Tower Theater's 2008 Open Mic Winners | Buzz Blog
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Tower Theater's 2008 Open Mic Winners



It's a special evening for our film community tonight. The Tower Theater will mark the final Open Mic Night for 2008 by presenting a Best Of show with all the previous winners from the year in both Audience and Critic's selections for one final prize, along with several other selections from the organizers.


--- In a double-feature this week, there are two sets of interviews up! First off you can find an interview I conducted with Open Mic creators Patrick Waldrop and David Fetzer for UtahFM's Pinpoint SLC podcast. Second, down below I got a chance to chat with the Critic's Choice winners from the past four events, as previously interviewed for February, May, August and November, to talk about their thoughts on the event since winning and their feelings headed into tonight's showing. And remember to join them over at Tower Theater tonight at 9PM to catch the last local film festival of the year!

Amanda Stoddard, Sohrab Mirmontazeri, Chris Rodgers and Tsuyoshi Ishida

Gavin: Hey guys, how are all of you doing and what have you been up to since we last spoke?

Since we last spoke I have been very busy. I've been to Africa twice now with the doc I'm working on and am looking forward to third trip in June. I've had a couple of other odd jobs working on other films and am working with The Mollies on another music video.

Sohrab: Hey there. I’ve just been up to no good. Making films people don’t want to see and begging family for cash to feed the crew and buy wardrobe for the cast. I’m hoping this thing earns me some money.

Chris: Unfortunately, nothing much. I've been working on a feature length werewolf screenplay. It takes place mainly on a train. Like, you know, werewolves on a train, only not stupid (hopefully).

Tsuyoshi: Just being busy with school. it's almost done. I need a vacation.

First off, what are your thoughts on Open Mic Night and how its come about over the past year?

Tsuyoshi: I think Open Mic Night is getting popular these days, and I'm excited to see the local filmmakers' work every time. I hope the Open Mic Night would be the place for the local filmmakers to express themselves more.

I had a friend try to put a film in the last show and the slots filled so quickly he was unable to screen his film. Salt Lake has a great market for indie film and I hope Open Mic Night continues to support that base.

Sohrab: Great place to show movies you’ve made. Uh huh, my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Chris: I think it's a great thing. It's a hard road trying to get your work scene by an audience not made up of your friends and family, and this festival provides a way to do that. The alternative, which I also pursue, is to spend gobs of money on festival submissions, only to have to wait months and months to see if your film is even selected.

How has winning the event influenced you personally and professionally?

Chris: To see an audience of people, who don't know me, react to my film the way they did has been a real motivator. It's really easy to get down on yourself and start thinking that you may not have what it takes, so something like this can be really encouraging.

The recognition was great and because of the show a lot more people know about me and The Mollies.

Tsuyoshi: I was happy when I heard the news winning the event and it made me wanna make more films now. Also I'm afraid now because I have to keep on making better flicks.

Sohrab: Well it helps in getting people to work with you for free.

After checking them out, what did you think of the other winner's films?

Sohrab: Interesting…

Very nice work. I'm honored to be in such talented company.

Chris: Amanda made a great music video from a cool song. I really enjoyed watching it. I also happen to know Miles (the guy in the fridge), so it was a pleasant surprise to see him in it. Sohrab made a really taught short Western. The compositions and directing are almost claustrophobic, and I really liked that about it. It gives you the sense that something dreadful is about to happen. I haven't seen Tsuyoshi's film, but I look forward to watching it on Wednsday.

Tsuyoshi: I personally, really liked everyone of them. All of them have the different style from mine. Yeah, so I can't wait to see their next film.

What are your feelings going into the final night?

My answer here is a little selfish but it is always a kick to see your work projected on the big screen.

Tsuyoshi: Honestly, I don't know. But I just want to share the joy of how fun is to make films. Also, I'd like to enjoy watching them with people.

Sohrab: They are marvelous. How are yours?

Chris: I'm really excited to have the opportunity to see my film again on the big screen with an audience.

Will you be entering anything in 2009?

Yep, definitely!

Sohrab: Yes sir.


Not sure. For now, I have no plans of making a short film next year, but things change and I'm sure in a few months I'll start itching to get behind the camera again.

What have you all got planned for the next year film wise?

Directing my first feature in January.

Tsuyoshi: What I can say right now is I'm gonna make some sort of music video and a documentary.

Chris: My main priority for 2009 is to continue to try and get a feature length film made. I plan on putting all of my energy into that and writing.

The usual scramble for work and a few side projects.

Any final thoughts you want to express?

Just how thankful I am to have been apart of Open Mic Night. Nice job guys.

Sohrab: Thanks to anyone who has ever helped me in the past.

Tsuyoshi: I'm exhausted from all of my classes so, I need some vacation to get all rest up.

Chris: Thanks to the Salt Lake Film Society and The Tower for putting this together. I know it's not a profitable endeavor, so the time and effort they put into it can only be fueled by a passion for film and filmmaking. It takes a lot of hard work making a film, and having your film seen by an audience, on a big screen, is the ultimate goal, for me anyway. And these guys provide the opportunity to make that happen.