Amateur talent stars in winter film fest

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

During recent months nearly 20 locals armed with cameras have created 15-minute films and videos for the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society's Film Festival, which opens Thursday, Jan. 23, at The Back Room at the Silverbow.

Works in the JUMP festival range from polished to pixelated, in styles from animation to adventure sports. Subjects include the saga of a broken Volkswagen Bug, a documentary about the Juneau Sundial project, an Alaska version of "Charlie's Angels" and a climbing drama filmed with teddy bears as the principal actors.

"They are a pretty diverse group of films," said Pat Race, who organized the festival. "They range in quality, content and genre from people who have put together little stories, dramas or comedies to people that have done documentaries to people who assembled family movies and tried to make something of them."

The average run time for the 20 entries is about 7 minutes, though they range in length from 15 minutes to 45 seconds, Race said. It takes about two hours to watch them all, with a short intermission.

"I can pretty much guarantee that you're going to see some films you love and some that are just unbearable," Race said in an e-mail about the festival.

The videos and films will show at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday nights at the Silverbow. The event is free and films and videos do not contain nudity or extreme violence, though there may be a few expletives, Race said.

This is the second festival since Race started the JUMP society. At a festival showing in July, The Back Room was packed. Race recommends people come early to get a seat.

"I would probably get there early and grab a table. The Silverbow will be serving food," he said.

Race admits he started the festival partially for selfish reasons, because he needed something to help him stop procrastinating and finish a project.

"It's a good excuse to take a week and sit down and play with film stuff to get a little better at my hobby," he said.

Race's film entries this time around will include an "experimental crayon animation" called "Seed" about a simple crayon drawing that grows.

The festival provides a deadline for plenty of amateur filmmakers in Juneau who can't produce without a little pressure, Race said. Another bonus of showing all the films and videos at once is they attract an audience that no short film could draw on its own.

"We can get a bigger audience by ganging up," Race said. "There are a lot of people who are interested in doing short films and are encouraged by an audience. If you give them an audience and a deadline, it gives them an incentive to actually get out and do it."

Julia O'Malley can be reached at jomalley@juneauempire.com.

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