Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Visionfest's New York State of Mind Digital Project - The Update

In rotation:  Images from VF02 - VF04
Back in the spring of 2003, Domani Vision co-founder, Mark Doyle, approached me about creating a filmmaking initiative that would, not only spice up our Visionfest program, but would also provide an opportunity for up and coming filmmakers to strut their goods before a New York audience in a "world premiere" event.  That very year, just as Visionfest introduced its own new moniker, after a brief stint as the Guerrilla Film & Video Festival, the film festival's first edition of the 5x5 New York State of Mind DV Project was presented at the Cantor Screening Room of the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, making Visionfest the very first, and to this date, the last film festival to hold its event on the legendary aircraft carrier docked at 42nd Street & West Side Highway.

For the first edition of the 5x5 Project, five filmmakers were selected by a special Domani Vision Committee to write, develop, and ultimately produce a five minute digital short that had to be completed, from start to finish, in just five days.  The filmmakers were a combination of festival alumni and award winning filmmakers coming from recent successes at other U.S. film festivals. 

The guidelines for participation stated that each selected filmmaker would take part in the random selection (literally out of a hat) of a New York City borough in which to set and shoot his or her short.  The initiative culminated in a "standing room only" presentation in the 258 seat Cantor auditorium. 

The success of the first edition immediately catapulted us into a second go-around, which gave the participating filmmakers (again chosen from a pool of VF alumni and award winning directors from the indie circuit) the challenge of having to base their stories on the eve of the 2003 New York City Blackout, using five speaking characters, with one of them falling ill or dying, and with at least two of them referencing current events from that period, which were predominantly infused with events leading to the start of the war in Iraq. 

In 2005, Visionfest brought back the 5x5 Project for another run, with filmmakers being asked to use an apple (the iconic symbol of NYC) as their own McGuffin to propel their stories into action.  The result was not a complete success, as one of the shorts was pulled from the line-up for not being completed, due to a location issue that came about too late in the production process.  This incident and the fact that the initiative was becoming too trying on festival organizers during their very busy prep time for the annual event, caused the 5x5 to take a five year hiatus (ironically enough).

from FAIRIES FATALE - 2010 5x5 Project
 by Ari Taub
For VFX, the festival's tenth anniversary edition, Domani Vision and its Board of Directors decided to bring back their most ambitious initiative, adding a new wrinkle:  each Project short would have to be directed by a filmmaker whose gender was opposite of that of any of the speaking roles in the films.  That 5x5 show, which saw an extended standing ovation for its participating filmmakers, ensured that the 5x5 Project was reborn and in pole position as one of the primary goals of 2011 edition of Visionfest.
MARY'S JOURNAL - 5x5 Project 2010 by Nyle Cavazos Garcia

In keeping with tradition, Domani Vision decided that a new addendum would surface for the 2011 Project:  A call for entries for a brand new Visionfest Short Script Competition was opened and the five digital shorts being presented this year all stem from the top five scripts of that competition.

Production has already wrapped on three of the five shorts; one short is shooting this coming weekend; the other short is doing some pick-ups on Monday evening.  All five shorts will be presented during the 2011 Independent Vision Awards at VF11, on Sunday, June 26th, at 7:30pm - Tribeca Cinemas. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations will be required (and these can only be made in person at Visionfest 11).  Participating filmmakers, writers, and press/industry guests will have priority seating.  The five digital shorts being presented will be:

EASY PREY by Jeremiah Kipp; from a script by Tara Parian.
IT'S NOT SATURDAY by Martha Pinson; from a script by Annette Beatrice
IT WAS A GIRL by Mickey Pacula; from a script by Max King
SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER by Maggie Low; from a script by Sara Bovolenta
SO AWKWARD by Debra Sophia Pingitore; from a script by Matthew Stevens

For more information please visit our Website at: www.visionfest.com

No comments:

Post a Comment