2021 Ocean City Film Challenge
The 4th Annual Ocean City Film Challenge will screen the works of local filmmakers at this year’s Art X Art & Music Festival. The challenge is for content creators on the Delmarva peninsula to shoot a film in or about Ocean City, Maryland. They have to do so within a certain number of days for a chance to win cash prizes and more. This year, there are four entries, but the screenings will include a bonus title that will play out of competition.
1. ‘Oh Sin City‘ by Shannon Wilson (4 mins.) has a title that looks like it should be the pronunciation key in a dictionary for how to say “Ocean City.” It could also be an indication of Wilson’s favorite film being Frank Miller’s Sin City (2005) with the protagonist here doing something akin to Bruce Willis’ character in that noir spoof. At first though, the voice-over narration led me to believe this would be a parody of Dragnet (1951). It’s an all black-and-white throwback.
2. ‘Besties‘ by Joe Weiner (7 mins.) is clearly making a reference to NBC’s Friends (1994), the sitcom that had a resurgence on Netflix before switching to HBO Max. The resurgence of such sitcoms on streaming services has certainly inspired Weiner’s homage here. Multi-camera staging and laugh tracks make this short feel like an imitation of the so-called “Must See TV” show. Weiner builds the comedy though around a clever meta-joke about Leonardo DiCaprio.
3. ‘Prizehunter‘ by Davis Mears (5 mins.) is perhaps riffing off neo-noir. It could be then a perfect companion piece to Wilson’s Oh Sin City. Mears isn’t aiming for something like Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973) but perhaps more like P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice (2014). It’s not as convoluted but certainly sillier, as it focuses on a private eye attempting to solve a kidnapping, leading to some recognizable locations on the boardwalk.
4. ‘Apothecaries of Time‘ by B.L. Strang-Moya (5 mins.) is a mix of memoir and animation where a series of encounters are recounted in what is described as “idly conversing about nothing with strangers.” It’s reminiscent of The X-Files (1993) and particularly Season 3, Episode 20, entitled “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” From how it’s structured and told, Strang-Moya, as a version of himself, feels like he could be a combination of David Duchovny’s character in that hit 90’s science-fiction series and Charles Nelson Reilly’s in that very quirky episode.
Terra by Lilly Dyer (42 mins.) is the bonus title. It’s referred as “an Appalachian dance film.” It was produced by the Saltare in Elementis Dance Collective. The voice-over narration indicates the historical horrors and environmental damage that has been the result of the mining and manufacturing industries in states like West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The film is very critical of the fossil fuel industry, particularly how that industry is destroying the land and the lives of the people on it. The response of the collective is to stage synchronized, interpretive dances. There are about ten. Some of them play in front of facilities where those industries are set up. Some of those dances are set in what look like the ghost towns that have resulted from those industries. The dances are choreographed to rock songs, rap songs and ballet, involving anywhere from five to ten young women, and only women.
The 2021 Ocean City Film Challenge will kick off Saturday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. with a screening of all the previous Ocean City Film Challenge entries, going back three years. The current selection will begin screening at 5 p.m. There will be encore screenings on Sunday, Aug. 22 at noon. Art X is put on by the Art League of Ocean City. The event will be at Northside Park in Ocean City. Admission is free.
For more information, go to https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/special-events/artx/, or the event’s Facebook page.