It takes about a week for the dust to settle after the Olympus 72hr Filmmaker Showdown and the general consensus is this year saw some of the strongest films in recent memory with a nice heavy representation of local talent. Word from the judges booth was that each judge had chosen a different winner and it truly could have been anyone's game to win.
My personal favourite was the Braveheart-in-the-backcountry epic Our Snow, from Vancouver/Whistler wunderkinds Shitty Films. Positioning granola-munching ski tourers against two-stroke stoked slednecks, this one had comedy, violence, heavy artillery and lots of gore. Shitty Films won the 2015 Heavy Hitting HorrorFest but they were unable to win the Double Crown of Whistler independent filmmaking with a 72hr triumph.
Snow Game, from past winner Johnny Fleet and company, also brought the violence to the mountain with an impressively rendered tale about a ski lodge janitor/Olympic medallist skier who lays the smackdown, 16-bit video-game style, on a trio of trash-talking snowboarders. This one took home the Peoples' Choice award but the judges weren't rewarding violence this year.
Musicals are always popular and the girls at Sushi Village, led by director Sabine Varnes, brought the heat this year with The Sound of Sushi, a multi-genre crossover musical extravaganza aimed at helping the world better understand the etiquette behind ordering food at Canada's best sushi joint. Musicals usually do well at the 72hr; not this year.
Poetry wasn't the secret either. 2015 Showdown winners Dale Bailey, Will Fraser and Will Quiring coloured outside the lines with Blood Pressure, a verbally poetic film about the dichotomy of mind/heart relations. No dice.
In the end, it was local force of nature Angie Nolan and her crew who took the $7K grand prize (plus $5K bonuses for shooting exclusively on Olympus gear) for Control Shift, a bare-bones production that relied on visuals and physical humour to remind us that there is more to life than technology and sometimes our best ideas are the simplest.
A 72hr veteran and longtime local filmmaker (see page 54), Angie took time from her hectic work/celebration balance to give us the inside scoop on five of her favourite films ever:
The Outsiders (1983)
"I remember reading the book in elementary school. Then the film came out in my first year of high school and 13-year-old me bawled my eyes out. I remember thinking how they got the characters so right, just how I saw them in my head. And ever since then I was fascinated with movies and film."
Star Wars (1977)
"I was so young. My stepdad took me and it became our thing. I've seen them all in the theatre multiple times and I love Empire but I remember that feeling of the very first time so it will always be Star Wars for me."
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
"I need an old movie in here. This one has Kat Hepburn and Cary Grant and I love it because of the writing and the timing and acting. I don't know... they just don't make them like this anymore."
Almost Famous (2000)
"I would have liked to write this one if Cameron Crowe didn't do it first. This is perfect."
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
"I want to put something recent in too and I really like some dark things and character-driven things. Writing is what keeps me coming back to films and I thought, out of a lot of the recent stuff, Mad Max killed it. As a complete film experience out of all the content we receive this one really stood out. Just old-school fun and not a bunch of dumb superheroes."
Thanks Angie, and congrats to your whole team on the win!
Speaking of dumb, The Huntsman: Winter's War is the only new movie opening at the Village 8 this week. Remember the last Huntsman movie, the one with Kristen Stewart that kind of sucked and left no one wanting a sequel? Well here is the sequel/prequel/remake/whatever.
And even though it stars Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Chris Hemsworth and (best of all) Charlize Theron (but no Kristen Stewart), the script is bad enough to sink all the cool swordplay and witchy effects. Wait for Netflix and take the kiddies to see The Jungle Book or Zootopia instead.