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The Last Cigarette wins 72-hour film showdown


WSSF contest packs conference centre

The team of Ryan Edward Harris, Martin Prihoda, and editor Lorna Michael were the winners of the first annual Filmmaker Showdown, held at this year’s Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Their film, The Last Cigarette, chronicled a smoker trying to quit the habit. The focal point of the story was a young man, shown in different settings, with different smokes.

The team, from Vancouver and Whistler, sketched together some ideas in advance, then ran with the plot line.

"Some of our best ideas came up when we were running on lack of sleep!" says Prihoda, who directed the film and produced through his company, Mirrorball Productions.

Twenty-four teams of filmmakers entered the contest, in which they had to produce a finished 4.5-minute film in the Whistler area in 72 hours.

"We signed up on the Friday and then went crazy for 72 hours," said Prihoda. "We thought everybody’s going to be doing a snowboarding film, so we thought we’d try something different."

And while the subject might seem an odd winner in the zone of healthy lifestyle living, the Last Cigarette won because it made audiences laugh.

From the get-go scriptwriter Harris had audiences laughing at the subject’s angst and fun with smoking.

Six of the top entries were shown on a large screen at the showdown, held at the Whistler Conference Centre.

The judging panel for the showdown included Peter Rowe, chairman of the Director’s Guild of Canada, cinematographer Bill Heath, movie critic Katherine Monk, and producer Darryl Palmer.

Prihoda will submit the film on behalf of the crew to an on-line film festival which showcases shorts.

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