Calling filmmakers into action 

Fifth annual Filmmaker Showdown now includes $10,000 prize purse and international exposure

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What: Filmmaker Showdown Entry

When: Deadline April 3

Info: www.whistler2006.com/film/entry

Leslie Anthony groans with discontent when reminded about the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s call for entry into its fifth annual 72-hour-filmmaking-mayhem competition.

"Great, now I am going to be thinking about it," said Anthony, a previous Filmmaker Showdown finalist filmmaker. "We’ve got some ideas already, but now I am going to have to start planning," said the editor of SBC Skier Magazine , currently working in Stockholm.

The Filmmaker Showdown is an exercise in crisis management, challenging filmmaking teams to write, shoot and edit a five-minute short film within 72 hours and within 100 kilometers of Whistler. Filmmakers shoot the weekend of April 14-17 with eight finalists screened at the Showdown Gala April 18 at the Telus Conference Centre where the winner is lauded.

Anthony has a long flight home to think about it and with $10,000 in prizes in addition for the winning film, plus airing on international television, there is even more reason to begin tossing around ideas, assembling a crew, or at least signing up before April 3 by logging onto www.whistler2006.com.

Previous winners have moved on to work in the professional filmmaking industry, as well as seeing their films screened at festivals such as the Directors Guild of Canada, the Squaw Valley Film Festival and the World of Comedy International Film Festival in Toronto.

Even if filmmakers don’t win, they become a part of the filmmaking movement gaining momentum in Whistler with grassroots events such as the B-Grade Horror Film Fest, ArtDrenaline and Whistler Film Nights, and internationally-recognized ones such as the Whistler Film Festival, particularly the Whistler Stories grant program, paving the way.

The common denominator among the events is the inspiration and awareness they all create.

"I think a lot of people are getting involved with film when they see this stuff," Anthony said, noting the growing B-Grade Horror Fest and Whistler Film Festival. "I think it is all feeding into the same thing. There is quite a vibrant filmmaking sub-culture (in Whistler)."

Anthony’s filmmaking aspirations are a product of getting caught up in this sub-culture. Although he worked on a Discovery Channel project, he never made his own films until two years ago when he first entered the Showdown.

"(George Philp) had a camera. I had an idea," Anthony said. "He had an editing program and we went from there."

The two-year running top-eight finalist offered a few tips for newcomers. First and foremost he recommends with vibrato, a powerful, foolproof computer that will not crash. Having some sort of game plan in place beforehand can also reduce the chaos factor. A good showdown film should include components such as a unique subject or take on a subject, a sense of the unexpected and humor never hurts.

"They need to think about how a drunk audience will respond," he said. "It’s in a loud, big room and it has to grab you and keep you engaged."

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