Local filmmakers and movie enthusiasts huddled around picnic tables, beer and nachos at Buzzmill San Marcos on May 18, to kick off their 72-hour film race. The creative spirits planned their short films with a surprise prompt and a secret plot twist. Days later, the crews presented their finished products downtown to a surprising turnout.
The competition was stacked of seven teams made up of aspiring actors, amateur film producers and cinema fanatics. The San Marcos Cinema club organized the competition to help San Marcos’ thriving and active art community.
“We want to get people to work, mingle about and to inspire people to get involved with new projects,” said Jackie Lynn, San Marcos Cinema Club board member and event co-coordinator.
Lynn worked closely with other club members to randomly assign genres and plot twists to each team. The genres were picked from a hat, then each team’s plot twist gave them a new set of requirements for their film. Films were required to be under six minutes and brought to The Good Stuff Community Store May 21, by 8 p.m.
The film race was the first of its kind for the organization and served as a precursor to the club’s Lost River Film Festival coming in November. The film festival received grant funding from the city of San Marcos and will be paying homage to the film Piranha, which was filmed in the local river according to Lynn.
The winning film was a mockumentary entitled Searching for Mermaids. The film was put together by a father-daughter team and a family friend. A film crew was depicted following around locals through San Marcos in an effort to uncover a rumored mermaid population.
John Joy, family friend to Malachi and Lily Muncy, said their film was written, shot and edited in one day, finishing an hour before it was due. The project was Joy’s third film and helped him discover his love for San Marcos.
“I know Lily came up with a lot of the concepts in it, that’s why it was very light, fantastical and fun, because a bunch of older guys didn’t try to over think it,” Joy said.
Each film was judged on a scale, and allowed teams to tack on bonus points by including key words, phrases, characters and locations around San Marcos. There were three judges responsible for scoring each film and choosing a winner.
Diann McCabe, senior lecturer at Texas State for over two decades, participated as a judge and said she enjoyed each film, but seeing the room full of local artists was her favorite part of the night.
“I’m really interested in the arts in San Marcos. I think this is a vital energy,” McCabe said.
The other two judges on the panel included Chris Perez, executive producer of Tiramisu for Two, a film which premiered in San Marcos and will be shown at the Lost River Film Festival, and Ed Mihalkanin, city council member and professor at Texas State.
Each judge has a soft spot for the San Marcos art scene and film making. McCabe introduced Perez to the San Marcos Cinema Club.
Perez and McCabe said they were looking for a fun film, but was also fluid. The judges wanted to be entertained and not feel like they were checking off a list when looking for the criteria to pick a winner.
“This exceeded my expectations, both participation-wise by the filmmakers and the audience,” Perez said. “There’s a great crowd here.”