From January 4th through April 7th, Windows asked filmmakers from around the world to show off what Windows 7 and Windows Live could do. The contestants were asked to submit a short video that spoke directly to students with the chance to win over 20,000 in prizes. The Grand Prize was huge: a trip to the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC for 2, a special screening of their film and $8,000. With these stakes on the line, videos flooded in and in took an agonizing few days to choose the top finalists and one grand-prize winner.
Grand Prize: Detention by Josh Soskin, United States
The Grand Prize winning video by Josh Soskin, “Detention” showcases what a little bit of DJ dubbing using Windows and a PC can do to an ordinary detention hall. The result is compelling video that plays to our sense of fun, no matter our age.
Josh Soskin, a California-native, is a dynamic filmmaker with a passion for travel and documentary filmmaking. He he has been making spots, shorts, docs and music videos since the 8th grade. We did a quick interview with Josh to hear more about the inspiration behind the video:
I came up with the concept of Detention after a few weeks of brainstorming. I looked over all the Mofilm briefs and the Windows brief really stood out for me. I liked that it was direct and simple and that allowed me to let my imagination sort of run wild. I was really into this concept, that out of boredom we can create beauty– that the artistic process can be a form of salvation anywhere, even in the darkest places (which for young people is detention…). I started with that basic concept, that this kid, this “music head” could make a song out of anything. It really came together when I realized that the new elements of Windows 7… were actually the perfect tools for this kid to use in order to create and share his work. So the idea and the product really had a nice marriage there.
Other finalist videos include:
2nd Prize: Amazing Apps by Cyril Gfeller, United Kingdom
Cyril fell into filmmaking by accident after a course on Adobe Flash was full ten years ago. Since then, he has been an avid film maker. You can find more about Cyril here.
3rd Prize: Windows Live by Justin Thomas, United States
Justin Thomas is a student at the SJ Quinney College of Law and started making short films when selling a screenplay proved difficult. He and his brother use the money from making short films to invest in camera equipment and filmmaking supplies to support their business.
4th Place: Me, When by Laco Gaal, Hungary
Laco started in the film industry through a friend who knew about his passion for a DIY film making and invited him to a common project. The idea for this video “came from today’s young generation, as they communicate, and share everything online. It was great to see, that Microsoft covers all these things with its own products, from chatting with a friend, to editing a Word document online with other people from around the world.” Laco is currently gathering money to go to an American film school, and his prize for this contest is going straight there.
5th Place: 7 Versions by Paul Sg Boyd, Canada
Paul recently relocated to Toronto so he would have access to a larger film community than exists in his home town of Calgary, Alberta. One of the main things he was looking for is actors. Through Craigslist, he was easily able to book two actors; however, in a bizarre chain of events, he lost both actors on the day of the shoot, and was forced to re-write the script AND act in the spot himself. Those 7 versions of that one dude, are actually 7 versions of the writer/director/DOP/producer/editor of the spot. Technology really has made him more efficient!
The finalists win a variety of cash and hardware prizes – including a really great PC. Here’s what Ben the PC guy has to say about the Sony VAIO S- Series which the contests will receive:
I picked up a new Sony VAIO SB about a week ago before I left for a week-long trip through Europe. More than anything, I was intrigued by the Sony’s claim of 15+ hours of battery life (using the extended “sheet” battery that clips to the bottom of the laptop). I put it to the test when I was flying to Lisbon – I used the PC almost the entire way across the ocean – a 9 hour flight to London, then a 2.5 hours connection to Lisbon – and found that I still had about 3 hours of juice left when I hit the ground. Really impressive stuff.
I found the VAIO SB to be very fast for everyday work, and more than powerful enough to watch HD movies, play music through Zune, and even play some light games, thanks to the second-generation Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM that’s under the hood. Multitasking was a breeze and the PC didn’t hiccup at all, even when I had a bunch of programs open at the same time.
The VAIO SB performs like a premium PC and it looks like one too. Mine is white (it comes in black as well), and has really nice touches like a perfectly balanced chassis that you can open with one hand, a backlit keyboard, and a multi-touch trackpad. It’s comfortable to use and at less than 4lbs, its easy to carry around.
Overall, the VAIO SB is a great balance between performance and style, and with a $999 price point, it’s a good value,too.
If you are inspired by these epic videos and would like the opportunity to win your own prizes, check out the newest contest which includes a trip to France for one grand prize winner!
Have questions? Let me know: @kristinalibby.