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Deep in the bowels of the Emporium Mall, tucked away behind Heritage Coffee and down the hall from the Gold Town Nickelodeon Theatre, two figures work reverently on a secret plan to enlighten the masses of Juneau to artistic interpretation. Sounds like a covert government organization or mystery science theater opening, doesn't it?
In reality it is Pat Race and Aaron Suring, brainstorming in their Lucid Reverie office for the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society (JUMP) Winter Film Festival beginning tonight at 7 p.m. inside the Gold Town theater at the Emporium Mall.
The graduates of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Suring 2000, Race 2001) began work here in 2002. This is JUMP's eighth year and 16th show. They host two festivals each year, in January and July.
"And we do a lot of little stuff in between," JUMP president Pat Race said. "This festival is kind of the core of what we do though."
The festival is a compilation of locally made films or films that have a Juneau connection, for and by locals. This year's showing is roughly an hour of 15 short films combined with some even shorter works from JUMP's CityOneMinutes fall project.
"Its a chance for people to share their work or work-in-progress," Race said. "Get it in front of an audience for a premiere, which is hard to do for movies less than 10 minutes. We are kind of a safe testing ground for people... They make short films, screen them and gauge audience reaction and try and get better at it."
"Some have gone on to play in other film festivals," JUMP treasurer (and other things) Aaron Suring said. "It's a fun for everybody thing."
JUMP does not give out awards at its festival. They don't want the fun to take on a 'weird competitive evolution.'
"It just does not seem like the flavor we are looking for," Suring said. "I think everybody that comes in to watch the films is a judge anyway. The Gold Town venue will be really exciting for us."
Since its inception, the JUMP festival has grown from a one-night showing to a multi-weekend event. Some former contributors, such as Bad Larry productions (who premiered "Brown Snow" recently at Centennial Hall) got their start with shorts at the JUMP festival.
"It's neat to see the talent in Juneau evolve," Race said. "Its neat to see people involved in their work and submitting to other venues outside the state. Some are taking it a lot more seriously and some who have been submitting here over the years are getting a lot better."
"It's fun to show stuff you have made," Suring said. "Its fun to show off. They have the wearable art show for people who make crazy outfits and dresses, the folk festival for people who play music... this is something for film makers."
Added Race, "You'll see really really good films and really bad films, and nobody will agree on which is which."
Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@Juneauempire.com.