Satirical “GCC, 2009” Wins at Film Festival

_Scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the winning entry._Last Friday, Andover student filmmakers attempted to convey sustainability in a variety of short films, ranging from comedies to dramas. Ultimately, the packed Kemper audience crowned “GCC, 2009” the winner. “I’m happy everybody liked it enough to vote for it,” said Sam Poliquin ’10 of his winning film. Alongside Arnold Wong ’10, Poliquin wrote and directed the short film in the school’s first annual Green Cup Film Festival. The film festival included five films with drastically different takes on green filmmaking—some were dramatic, some satirical, some humorous and some educational. Kenny Gould ’09 and Phil Hofer ’10 presented “The Power is Yours,” which told the story of representatives from each continent, each of whom was armed with special superpowers and a mission to save the planet. “Why Aren’t You Green?” produced by Zac Esakof ’11, Haritha Pula ’11, John Ingram ’11, Emily Scoble ’11 and Jinzi Zhang ’11 parodied popular viral videos and cultural phenomena. The group of Lowers succeeded in putting an environmental spin on Harry Potter Puppet Pals, the famous YouTube video “Shoes” and “The Dark Knight.” Ingram’s deadpan delivery of the line, “Trash, oh my God, trash,” called to mind the best internet sensation of 2007, and left an incredibly catchy—not to mention environmentally friendly—tune in the audience’s mind. “Live Green or Die Hard,” submitted by Michael Kontaxis ’11, delivered all the suspense of a blockbuster thriller—from the “Psycho”-esque attack on Lucy Bidwell ’09 in the shower to the gripping cross-campus chase scene. Kontaxis’ cinematography and excellent score held the audience’s attention. “The Quest for the Green Chalice” by Louisa Chafee’s ’09 offered a parody of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The short video most notably included a vicious gerbil, whose attacks on humans proved that “wildlife is fighting against our pollution.” Interspersed with the knights’ quest for the Green Chalice were facts about how each student can leave a smaller carbon footprint. It was “GCC, 2009,” however, that ultimately won the hearts of the audience members, who expressed their support by sending their votes via text message to Trevor Gullick-Stutz ’09. “It was really funny,” said Louise Ireland ’09. Nicole Okai ’10 described the video as “epic.” “I wanted it to look like…you know those erectile dysfunction commercials? They’re really lame…with dogs and [people] throwing balls—really happy?” said co-writer and director Poliquin. In a way, this inquisitive description is dead-on. The film is chock-full of happy hockey players chatting in slow motion, scenic overviews of the Phillips Academy campus and a measured explanation of the side effects of pollution by Mike Bernieri ’10. “What we had was more guys locker room humor, but not sexual. As long as it wasn’t blatantly sexual; I think we tried to find that balance,” said Poliquin. According to Wong, his last submission to the Green Cup Challenge film contest, which also featured Mike Bernieri and Anna Henderson ’08, was deemed too sexual by Carlos Hoyt. This year, Wong and Poliquin were able to tread the line but not cross it—keeping the film light-hearted and humorous without causing offense. “We wanted to make something with a green message,” wrote Wong in an email to The Phillipian, “but at the same time give the campus a little laugh.” Despite their envelope-pushing humor, Poliquin and Wong were not shocked to find out that the audience responded positively to their film, though they acknowledged the appeal of their competition. “Live Green or Die Hard [had taken] Lucy Bidwell already with the shower scene,” wrote Wong. “So we had a disadvantage there…but then again we had four guys in the shower and [Andrew Pohly ’09] on our side, so it wasn’t too bad.” Both Wong and Poliquin had substantial film-making experience on their side as well. Wong has been interested in film since a young age, and Poliquin has gone to three summer workshops on film-making in the past five years and recently interned at a post-production studio. “Sam and I did put a lot of work into the film, and we weren’t too surprised that we gained the audience’s popular vote,” wrote Wong. “You have to remember that other schools are going to see this film, [so] you know you want a film like this to represent PA. The film is going to be up on YouTube forever, and 10 years from now, those bros in the shower scene and other actors will look back and savor the good times.” Regardless of the first annual Green Cup Film Festival’s ultimate effect ten years from now, on Friday night, every audience member and film-maker was able to savor the memory of an event that kept them on the edge of their seats.