From visual arts writer Nick Smith:

As a co-founder and coordinator of Piccolo’s Folly Felder Film Fest, I have parts of my job that I love and parts that I hate. The good parts include viewing all the entries as they come in; this year, that meant I got to watch gems like Todd Tinkham’s And Then There Were Nun (slob attacked by clockwork penguins), William Renken’s Dreams of Sergio (movie theatre drone acts out spaghetti western fantasies) and Taylor Engel’s powerful documentary, Mourner’s Kaddish (recollections of an Auschwitz survivor).

The bad part: telling filmmakers that we couldn’t show their films for reasons of length or technical quality. Sometimes they just didn’t fit with the other films on the program. But we found a balance between entertainment (lots of comedies) and thought-provoking stuff.

Three films nabbed the short film festival’s Palmetto Awards. Bronze went to Todd Tinkham for his nun effort. Chicago-based Colin Magill Somers took the Silver for Somersault, a tale of bad boys and bizarre birds. The gold and a $500 check went to local filmmaker Scott Kirkpatrick for The Adventures of Schizophrenic Bill; any movie where the hero eats a camera lens on toast has got to be memorable.

Some of the best films we screened weren’t eligible for the awards at all (some breached the 15-minute maximum running time, others missed the deadline for entries). Local filmmaker Brad Jayne showed an early cut of Search, an atmospheric film that he’s still tightening up; Simon Harvey, visiting Spoleto to appear in Tristan & Yseult, dropped in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, in which a caveman invents the skateboard and much hilarity ensues.

This was our third annual festival and we’re already getting entries for next year. Every time we put one of these babies together it gets a little bit bigger, and the audience response gets more enthusiastic. Only two things are certain for 2007: we’re aiming to reuse the same venue as this year (the Holiday Inn Ballroom on Folly Beach) and we’re determined to keep attendance free. Other than that, all I can do is sit back and start watching the next batch of submissions…


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