International Camp Kuleshov Competition for Assistants Kicks Off for 2016
He’s back! Lev Kuleshov – Russian film theorist, inventor of the ‘Kuleshov Effect’ and dead ringer for Bela Lugosi – has returned to challenge assistant editors, mixers and graphic designers in the second AICE International Camp Kuleshov trailer competition.
In the Editing category, the CK16 brief is to choose from an eclectic roster of existing films and either mash them up or otherwise reimage them into trailers for films of another genre or from the oeuvre of a different iconic director. In the Sound Design category, the task is to create a new sound design track for a 90-second excerpt from a similarly varied list of movies. And in the Graphic Design category, the assignment is to choose from a third list of films and create an original opening title sequence that reflects the entrant’s interpretation of the film.
Deadline for entries is Monday, September 12, 2016. Full details on the competition can be found at http://aicetoo.org/ck2016/. To view the 2015 winners, click here: http://www.aice.org/?section=trailers/.
The lists of source films, along with the briefs and entry rules for this year’s competition were put together by the CK Committee, which includes Editors Chris Franklin and Val Lasser of Big Sky Edit and Kathryn Hempel of Cutters, who launched the original trailer competition (then known as Trailer Park) in Chicago in 2001.
Assistants at any AICE member company (or freelance assistants sponsored by an AICE company) are free to submit entries to any category, regardless of what discipline they work in. “It doesn’t matter if you’re at an audio company and want to try editing a trailer, or if you’re a graphics assistant and you want to prove your chops at sound design,” explains Franklin. “We tell prospective entrants that they should just climb into the canoe of their choice and start paddling; the water is wide open, we just want to see where they end up.” In addition, the Chicago Chapter’s CK16 competition will also include its Tent City section, in which employees at member companies can submit entries even if they’re not working as assistants. Prior Tent City winning entries have been submitted by runners, receptionists, interns and other non-assistants.
While Camp Kuleshov competitions have been in existence at many AICE chapters in one form or another for over a decade, 2015 marked the launch of a new phase for the event: For the first time assistants from all participating AICE chapters worked to the same briefs and the same source films for the editing, sound design and graphic design competitions. Winners at the chapter level were then judged against each other, with Grand Prizes going to David Rubin of Cutters in Chicago for the Editing category, Michael Marciano of P.S. 260 for the Graphic Design category and Mike Regan of Another Country for the Sound Design category.
This year, the Grand Prize winners in each category will be presented with a newly-named honor, “The Lev,” as AICE borrows a page from the television and motion picture academies penchant for giving their awards proper names.
As in the past, CK16 boasts a diverse range of source material designed to challenge assistants across the board. In the editing category, for example, the genre/director list includes mob films, time travel films, spaghetti westerns, screwball comedies, westerns, sports films and everyone’s favourite, serial killer/cannibalism movies.
The list of movies for assistants to choose from – which dwells this year on 3rd installments of sequels both classic and cheesy – ranges from “Back to the Future Part III” and “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” to “Pusher 3,” “The Bad News Bears Go to Japan” and “The Godfather: Part 3,” among others. The directors whose styles can be mimicked in entries include films directed by the masterful Stephen Spielberg, the out-there Wachowski siblings and the current British bad boy, Nicholas Winding Refn.
For audio mixers, CK16 tasks them with taking an excerpt from a film and sound designing it as a scene now different in tone or intent. The list of films to choose from includes “The Phantom of the Opera” (the 1925 silent version, not the 2004 version directed by Joel Schumacher), “Godzilla,” “Easy Rider” and “The Conversation,” for which Walter Murch won an Oscar for Sound Editing.
For graphic artists, the brief is to choose from a list of films, none of which have extensive opening title sequences, and create a new one that reflects what the film is all about. The source films in this category range from “The Magnificent Ambersons” to “Fahrenheit 451,” “Braveheart,” “Million Dollar Baby” and others.
Hempel says she and Franklin were gratified to see the results of the first international CK competition last year, and that the prospect of building on that this year is exciting. “We were able to extend the passion and commitment that’s at the heart of Camp Kuleshov across all the chapters, without losing the local flavor of each competition,” she observes. “These contests combine elements of mentoring, camaraderie and networking while providing opportunities for our members to get together in a relaxed and fun atmosphere to celebrate both their assistants and their work. It’s a huge win for everyone involved.”
All participating AICE chapters will be presenting their winners during the final two weeks of October, with the announcement of “The Lev” winners in each category taking place in mid-November. For more information on Camp Kuleshov, email firstname.lastname@example.org.