Filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds are expected to enter their creative ideas in the 2WK Short Film Festival this spring as part of Lander University's 9th film festival.
If previous festivals are any indication, this year's promises to be the most hotly contested yet, as participants vie for cash prizes, trophies and bragging rights.
"It's one of my favorite times of the year," said festival director Paul Crutcher, a Broadcast and Emerging Media Specialist at Lander. "We had 33 entries last year, and hope to have as many or more films to judge this year."
Filmmakers will compete for top honors in three divisions: Open, College and Young Filmmakers (high school and younger).
Each participant will be assigned a unique line, written by Hollywood writers and directors, and will then have two weeks - March 12-26 - to write, shoot and edit a short film which creatively utilizes the line in the film.
"Some of Hollywood's top screenwriters have written lines specifically for this competition," Crutcher said. "Each assigned line must be spoken in the film."
All film entries must be between three and five minutes long, including credits. The completed short film must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. March 26 to be eligible for the competition.
"The competition is open to filmmakers of all ages and skill levels," Crutcher said. "And there are no thematic limitations for the judging."
Judges over the years have included Hollywood screenwriters for both film and television, local media personalities, Lander faculty members, and even a member of the local law enforcement.
"Last year, we included our Greenwood County magistrate," Crutcher said, "so we had an actual judge doing the judging."
Films will be judged during the weeks leading up to the festival, and first-, second-, and third-place awards will be presented in each division on April 14 at the awards ceremony.
"We will also include a Writer's Choice Award, a Director's Choice Award, and an award for Best Actor and Actress," Crutcher said. "And I expect this year's festival to keep building on all previous years."
Founded in 2010, the initial intent of the Lander Film Festival was to provide outstanding film-related opportunities to Lander students and to build a film curriculum. The festival has since expanded to include the Greenwood community, the Southeast U.S. and beyond.
"In our first year, we had seven total entries - whereas in 2017 we had entries from directors in Ohio and Texas," Crutcher said. "Our strong collaborations with Hollywood screenwriters, directors and producers have allowed us to bring in world-class guest artists. And going forward, I'm hoping the festival will continue to grow and to encourage students to pursue their love of films and filmmaking."
Information on entry fees and applications is available online. Deadline to enter is Monday, March 12 at 5p.m. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Applications for minors must be completed by parent or legal guardian.