by Ruth Witteried
If you follow FiLMLaB or Willamette Writers on Facebook, then you already know that our 2012 FiLMLaB short, Alis Volat Propriis (written by Haley Isleib) was accepted into the Oregon Independent Film Festival in Portland and Eugene. To add to that good
news, we found out last week that it wasn’t just accepted: it won Best Comedic Short.
I don’t think it’s an understatement to say we were stunned. Our intention in creating a short screenwriting competition (Script-to-Screen) was to highlight the writing in film and to give the winning writer something more than just a certificate on their wall: an opportunity to have their short script produced and gain real world experience on the set of their film. Prizes, or the potential for them, was never part of the discussion. It wasn’t even on the radar; not a blip or a beep to suggest we could dare to
dream of accolades, because that would be, well . . . . . stupid.
It was our first attempt, after all.
And just to be clear, director Christopher Alley was not our first choice. I say that because he, too, was not on our radar when we cooked up this crazy idea. We didn’t know him, and had asked Sundance Award winner, Peter Richardson, who we did know, to participate as director. Peter was unavailable to us last summer, though, so we kept looking.
Christopher came to us through actress Brynn Baron, who had worked with Chris on another short film where he was the cinematographer, not the director. He brought great technical experience into the FiLMLaBoratory, but he was an unknown quantity to us as a director, just as we were an unknown quantity to him as producers. What we all had in common was the desire to create something new and the willingness to risk failure.
Just like you every time you approach a blank page.
In FiLMLaB, you are the experiment.
Whether you’re the director, producer, actor or winning writer, the experiment is about what you bring to the collaborative process and the risks you take to create. Christopher Alley took a risk on us when he agreed to be part of our inaugural experiment and brought a crew along with him. We are truly grateful.
Congratulations to Haley, Christopher and his talented Ampersand team for winning Best Comedic Short at OIFF and sharing this experimental adventure with us.
Willamette Writers invites everyone to join the celebration at the Alis Volat Propriis premiere, Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the historic Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are affordable and available for the screening and awards ceremony that follows, so come one, come all and we just might have new information about the 2014 FiLMLaB!
Ruth Witteried is the Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference and Executive Producer of FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Facebook at FilmLab and SitYourAssDown; Twitter @sityourassdown1, or as RH Cohen on her Young Adult website zombienoel.com.