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Welcome to Hell

By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 28, 2004
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Local filmmakers compete for a 'Three Minute Thrill'

In the time it takes to cook a decent Hot Pocket, you can be scared out of your wits.

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) is presenting "The Three Minute Thriller Filmmaking Contest" this Halloween. Each filmmaker has three minutes to fill the screen with blood, guts and gore. Whoever makes the scariest (and most creative) movie in the three minutes allotted, wins.

If you go...

Three Minute Thriller Filmmaking Contest Screening
Sunday, 2 p.m.
Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St.
Price: $5

"AIVF has this contest to encourge local filmmakers to actually make movies and collaborate with other filmmakers. Student filmmakers from Pima (Community College) and the UA compete along with AIVF members," said AIVF president Jana Segal. "This year we will have our usual gore with plenty of fake blood."

One of the competing filmmakers, Paul Clinco, is excited to show his film, "The Shower Scene."

"'The Shower Scene' is a comedy pastiche on the famous shower scene from

Hitchcock's 'Psycho.' It's also a satire on pretentious auteurist microbudget movies," Clinco said.

Clinco is up for the challenge of condensing a scary movie into three minutes.

"To tell any story, you've got to set the scene, introduce the characters, create and show the situation, have the conclusion on screen, and design it all with intriguing shot selection, music, visual and sound effects, and put it all together," Clinco said. "Obviously you're not doing 'North by Northwest' in three minutes."

Perhaps not "North by Northwest," but as with any art form, everyone has a different approach. Telling a story in three minutes is just as difficult as telling it in three hours. To make it scary at the same time seems impossible.

"It is difficult in respect to telling an interesting story. To meet the time constraint, I had to avoid trying to put in time-eating scenes that fleshed out the characters or story, and rely on putting in just the bare details, while hoping the audience can flesh it out themselves," said Jaz Garewal, UA alum and competing filmmaker.

"On the flip-side, the time limit helps in that if you achieve a level of suspense and gets the audience on the edge of their seats. It's easy to maintain that over three minutes," Garewal said.

Garewal's film, "The Runner," is about a man who is hunted by his wife's murderer.

"The movie features three characters - a man who is running a package (which can be assumed to contain drugs) across the border, in exchange for the release of his wife from a man who is the intended recipient of the package and is unknowingly being pursued by a National Guard Border Patrol officer," Garewal said.

The competition promises to be as stiff as the walking dead. The "Three Minute Thriller Competition" also serves as a reflection of the filmmaking community here in Tucson.

"I think there's a great film community here, with lots of actors and new filmmakers who are fresh with energy. We want to share our works with our peers, invite the public to watch, and prepare to take a step to the next level," said Jesse Nelson, whose film, "The Last Witness," about the things that follow us in the shadows, is competing.

"With most of the scariest movies, the scary element is what you don't see. Our own imagination is far scarier," Nelson said.

With any luck, the audience will be thrilled, disturbed and terrified. They might also get inspired.

"The only problem with coming to see 'Three Minute Thrillers' is that you just might get the idea that you can do it. And you can, of course. If you do, you'll never stop there, and you'll become a crazed filmmaker like the rest of us. Believe me, there's no cure for this one," Clinco said.

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