By Justin Uitto
VANCOUVER — Eight hundred dollars and eight days: that’s the name of the game with Crazy 8s. It’s a tight schedule and an even tighter budget, but combined with the other services that it provides, it’s this process that facilitates the creation of eight high-production-value short films every year that otherwise would not be possible. The extravagant gala, screening and after party held in Vancouver are a culmination of these constants and the variable abilities of each of the six crews to get the films done under the gun.
Created in 1998, Crazy 8s has facilitated 91 films over the course of its history, including this year’s. Of the 196 entries received, 40 teams got to pitch their ideas to a panel and 12 of those entered the script stage. In the end, six films were chosen. The directors were given a tiny budget and eight days to complete and deliver their films.
The multi-stage event that ensued not only screened the films, but connected talent with facilitators. Held at The Centre For Performing Arts in Vancouver, the ritzy location and dress code weren’t enough to overstate the presentation of the films.
These short films exhibited genres and levels of quality across the board, from the overproduced and awkward to the minimalistic and authentic, from coming-of-age thrillers to rom-com spin-offs of Cinderella. Despite a consistent budget and sponsored services being available for each crew, it was apparent which productions used the potential wisely and which did not. It was also very obvious which films had real directing and producing talent behind them.
“This,” replied Scott Belyea upon being asked what an event such as Crazy 8s does for a director like himself. Scott directed one of the films, Outside the Lines, which screened that night. “I just wanted to screen a film at this gala.” Most of the 2,000 people who attended the event were industry professionals—an exciting prospect for any director. “It’s kind of nice to have that audience, right. […] I know that is why I wanted to do this, it’s because of tonight.”
The payoff is having genuine directing and producing skills get the exposure they deserve. In a saturated industry where it’s increasingly difficult for worthy films to see the light of day and skilled people to be given the tools they deserve, Crazy 8s is a testament to the notion that the cream still—and always will—rise to the top.
Visit Crazy 8s’ website at www.crazy8s.ccBC, British Columbia, Crazy 8s