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By Bryan Rindfuss

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Here's a shocker: 28 films were made last week in San Antonio. Who knew we had so much local talent? For three years, SA has been participating in the world's largest timed film competition, the 48-hour Film Project. Last Friday, teams of varying size drew from a hat to determine the genre of their films and were given specific elements to incorporate â?? in this year's case, cookies, a character named Fred or Frida Flash, a walking encyclopedia, and the line, “I'll go back and check,” were all musts.

Last night, all 28 teams showed their masterpieces on two screens at the Alamo Drafthouse. Although it was a little daunting to have to choose between groups A and B, I'm glad I picked B. The first four films I saw didn't make the 48-hour deadline and won't be considered for the judging, but were still eligible for audience votes. Having materials returned unopened due to tardiness is something I'm familiar with, so these guys should be thrilled that their work was even shown. Of the four slow-pokes, the drama Revelation was my favoriteâ?? pure SA, complete with two women bickering about the side effects of putting too much salt on tortilla chips. “Some people can afford to retain more water than others,” was a gem of dialogue.

Having drawn “horror” from the hat, team Animate or Die created Attack of the Vampire Ninja Bats, a charming low-tech short that could easily pass for something on Adult Swim.

Monkeybot Films did an amazing job of expanding on their required elements â?? special agent Frida Flash, walking encyclopedia, saves the day by mowing down hijackers at a church bake sale. I wasn't aware that “film de femme” is a genre, but Bake Sale is my new favorite in that category.

And with a high-camp telenovela flavor, Ambrize Antonio's Finding Home made me laugh, possibly inappropriately.

But if I had to bet which film will go on to compete with winners from 79 other participating cities, it has to be Happytown Productions mockumentary A Crumby Day. Imagine a world in which cookies have been criminalized, forcing addicts to buy baggies of them in dark corners from sketchy-looking characters (nice use of the Current's neighborhood, by the way). The newscasts and updates about the cookie ban are so ridiculous and well done that I almost started believing them, and the dazed and drooling cookie addict muttering the words to ”C is for Cookie” stole the entire evening.

Kudos everyone. I'm looking forward to Saturday's best-of screening and award ceremony at Urban-15 Studio ($5, 6:30pm, 2500 S. Presa, (210) 736-1500).


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