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.
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!