They were hard to miss as they hurried around Boulder on Friday evening and Saturday, sporting various costumes, carrying props and camera equipment.
The 19 film crews seemingly popped up out of nowhere Friday, then disappeared just as quickly a day later. The frenetic filmmakers were this year's entrants in the Shoot Out 24-Hour Filmmaking Festival, an event in its ninth year in Boulder.
The challenge is cinematic creativity, on deadline. Participants are challenged to create a seven-minute film using only linear editing and incorporating at least five elements from a list of 11 distributed to teams at the beginning of the event -- all in the time it takes the Earth to rotate once.
Judges on Saturday night selected the top 10 films, which will be screened at noon Sunday at a public event at eTown Hall.
"As a filmmaker, I thought it was something that would be fun to do, and it just took off," said Shoot Out Executive Director Michael Conti, who founded the event in 2004. "I'm always excited to see what's going to be on the screen."
Conti said Boulder is perfect for the event because of its size and creative culture. The competition is sponsored in part by the Boulder International Film Festival and the Peppercorn, a Pearl Street Mall retailer.
This year, Boulder's Danny Ferry participated in his fourth Shoot Out, and it was his second with a core group of friends he has known since his days as a Boulder High School student. The cast and crew included Joshua Marable, Tim Brazzell, Ryan Curtin, Katrina Miller, Laura Baukol and Katie French.
Ferry and fellow schoolteacher/filmmaker Sia Urroz co-produced the team's entry this year, titled "The Color Kite Fantastic." The film is a story about a rock star coming to grips with his own recent death, according to the filmmakers.
Urroz said they left their pre-written script fairly loose so that items from the official competition document, "the brief," could be included.
The brief lists specifics -- such as a pair of men's briefs, a briefcase, a vinyl record, the Tom's Tavern sign and a mandatory phrase, "We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is" -- some of which must appear in every film entry, according to competition rules. At least one element must pop up in the first 30 seconds of any entry.
The brief is only handed out to teams when the 24-hour clock starts, preventing pre-shooting, organizers say.
Ferry admitted his team had extra motivation after being disqualified last year for a film that came in at eight minutes long, violating the competition rules.
"We were embittered last year, but we broke the rules," Ferry said. "This is kind of a redemption piece."
"The Color Kite Fantastic" features some psychedelic '60s-era costumes and many sets, which required the team to start at 7 a.m. Saturday, after staying up until 1 a.m. working on ideas the night before. The team members started their second day of filming by taking in the sunrise from atop the parking garage at 1500 Pearl St. A shot of the Flatirons from that location was one of the sets listed in the brief.
Because the films must be shown as they are shot and cannot be digitally edited, the team members painstakingly went through each scene over the 24-hour filmmaking process, making sure they had the perfect take before moving to the next shot. Between 7 a.m. and noon Saturday, the team shot at four different locations, twice stopping at Eben G. Fine Park for separate scenes.
AshleyClaire Albiniak-Masters is producing this year's Shoot Out after four years of participating as a filmmaker and doing some preliminary judging. She said her new job has been just as sleepless as making a movie.
She lauded the efforts of the many volunteers organizing and judging this year's event, and she is hoping for a packed house for Sunday's screening.
"There is very much a level of excitement and adrenaline that is happening (at the screening)," she said. "It generates a big energy in the space."
Shoot Out filmmaker Anton Pinkerton, 14, said he is happy to be competing against adult filmmakers because it gives him a better idea of where his skill level is by comparison. The Superior resident and Denver School of the Arts student partnered with his friend Sam Schrag, 14, of Louisville, on their second Shoot Out film, titled "Pizza."
Shot almost entirely on the Pearl Street Mall, "Pizza" chronicles the theft of a slice of pizza and the quest to get it back, Anton said.
He said he enjoys the community atmosphere of the Shoot Out, with the filmmakers coming together to share their passion.
"It's just the experience of making movies and being surrounded by people that make movies," he said.
If you go
What: The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival Top 10 screening
When: Noon Sunday
Where: eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St.
Tickets: $15, subject to availability
More info: theshootoutboulder.com ___
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