I was asked to be a judge for tonight's 25 x 25 x 5 Short Film Contest. The idea was to allow filmmakers to put together a five-minute movie in just 25 hours--shooting, editing, everything. An intriguing idea, but not a very organized or well-publicized one. I wasn't approached to be a judge until about two weeks ago, and I never was given a list of rules or guidelines or categories on which to judge. One rule was that each filmmaker received a list of items, locations, phrases, etc. that had to appear in their films someplace, but the judges were never told what that list was. Originally I was told that there were four categories in which to judge the films, but was never told what they were. It didn't matter, because the rules changed after only three entries were received, and we ended up just picking one winner (although everyone received more or less the same prize).
Even though the entire process and presentation was pretty clumsy, I was happy to help out, because it was for a good cause. All of the proceeds went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so how could I say no? An old friend involved with the contest, Jill Miller, recommended me, and attending gave me the chance to catch up with her and a few other old friends whom I hadn't seen in quite awhile. All three shorts were pretty decent, but one stood out for me more than the rest, and I was able to convince the other judges of its merit. We weren't reenacting 12 ANGRY MEN, though, and it really didn't take much arm-twisting.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hopes to have a second annual contest, and I hope they do, if only to raise more money. They sold about 30 tickets for this one, I'd say, but with more lead time and better marketing, they should be able to do better next year.
An unexpected plus was that it was held at the University YMCA, where some large group of Middle Eastern students were having some kind of meeting. I don't know what they were doing, but all the (college) girls I saw in that group were incredibly attractive. It was like being at the Playboy Mansion in Bangladesh.
Earlier this week, I managed to squeeze in a viewing of BILLY JACK for my Hub column next week. On an impulse, I ordered online the BILLY JACK 35th Anniversary box set, which contains--for the first time on home video--widescreen editions of all four BILLY JACK films in 5.1 stereo mixes. The 5.1 mix on BILLY JACK really wasn't all that hot, and I ended up switching back to regular stereo, but the widescreen image was terrific. The film still has some big faults, but seeing it in its original aspect ratio helps it, and it does still strike a chord. I still can't get that damn Coven song out of my head.
To get Cheeseburger off my back, I'll mention that she came down to spend the weekend with us. Or part of it. While she went off to hang out with a bunch of drunken bachelorettes on Saturday, the rest of us viewed nine episodes of MAGNUM, P.I. at my place. Yep, nine hours of MAGNUM. That's a lot of hairy chests, Ferrari peel-outs, hot dog shirts, bullet holes in the helicopter, Doberman chases, and self-aware stares into the camera lens. We had a good time, and I think Tom Selleck has now surpassed Mark Harmon on Chicken's man-crush list.
Coming up this summer is a trip to Cheeseburger and Shark Hunter's abode for a mini B-Fest: Cheeseburger B-Fest, I suppose. I'm working on putting together the lineup, which will definitely include ROBOT MONSTER. I'm also planning to hit Cincinnati for the Reds' weekend series in June against the World Champion White Sox, and I've already bought my 3-day ticket and booked my hotel room for Wizard World Chicago, which I'll be attending with my brother and some others the weekend after Burger Fest. If I keep busy enough, maybe it'll give John Charles a chance to catch me in movie-watching this year!