Of the 75 teams that received "briefs" Friday evening, only 35 made the deadline 24 hours later, handing in a seven-minute film. Besides the requirements to incorporate certain locations, props and catch phrases into the films, there was one technical change to the rules this year, as film makers were allowed to use digital cameras and hard drives to shoot the film. (Click here to read Rob Fisher's previous interview with festival organizer Michael Conti.)
"We learned a lot this year using new technology, and it's great to move in that direction," said Kevan Masters, production assistant for Silly String Girl Productions, whose film "Dr. Doo" made it to the top 10 and won the award for best actor. He said the addition of digital provided a welcome break from rewinding after each take, but transferring the film from the hard drive onto the tape resulted in its own set of problems, like a few stutters during the showing that were not there when the film was on the hard drive.
Storylines ranged from baby-stealing cults, ninjas, noose-inspired romances, cowboys with neon-orange shotguns, toilets bent on world domination, an ass-kicking Santa, leg-breaking gangsters and bountiful marijuana dispensary allusions that made for a strange brew of cultural images and social satire.
The film "Hippie Go Yuppie" poked fun at the ever battling hippie versus yuppie scene in Boulder. The storyline centered around a professional, business-minded woman and a stoner dude who share an idea for a business venture that would make Google, Facebook and My Space obsolete. But ultimately the two fail because their chi is off, suggesting that inner peace may just be a balance of both BMW and VW.
"We totally thought we had lost. We were frustrated yesterday when we handed in the film," says Jesse McDonald, co-star of the winning film. "We barely made the deadline, but we got in there, had a good time and gave it out best. This was a complete surprise."
McDonald and his co-star Erin Kelly moved to Boulder a year ago from L.A. because of the budding art scene they had heard about. This was the first year they participated in the Shootout.
"We wanted to meet more artists and get deeper involved in the Boulder art community," says Kelly.
"We wanted to help expand the art community, and this event was a fantastic opportunity to help us do that," says McDonald following up his partner's thought. "It is exciting to see so much talent out there and people who are excited about mastering their craft."
And for some, mastering the craft is the true gunslinger's ability to shoot from the hip.
"What I love about this event is the do or die," says John Rigg, who won the award for best actor. "There's no time to sit around and worry about fine tuning. You come out, jump into character, make the movie and get it done."
The films that did not make it into the Top 10 will be shown at the Boulder Public Library on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.