‘A Merry Movie Christmas’ challenges filmmakers, benefits All Abilities Park

ST. GEORGE —  After four long weeks of writing, casting and editing, local filmmakers came together Saturday night to premiere their own holiday films at the newly renovated Electric Theater, both as part of a “Guerilla Filmmakers Challenge” and to raise money for the St. George All Abilities Park and Playground.

The event, “A Merry Movie Christmas,” was the last of three “Guerilla Filmmaking Challenges” for the year put on by Adam Mast, who co-hosts St. George News “Film Fanatics.”

The challenges have been ongoing for 10 years, starting with two each year for the first five years and then growing to three annually with the addition of the holiday-themed challenge. The idea behind the “Guerilla” challenges is to encourage and support a filmmaking community in the St. George area.

This year’s “Merry Movie” closed out the year’s challenge trifecta with 12 filmmaking teams delivering cinema overflowing with Christmas spirit.

Guerilla filmmaking veterans Lonie Black and Brandon Tippetts took home first place in audience-choice voting with their Santa vs. squirrel epic, “And All Through the House.” Filmmaker Kipp Howard’s rambunctious “Son of Santa” took second place and filmmaker Liz Baxter’s affectionate charmer “Secret Santa” took third.

While the challenge stimulated the abilities and talents of its participants, it also raised support for the All Abilities Park and Playground. The park, slated to open early next year – hopefully in February, Mayor Jon Pike said Saturday – is Jurassic-themed and designed to offer a play haven with fully accessible playground equipment – even a train – where children who may not otherwise be able to do so can play side-by-side alongside others.

Not unlike the large creativity behind the All Abilities Park it supported, “A Merry Movie Christmas” offered up a variety of the fantastic: magical ornaments, destructive squirrels, zombies, psychopaths, fanboys, musicians and, of course, Santa Claus. There was a little something for everyone Saturday night.

“Honestly, the fun part is sitting in a theater full of people, laughing and cheering for something you made” local filmmaker Liz Baxter said. “That’s an amazing feeling.”

Event organizers were happy with the turnout and said they hope to be back with another “Guerilla Filmmaking Challenge” early next summer.

UPDATE Dec. 22:  “Merry Movie” brought some extra merries to local filmmaker Shaun Labrecque who was rewarded for a public marriage proposal – on stage – with a yes.  Watch his YouTube here.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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