2011 3 Minute Masterpiece winning films
CONGRATULATIONS to the grand prize winners of our Three Minute Masterpiece digital-film competition, who were announced at Saturday's SIFF screening:
Grand prize: "Ego Boost" (above), Ty Huffer, Seattle.
Runner-up: "Goldfish," Steven Lane Smith, Seattle.
Youth grand prize: "Our Grass is Always Greener," Luca Rose, 10, West Seattle.
Youth runner-up: "Secret Club," Ben Kadie, 16, Bellevue.
We received nearly 100 entries for the 2011 Seattle Times / Seattle International Film Festival 3 Minute Masterpiece contest, and SIFF staffers and Times editors watched them all. The 11 videos below represent all of our winners, in adult and youth categories.
"3 Little Space Pigs - The Silent (Puppet) Movie": by Vikram, Jawahar and Jahnvi Madan, Bellevue
This update of the classic children's story has three pigs defend their houses in space while a wolf tries to lure them out with clever lines. Vikram Madan, a Microsoft software engineer, worked with his two kids, Jawahar, 12, and Jahnvi, 9: One liked puppets and one liked space, so this was the compromise. The puppets came from a finger-puppet book, the houses were made from building blocks and the backdrop was downloaded screen savers. "They are quite thrilled with it," said Madan. "They've told all their friends and are excited about the screening."
"9 Pound Trout": by Cassady O'Neal, Reno, Nev.
Things are not going so well for the hopeless man and the fishless fisherman (Brian O'Neil and George Pleasant) in "9 Pound Trout" -- at least, not until a sappy "Destiny" poster (and the longest extension cord ever) inspires a shocking finale that resolves both of their problems (but creates a new one for that trout). The music, "Dead Man's Tale" from The Deadly Gallows, friends of O'Neal, could not be more perfect.
"Ballsy": by Ian Knippel, Seattle
A red four-square ball follows a man wherever he goes. "The film kind of takes the ball's point of view," said Ian Knippel, 29. "It needed to fulfill itself before it was ready to leave." Knippel didn't start the video until the day before it was due. He started with three balls and had one left by the time he was done. One was thrown into the ocean, a dog attacked the second one and the third one now sits in his room as a memento of the experience.
"The Egg Hunt": by Cameron Clark Smith, Seattle
Two kids go on an Easter egg hunt in Seattle, traipsing through Woodland Park Zoo, Green Lake Park, Gas Works Park and the University District. But instead of keeping the candy from the eggs to themselves, they give it to the homeless. "It's the concept of Easter," said Cameron Smith, 31, who filmed his children, ages 10 and 7, around Seattle. "The ultimate message is not, 'Oh, cool; we got a bunch of eggs.' It's about sharing the city and sharing it with other people."
"Ego Boost": by Ty Huffer, Seattle
In the peppy "Ego Boost," mild-mannered Main Dude (Gevin Booth) stumbles onto what women really want (mystery and height) just as rock star Krystoph (Nikolai Pirak) is in town for a gig. Krystoph, we learn through a cleverly creepy radio-deejay-mouth close-up, wears disguises in public -- so when Main Dude opts for an eye patch (mystery!) and giant platform shoes (height!), he suddenly looks a lot like a rock star to hordes of squealing fans. Jaunty music by Catherine Grealish sets the perfect tone. (photo in archive)
"Forced Out": by John Dobrosielski, Arianne Garden Vazquez, Jeffrey Posadas, Irfan Shariff, Chris Rudy and Olivia, Seattle
A guy comes home only to find his mom has transformed his room into a cat's paradise. "We've all had the experience of still calling our parents' house home," said John Dobrosielski, 25. "They've moved on, so it's about time you did, too." Dobrosielski's friends regularly produce short films for fun, but this was his first experience with starring in and producing a movie. The group took three hours to film "Forced Out" and five hours to edit it on iMovie.
"Goldfish": by Steven Lane Smith, Seattle
In the you'll-hate-yourself-for-laughing "Goldfish," a couple leisurely dines while oh-so-calmly debating the best way to "off" their bowl-bound pet as it swims nearby. Flush? Freeze? Slice? Microwave? (From a fish-eye-view, that appliance does look rather murderous.) In one particularly artful shot of the dead-man-walking fish, it actually looks as if his sweet little fin stands up in alarm. Smith relied on his roommates for his cast, along with a fish named Robert (he's possibly a beta; the pet shop didn't have an actual goldfish). "We decided it would be kind of funny and would add more confusion if we kept the title 'Goldfish,'." Smith said. Happily, in real life, anyway, Robert lived to swim another day.
"Something Special": by Kristi L. Simkins, Puyallup
This poignant film is an escape to New Zealand, the "last country to be touched by man the most pure, unsullied place on Earth." Audio runs in the background of two friends -- Jimmy and Miles -- sharing dreams of exploring the site. Their conversation drifts to sounds of war -- gunshots and explosions, and as Miles (Nic Sampson) lies dying, he talks of New Zealand, where he had planned to go when it was all over.
"Our Grass is Always Greener": by Luca Rose, 10, West Seattle
Young filmmaker Luca Rose of West Seattle and his classmates from Lafayette Elementary perform a scenic musical ode to Seattle written by Luca's father, Tim Rose. Luca, who has been making movies for three years and already has two YouTube channels, plotted the storyboard and chose the locales, and then he and three of his best fifth-grade friends sang the highly catchy song, whose chorus ("We love you Seattle / you're not as gray as they say") will stick in your head at least until Luca graduates from film school.
"Piggiepalooza": by Ellie Dynes, 11, Ballard
Five guinea pigs compete in a talent show in this Claymation short by Loyal Heights Elementary School student Ellie Dynes. Who wins? You have to watch to find out, but here's a hint: "I wanted to make an underdog story," said Dynes. She and her mother's friend, Stacey Ringo, painstakingly moved the characters no more than a centimeter or so between every shot; the film consists of 356 shots overall. Dynes has this tip for budding Claymation artists: "You want your characters to have flat bottoms, because otherwise you have to move their legs in every shot, and that's a lot of work."
"Secret Club": by Ben Kadie, 15, Bellevue
Ben Kadie makes his fourth trip to the 3 Minute Masterpiece winners' circle with "Secret Club," a clever parody of after-school clubs. His earlier entries (including the 2009 grand prize winner "Sparks in the Night") experiments with camera and editing effects, often blending live action with animation. "Secret Club" shows more emphasis on writing and directing actors (friends Ari Tutko, Derik Radcliffe, Felix Peaslee, Lorenzo Rossi and Abigail Cordell). The film was shot in two locations -- Kadie's house and Interlake High School -- in two whirlwind days. "I didn't get permission to film in the halls, Kadie confesses, "so we had to move pretty quickly."
Seattle Times reporter Marian Liu, features staff member Sandy Dunham and features editor Lynn Jacobson contributed to this story.