"We have documentaries, fictional pieces, animation -- there are no genre categories," says Kirby Cobb, the founder and president of the Independent Filmmaker's Coalition, which is sponsoring the event for the fourth year. "The only box people have to work in is time." (The review panel has been busy whittling down the 22 submissions to a ninety-minute presentation.)
Cobb, who is letting his animated Mr. Beap character take a break this year, says the filmmakers represent a mix of amateurs, students and lifelong cineastes. "They're what I'd call 'down-home video artists,'" he says. "You've got the starving artists who make films and do nothing else, but I'd say about 90 to 95 percent have day jobs. They do it because they love it."
This year's submissions include an Ultimate Fakebook video of "When I'm With You, I'm OK," directed by Chris Sweetland, which features a human figure with a jayhawk's head cavorting in a Plaza fountain. In David Vickers' The Jawbone of an Ass, a disreputable Bible salesman makes an unfortunate choice when it comes to a potential buyer. And Look Who's Hawking is Jeremy Fuksa's tasteless yet hilarious TV-commercial parody pitching an album of songs such as "Whip It" and "It's Not Unusual" -- performed by the robot-voiced scientist Stephen Hawking.
All of which should be well-received by this largely filmmaking audience. Cobb says 357 "celebrates" making movies. "We play what will play to the crowd."