Jane Hancock's When I Saw You was among the chosen film projects for 2013's Crazy8s catalogue.

Jane Hancock’s When I Saw You was among the chosen film projects for 2013’s Crazy8s catalogue.


Local filmmakers have an opportunity to bring their ideas to the screen – the catch? They have to be able to do it in eight days.

The Crazy8s filmmaking challenge is designed to support local filmmakers who may not otherwise have the ability to fund their own production. Six winners receive $1,000 so they can complete a short film. Contestants also receive advice from industry professionals throughout the several months it takes to whittle down the applicants.

Crazy8s is in its 14th year of operation and this year has seen a fresh face take over as executive director. Paul Armstrong is a local producer of film and theatre and is also the founder of The Celluloid Social Club.

“I’m excited about seeing who the filmmakers are going to be and helping them along the way … seeing what stories they have to tell and how their films turn out,” said Armstrong. “[It] always comes down to the people who are involved.”

Crazy8s is well known due to word-of-mouth in the film industry, according to Armstrong. “Everybody in the community knows about it … Even film students in their second and third year know about it,” he said.

The goal of Crazy8s is to support the local film industry. Contestants submit a five-minute video pitch explaining their film. From around 100 applicants, 40 make it to the next phase, where they make an in-person pitch to a jury. From then on, 12 are chosen to workshop their scripts with industry professionals. Finally, six winners receive $1,000 towards the production of their film.

Armstrong said they will be looking for “passion” in the video pitches.

“Talk about yourself, too, and why you should be the one to tell this story,” he said. “Do it in an enthusiastic manner so people can pick up on that passion.”

Shooting and editing a short film can take weeks usually, but with the Crazy8s winners expected to fit it into eight days, there’s literally no time to spare.

“People have to start on post-production as soon as they can and be realistic in what [they] can get done in several days,” said Armstrong. “Some have been ambitious and have still pulled it off, but you have to be realistic – there are parameters, challenges you have to think about … it’s easier if you’ve planned ahead what needs to be done.”

Armstrong said the major challenges of taking over the executive director position are securing new sponsors and making sure there’s not confusion about the rules/regulations.

“There’s a lot of information to convey,” he said.

“One challenge is keeping up the funding. In financially difficult times, it’s always a challenge to keep up the funding from previous levels … we’re always trying to find new sponsors [and] that’s sort of a challenge timewise,” said Armstrong.

The final date for registration is November 4 and registered contestants have until November 10 to submit their video pitches.

What do they want to see?

“Something we haven’t heard before, something unique, that we want to share with an audience,” said Armstrong.

By Carly Smith
Photo: Bettina Strauss

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