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72 Hour Film Festival celebrated in Tacoma

The Grand Cinema's movie competition is a race to the red carpet

Filmmaker Bryan Johnson, right, and actor Mark Bardwil were behind last year's 72 Hour Film Festival overall audience favorite "Esrever."

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Think of all the things you could do in 72 hours. You could watch six installments of the Star Wars series five times. You could walk back and forth from Seattle to Tacoma approximately seven times. You could drive from Tacoma to Yellowstone National Park and back about six times without stopping. Or you could assemble a team of videographers; write a script, film, edit and create a film.

I attended last year's 72 Hour Film Festival viewing party at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma, and the event was packed all the way up to the upper balcony. I was new to the Tacoma film scene and didn't know what to expect, but I quickly learned that there was more to this contest than simply creating the best short film.

In 2012, The Grand Cinema's 72 Hour Film Festival required participants to include an object that's gone bad, an empty chair, an invention and the use of the phrase "Is that legal?" in their films. At the end of the night the audience was asked to vote on the films and judges selected winners for each specific category as well as an honorable mention. The competition was a brilliant way of showing how people can use their own artistic interpretation of a theme and end up with drastically different results. This year's criterion includes the use of a superstition, a flashlight, the writing or sending of a letter or message and the line "That wasn't what I was expecting."

One of the films from the 2012 festival I still remember Esrever, the overall audience favorite. The directors based their film off the premise of acting in reverse. The audience broke out into fits of laughter when the narrator introduced the best backward actor, best backward stuntman, best backward acting director in the business, and the second best backward actor. The film Esrever followed the best backward acting team as they filmed their movies in reverse all across Tacoma, from the University of Puget Sound campus to the bell tower in the heart of downtown Tacoma.

The Grand Cinema's 72 Hour Film Festival will include 30 or more captivating short films created in just three days. Although it might be tempting to stay in and watch all of the Star Wars movies for three days straight, the best use of your time would be to come see the films that took just as long to create. It's guaranteed that no two films will be alike.

72 HOUR FILM FESTIVAL, 7 p.m., Rialto Theater, 310 S. Ninth St., Tacoma, $15, $13 advance ($11 Grand members), 253.593.4474

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