It was over two years ago that I first heard about RMC’s Rockumentary Film Festival – back when it was only an idea of Outdoor Recreation Director (and my Campus Compass instructor) Tim Lohrenz. On this past Wednesday in Losekamp Hall, the festival finally became a reality.
The contest had two categories: nonfiction and fiction films. While no films were submitted in the former category, three short films were submitted to the latter. The winner was picked by Tim and myself since I was the only other person in attendance who wasn’t involved in making any of the films. The winning director received a cash prize and was automatically submitted to Billings’ own film festival: the Magic City Shorts Festival taking place at the Babcock Theater in September.
As a major film buff, I thought I’d take the time to share my thoughts about each of the three works and to commend everyone involved for their excellent work.
And may I have the envelope please…
Third Place: Ray Lazor
Let’s make something clear from the start: Ray Lazor is a very cheesy science fiction movie complete with bad special effects, worse acting, and a confusing plot. But you also need to give director Joseph Benzel credit for realizing that it is a cheesy movie and mining a lot of laughs out of the material. His cast seems to be having a great time as well –particularly his SAS advisor Bob Ketchum whose purposefully bad acting made the audience laugh out loud more than once. I felt the film needed to be much more polished, but you can tell that everybody enjoyed working on it. What more could you want?
Second Place: First Bite
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of zombie movies, but director and star Shane Mcclurg added some much needed comedy to this growing genre in his short film. He plays a college-student-turned-zombie trying to eat brains and deal with what he fears most: his overbearing mother. The film was a bit too bloody for my taste, but the director’s quirky sense of humor and the talented supporting cast helped make up for that a bit.
First Place: Third Date
In his second film of the night, Shane Mcclurg further proved himself to be a talented director and star with an absurdly silly sense of humor. He plays a serial killer who plans to kill his obnoxious date (played by the hilarious Laura Barsotti). However, when he takes her to his evil lair, she isn’t terrified, but is instead thrilled and starts redecorating the room and giving a manicure to a visiting police officer among other things. Out of all the films, I thought this one was without a doubt the most clever and original. Congratulations to Shane and his cast and crew! _____________________________________________________________________________________
As with any thing in its first year, the Rockumentary Film Festival has room for improvement. It’d be great to have more than three movie submissions and even better to have more than twenty people come to watch them. Tim has ideas on how to expand the festival in the future as well –including letting art majors design movie posters and creative writing majors submit scripts. Obviously there’s room to grow. But for film fans like myself, this first festival was a good place to start. I can’t wait to see what my fellow classmates come up with next year.