Reel, local culture continues... for now 

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I dreamed I was sleeping. I didn't even know it was possible to dream you're sleeping. Seems like one of those Möbius thought puzzles. I'm sure I only nodded off briefly but in the netherworld of half here, half there, I dreamed I was sleeping.

And when I jerked to wakefulness, I felt like I was half asleep. I wasn't. I was, however, surrounded by people restlessly waiting for the next film.

Shaking off my embarrassing confusion — we're all a little embarrassed to realize we've just nodded off in a room crowded with people juiced on Monster, alcohol, street drugs and the hormonal rush of hoping they're going to get laid later — I was further confused by the over-amplified voice of my friend, Feet Banks, explaining how, now that he's a father, he's trying to swear less but nonetheless, someone had just done something fuckin' amazing. No more confusing than many of Feet's other proclamations, just ironic timing.

I was in the middle of the 11th installment of the 72 hr. Filmmaker Showdown. When this cultural competition was launched way back when, it hit the town and the festival like a shot of Red Bull with a chaser of battery acid, or as I like to say, Red Bull neat. Almost everyone who attended the first Showdown expected the obvious, some variation of ski/snowboard porn. Why not? Hatched as an experiment in a ski and snowboard festival still morphing from athletic competition to cultural phenomenon, sited in and around the undisputed centre of the snow sports world — at least in April — and entered largely by local filmmakers, it wasn't hard to imagine a collection of seen-it-all-before huckin' 'n' jivin'.

But, if a memory well on its way to being referred to in the past tense serves, none of the finalists fell into the ski porn mode. The winner was a witty, funny film about kicking the nicotine habit. In hindsight, maybe we all should have seen it coming. But we didn't and there hasn't been a single winner, and damn few finalists, in 11 years that came anywhere near the genre, Tuesday evening being no exception.

This year's Showdown, as it has in recent past years, sold out in the blink of an eye — three days after tickets went on sale. The room was crowded with instant locals, graying locals, visitors from all over and filmmaking teams from here and away. Notably absent, again, was strong representation by the local "culture" mavens who see arts and culture as a continuing quest for additional tourists as opposed to something we do. Too bad. They missed yet another outstanding example of real, true, local culture... the kind of thing experts say actually draw people to a place and differentiate it from, well, everywhere else. Their loss.


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