Kudos aside, the Sundance Short Filmmaking Awards Ceremony had three big things going for it: free bowling, fried mac and cheese, and Big Buck Hunter -- a video game bearing two pump-action shotguns. The fest took over Kimball Junction's new Jupiter Bowling, opening the alleys to all the assembled artists whose scores didn't break 100 much. Short filmmakers are talented with cameras, and with gutter-balls.
Sundance juror and indie film producer Christine Vachon challenged this writer to a Big Hunt shootout, where virtual bison roam for the benefit of our bullets. Unfortunately, the legendary producer of Far From Heaven and Boys Don't Cry was a bit trigger-happy, shooting everything but the targets and scaring away the game before yours truly could bag them. We were confused. Vachon's company is called Killer Films, and she wrote a seminal indie film book titled Shooting to Kill. So perhaps it was her secret strategy to keep virtual bison off the endangered species list.
Joining Vachon on stage to announce the awards were her fellow jurors, director Sterlin Harjo and editor Brent Hoff. The International Award went to The Six Dollar Fifty Man, directors Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland schoolyard bully tale. The U.S. prize went to director Jeremy Konner and creator Derek Waters' short Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln, (pictured with Vachon) which captured Jen Kirkman's history lesson after two bottles of wine.
"My grandfather said nothing good comes from alcohol," said Waters. "But this is!"
Honorable mentions went to Cynthia Wade's Born Sweet, Jim Owen's Can We Talk?, James Blagden's Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No, Alex Montoya's How I Met Your Father, Amy Grappell's Quadrangle, Eric Lynne's Rob and Valentyna in Scotland, and Ariel Kleiman's Young Love.
Photos by Brandon Joseph Baker.