Camp Kuleshov Goes National as AICE Chapters Adopt Uniform Brief and Source Films
Camp Kuleshov is going national, as AICE has announced a new unified format for its popular trailer competition for assistants. Now each AICE Chapter that holds Camp Kuleshov will be working from the same playbook as a uniform set of creative briefs, entry rules and source films has been established. All entries from individual chapters will have the same deadline, judging will take place concurrently at participating chapters by local juries and awards will be presented in a two-week round robin of CK events to unfold this October.
Following the presentation of these local winners, a national Camp Kuleshov champ in each category will be selected by a special CK curatorial jury. In addition to their prizes, the national winners will be feted at the 2016 AICE Awards presentation, which will be held in Chicago, where the AICE’s first trailer competition was held.
Heading up the new Camp Kuleshov efforts are CK Committee members Chris Franklin, Editor and Owner of Big Sky Edit in New York, and Kathryn Hempel, Editor/Partner at Cutters in Chicago. Franklin has been the long-time leader of the New York Chapter’s Camp Kuleshov contest, while Hempel is the originator of the festival who conceived the idea of the competition in 2001.
Deadline for entries is Monday, September 21, 2015. Full details on the competition can be found here.
“No matter where we’ve held a Camp Kuleshov competition, it’s consistently grown across the board, with more entries, more categories and a tremendous amount of imaginative and highly creative work being done by our rising stars in editorial, audio mixing and graphic design,” says Franklin. “Elevating the competition to a national level, with everyone working against the same brief and with the same source material, will level the playing field and let us see how all of our assistants attack the same problem. We’re excited about the prospects and can’t wait to see the results.”
“We’re proud to see our festival, which we started in Chicago, continue to thrive and grow into a broad and inclusive test of creativity and craft,” adds Hempel.
Camp Kuleshov – named for the famous Russian film theorist and critic Lev Kuleshov, who first articulated the ability of editing to shift the mood and tone of a film’s emotional thrust – is an annual program in which assistants in various crafts are asked to take existing source material – feature films, TV programs or other forms of pop culture content – and reimage them as examples of new genres or entirely new films.
For example, the brief may ask that an assistant editor recut a comedy and transform it into a horror film or thriller. Similar tasks are given to audio assistants, who often have to create new sound designs for films, while graphic artists have been tasked with creating new opening title sequences for films that present them as being in different genres.
The 2015 Camp Kuleshov contest includes a diverse range of source material designed to challenge assistants. Editors will be tasked with taking one of a number of films and cut a 90-second trailer that promotes the film as though it were in a different genre or made by a different director, or select two films and cut a trailer that promotes the mashed-up film as picture from yet a different genre.
Categories include films directed by Francois Truffaut, John Waters, Kathryn Bigelow, John Hughes and Quentin Tarantino, along with such headings as Sci-Fi, Horror, Superhero, Musical, Comedy, Documentary, Rom/Com and Love Story. Titles range from the obscure to the mainstream and from classics to cult favorites, spanning every decade going back to the 1920s. “Casablanca,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “Point Break,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and all six of the “Rocky” films are just a few on the list.
For audio mixers, the CK brief calls for them to create 90 seconds of continuous sound design (using none of the original soundtrack except for dialogue) from such films as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Psycho,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie,” among other gems.
For graphic artists, the brief is to choose from a list of films – none of which have opening title sequences – and create a title sequence, 90 seconds or less, that creatively reflects your interpretation of the film. Their list of source films is expansive, including classics such as “Citizen Kane” and “Apocalypse Now” all the way to “The Matrix,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Boogie Nights,” among others.
The competition has evolved significantly since it was first conceived as a way to not only challenge but also honor and recognize hard-working assistant editors. It was born when Hempel, who was on the AICE Chicago chapter board, formed a planning committee that included Editor Steve Stein (then at Cutters but now with Conspiracy), who came up with the original Trailer Park name, along with the late Katy Maguire, an editor at Optimus, and Editor Nadav Kurtz, then at Outsider but now also with Cutters.
The Trailer Park name was dropped in response to a trademark infringement claim and a variety of names emerged, such as Splice Capades, Filmspotting, The Winnebago Awards, Trailer Blazin’ and Trailer Wars, as more chapters started holding their own competitions. The New York chapter came up with Camp Kuleshov and has used the name since 2008; in 2010, all AICE Chapters adopted the identity.
Since then new categories have been added to expand the competition beyond editorial to include audio mixing and sound design as well as graphic design.