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Confessions of a Working Director - August 25th, 2009

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We've been working a lot of extra hours this past couple weeks to make this happen, but the Cinema Edge Awards are now officially launched.  Here's the scoop:  Wicked Pixel Cinema has teamed up with distributor VCI Entertainment to present the Cinema Edge Awards, a contest for independent filmmakers.  The big news is that the winning feature receives a distribution deal with VCI. 

As of today, the contest is accepting submissions.  We plan to make a big promotional push about the contest on our website (www.wickedpixel.com), on MySpace, and in a bunch of other circles - but at this moment, only those who follow me on Twitter, and now you, reader of this blog, know the Cinema Edge Awards are launched.

All the details are here.

How it works... A panel of judges, all in the motion picture production or film journalism business, will watch all of the submissions - shorts and features - sent in for the contest.  The panel will narrow down the potential winners and eventually select a Best Feature and a Best Short.  VCI Entertainment will offer the Best Feature a distribution contract. 

Obviously, because the prize is a distribution deal, only features that do not yet have North American DVD distribution may enter.  By the way, in case you were wondering, once the distribution deal is struck, all money from sales of the Best Feature is split between VCI and the filmmaker, as the distribution contract dictates.  No portion of the profits goes to a sales agent, to Wicked Pixel Cinema, or to anyone else.  You and VCI share ALL the money from sales of the flick!

What do you win if you enter a short film and it wins Best Short?  When the Best Feature debuts on DVD, your winning short will be included as a bonus feature on the disc, and promoted as the Best Short winner of the Cinema Edge Awards.  No money goes to the winner of the Best Short, but inclusion on the DVD will substantially increase the audience for the short, and give a lot of exposure to the filmmaker.

This is the second time Wicked Pixel Cinema is presenting the Cinema Edge Awards.  The first time around, the Best Feature winner was Moonlight By the Sea.  This film was directed by Justin Hennard, who has gone on to be a highly successful sound designer for feature films, including Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, the indie comedy Baghdad Texas, and the upcoming hard-hitting documentary The Children's War.  More info on the Cinema Edge Awards in future blog entries.

Changing subjects.  Mostly what I blog about here at FEARnet is work.  Which stands to reason, as I work a LOT.  But I do take a break every once in a great while.  My team has been very good about making sure that, a few days each month, I take time off and recharge.  I guess they've seen me at that brink a few too many times - where the chaos in my eyes clearly indicates my exhaustion and dwindling sanity.

So what do I do when I'm not working myself to exhaustion at Wicked Pixel Cinema?  First and foremost, I try to watch movies.  A lot of horror, but really a wide mix of all kinds of movies.  One recent day off, for example, I had a Friday the 13th marathon - parts 4, 5, and 6.  My last day off, I re-watched Terrence Malick's masterpiece, The Thin Red Line.  I also re-watched the Tom Selleck / Gene Simmons sci-fi thriller Runaway, which I had not seen since it first arrived on the VHS home video rental shelves in the mid 80's.  Not exactly a masterpiece, but a whole lot of fun.  Another recent DVD I put my eyeballs on was The Incredibles.  It was my first time seeing it and I absolutely loved it. 

Every once in a while I need to go out into the sunlight too.  On a recent Saturday, I decided to take an attractive young lady out to one of the best places on Earth: The Drive-In Movie Theater.  Showing was a double feature of the new Harry Potter film and Terminator Salvation.

First, to soak up a bit of that sunlight, we went to the St. Louis Zoo.  There was a new exhibit of stingrays there, and visitors were encouraged to go right up to the water, stick their hand in, and pet the stingrays as they swam by.  I had never touched a stingray before.  Their skin was a bit rougher than I thought it would be.  It was a very cool, unique experience.

Then it was off to the drive-in, which we were pleasantly surprised to see jam-packed full of cars.  Warms my heart, seeing so many customers keeping something wonderful like a drive-in theater alive.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was really good, as all the movies in this series have been. 

We had heard a lot of grumbling and complaining about Terminator Salvation, so we were expecting a pile of crap.  But we both loved it.  Great action, great visuals, engaging story and characters...  What was all that complaining about?  And just to make the evening perfect, we splurged on some of that amazing drive-in food - the absolute best bad-for-you food in the world.

It was back to work the next day, but the day off was a blast.  I needed that.

Thanks for reading.

- Eric Stanze

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