Fresh From My Torture Session

(Written Sunday, July 11–posted several days later.)

Last night was the final night of the three day Josiah Youth Media Festival (the student film festival sponsored by URBAN-15 here in San Antonio). I’ve been the producer of this event–though my official title is Project Manager–for it’s full four years. After the screenings and awards ceremony, I was hanging out with George and Catherine, the founders and directors of URBN-15, as well as their board president, Hector. Also present were Nancy and Marcus, who, along with George and Catherine, created the Josiah festival. We were all pretty exhausted. Well, I know I was. We discussed what went smoothly, and what didn’t. There was wine. And I didn’t get home until about three in the morning.

This means I was in no condition to baby-sit C4 Workspace today. Someone had rented the space to practice some dance routines for a bunch of teenagers. They were blaring music….but only the first twelve or so bars, and then, start again. It was too chaotic for me to do any work. And I should have brought headphones, because I was trying to entertain myself by catching up on some of the Astronomy Cast podcasts. There was a point where I thought I’d learn what that horrible piece of music was. It was one of those corny pseudo hip-hop travesties with auto-tune vocals. I knew I’d heard the song, but that sort of overly polished two-dimensional crap all sounds the same to me. I ate up some time downloading the free iPhone app, Shazam. It lets you identify almost any piece of music, that is, if it’s being played loud enough for the microphone of the phone it hear. And, well, it was pretty fucking loud. The song was “Sexy Bitch.” (And Wikipedia mentioned something about a PG version recut as “Sexy Chick.”) Fortunately I had no caustic chemicals or sharp objects within reach, or I fear I would have done myself harm. Three grueling hours of that damn song, and me with a huge red wine hangover! I bet it’s on heavy rotation as a form of torture to those poor bastards in Guantánamo.

Back home I slapped some Tex and the Horseheads into my turntable. I’ve successfully booted “Sexy Bitch” from my head.

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Nikki Young (and her crew and associates from PrimaDonna Productions) pulled off another killer series of free movie-making workshops for the Josiah fest. This was yesterday morning and afternoon.

I’m always saddened by the low turnout for these workshops. I know that I personally learn some important stuff each year.

This year Nikki decided to arrange the workshops into three different roundtable panel discussions and presentations.

I was slated as moderator for the second panel. I hope I kept things on track. But it’s hard to tell if you’re doing something like that well because you can’t really pull back enough for self-analysis.

Lee Hurtado did a great job moderating the first panel. And the third was run by our Film Commissioner, Drew Mayer-Oakes. Drew’s a great public speaker. Very laid-back, with a subtle, wry sense of humor. He did a great job keeping the tone of the discussions to appeal to the large age range of workshop attendees, which was something like 8 to 21.

Some photos from the workshops:

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For the final night of Josiah, we had young filmmakers in the audience not just from San Antonio. We had a college student from Chicago. A college student, as well as a high schooler from Austin. And we had Marco Bottiglieri, a high school student from Dallas, who arrived with his lead actor. Marco won both “best narrative,” as well as “best in show.”

Also, Remington Dewan drove down from Austin with his parents. We were all so excited. Remington won best of show two years ago with an amazing narrative, “First Day at the Firm.” He did this when he was either 13 or 14. When he walked up to the door at URBAN-15 I asked why he didn’t submit a film for this year’s Josiah. He said that his DP was over 21, (One of the stipulations of the Josiah Youth Media Festival is that all key crew members must be 21 years of age or younger.) We were all so honored that, even without having a film which was screening, he came to be part of the event. I only wish some of our local young filmmakers would display such humility, generosity, and this sort of etiquette and general sense of esprit de corps.

And, speaking of a certain lack of esprit de corps, I was dismayed as to the low audience attendance for all three nights. Yes, I understand that many people are otherwise involved during the summer. But we had too few representatives of our local youth media programs–students and instructors alike. And, I felt a certain personal affront. Of the hundreds of my friends (not to mention the more generic “friends,” such as found on FaceBook and such) who I personally invited, I believe that two showed up. Two.

Here are photos of award-winning young filmmakers!

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Julian Moreno-Pena. Second Place, Experimental. Shadows.

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Lena Ozuna flanked by fellow filmmakers Emmanuel Gallegos and Roger Vega. Second Place, Narrative. Dolly Wants a Minion.

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Kathy Tran. Founders Recognition, Animation. Aspiring Bear Artist.

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Marco Bottiglierand, with actor Mike Kimmel. First Place, Narrative. Best of Show. Custody.

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