Each quarter, the Hammer Museum’s Open Projector Night invites amateur filmmakers from all backgrounds and ages to showcase their talent (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it). 10 minutes or less is the only criteria you have to work with – you can bring anything your heart desires. The audience decides if your entire film deserves to be played beyond the grueling 2-minute checkpoint. Obviously, if we’ve seen enough after 2 minutes, then maybe your film ain’t as great as you think it is.
This quarter’s installment brought 13 submissions – fewer than usual, apparently, but more diverse in content and format, and higher in quality. One of Hammer’s own AV staff, Sadie Strangio, was 1 of 3 winners that night with her intriguing compilation of “Cat Vomit” (literally), flawlessly synchronized with a great soundtrack composed by another Hammer AVer, Tom Bass (“the next big thing”). The next winner, Laura Mannino’s “Ten Minute Decade”, was, in my opinion, an awkward attempt at capturing the superficiality of a woman in her twenties – as a woman myself in her twenties, I thought Mannino didn’t quite do us justice.
But my definite favorite of the night and the definite crowd favorite was Shaun Parker’s “Hope. You Like Crap”. Self-deprecation is one of the highest forms of humor, and Parker captured it beautifully in a facetious voiceover, revisiting his 20-year-old undergrad film thesis. Poking much fun at his own pretension as a film student in the 80s – magic.
Open Projector Night is typically hosted by the hilarious Sklar Brothers and occurs every quarter, so the next one should be in July if you want to join in on all the fun! Definitely a great night if you’re in the mood for booing, cheering, laughing, and searching for the next big thing in film.
Or feel free to put your film and dignity at the mercy of the toughest audience you’ll ever find.