Rice films feature zombies, stalkers, comedians and oddballs.
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:05
“An experimental, character-based sketch comedy show that uses video” was how Adrien Pellerin, director and winner of the Rice University Student Film Competition describes his grand prize-winning video, “The Leronda Howell Presentation.” The film features Leronda Howell, an overzealous documentarian, who is irate as her ideas for various documentaries have been stolen by bigger filmmakers and made into big deals.
The video was a project that evolved out of Pellerin’s summer at the New Movement improv theater in Austin, Texas. There, he met a fellow theater newbie, Ariel Greenspoon, who stars as Leronda Howell. Finding that they were both interested in writing and theater, they made a pact to make something by the end of the summer. Greenspoon came up with the character of Howell, and he and Pellerin ended up making eight short documentaries that spoofed everything from “Waiting for Superman” to “Supersize Me.” Pellerin’s entry in the Rice Film Competition is the product of his edited compilation of “The Leronda Howell Presentation” viewed at The New Movement theater and the video-recording of the live show. Pellerin also won Honorable Mention in the Best Short Film category with “Space Alien Chicken,” which was for his cinematography class.
“I was really surprised to see it win the contest because it was such a bizarre piece,” Pellerin said. “By no means was it meant to be a film. It was built to be performed in front of a live audience.”
“Some Call it Love,” a video about a goofball stalker who believes he is in a relationship with a girl he loves from afar, won the People’s Choice Award. Directors Lovett College junior Jennifer Dayrit and Duncan College junior Ciara Ayala made the video as a final project for a film class.
“I actually got the idea for the story because I had a ‘stalker’ for the longest time who thought we had been in a relationship and wouldn't stop writing to me,” Dayrit, who had written the script for an assignment, said. “I knew that the ‘stalker’ had to be really personable so, that despite his craziness, the audience would still like him. Otherwise it was going to come off creepy instead of funny.”
The Best Short Film went to “The Inner Child” by Duncan junior Matthew Koby. “The Inner Child” is a dizzying music video-style film set to “When the Child Awakes” by Mount Righteous. Edited to have faded colors, the video is a single camera that follows the progression of people roaming across a vivid blue playground set in one long take.
“Metamorphosis” a three-minute video set to sweeping piano music, won Best Animation Film. Brown College sophomore Alison Chang morphs a ball of clay into a lumpy human figure at odds with its surroundings. Viewers watch every movement as the figure transitions into something else.
Best Fiction Film was awarded to Will Rice College sophomore Veronica Saron for her film “Cyber ZOWLmbie,” originally created for FILM 385, a class on zombie films. “Cyber ZOWLmbie” tells the story of a Rice student web blogger who chronicles the simultaneous outbreak of mosquitoes and zombies on campus through short clips, supplemented by social media references.
“By the end of the film, I not only become a zombie, but nothing has changed either,” Saron, who stars as herself, said.“The movie is supposed to imply that Facebook and social media, not the mosquitoes, have basically turned us all into zombies.”