Disposable filmmaking

Chris Pennington wants you to send him your shortest movies

Katrina Wilber

Nobody ever knows what to do with them. Nobody else would want them or care about them. Nobody, that is, except Chris Pennington.

Pennington is the man behind the Ten-Second Film Festival, set for July 4 at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis.

“I got the idea from the weird video functions on digital cameras that nobody knows what to do with,” Pennington said. “People can only take about 10 or 15 seconds’ worth of a video with the camera, and then they don’t know what to do with the videos.”

Pennington’s spreading the word about his brainchild however he can. He said he wants to end up with approximately 300 submissions for the first round. After that, he’ll eliminate all but the top 100 films. The ones that make the first cut will be put in one of 10 categories for the final showing.

Of course, he has to come up with 10 categories first.

“I’ve got three right now,” Pennington said. Best documentary, best action film and most dangerous are the categories so far.

The rest will be decided based on the films he receives, but he’s open to anything.

“Not that I encourage porn, but I’m definitely not above anyone’s crappy home video,” he said.

The Soap Factory has what Pennington calls an “orgy of all things related to video and film production” planned for three days in July, and that’s when he’s prepared to debut his selections, after the fireworks.

The top films will be projected onto the side of the building, and audience response will decide the winner in each category.

“I hope it’ll end up big and rowdy,” he said, “with lots of beer and lots of cheering.”

But Pennington needs help if his Ten-Second Film Festival is going to be as big as he hopes. “I want people to send me whatever they’ve got,” he said. “C’mon, the files are small, and there’s no postage necessary.”

Submissions are due by June 15, and Pennington has set up an e-mail account specifically for the festival. “People can send their submissions to [email protected], and a panel of local celebrities will narrow the field down to the top 100,” he said.

Pennington has a huge task ahead of him, and, in this case, one man’s random 10-second digital camera film is another man’s treasure.