This year marked the 5th annual Off-Centered Film Festival, a festival sponsored by the Alamo Drafthouse and the Dogfish Head brewing company to celebrate and encourage creativity in film and brewing alike. Part of the festival includes a short film competition, and the best of the film entries were screened at the South Lamar Drafthouse on Saturday to cap off the festival.
The rules of the competition are simple; you have to be 21 years old to enter, your film can be no longer than 5 minutes, and it must feature Dogfish Head in some way, be it an obvious or subtle reference.There are cash prizes for the first three places, and the winners are flown to Austin for the screening. This year also saw the addition of an audience award, selected through an online voting process. This theme this year was western and, as always, off-centered approaches to the subject matter were encouraged.
Present at the event were were actor/writer Ken Marino and actor/writer/director David Wain. I was excited to recognize Ken Marino from both Veronica Mars (where he played sleazy detective Vinnie Van Lowe) and Party Down (as team leader Ron Donald). Among many other creative accomplishments, David Wain directed the films Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models. Marino and Wain most recently collaborated on the script to the film Wanderlust.
Also in attendance was Dogfish Head CEO Sam Calagione, who provided the audience with both entertainment and the opportunity to sample special brews brought just for the occasion. I tried a brew that incorporated vanilla beans and Dogfish Head brown honey rum oak chips which, despite the omission of hops due to a malfunction, still managed to be quite tasty.
This year 57 films were submitted, and 18 of those films were shown at the Drafthouse. I was impressed by the quality of all the entries shown.
Third place was awarded to a film called “Baby Bonanza”, directed by Sharon Mitchell. In the short, a pregnant woman (played by the director herself) must come to terms with the loss of her ability to drink her favorite Dogfish Head beer for 9 months. The film is funny, and feels authentic due to the director’s actual pregnancy over the course of filming (her newborn making a cameo at the end).
In second place, and winner of the online audience award, was Ryan Quinn with “Rodriguez”. The director was the recipient of last year’s first place award and, based on the quality of this year’s entry, it’s easy to see why. His most current offering is a musical number involving zombie bankers, and it’s entirely worth checking out.
First place was taken by the entry “Rainbow Ranch Inn” by Giselle Kennedy. It is a music video featuring her boyfriend, brewer and musician Gavin Lord. A very clever and catchy blend of western themes and hip hop influences, it is well deserving of the first place award. The director primarily has experience making documentaries, but she took to the music video genre with obvious delight. It’s only five minutes long and you won’t be sorry you took the time to watch it (although it may be stuck in your head for some time).
To watch the ten film entries submitted for online voting, including the winners, click here!
You can peruse the inspired brew creations of Dogfish Head (proud owners of the Burning Man Steampunk Tree House).