The magic number

Three-Minute Film Competition

This is a still image from Kaleb Temple’s short film <i>Burgled</i>.

This is a still image from Kaleb Temple’s short film Burgled.

DVD submissions for the Three-Minute Competition can be delivered to Holland Project Headquarters, 30 Cheney St., through March 14. For more information, visit

Got an idea for a music video, a visual poem or a short action flick? Holland Project, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting the arts to young people, is accepting submissions for their third annual, three-minute-film competition.

“It’s our attempt to allow access for amateur filmmakers to get a chance to get their work featured on a bigger screen in front of a bigger audience at the Nevada Museum of Art’s Teen Art Night,” says Erica Wirthlin, Holland’s programming director.

The organization is accepting submissions through March 14. The films will be evaluated by a jury of representatives from Holland Project, the NMA and the local filmmaking community. The Top 10 films will be shown during the NMA’s annual Teen Art Night on April 1. Though Holland is a teen-oriented organization, and the films will be screened during the museum’s Teen Art Night, Wirthlin says any filmmaker, regardless of age, is encouraged to submit a film. The only parameters are that the film be no more than three minutes long and that it be “clean-ish and hate-free.” So keep it PG-13 or so.

“We want to keep creativity alive and uncensored,” says Wirthlin. “But at the same time, we want it to be accessible to all people. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be offensive … but [no] hate-mongering or KKK propaganda.”

The three-minute timeline provides filmmakers with the challenge to say something meaningful quickly.

“Three minutes is perfect,” says filmmaker Cassady O’Neal. “What I think Holland is trying to do is get young people making films, and three minutes is a good target. You could tell a story. You could make a music video. You could do something visual. Three minutes is good.”

O’Neal’s film La Petit Caporal won the juried prize last year, but it could not be aired outside of the museum because it featured an unlicensed song by The Who.

This year, the Holland Project solicited local musicians to donate original music. Singer-songwriters like Grace Hutchison and Whitney Myer, rap groups like Who Cares? and Black Rock City All-Stars, rock bands like Pinky Polanski and The Shames, and many others, all donated music or offered to compose original scores.

All of the films will also later be screened at a second, to-be-announced screening, and the winners will be aired on Reno public television channel KNPB.

Tosha Palani, a student at TMCC High School, first participated in the competition two years ago, when he was 14 years old.

“It was awful,” he says now, of his directorial debut. But he’s learned a lot about the narrative economy of working within a three-minute time limit.

“You have to rely on a punchline ending or very good imagery,” he says. “It’s like the setup for a joke. There’s a setup, then something happens, and then the ending. It can be funny. It closes everything up.”

Filmmaker Kaleb Temple, also an operations supervisor at the NMA, won the “viewer’s choice” prize at last year’s competition. He’s not going to participate in the competition this year due to time constraints but offers up some advice to first-time participants: “Have fun. If you do it as a joke, then have fun with that, but if you do a piece you really want to do, give yourself time to make it as best you can within the parameters of the competition.”

Temple says that part of the appeal of the competition is to watch a local film in a crowded theater.

“Last year … it was just packed,” he says. “It’s nice to be at a local screening that had such a turnout. It was really fun for everyone, especially the filmmakers, like the high-schoolers, who got to sit in a theater packed with their peers and hear them respond and laugh. It was a great atmosphere.”