‘...After all, there is a train of thought’ 

The wonderful and wacky world of 2005 Filmmaker Showdown winner Robjn Taylor

Robjn Taylor
  • Robjn Taylor

Robjn Taylor and I are sitting on the patio at Nesters talking about music. Taylor is passionate about the subject and is describing the merits of his current favourite bands the Velvet Teen and Muse and about how he enjoys shaking up his mix CDs with accordion music from the French film Amelie .

The more he considers the joys of mix CDs, the more animated he gets. Literally. He’s like a cartoon.

I like cartoons and I sit riveted by his gesticulating arms and the bright brown eyes that practically pop out of his head. (The topic of the literary œvres of Dave Eggers and Tom Robbins will produce a similar reaction).

So taken am I with Taylor and the zest for that of which he speaks I don’t notice the passerby at first, a mild mannered man who politely interjects: "You’re the one that did the 72-Hour film! What did you do to keep yourself upside down?"

"It was a sketchy wooden apparatus that I hung from. Very terrifying," Taylor replies with a winning smile. He’s not terrifying in the least.

"It was well done anyway," the passerby adds.

"Thank you," says Taylor. And he genuinely means it. They shake hands.

It’s not an isolated incident. In the course of an hour several other Nesters shoppers approach with questions about the logistics of Taylor’s "72-hour film"– a wacky, surreal piece still fresh in the minds of the 1,800 people that packed the Telus Conference Centre to capacity last Thursday evening. A good number of whom, it appears, shop at Nesters.

They were there for the finals of the Filmmaker Showdown, a balls-to-the-wall creative free-for-all that in four years has become one of the most popular and anticipated events at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival.

The Showdown requires entrants to produce a complete, 4.5-minute short film in a strictly monitored 72-hour period. It doesn’t sound like much but consider the filming, the editing, the original music creation and sound editing. Actors that have to be woken up at 4 a.m. to re-do a scene since there is no "we’ll just do it tomorrow." Computer glitches that turn a simple DVD rendering into a panic-stricken, all-night techno-vigil.

In short, it’s not something cut out for those lacking innovation and determination and pure moxie.

It’s also not cut out for those who lack creativity. Of the 39 entries only eight films were chosen by this year’s review panel for the screening night at the conference centre. Of those eight, only one was chosen Best Of Show by the night’s judging panel. Year after year the contest proves that to make an impression you’ve got to pack a creative punch into your 4.5-minute masterpiece that could knock Jim Henson on his Muppet-conceiving ass.

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