. The hilarity of the situation takes away most of the strangeness, and the end leaves you with mouth agape.

BUTCHER - 5 min - Melanie Ansley - Victoria, Australia

Well organized and written, this story is answers the question, "What do you do with the dead father of your illegitimate child?" Why, you eat him of course. The beautiful accents take away a bit of the taboo choices in this film, but after a while you realize your still watching a movie glorifying cannibalism.

JUST A MOVIE - 28 min - Nick Murphy - Los Angeles, CA

When two friends decide to rob an ice rink, one for the money and the other for, well, sex, hijinks ensue. A mafia hit man out for their blood only complicates the situation. The actors in this film were very impressive, as are the locations. It was a very well coordinated production, and the plot, with some minor tweaking, would be something I would watch again.

JOB HUNTING - 19 min - Louie Benson - Scott City, MO

If you look past the sophomoric humor and the minor sound problems, this was a major work for the high schooler that directed it. The cast included some Cape film veterans and a tribute to the Cape made film, "Dark Garden". The story follows a man as he is fired, accomplice to a grocery hijacking and hired by a very unlikely employer.

5000 WAYS TO DIE - 5 min - Tim Bearden - Carbondale, IL

While not actually a production, this film gives a look at what a talented editor can accomplish with movie clips and music. It cuts together clips from "Pecker" with various horror clips, which makes for a gruesome experience.

DOUBLE FEATURE - 25 min - Patrick Bond & Tim Bearden - Cape Girardeau, MO

Imagine turning on a horror film and seeing your name pop up on the opening credits. Double Feature explores the sinister side of watching movies, following 3 recent graduates, a couple at home alone and a creepy video store clerk, as they are put through a night of terror. Has you asking, who will survive to fight again in the sequel. This film plays homage to many genres of horror flicks, and once a few technical problems and a couple "goofs" are overlooked, a genuine, original horror film can be seen.

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