Chip Peyton never shot a movie, doesn't have any friends who do and hasn't seen any of the ongoing festivals by local filmmakers. But he has a nine-year-old camcorder, a computer and a desire to bond with his son "instead of being 47 years old, sitting around, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, like I saw adults doing when I was a teenager."
So he took his son, Ben, 14, and seven of his friends to Sandy Beach for two weeks in September to film "Alpharecon," an eight-minute action film that will be shown as part of the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society's winter film festival, which runs Thursday, Jan. 24, through Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Back Room at the Silverbow Inn.
"Alpharecon," written by Peyton and his son, has a simple plot: A group of soldiers defies orders to retreat so it can rescue its captured leader. Filming the mini-epic, however, proved difficult.
"It poured down rain every second, and the wind was just going sideways," the elder Peyton said. "We were so cold at the end of it they could hardly talk."
But the opportunity to be a star apparently was worth it.
"The boys, when they saw it, they were just blown away," Peyton said. "Now everybody wants their ideas in the next movie."
A significant number of new filmmakers, including those taking a class about the subject at the University of Alaska Southeast, are featured at this week's festival, said Pat Race, co-founder of the event. He said improvements in consumer technology also mean an increasingly diverse range of styles.
"I think we have been getting more submissions from young people that are able to just pick up a camera and use it with their computer, and we've been getting more animation, too," he said. Documentaries, a rarity in past JUMP festivals, also are becoming more common, Race added.
Two of this week's documentaries are by Greg Chaney, who has submitted films since the first festival in 2002. One is about a youth involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Juneau. The other profiles people involved in the Gold Medal basketball tournament.
The amount of work not seen on screen is substantial. Chaney estimates he shot two hours of raw film for his four-minute Big Brothers Big Sisters project, while Peyton said his "Alpharecon" required about 60 to 80 hours of post-production editing.
The festival is noncompetitive. Chaney said his experience with JUMP has allowed him to enter competitions elsewhere, but he prefers that the local event stick with its current format.
"That is extremely rare in the world, so it's wonderful we have that opportunity in Juneau for someone who wants to try it," he said.
All of the films submitted to JUMP are generally shown, although festival officials may ask the filmmaker to edit something for various reasons, Race said. He said entries with material that may not be suitable for younger viewers will be shown toward the end of the event, allowing parents to leave early if so desired.
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