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‘Cafe Diem’ takes first prize at Gig Harbor Film Festival’s 72-hour film competition

Dr. Christopher Kerr (center) and the stars of his short film, Samantha Allen and Brad Bennett, stop for a photo after “Cafe Diem” won best overall at the 2019 72-hour film competition, which is part of the Gig Harbor Film Festival.
Dr. Christopher Kerr (center) and the stars of his short film, Samantha Allen and Brad Bennett, stop for a photo after “Cafe Diem” won best overall at the 2019 72-hour film competition, which is part of the Gig Harbor Film Festival. Courtesy

Dr. Christopher Kerr’s four-minute film depicted how a single moment in time can transform or change the rest of your life.

Kerr’s own moment came at the 72-hour film competition at this year’s Gig Harbor Film Festival. His short film “Café Diem” won best overall, competing against 28 other shorts.

“I had the theme I was interested in and just developed a story around it. I knew the point I wanted to make,” said Kerr, a dentist.

Kerr’s story took place in a coffee shop, showing the moment when two people meet, or don’t meet, and how that single moment holds future possibilities.

The short-film competition began four years ago.

Each contestant was given the guidelines for what their film needed to entail a week before the event. The directors then had 72 hours to come up with an idea, film, edit and submit.

This year’s guidelines required each film to include an apple, an apple falling and the phrase, “That’s not how I would have handled it.” The random guidelines ensured all films were created within the 72-hour time frame.

The 29 films were played earlier this month to two packed Galaxy theaters, holding a total of around 400 people.

Each short film was played on the big screen and judged by a panel of five people with a vast knowledge of the film industry.

“The whole thing was really fun. People submitted to the festival who had good equipment, and others who have an iPhone and a story to tell. All of them turned in really fun projects,” Kerr said.

Each participant paid $65 to register for the competition at www.gigharborfilm.org.

Kerr used a mirrorless camera to record his film, using a co-worker and friend as the two main actors.

Kerr said this was the first film he ever created. He always considering himself a movie buff but finally decided this was the year to put his creativity on display.

“I’ve attended the film festival for the past few years and have been just amazed at the high quality films they get,” Kerr said. “Every year I’ve said, ‘Gosh, next year I should be a part of that.’ This was the year I decided to do it, and it turned out to be a really fun experience.”

Kerr won both Overall Best as well as best picture for his age category of 19 and above.

Kerr received $500 and will have his film played during the Gig Harbor Film Festival from Sept. 26-29.

“I was incredibly excited,” Kerr said. “In September they have the Gig Harbor Film Festival, and I have been amazed at the high-caliber films from around the world. For my film to be shown along with these high quality films is a real honor.”

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