KENS 5        
By JAMES MUNOZ        
April 18, 2011        


There is a new film competition at the Alamo Drafthouse and audience members decide when to gong the film. The show is being produced by NiffNot Productions, a local company founded by two women.

Filmmakers submit short, 15-minute films and wait to see how they do. The short movies are played for an audience, but after three minutes, audience members are allowed to produce that loud, sonorous tone. The gong means the film is a no-go with the audience and they want to see what's next.

The first interactive short films event took place Monday night at the Stone Oak location. Comedian Jade Esteban Estrada served as emcee.

"Audiences never lie," Estrada said. "This is a great opportunity for filmmakers to get feedback in a competitive arena. San Antonio has been ready for an event like this for a while. This competition will separate the men from the boys."

The grand prize winner walks away with bragging rights and $100 cash. But no one loses, because there are plenty of free laughs.

"Jade is hilarious and knows how to get a crowd riled up," producer Kimberly Suta said. "For San Antonians needing to laugh or just blow off some steam, this event is for them."


Comedian Jade Esteban Estrada at The Gong Shorts
Crowd-pleaser Jade Esteban Estrada


"This is a great way for filmmakers to try out new ideas, see their film on the big screen and observe how an actual audience responds," Suta said. "I've heard some filmmakers are a little afraid to get gonged, but that's part of the fun. You've got to be fearless, put yourself out there or you're in the wrong industry."

While some enter with the goal to get gonged, many of the participants are serious about filmmaking, and the producers say San Antonio is becoming the perfect place to start.

"San Antonio was recently listed in MovieMaker Magazine as one of the cities on the rise in the film industry, and this is one of those events that we hope can help by bringing local filmmakers together and the community to support them," Suta said. NiffNot Productions got the idea from a theatre in Tucson, Arizona. Every first Friday the theatre is packed.

The Gong Shorts in San Antonio will become a regular event as long as the audience shows up ready to gong.




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Jade Esteban Estrada Worldwide/Vicarious New York

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