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The UWOL Challenge
An organized competition for Under Water, Over Land videographers!

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Old November 29th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Lyons, CO
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And the winner is...

Hello UWOL Filmmakers,

When Cat asked me to sign on as the judge for the UWOL Challenge, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the entries I’ve been asked to review and critique. I know you’ve all heard this before, but you should all be proud of your efforts. As you all know too well I’m sure, filmmaking is not an easy task to do well, especially when you’re the writer, director, cinematographer, editor, sound engineer, narration talent and sometimes even the composer and musician. A tip of my hat to all of you. The films were all worthy of merit. Unfortunately, my challenge as judge is to select a winner and a couple of runner-ups. The only problem I found is that I had more winners than awards to give.

When people ask, “What do you do?”, I have one simple answer, “I tell stories.” So as a judge, I looked first at the story you were telling. Second, was the story aligned to the “Intimate Detail” theme? And third, I looked at all of the technical elements that contribute to a successful film. What does it look like? If there are actors, do they sell their part and does the director do his or her job? Is it edited well? Do the script, cinematography, and the VO narration work together? Does the nat sound and music work to enhance the mood of the film? And finally I gauge the emotional impact, “How does this film make me feel?”

Now my challenge begins. So many of these films are worthy of winning, but needs demand that I narrow the field to just three. The films that fulfilled my judging criteria and combined all the necessary elements into a single package are as follows:

Winner: “To Lose a Tree” by Marj Atkins
I believe that this film embodies the best of the UWOL Challenge. As a nature film, it explores the symbiotic relationship between an insect species and the trees that give it life. By focusing upon the loss of just one tree, the filmmaker is able to not only explore the lifecycle of the gall wasp, but illustrate it in intimate detail. The gall wasp is completely dependent upon the acacia tree for its survival, yet in that process limits its host from propagating thereby ultimately leading to its own demise. And along the way, she shows us the other creatures that are affected by this relationship and the “Loss of a Tree”. I’m sure one can draw any number of parallels to our own relationship to nature and our ultimate effect on the ecosystem. It is precisely written, filmed and edited. The VO narration, nat sound, and music support each other perfectly. I found this film both educational and insightful.

1st Runner Up: "Caught And Released" by Markus Nord
Just beautiful. A simple concept executed perfectly. The location, direction, acting, cinematography, editing and music all work to make this film excellent. The intimate details of the interplay between the fisherman and the fish is a lesson for us all about how we can enjoy a sporting lifestyle while still controlling our impact upon the environment. This film could have easily garnered first position. Congratulations.

2nd Runner Up: "Painted Stones" by Steve Siegel
Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt. It is so nice to imagine that things might not have changed too much since 1871. This film explores the sights of Yellowstone that could have been experienced by botanist, George Allen, nearly 140 years ago. In intimate detail, the filmmaker imagines what the botanist might have experienced during the Hayden-Moran Expedition. It’s always a challenge to shoot nature film to a script, but thankfully much easier to write a script that fits the wildlife footage you’ve already captured. It just proves that not all good nature filmmaking needs to be strictly documentary. As a short film this works. The script is well written. The cinematography is beautiful. The editing is matched nicely to the script. The voice is easy and sounds like it could have been Mr. Allen. Except for a difficult audio level segue from the geysers at the beginning to the VO/music track, the audio was perfect. Nice work.

Honorable Mentions: “Hidden Peril” & “Falling Leaves”
I know that these two films were author-removed from judging, but both of these films were among my favorites and deserve notice. I have great appreciation for the efforts of both filmmakers and I hope that both of them will return to the next UWOL challenge with new work.

Congratulations to the winner and runner ups. It’s been a pleasure watching your films. I hope my comments have been helpful and supportive to your ongoing process to make better films.
Larry Elmore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 29th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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Congratulations Marj, Markus and Steve! Also Per Johan and Mat. Thank-you Larry.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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Way to go Marj !

And Markus, Steve, Per Johan and Mat.

Larry, thanks for the insight into the judging process.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #4
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Congrats Marj -- and to everyone who participated in this round!

Many thanks, Larry, for stepping up to the task of judging the entries.

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Old November 29th, 2010, 10:42 PM   #5
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Congrats marj! Well done...

Thank you Larry for you words, I appreciate the insight of your judging.
Congrats to Steve, Per and Mat too...

Last edited by Markus Nord; November 30th, 2010 at 07:51 AM.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 01:28 AM   #6
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Well done Marj, well deserved win, and congratulations to Markus and Steve for obtaining the runner up positions.

Thanks to Larry for judging and all the others who entered the competition.


Last edited by Mick Jenner; November 30th, 2010 at 07:52 AM. Reason: word correction
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Old November 30th, 2010, 07:31 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lyons, Colorado
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Congratulations! Larry has selected three excellent films from Marj, Marcus and Steve for our winner circle this round. Accolades to you!

I heartily extend "a job well done" to all who participated in this round both as players and as judge.

Larry, thanks for your efforts on your critiques and the work that went into your selections.

Way to go everyone. Now is the time to marvel in your own personal achievements. You all inspire.

Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #8
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Location: Montreal, Canada
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I can't find where to watch the entries...? I tried one level up ("The UWOL Challenge (our newest contest)") but couldn't find any links in the messages.

EDIT: Ah, finally found the website after a bit of rooting around.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 09:24 AM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hi Jacques:

Welcome to UWOL! You have found the correct site to view the challenge films. You can also find Vimeo versions of these films posted in the individual feedback threads. You are in for a treat. Enjoy.

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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #10
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Larsnes, Norway
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Congrats to the participants, the winner, runner ups, and to you Catherine.
Have yet to see some of the films, but I will see them all eventually.
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old November 30th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #11
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Congratulations to Marj, Marcus and Steve. – Also to Mat and Per Johan.
No doubt these are the best films in this round.

Thanks to Lorry for judging.
Thanks to Cat for an attentive and first-class execution of UWOL Challenge #18.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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Congratulations Marge the film was a worthy winner to be certain.

Of course you runner ups will be vying for first place in uwol 19 for certain!!!!

all such nice films!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old November 30th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #13
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Congratulations to Marge, Markus, and Steve. And of course, thanks to Cat on her first outing.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #14
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Congrats to Marj, Markus, and Steve. I believe this makes Marj our first female 3-peat winner, yes? She joins Per and Mat in some pretty rare air. And Steve, I believe your are one of our most prolific players, and this is your first time for the podium finish, if I'm not mistaken. It is a real testament to consistency, persistence, and learning from the process.

These are the types of achievements that bring me the greatest happiness and reward - to see you all working so hard to improve your craft. Getting into the winner's circle is a nice achievement, but seeing a new name on the podium probably is the greatest source of satisfaction, for me.

Big thanks to Cat for the hard work and the time she put into learning the ropes.

And also to Larry...thanks for the thoughtful analysis and for sharing your criteria for what makes a great film - that really helps.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:34 PM   #15
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Congratulations to all of you!
Well done!
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