The 2015 IFP Beat the Clock Challenge screened 18 of the completed films at the Phoenix Art Museum last Thursday, including three films that were ineligible for awards.The films represented the standard fare of IFP challenge filmmaking with a few pleasant surprises.This year’s Beat the Clock Challenge winning film dominated in four coveted categories, while the second place film took home the rest of the awards. Here are the winning films and the awards they received.
Malparido – Titan
A black man draped in red (Arico Shango) leads a white man that is shackled in chains (Chase Reynolds) through the desert. They encounter a goddess in white (Windy West) who, with outstretched arm, submissively and defeatedly accepts an intravenous injection from the man in red. He then departs alone, leaving the goddess to now carry the burden of addiction. With a mix of Spanish and English, words are spoken cryptically in reserved reticence, depicting suffering, addiction, withdrawal and fear. Superb short film commanding color and sound into a stunning visual poem composed of stark symbolism and rich metaphors. Best Picture, Best Music, Best Sound Design and Best Director (Wm. Hayden Edgmon).
Inflated Emotions – Third Productions
A balloon busting bully (Joshua Cox) walks through the park bursting everybody’s bubble. One floating red balloon isn’t going to take this lightly, deciding to let the hot air out of this inflated ego. Big red follows the bully and uses a clever disguise to gain entry into his home. Red summons a gang of helium filled friends and they extract their revenge. The ending of this film is up in the air. Very fun and clever film using simple gags to get big laughs. Audience Choice Award, 2nd Place Winner (tie), Best Story and Best Use of Prop (Balloon).
Firework – Meisnerd Productions
The H.R. director throws a Fourth of July company party at her house and only two coworkers show up. To make things even more awkward, these are two of the most ill-mannered, crude and dysfunctional employees at the office. Their host does her best to keep the sparks from flying, but the fuse to this emotional powder keg is already lit. Funny farce with an explosive climax. Great performances by the trio of talented actors Colleen Hartnet, Shellie Ulrich and Jedidiah Jones. 2nd Place Winner (tie) and Best Actress (Colleen Hartnett).
Psycho Therapy – 3 Man Crew Productions
A group of children seek the advice of one of their playmates, who also happens to be a psychiatrist, clairvoyant and mentalist. The talented tyke can plant subliminal messages into their minds and help them overcome bad habits, such as kleptomania. A very fast paced kid comedy with terrific performances that smartly pokes fun at everything from fad psychobabble and indie filmmaking to French new wave cinema. 3rd Place Winner and Best Ensemble.
Happy Anniversary – Studio Gaijin
Hubby (Bill Wetherill) decides the best time to reveal his affinity for cross-dressing is during his wedding anniversary. Wifey (Susan Jude), however, is less than enthusiastic about this recent revelation. If you’ve ever wanted to see Bill Wetherill in a dress, now’s your chance. Light comedy with a heavy message. Best Actor (Bill Wetherill) and Best Trailer.
Pleasure Bowl – Running Wild Films
A group of swingers attend a key party and get it on AZ indie style. That sentence has way more relevance than it should. Picaresque pic shot in a groovy 60’s style split screen. Best Editing (Navid Sanati) and Best Poster.
EMBED – Grace North Back Row Productions
A journalist (Eric Alexander Freeman) is embedded deep in Iraq with a US Army officer (Tim Lynn). They’re ambushed by insurgents and call for help. Things are looking grim for the duo and the journalist must instantly decide what is more important; ethics or survival. Well shot short with effective use of local landscape. Best Cinematography (James Kelly).
Chicken’ll Do – 4Fire Films/Good Stew Productions
A financially strapped couple (Julie Van Lith and Timothy Helmstadter) rents out their spare room to make some extra cash. Their bothersome boarder (Gary Herkiemer) proceeds to eat all of their breakfast cereal, do his laundry in the dishwasher, and smear boogers on the wall. Funny gross-out comedy goes strictly for gags. And I do mean gags. Best Use Of Line (“Let’s keep this simple”).