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Silent film wins 72 Hr. Filmmaker Showdown at WSSF in Whistler

Katch Up scores $10,000 Best in Show prize at the popular event



A Charlie Chaplin-inspired short film about a beleaguered man who coaxes a genie out of his ketchup bottle took home the $10,000 first place prize at the 72 Hr. Filmmaker Showdown Tuesday.

Conrad Schapansky's Katch Up was presented as a black and white silent film; complete with jangly piano music and slapstick stunts featuring actor Fish Boulton fumbling and tumbling around the village until his chance encounter with the genie changes his luck. Schapansky says he and a friend came up with the concept years ago over a few pints during Whistler's annual Hot Doggin' party. "One (idea) stuck in my head and I just thought about it for a couple years and kept putting different spins on it and came up with this," Schapansky said after hoisting a giant novelty cheque - and downing a few shots teetering on a snowboard with his teammates. "I'm happy. I felt I was up there, but you're always surprised."

The team will split the cash prize and "enjoy the summer," he adds.

The 72 Hr. Filmmaker Showdown has become a staple of World Ski and Snowboard Festival, selling out in just five days this year. The event is unique in that it requires filmmakers to shoot, edit and produce a three to five-minute short film in just three days. They are also required to stay within a 100 km radius of Whistler and prominently feature a set prop. This year the object was a folded hand fan.

As a result of its popularity, WSSF organizers decided to add a second show this year following the big night called the 72 Hr. Filmmaker Showdown Encore. A people's choice award will be handed out during the event tonight.

A different scene unfolded Monday morning as filmmakers rushed to the Whistler Conference Centre desperate to meet the competition's 10 a.m. deadline. Those even a minute late are shut out from competing.

This year, three filmmakers missed the deadline. Mark O'Krafka and Shane Roy, who won the event in 2012, made it with a comfortable 20 minutes to spare. "We had back up," O'Krafka said. "Basically we had an insurance copy that we exported and I ran that over right now and my buddy was taking a secondary one in case there were any screw ups or anything else. We were pretty much done two hours ago and then we just kept tweaking, fine tuning."

In past years they've raced down from Pemberton - successfully avoiding speeding tickets -in a panic to meet the deadline. "People go to great lengths to get the films in on time here," Roy says. "Because, really, you have to pour absolutely everything you and your whole team have into (it.)"

After little-to-no sleep for three days, the pair was planning to head out for a couple of celebratory Caesars rather than a nap. "Then we'll sleep 'til tomorrow night," Roy said.

Robjn Taylor and Chris Smith also made the deadline a few minutes before the cutoff. Both have missed it in the past. "I see people react differently," Taylor said. "Some people get really pissed off, but what are you going to do? You know the rules. That's the name of the event."

For more on the WSSF pick up Pique this Thursday and check back for more.