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'Go Green' winning theme for TAT students

Two students in Luis Camara’s directing class have taken top honors in a New York-based film contest. The results were announced online July 7.

Joey Blackburn won first place and a $1,000 prize in the most recent 360/365 Shorts contest sponsored by the George Eastman House Film Festival. Lauren Hurdle took third. Their work will be shown at the organization’s festival next May in Rochester, New York.

Every three months, the contest organizers release a theme. Filmmakers have 12 weeks to produce a film that’s three minutes or less. Contestants capture their thoughts, imagination and interpretation of the theme and submit their films online. Three winners are then selected. In the most recent contest, the challenge was to “Go Green” by creating a film that incorporated the theme of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The filmmakers had to: REDUCE the cast by having one actor play more than one role; REUSE the dialogue by having one line used twice; And RECYCLE a shot by having it appear at least three times. The winning entries can be seen here.

“For the final project in TAT 341, I told the students they could make films under the guidelines of the 360/365 shorts contest so they could enter,” Professor Camara said. Many of them took the challenge.

Blackburn’s short, “Pieces of War,” was described by the contest judges as “a game of chess like you’ve never see it before.” It's a thought-provoking look at the costly game of war, where players are little more than chess pieces.

The 21-year-old senior from Paso Robles said that while he’d love to attend the festival next May, “I don’t think I’ll be able to because it will be my final semester and I’ll probably be putting the finishing touches on my Capstone.”

Spending the $1,000 prize presented no such obstacle. “My plan is to sell my camera and then purchase a T3i camera and lenses,” he said.

Blackburn added that he intends to submit the film to the Sundance Film Festival.

Hurdle, a senior from Roseville, called her film “In Your Shoes.” It’s about “a man who treats his employees terribly. Finally, one stands up to him. That leads him to question himself and learn a huge lesson,” she said.

Finances will likely prevent her from attending the festival next May.

“I’ve never been to a film festival,” she said. “I think it would be awesome to see my film played. Luis told us that the most honest critique of a film is to see the expressions and reactions of the people who watch it for the first time.”

Learn more about the festival here.