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Student Shortsfest: Sure beats TV

It was a night with a little of everything – good laughs, hokey jokes, fancy camera work and even fascinating animation.

Another night of staring at the boob tube? No way. Thursday night’s best bet for entertainment was the inaugural Student Shortsfest 2000 at Basalt High School.

This Shortsfest let students from three local high schools flash their wit, creativity and, yeah, even some juvenile humor. Ten short films were screened for an audience of about 200, primarily high school students.

Six more films entered in the event will be shown tonight starting at 7 p.m. at Basalt High School. Admission is $5.

The first night’s flicks weren’t always great, but they were definitely entertaining.

Basalt High Schoolers Jim Law and Jeff Stevens displayed great potential for deranged minds with a comedy called “Milk Bandits.”

Law played a disturbed young man suffering trauma from having his gallon of Vitamin D milk stolen by a bandit. Stevens played the therapist who helped him deal with the pain.

The ridiculous spoof featured creative editing for a fight between Law and the masked milk bandit.

Equally funny was an entry by Glenwood Springs High School students Robert DuBois and Zak Brewer called “Cocoon.” This horror movie spoof featured a sleeping bag monster that gobbled up some unsuspecting couple in their home.

The high schoolers’ delight with this little farce couldn’t help but rub off on the adults in the audience.

Student Shortsfest organizer and Basalt High School Student Council President Halley Thompson teamed with Katie Sloop to deliver biting satire about a couple of girls crazy about the pretty-boy rock group In Sync. Their entry was probably the most technically smooth of the first night’s shows.

Thompson said before the show that she’s a big fan of films and hopes to make acting a career. Her interests helped inspire creation of the Student Shortsfest.

“It’s sort of a selfish reason,” she acknowledged. “I guess I wanted to show my films at a festival.”

So she and some other film buffs did such a quick and efficient job of arranging the event that Basalt High School Principal Mike Costanzo couldn’t say no.

The event’s co-master of ceremonies, Erin Kunze, explained that organizers were tired of hearing that young people in the Roaring Fork Valley have no way of expressing themselves. Doing it with film was seen as one outlet, she said.

Basalt High Schoolers Logan Riley and Branden Bruington expressed themselves with a one-minute artistic animation called “Ode 2 a Cartoon Short.” The dark piece featuring a thunderstorm and a devil-like creature left the audience wanting more.

Basalt student C-Pher Bair unleashed a double dose of creativity with the artistic “Tainted Dreams,” which he said was purposely left open to interpretation, and the comedy “Dustin.” Bair’s comedy had the single funniest scene of the show when the star was filmed feigning an attack from a Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear in the crowded aisle of a Wal-Mart or K mart.

The other features of Thursday’s show included “Random,” a comedy by Shelly Benson; “Placerville,” a comedy about a boy’s quest for a girl who isn’t a freak, by Scott Lobben and Eben Mallory; “La Proyecta de Lecheras,” an ambitious comedy effort by the Basalt High School Spanish IV class; and “All American Travel Inc. Presents a Video Guide to Costa Rica,” a documentary by Yampah Mountain High School student Josie Castaldo.

The point of the inaugural event wasn’t necessarily whether the films were good or bad, said one parent of a Basalt High School student. The event’s strength was bringing so many students together in an age of diverse interests.


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