Amateur auteurs get chance at big break

In the hunt for new talent, scifi.com and sundancechannel.com have created the “Exposure Film Contest.” Craig Engler, scifi.com’s vice president, explained that the Sci Fi channel makes 26 films per year and that they are searching for “young, upcoming talent” to develop their creative process.

Until Nov. 6, anyone can submit a 2- to 8-minute short science fiction, horror or fantasy film. A winning film will be chosen each week, starting Oct. 23 through Dec. 11. The winning eight films will be featured in a one-hour Sci Fi Channel special.

No camcorder? No problem. Engler hopes to see entries that use cell phones, web cams and other unique mediums to capture image. The films will be rated based on their creativity and innovation, rather than traditional standards such as production value. A really great idea is worth much more than expertise in Final Cut Pro when creating a low-budget short. When money is tight and technical resources are scarce, raw imaginative thought is “exposed.”

Though you can enroll in Film Theory or Russian Cinema, Intro to Filmmaking hasn’t yet made it into the “Spring 2007 Schedule of Classes.” “Exposure” is an opportunity for GW students to exercise their latent filmmaking muscles. For anyone searching for a new creative outlet, a formal chance to create something entirely new should be enticing.

As long as Michael Bay and Robert Iscove continue to sacrifice the silver screen into shreds of cheap thrills and sexy bodies, making an independent short science fiction film is a public service. A surge of new talent could usher in an era of cinematic artistry and push out the visual junk food.

As long as your short includes an “element of the fantastic” and isn’t pornographic, it’s a viable entry. Engler encourages every student to try, saying “If you think it sounds like fun, just try it … because it’s fun and it’s easy.”

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