If this monsoon season doesn't pack up and head out, I'm afraid I will no longer be responsible for my actions. I'm sick of rarely seeing the sun. And I can't stand that I'm constantly dripping with sweat. In the last month the rains have forced me to cancel more plans more than I can count. And on top of all this hot, humid bullshit, the breaker that controls the outlet beneath my single window AC unit is fried. It tripped last night while I was asleep. And I can't get it to click back. I guess I'll have to run a fat, grounded extension cord from another room.
I need to get to the desert before I began to run amuck.
On a positive note, the Josiah judges have made their decisions. We've actually decided to increase the number of prizes. The original idea was to have a prize in each genera: Narrative, Documentary, and Experimental. But we got several animation pieces. In fact, we received an extraordinary animation piece. So, we have four prize-winners. Best narrative, doc, experimental, and animation. Each wins a $200 line a credit at B&H Photo & Video. One of these four will be bumped up to a “best of show” prize, which will actually be $500. So, the breakdown: One $500 prize, three $200 prizes. Once we notify all the winners, I'll list them here. But the grand-prize winner won't be announced until the final night, Saturday, July 14.
The judges met again tonight. They looked at the tabulations, and the judges all agreed with the highest scoring works in each category. But the judging got a bit dicey when it came to the grand prize — that $500 best of show. Each of the four winners had its champions. Each of the four winners had its strengths. We couldn't rely on the raw scores from the previous bout of judging. Some of the scoring points didn't carry the same weight within each category. Such as acting. It's not such an important criteria for documentary of animation. So, what we did was we screened all the four winners and then assigned an over-all score to each. These were tabulated. All the judges were prepared to use another method if this one didn't result in a winner that wasn't unanimously agreed upon. And the judges were pretty impassioned about their favorites. But after that fresh re-screening, and the new scoring, all the judges agreed without dissent that the highest scoring piece was the one.
I couldn't be happier with the four winners. And the piece that rose above them all — it's a damn fine piece of work.
And so, I'll say this again to the readers of this blog. The Josiah fest may indeed be a film festival featuring only work by artists 21 years or younger, but the quality of the pieces are quite extraordinary. The stuff you've seen at Short Ends or IFMASA screenings — yeah, I feel for you. Most all of that stuff leans towards torturous crap (including a few pieces I've produced, I'm sure). But, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to be a kid to appreciate these pieces. Some of them are shockingly sophisticated. A few are admittedly are mediocre. None are crap. We filtered those out.
In an interview with the press, George Cisneros (co-honcho at Urban-15, along with wife Catherine Cisneros) made an important statement. In essence, he said that the works which will screen at this first annual Josiah Media Festival are a wake-up call for San Antonio. Of the 95 works submitted, probably 80% are from Bexar County. And a huge percent of these local works submitted demonstrate a great deal of skill and talent. So where, George muses, are they to go? Many can't afford to attend film school out of state or even out of town. What do we offer this kids in San Antonio? None of the colleges or universities are prepared to deal with the kids from NESA, Say Si, Edgewood, Harlandale, San Anto, St, Mary's Hall, etc. Many of the kids from these high-school or after-school programs will find themselves in a college program that would be a step back for these kids.
The students of George, Konise, Gisha, Adam, et al, have no college or university program in this city that could challenge them. This is a huge problem. Unless these students get full scholarships to colleges out of town, they have little to look forward to in San Antonio.