Ten’s the Magic Number

You know we don’t have to use actual champagne flutes.”

“Do we have any martini glasses?”

“Paper cups would work just fine.”

The cast and crew of Death and Don, one of the entries in the
2006 Film Fest’s 10-10-10 competition, had a single brandy snifter
available. The competition has 10 young directors each scrambling
to finish a 10-minute feature in 10 days. To UCSB senior Phillip
Lindsey, the necessity of props like champagne flutes becomes
entirely debatable when he’s looking at how much production he must
cram in before the deadline.

“We just have the one glass,” crewmember Dustin Dugre

“Do we have any straws?” asks Brittany Bordman, the actress
playing the film’s love interest.

At last, Dugre emerges with a pair of slender glasses. Lindsey
can resume the scene. The cameras roll. The apartment-turned-set
falls quiet and Bordman delivers her line: “Are you ready to

As if the prospect of quickly completing a Film Festival-worthy
feature weren’t taxing enough, the 10-10-10 organizers have
constructed a few more hurdles for this year’s batch of directors
to overcome. Most notably, they must obey the conventions of Dogme
95, a Danish film movement intended to simplify the shooting
process. For example, if a director wants a certain prop, he or she
must film where the prop is available. Dogme 95 films also only
feature sounds captured naturally—with nothing added in. And while
most of the directors agree the restrictions helped to level the
playing field among a group of directors with differing amounts of
experience and technical resources, the news of Dogme 95
conventions was initially met with some grief by some.

“If you’ve seen one Dogme 95 movie, you’ve seen them all,” said
Lindsey, who is careful to describe the rules being as “inflicted”
rather than merely “imposed.” “The restrictions really limit what
you can do with a picture, and most of them end up focusing on
melodramatic family stuff.”

But Santa Barbara High School senior Shea Peinado said she saw
the rules as a creative catalyst. “You have to find ways to
creatively get around the rules and do what you want,” she said. “I
usually like limitations.”

Perhaps one of the directors who most benefited from the
imposition of the Dogme 95 rules was Andrew Dunn, a senior at Dos
Pueblos High School. Though he works at his high school’s televised
morning news and filmed a full-length feature last summer, his
school has no official film program. However, even Dunn said
certain aspects of Dogme 95 he could have done without. “After the
Film Festival, I’ll probably go back and edit sound back into the
film, even if it’s just to distribute it to my friends,” he

Ten young scribes penned the scripts as part of a separate, new
10-10-10 screenwriting competition. The scripts—each of which
retell one of Aesop’s fables—were randomly assigned to the
directors, and Dunn was lucky enough to receive one written by his
younger brother, Alex, who said being on-set has been fairly
convenient. “I don’t have to go far to find the director,” said
Alex. The film, Finding the Exit, translates the story of the
tortoise and the hare into one of high school puppy love.

The slow and steady director may not win this contest, however.
As this week draws to a close, each must complete his or her film
by 10 a.m. on February 10. Judges will be awarding a $3,000 prize
to winners from both the high school and college divisions. That
goal—plus the screening of the winning films at the festival’s
closing ceremonies—may be enough to make quibbles over champagne
flutes seem insignificant.

“We just have to believe in the quality of our work,” Lindsey

Dugre agreed. “Our moms have faith in us,” he said.


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