More hot spots – VIFF’s mock films mock other fests

The 2004 pool for the Vancouver International Film Festival out of TBWAVancouver gets our Audience Choice nod. It scored points for being funny and strategic. The campaign builds on previous years' strategy of needling certain other fests for being too Hollywood. They now also needle fests that screen films so

The 2004 pool for the Vancouver International Film Festival out of TBWAVancouver gets our Audience Choice nod. It scored points for being funny and strategic. The campaign builds on previous years’ strategy of needling certain other fests for being too Hollywood. They now also needle fests that screen films so

inaccessible that they actually make you pine for Hollywood drivel, all of which is amusing in and of itself. That the campaign delivers the message that VIFF is picky and hasn’t gone Hollywood with painful

(but plausible) little film spoofs, puts it in thumbs-up territory.

Writer Brent Wheeler explains that when they heard that only one in 10 films sent to VIFF is selected it set the creative team to thinking about the kind of ‘stinkers’ in the reject pile. This led to three spots that are clips of unfortunately premised flicks, each ending with the VIFF programmers striking it off the list of films invited to the festival.

Geisha Cop is a dull vision of East meeting West’s buddy action formula, with none of Tarantino’s

genre-blending charm. Hailstorm is an indie German disaster flick done on a craft services budget. Possibly with props from a kindergarten arts and crafts cupboard (Wheeler confirms the hail was styrofoam balls, being pelted at the actors by film crew on ladders amid a lot of cracking up).

The Pants I have Owned plays off those tortuous foreign docs seemingly designed to depress

everyone and of interest only to the filmmaker. This Eastern European mock doc seemed particularly authentic, except the subtitles were better quality than one typically encounters – they were legible.

Art director Jay Gundzik’s father-in-law plays the filmmaker’s father, and helped his fellow doc subjects with the Croatian dialogue.

Frequent festival-goers have likely suffered through ‘art’ like this, and some of them (well me anyway) spent the time in the dark pondering darkly as to what some pretentious git was thinking when they

accepted the film. ‘Thousands of films are submitted. Few are chosen,’ is a tag that both resonates and

reassures; and it’s a position that appeals to cinephiles as well as a broader ticket-buying public.

Wheeler says the hardest part was keeping things from looking too polished, but that ultimately ‘making awful films is a lot of fun.’

‘Producing the worst films possible also worked well for our client’s budget. Which happens to be nothing. Not only did we ask a lot of people to butcher their craft, they all did it for free.’ The spots aired on TV and in cinema during the fest, Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.

clients: Alan Franey, VIFF director &

Jane MacDonald, VIFF director of communications and corporate affairs

agency: TBWAVancouver

CD: Lisa Francilia

copywriter: Brent Wheeler

art director: Jay Gundzik

agency producer: Carla Olson

prodco: Reginald Pike

director: Mark Gilbert

DOP: Tico Poulakakis

editing: Melanie Snagg, Coast Mountain

audio: Peter Clarke, GGRP