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Arts & Culture

Decide Which Films Are Winners And Losers At The Gong Shorts Competition

It’s a San Antonio film competition that’s unlike the others in the Alamo City. Like many film gatherings, filmmakers get together to offer their films.

“So right now we’re doing our call for entries for local filmmakers," said Kimberly Suta, who produces the event.

“And basically the film needs to be between three and fifteen minutes long,” she said.

I had heard there was something about her film competition that makes it a little different.

“The idea is it’s an audience-voted film competition, so each film plays for three minutes, then at the three-minute mark the audience can call out for the gong,” Suta said.

If you're old enough to remember “The Gong Show” of the 1970s, films are allowed to continue, or they get the gong, all dependent on what the audience thinks of them.

“And if they want it to play, they don’t say anything. If they want it gonged then our emcee, Jade Esteban Estrada -- he’s a comedian -- he hits the gong, and then we move on to the next film,” Suta said.

So if some are saying gong and others aren’t, who makes a judgment call?

“When it’s close and it seems like half the audience wants to watch and half the audience doesn’t want to watch, I always err on the side of the filmmaker,” she said. "We do the same process for picking the first, second and third place winners. Now, those have been close, and we’ll actually call for hands and count.”

I asked her about the prizes offered.

“Yeah, so the first place winner wins a $100 cash," said Suta. "The second place winner receives dinner for two at Mixtli Restaurant, which is an amazing progressive Mexican restaurant here in town, and the third place gets tickets to the LOL Comedy club.”

It’s not all gonging though; there’s some serious film talk.

“And later on in the program we actually have the filmmakers come up and they do and little Q&A," she said. "So each filmmakers gets a chance to have positive, constructive feedback. So it’s a little more supportive of the filmmaking community here.”