‘Priest’ Movie Trailer Contest Puts UK Film Students to the Test

In preparation for its upcoming release of its Priest movie, Sony put a group of aspiring film students at the University of Westminster (London, UK) to the test in a pitch and editing competition. It was very interesting approach, so I thought to relay the events that transpired, provide video clips of the entries, and to give my two cents on the editing choices made.

The field started with forty-one recorded pitch-style interviews and worked its way rapidly down to three finalists: Saba Kia, Josh Sanger, and Moritz Riewoldt.

These three had just one evening to edit a trailer for the film from supplied footage, courtesy of Sony. Now, honestly, that’s a daunting task, and I’m sure that the level of stress felt in the time crunch was nothing short of immense. On the other hand, they were probably tickled pink at getting such high quality imagery and sound to use, and their diet of such good film may find them loathing future edits of typical film school footage. Nonetheless, each editor set out to carry out a specific portrayal of the film from the footage, and they found themselves boarding a flight the very next day, bound for Sony Studios in Los Angeles, CA, where they would both pitch and then play their trailers for a triumvirate for a final decision on their fate. Rather than merely rehash all the details here, you can see the compiled YouTube video to see who was on the judging panel yourself.

Each of the students was able to convey a theme and a mood, and, thankfully, very much of my prior post about the effective Editing of a Movie Trailer was verified. Here are the videos they presented.

Saba Kia’s Trailer:

Josh Sanger’s Trailer:

Moritz Riewoldt’s Trailer:

In all, my final decision falls on Josh’s trailer. Why? because he chose to connect the audience with the main character. You see his role, his doubts/humanity, his battle. Saba did a great job as well, and I actually like her editing style more (seems more fluid to me), but she addressed the overall premise of good and evil and then introduced the protagonist as a second element. Moritz took an even more daring approach and attempted to keep the audience wondering who is good and who is bad, promoting a balance of both types of characters, but never revealing a role for each. While it’s great not to give the entire plot away, people really want to connect with something, so go ahead, point to something. I would almost have preferred a reverse approach, introducing the antagonist and their fight against the protagonist over the mixup presented. Still a great cut, but it does not entice me to see the film.

From what I’ve seen of the footage, Sony appears to have a solid film on their hands. I love the look of the special effects, and the color is awesome. I’ll look forward to its release on May 13, 2011.

More can be found on the Priest film’s Facebook page. The hype is growing around the film, and Sony (UK) even created a Priest in 3D App, allowing for the conversion of individuals’ photos into either priests or vampires.


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