FILM COMPETITIONS SEE A BOOST IN POPULARITY
Every year, numerous film contests are designed to encourage and inspire creative young filmmakers hoping to become the next Steven Spielberg. These competitions give the aspiring artists the opportunity to enter their short films for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including a spot on the big screen. Although it’s a great opportunity, it can be hard to put together a dedicated crew, which is vital in these types of productions.
One of the most popular film contest is the Crazy8s, run by the Crazy8s film society, a nonprofit organization. It is an eight-day filmmaking challenge created to provide funding and support to emerging filmmakers. Crazy8s has provided working opportunities for over 1,750 people in the past 15 years. Aspiring filmmakers present their short film pitches through a five minute video then 40 semi-finalists are chosen to present their idea to a live jury of industry professionals. Twelve of those finalists are able to workshop their script with a professional story editor, then six winners are chosen and receive $1,000 and a production package with all the tools they need to produce their film. Once finished, films are screened at a gala event to the big names in the Vancouver film industry.
The Phrike FilmFest 72 Hour Film Competition, named after the goddess of horror from Greek mythology, is a local short film contest for filmmakers in the horror world. It’s a thrilling event where creators of all ages bring their own unique and scary movies to life in just three days. The challenge includes receiving elements such as dialogue lines, scene shots and props with no advance notice, which they must use in their 13 minute creation. Elite judges and public votes decide the winner of a series of prizes, including $5,000 and the Grand Goblin Award.
Doritos has a filmmaking contest of their own. Currently, the company is spearheading the annual Crash the Super Bowl competition. Submissions of a 30 second ad are being accepted from fans all across the world to win a chance for their ad to be played on global television and at the Superbowl for millions of viewers to see. The grand winner will also be receiving $1 million and a riveting job at Universal Pictures, one of the world’s largest movie production companies, for one year.
Crash the Super Bowl is the largest online video contest in the world. It has been running for seven years overall, but this is only its second year in Canada. Originating as a way for the company to engage new fans, Doritos has received over 27,000 fan-made ads and has awarded millions of dollars in prize money since the contest began.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a budding film student to not only make their mark but to jumpstart their career,” says Susan Irving, the Director of Marketing for PepsiCo Foods Canada.
Though it is clear that the Doritos competition is made for young directors to expand their skills, some in the field believe these types of contests breed predictability over originality. “Everything has been done these days millions of times over, no ideas seem original anymore,” says Nick Cupelli, a cinematography student at Capilano University. “Maybe they are really trying to find that diamond in the rough mindblowing idea, maybe they are simply attempting to market themselves by giving the chance of winning to amateurs.”
Regardless, this does not change the benefits that come from participating. “If you win the competition the networking opportunity is huge,” says Cupelli, “I mean, it’s airing during the Super Bowl everyone will see it and you will be making it with industry professionals.”
Many film students are attracted to these types of competitions and are encouraged to work their hardest and utilize all of their skills. “Crash the Super Bowl pushes film students because they are competing not only against peers but against seasoned vets around the world for a top spot in the competition,” says Irving, “To get top spot you have to be bold, be creative and be the best.”
In addition to the range of backgrounds, another challenge is working within the competition’s time frame. “These contests can enhance your skills and push you further because its all extremely time sensitive and forces you to work efficiently and problem solve,” says Cupelli, “If something goes wrong, you better figure it out or your project can suffer greatly.”
Success stories have come from participants in all competitions such as these. Previous winners “have gone on to receive commercial work, film deals, Hollywood talent representation and other life-changing experiences,” says Irving, “They want life-changing opportunities. A chance to seize the moment and make it big, that is what the Crash the Super Bowl contest is all about.” These competitions are also beneficial for the companies, sponsors and contestants involved. The concept is quickly growing across the nation and has provided many aspiring filmmakers with an opportunity to get started in the industry. “No experiences are wasted when it comes to contests and filming projects,” says Cupelli, “If you’re always working on projects, you’re always bettering your craft, which is never a bad thing.”
For more information on each of these competitions, visit Crazy8s.cc, Phrikefilmfest.com and Crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com
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