Choochokam unveils a first: RainDance Short Film Festival

Island movie lovers can make history this weekend by attending the very first short film festival at Choochokam.

Island movie lovers can make history this weekend by attending the very first short film festival at Choochokam.

Just as audiences now clamor to attend “Sundance” and “Cannes,” perhaps one day they, too, will compete for entree into the famous RainDance Short Film Festival.

RainDance features the winners and the most promising entries in the first annual Clyde Digital Film Contest.

The idea for the RainDance Short Film Festival was inspired by Clyde owner Lynn Willeford’s fascination with YouTube, the popular amateur movie Web site.

Willeford had an inkling that the extraordinarily creative people of Whidbey Island were probably experimenting with filmmaking.

So, she met with Choochokam Arts director Patricia Friedman, who embraced the concept as a great addition to Langley’s big annual arts festival. The RainDance screenings will be the first time film has been a part of Langley’s summer celebration of all things creative.

The rules for the contest were fairly simple: Anyone who lives on Whidbey Island or whose parents live on the island could submit as many short films as they wanted on DVD. No film is longer than 20 minutes.

A grand prize of $200 or a one-year pass to The Clyde was awarded for the best film, as were several category prizes judged by a professional panel.

While the winners in most categories have already been announced, the People’s Choice Award will be decided by the votes of the people attending RainDance and the winner will be named at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 13 at The Clyde.

The best films from the contest will show for free on both Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13 at The Clyde during Choochokam.

The grand prize winner was “Somewhere in the City” by Ramsey Denison of North Hollywood, Calif. who wrote and directed the short film.

The film, which Denison produced for his MFA degree in film from the University of Southern California, was scored by composer and South Whidbey High School graduate Eric Lindsay.

Island filmmaking is a bit different from other filmmaking, and only at RainDance can visitors get a glimpse of a movie about two mainlanders caught by an islander trying to surf the ferry dock waves, or the terrifying nightmares of baby dolls, or the sometimes acrobatic antics of a bunch of zany ol’ men fishin’ for chickens and set to music.

Brad Robertson made his film “Columbia Beach Break” when he spied two blokes donning black wetsuits and watching the waves around the ferry.

“As the local de facto nosey guy,

I make it a point to know what is going on around Columbia Beach, so I wandered up behind these out-of-place gentlemen,” Robertson said.

“Hey boys, looking for the Big Kahuna? Going to surf the ferry wake,” Robertson asked them with his tongue in his cheek.

“We’re thinking about it,” one of the surfers said.

Apparently a surfer dude Web site directed them there.

Robertson grabbed his camera and asked if he could shoot them.

After editing the film, he searched for a long time trying to find the right surf music for the film.

When he ran into copyright snafus, Robertson ran out and bought a guitar but ultimately was given permission to use the perfect surf-movie music that, weirdly enough, comes from Spain.

The Clinton resident still has the guitar and is learning to play “Louie, Louie” he said. Maybe he’ll do his own soundtrack next time.

The judges were impressed with the quality of the more than 60 films that were entered, though there won’t be time to show every film made for the contest.

As many short films as possible will be shown between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day of the festival while the commercial films, “Kung Fu Panda” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” will play at the regularly scheduled evening times all weekend.

On Saturday at 3:40 p.m. there will be a special one-time showing of the 20-minute film “Monsoon,” produced by Joseph Itaya and scored by Lindsay, both of whom have donned a tuxedo and sung and tap-danced their way across the stages of the high school, Whidbey Children’s Theater and The Clyde over the years.

Indeed, many of the names and faces of the filmmakers will be familiar to island festival visitors.

For the full schedule www.theclyde.net and click on “Special Events.”

More in Life

A few good vets

Bandmates share laughter on stage

Plant sales a blooming bounty for garden clubs

It’s raining plant sales this month as community garden clubs kick-off growing… Continue reading

Volunteer fire fighters and EMTs honored at awards banquet

South Whidbey Fire/EMS honored volunteer firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and their… Continue reading

Cloudstone: Where art grows in earth

Sculptors to honor Hank Nelson’s visionary work

Whodunit revealed at Whidbey Playhouse

Cast cleverly conceals murderer in Agatha Christie’s ‘The Hollow”

Quirky collection framed in ‘Found Objects’

Glass artist Richard Marquis reveals ‘stuff’

‘Giving to the Givers’

Marines wrapped in quilts and gratitude

Some rhododendrons possess a velvety underside on the leaves that act as a moisture collector.
Changes bloom at Meerkerk

New paths mark perennial gardens

Vivienne Duchanne performs with Queens of the Island by night at Off the Hook in downtown Oak Harbor on the second Tuesday of every month. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
Life is a drag

‘Queens of the Island’ reeling in Whidbey fans

Twins’ art spotlighted in gallery show

Dan and Mike Burroughs: ‘Brothers with Brushes’

Making art out of life’s leftovers

‘C.R.A.P.’ coming back for annual show

Plenty of Easter bunny love at Fuzzybutts

Baby bunn-bunns abound at Oak Harbor farm