Live Report: Vail Film Fest

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GearJunkie contributor T.C. Worley reports live this week from The Vail Film Festival, an annual four-day event in Vail, Colo.

Snow wasn’t the only thing in the air this morning in Vail. With the Vail Film Festival kicking off, as well as a unique 48-hour filmmaker contest, there was a fair amount of excitement here in the village. Over the next four days, movie screenings, panel discussions, celebrity sightings, interviews — and just about everything else that makes up the world of filming — will be taking place here in town and on the slopes and mountains over Vail.

I came to Vail this week to see what the film fest was all about as well as to shadow a few teams in the filmmaker contest. This year, Olympus is the main sponsor of the 48-hour contest — official name: “Olympus PEN Your Short 48 Hour Film Contest” — and outfitted the teams with its new Pen E-PL2 digital cameras and a full kit of lenses and accessories to shoot. There are teams of filmmakers working on “shorts” as I write. Judging and awards are held near the end of the festival.

At 11 o’clock yesterday morning, a shotgun start sent film teams spilling from a Vail ballroom out into the streets, all parties hoping to maximize the short 48-hour time allotment. For some, the $5,000 prize purse is the primary motivator. For others, it is simply “something fun to do on vacation this year,” as one amateur filmmaker commented.

Scenes from Vail and teams in Olympus’ “PEN Your Short 48 Hour Film Contest”

Contestants vary from a team of high-schoolers who were plotting to skip class to film, to college grads looking to fast-track their careers. There are serious amateur teams with a lot of skill. I also met grandparents on their free time participating just for fun.

It will be a few days before we know whose hard work has paid off. In the meantime, I plan to soak in the Vail lifestyle. In addition to sampling the ski slopes, I will be attending screenings and concerts, shadowing filmmakers, and doing a little camera testing of my own — the excitement is contagious!

—T.C. Worley



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