By Julie Espinosa
Pulling an all-nighter can be a grueling experience, but it?s usually worth the pay-off. Daring and dedicated filmmakers will begin a grueling 24-hour marathon today to make a four-minute entry in the 4th annual LDS film festival.
Christian Vuissa, festival director and director of last year?s feature-length ?Baptists at our Barbecue,? said the marathon is an excellent opportunity for film students to test their movie-making metal.
?I am always really impressed with the quality of the entries,? Vuissa said. ?There is such a great variety of films and it is a great experience to watch [the entries].?
Various genres are represented, from experimental to documentary, and from comedy to drama. There are no categorical divisions for the entries, but to undermine attempts at pre-planning, a theme, dialogue line and object are announced at the start of each year?s marathon.
?We just look for intelligent films that express something that?s true or good,? Viussa said, in reference to the judging criteria for both the marathon and general festival entries. ?We look for the artistic integrity of a filmmaker and ability to make a good film.?
Viussa said many of the participants are LDS, but there remains a wide cultural diversity among presenters. This year a representative from SAGIndie, the Screen Actors Guild?s collaboration with independent filmmakers, will come.
While BYU student entries composed 80 percent of the festival in its first year, fewer BYU students participate each time.
Dave Souken, who has participated in the festival for three years, said the difficulty of the marathon is worth it.
?The marathon has been one of the greatest filmmaking experiences for me. I can?t wait for the next challenge,? Souken said in a press release.
The prize for the marathon winner is sum of each team?s $30 entry fee. Last year about 40 teams participated. The festival offers $2,000 for the top three films and screenplays. There is also an audience favorite recognition.
Normal festival entries highlight this year?s theme: ?The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.?
One of the feature films set for festival screening are ?Black Cloud,? directed by Rick Schroder, about a Native American boxer. Another is ?Think Tank,? made by the producers of ?Napoleon Dynamite.?
The 24-hour marathon screening begins 6 p.m. Thursday at the Provo City Library. The 2005 LDS film festival runs January 20-22, with screenings at the Provo City Library and the University Mall Cinemas in Orem. Ticket information and a comprehensive schedule is available at ldsbox.com.