Shootout on Central Avenue—This summer, Albuquerque's Flicks on 66 Film Festival will be entering its third incarnation. Currently known as DigiFest Southwest, the festival will be renamed the Duke City Shootout and will fall under the wing of independent filmmaker Christopher Coppola (nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and director of such low-budget efforts as Deadfall and G-Men from Hell). As in previous years, the festival committee will select seven short film scripts. The writers of the winning scripts will be flown to Albuquerque where they will be given a budget, cast, camera, lighting equipment, production crew, post-production facilities and even a professional mentor to help bring their pages to life. The only catch? Would-be filmmakers have only one week in which to complete their mini-masterpieces.
With the cooperation of Coppola's EARS XXI media studio and Albuquerque's own Digital Filmmaking Institute, this year's Duke City Shootout promises to be an impressive example of down-and-dirty digital filmmaking. The festival itself will take place July 22-30 and ends with the traditional awarding of the “Palm de Grease” trophy for the best overall film.
If you're interested in submitting a script for consideration, you need to pay a $35 entry fee by May 1. (Entry fee after the May 1 deadline jumps to $45.) Scripts must be 12 minutes maximum and should be sent by June 1, 2005, to EARS XXI Script Contest, 6565 Sunset Blvd. Suite 500 Hollywood, CA, 90028.
For more information about the contest, log on to www.EARSXXI.com.
Lawsuit Cinema—Last month, two Chicago area attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against Loews Cineplex Entertainment Group and the approximately 263 theaters they own and operate. The thrust of the lawsuit is that the company is engaging in deceptive trade practices by advertising the start times of their movies, and then filling that time with commercials. The lawsuit asks the theaters to provide two sets of start times: one for the commercials and one for the actual movies.
I agree that the effect of ads for Coke or Chrysler is (in the lawsuit's wording) “to waste purchasers' time by forcing them to sit through unwanted commercial messages.” Unfortunately, the lawsuit doesn't seek to eliminate the commercials. It's only interested in the “dual listing” system. Sadly, this would only further complicate the lives of the countless idiots who rush to theaters to see the likes of Son of the Mask, for whom normal movie times are a hopelessly indecipherable sea of numbers.
No doubt about it: Movie ads suck. My suggestion is to patronize movie theaters that don't run them and leave the lawyers out of it.
For more info on the lawsuit, check out http://www.nomovieads.com/pr.htm.