Film festival spotlights local short films

February 10, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

NOTE: Event organizers announced after publication that this event will be postponed due to snow until Friday, March 10, 2006.

An existential fish, a depressed mime and Nunzilla will be at the 2nd annual U Create Film Fest on Saturday.

At least on-screen.

The festival was started last year to see if local amateur filmmakers were "not just making movies, but films," says John C. Venditta, associate director for Western Maryland Public Libraries.

Western Maryland Public Libraries, Washington County Free Library and Hagerstown Community College are sponsoring the free film festival, which starts at 6 p.m. in HCC's Classroom Building. The festival is not a competition.


For the second year the festival drew a variety of good quality local films, with more documentaries this year, Venditta says.

This year's festival features 13 entries, with some filmmakers entering multiple movies.

There is an experimental black-and-white silent film, "Day of the Mime," and a comedic behind-the-scenes look at "Mime Training."

There is one music video and four documentaries, including looks at high school theater and the history and future of Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Northern Middle School eighth-grader Kelton Miller submitted an action film, "Red War," about a LEGO stop-motion war between Marines and terrorists on Mars.

Eric Grove of Hustontown, Pa., in northern Fulton County, submitted two films, "The Passion of the Christians" and "Koans, Parables and Anecdotes."

The former explores "spiritual honesty, while exposing the heart and soul of the religious fundamentalist," the entry form states.

His other film is a collection of mini-short films based on Zen koans. Koans are verbal puzzles put to Zen Buddhism students as a means to enlightenment, according to Webster's New World College Dictionary

"Koans," at 18 minutes and 30 seconds, is the longest of the short films. While organizers requested movies no longer than 10 minutes, they accepted all entries.

A news release about the film festival states the movies are appropriate for ages 15 and older.

"Desole," a music video/short story about a man dealing with the breakup of a long-term relationship, includes mature themes dealing with sex and suicide.

Williamsport resident Joel Thorpe described the quality of one of his entries, "The Ring of the Magi," as terrible - but a fun experience.

"We took half a day and made a real goofy movie," he says.

Thorpe shot the short film with several high school students to teach them how to shoot a film, create a storyboard and a cheap green screen for special effects, and merge scenes using a computer. Thorpe owns Hope Prevails Productions, which does video production work.

"The Ring of the Magi" is a comedy/fantasy/action/drama that includes elements of "The Lord of the Rings," "Godzilla" and the story of the three wise men, Thorpe says.

The movie stars students Tony Ivosevich, Brett Kretzer and Josiah Ostich - and Nunzilla, a gag gift windup toy Thorpe got for Christmas in 2004.

If you go ...

WHAT: 2nd annual U Create Film Festival

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11

WHERE: Hagerstown Community College off Robinwood Drive; Classroom Building, Room 111

COST: Free

MORE: Appropriate for ages 15 and older. For more information, call Washington County Free Library at 301-739-3250, ext. 140, or e-mail

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