72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown: take four 

What: Filmmaker Showdown (TWSSF)

Where: Telus Conference Centre

When: Thursday, April 14, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $15

"I had this dream that I was in the lineup to hand my movie in with the clock ticking and nobody would let me get past them. You had to wait your turn and take a number and I’m watching the clock go, go, go and I’m like: "I’m not going to make it! I’m not going to make it..."

Angie Nolan

Tuesday, April 12

Angie Nolan did in fact make it. Hers is one of 39 short films that as of Tuesday, April 12 at 9 a.m. were present and accounted for and ready for review by the organizers of the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival’s fourth annual Filmmaker Showdown.

It’s likely Nolan wasn’t the only one with beat the clock nightmares. Part of the wild ride that is the Filmmaker Showdown is the strictly monitored 72-hour period during which crews must film, edit and soundtrack films no more than four and a half minutes long.

It doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider sticks in the spokes such as computer glitches, unco-operative weather and red-eyed principal actors hallucinating on a lack of sleep.

Still, teams continue to sign up: amateurs, pros and everyone in between.

It’s not like they don’t remember what it was like the year before.

Three time Showdown participant Michel Brew recounted a hellish homestretch last year that included weary actors, a computer unable to render a DVD, and soundtrack of original music composed in four hours that didn’t burn onto a CD correctly and had to be streamed over the Internet at 5 a.m.

"They all volunteered to do it again this year," Brew said incredulously. "That's right. Volunteered. No one gets paid for doing this."

He’s technically right. No one gets paid to participate but the Showdown winner receives a Panasonic Mini-DV camera, valued at $5,600, the same model that debuted as a grand prize at last year’s event and ended up in the visionary hands of Lauren Graham.

Of this year’s 39 entries between 8 and 10 finalists, chosen by a review panel, will get beamed onto the big screen at the Telus Conference Centre and considered by the Best Of Show judges.

This year’s review panel includes such luminaries as Whistler Film Festival co-founder Kasi Lubin, past Showdown winners Ace MacKay-Smith (2003) and Ryan Harris (2002) and acclaimed documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky. Judges include local action filmmaker Christian Begin of the Kranked mountain bike video series and Hollywood film director Catherine Hardwicke, in town for last Tuesday’s special advance screening of the upcoming Sony Pictures release Lords Of Dogtown.

While there can be only a few finalists, the also-rans can count on getting screen time at an Oscar-glamour theme party at Dusty’s on April 22, which will show all the entries.

But first, there’s the 4 th Filmmaker Showdown, which gets rolling tonight (Thursday, April 14) at the Telus Conference Centre. Tickets are $15, available through the Whistler Activity Centre. For more information go to www.whistler2005.com.

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