Our worthy award winners let imagination lead them

May 05, 2008|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,SUN REPORTER

Since the Maryland Film Festival doesn't give out awards, we came up with a few of our own.

Best inspiration for a film: Screenwriter Adam Kirkham had an idea for a one-minute short comedy about secrets, but didn't know what to make of the main character. Then, in a deadly accident, an idea came to him.

Charging down a set of stairs, Kirkham sidestepped one snail only to squash another gooey creature that was lounging nearby. Suddenly, he had an epiphany.

"I was like, `This just makes sense,'" he said. Thus, the film The Inquisitive Snail was born.

Best critic of the critics: Josh Koury, the maker of We Are Wizards, a documentary about the Harry Potter subculture, is no stranger to film reviews.

He doesn't mind if the reviews are bad or good - as long as they're coming from knowledgeable critics. And as long as they don't use generic words like "fun." "I hear `fun' a lot," he said. "I don't make fun films. If it's fun to watch, that's great. ... Most documentaries are not fun. They're a drag. I think it's meant to be a compliment, but it always irks me."

Or "good."

"'Good?" he said. "That's what it was? Good? It's even funnier when people say it in a high pitched voice. It was GOOD! Good? Good!"

Best film festival spinoff: Last year, the Metro Gallery was the site of the Filmmaker's Lounge. This year, owner Sarah M. Williams decided to host a mini-film festival there called Videopolis. The free festival featured screenings of about 70 films during the course of the weekend, as well as ticketed live performances.

Friday night, people packed the art gallery/live music space to see the Protomen, a Nashville-based group that performs theatrical concerts inspired by the video game Mega Man. A bunch of wide-eyed county kids rolled into the gallery to see the band, said Williams.

"They came in terrified but left OK," she said.

Best homemade special effect: Local horror filmmaker Ryan Graham, brought some ingredients - red and green food coloring plus some corn syrup - to make fake blood splatters at a panel about special effects Saturday.

"I'm hoping people are going to start putting them in odd places," he said jokingly. Whether or not people actually heeded his advice, DIY blood splatters are pretty easy to pull off, he said.

The green food coloring is key because without it, the blood is too translucent and resembles deflated Jell-O. But he said the recipe isn't all about looks.

"The [corn syrup] is great because it's eatable," Graham said. "And it tastes really good, seriously."

Best use of improv: On Friday night, the Charm City Scooter Rally descended on Club Charles, which meant tons of shiny scooters were parked amid all the film festival hoopla.

Atomic Books owner Benn Ray happened to be standing near them when a cluster of older women approached in the mood for some answers.

He pleaded ignorance, but that didn't seem to satisfy them because they kept up the pressure, asking him questions about those unusual scooters. So he started making stuff up.

"I'm hoping they were all Vespas, because that's what I told them," he said sheepishly.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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