Crazy 8s now 50 percent crazier

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      If Vancouver’s film industry is still a little slower than it should be, Crazy 8s isn’t. The jury for this year’s edition of the local shorts competition sifted through a whopping 154 applications before announcing its six finalists last week—a 50 percent increase over the previous year.

      “I was a little bit shocked,” said executive director Paul Armstrong, in a call to the Straight. “I was thinking if I get to 50 applications I’ll be happy, and then there was another hundred. I think it’s a snowball effect. There were 1,400 people at the gala last year, seeing all these great films. It got people thinking, ‘I’d love to be involved in making a great film, too.’”

      According to Armstrong, ambitions have also been scaled up.

      “‘Under the Bridge of Fear” I think raised the bar a little on production value,” he said, referring to Mackenzie Gray’s 2013 effort; a black and white noir parody that played at the Vancouver and Whistler film festivals, as well as being shipped off to the Court Metrage at Cannes.

      “Not in terms of technical quality, but just in terms of what you can pull off in eight days. That inspired people to think about maybe trying to make a bigger or more ambitious film than should be done in eight days.”

      Armstrong added that this year’s jury—which included Crazy 8s alumni Dylan Akio Smith, Kaare Andrews, and Nimisha Mukerji—strove to find the balance between what is and isn’t possible in terms of a $1000 budget and 192 hours without sleep.

      “But they want some chances to be taken. It is Crazy 8s, after all,” he said, pointing to Tony Mirza’s Ed Wood Jr-Barbarella mash-up “Earthlickers” as possibly the most lunatic of this year’s batch.

      Along with the other finalists, Mirza and his crew have until their start date of February 14 to prepare.

      In the meantime, the rest of us can pitch in by attending the 15th Anniversary Screening Party and Fundraiser at the Rio Theatre on January 30, or by contributing to the Crazy 8s inaugural Indiegogo campaign, here.