French film wannabees get speed shooting test

Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:58pm EST
 
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By Brian Rohan

PARIS (Reuters) - Ever wondered what to do with a revolver, a typewriter and a pair of handcuffs?

Come up with an answer in 20 minutes while the cameras roll and you could break into the movie business -- or that's what participants in a film-making contest were shooting for at a cinema industry event in Paris this weekend.

Films are an obsession in France, which has always considered itself a home of true cinema and where premieres of new films regularly make it onto the television news.

But with foreign movies dominating box office sales, and state support needed to resist domination by Hollywood, the industry has geared up to seduce cinema goers in new ways.

"We have to reach out to the public, since their changing consumption patterns will be deciding the future of the industry," said Jonathan Bryant, one of the events' organizers.

At the Salon du Cinema, a small movie set was a blur of action as 18 teams of amateurs shot two-and-a-half-minute films in a competition judged by professionals.

The set included a street scene, a gritty police office, and props including the handcuffs and typewriter.

"There's lot's of pressure -- we only have 20 minutes to shoot and an hour to edit," said 23-year-old aspiring actress Pauline Sikirdji, who played a cool, raven-haired lead opposite a grizzled police inspector in a 1940s-style 'film noir' movie.   Continued...