The Tree City Film Festival 50-Hour Film Challenge had 17 teams competing for the $300 top prize. The event organized by the Sylvania Community Arts Commission was at Sylvania Historical Village.
Posters, backpacks, and T-shirts were on sale during the kickoff showing of the Shorties category at this year’s Tree City Film Festival at Northview High School in Sylvania.
An ode to small-chested women everywhere, the winner of the second Tree City Film Festival 50-Hour Film Challenge proves that in the game of love, there is someone for everyone.
The musical Maddie, created by Brent Howard, 24, of Maumee and Sylvania native Sia DuFour, 22, zoomed in on the frantic moment in a young woman’s life, the first date with that special guy. Presented in a melody written by Ms. DuFour, the protagonist, Maddie, obsesses over her not-so-endowed chest while preparing for a date.
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Her fears are calmed when Mr. Right shows up with the teeny-tiniest hands that fit perfectly on her body.
“The idea for the film came from Sia. We wanted to pick something extremely mundane and make it a musical. It speaks for girls who are flat chested. We wanted to make something fun out of something small, no pun intended,” said Mr. Howard, who was in charge of all the camera work.
Ms. DuFour also played the leading role. For winning the top spot the two received $300.
Hosted by the Sylvania Community Arts Commission, in March the filmmaking teams, 17 total, were given a genre, pulled out of a hat, and raced to complete a cinematic creation in 50 hours. The teams were required to incorporate into the film the name of Pat Lathrop, a nod to the Underground Railroad in Sylvania, a National Geographic magazine, the line of dialogue “if a tree falls,” and the intersection of Maplewood Avenue and Main Street in downtown Sylvania.
The three-day Tree City Film Festival that began with a Shorties competition for children Thursday night and wrapped up on Saturday night with awards given to the top filmmakers in the 50-Hour Challenge.
Two short films tied for the second-place spot, Stalled and Making Our Mark. Creators received $150. Stalled, created by Dave Ayling of Ottawa Lake and Chad Dankert and Joshua Lightle, both of Sylvania, features a worker in a bathroom stall in a hostage situation when a mysterious man in the stall next to him refuses to give him toilet paper. It turned out the act of revenge was ignited because the main character had stolen the mystery man’s lunch.
Making Our Mark, created by a trio of Whitmer High School teachers, Gary O’Connor of Maumee; Michael Punsalan of Sylvania, and Matt Mullan, also of Maumee, placed a huge twist in the plot that portrayed two love-struck teens out on a date. For the sake of surprise, the ending will not be given away.
Movie patrons also viewed the films at a matinee showing in the city of Sylvania’s historic train barn on Main Street. The barn was transformed into an old-fashioned theater complete with popcorn, candy, and other refreshments. Many laughs were heard as viewers saw people get punched in the face and a carpet salesman try to hide a dead body. Even the Sylvania Township police got into the action, appearing in a scene that re-created an arrest.
Josh Lightle, committee chairman of Tree City Film Festival, right, smiles as he watches one of the short films during the festival at the Sylvania Historic Village in Sylvania.
“I think it’s great to see people promoting film, because it’s such a great medium of storytelling,” 16-year-old Maumee resident Ryan Gagnet said.
Toledo resident Mary Fry said so far her favorite film was Kidnapped, where two girls were taken into the forest by a stalker.
The Sylvania Community Arts Commission also bestowed the Spirit of Sylvania Award to Sylvania resident Zach Park for his film Collective Soul, which highlighted the area’s community spirit and diversity.
“What I love about the 50-Hour Film Challenge is that it shows that if you want to be creative and make a movie, you can. It’s not an exclusive art,” said Jennifer Archer, Sylvania Arts Commission executive director.
The films were judged by industry experts Colin Nusbaum, a Toledo-born documentary editor and cinematographer; Ellyn Exley, film producer and Northview High School graduate; Oliver Pearce, a writer-director-editor of independent horror films, and Scott Weinstein, a co-producer on Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.