By DAVID JONES
The film is only 13 minutes long, but it has made a winner out of Tommy Wallace.
Wallace, who is beginning his own public relations and advertising firm under the name of Wallace Productions, heard last year that VCI Entertainment of Tulsa was hosting a short film competition for Oklahoma film makers. The idea was that the films had to be less than 30 minutes in length and could be no cruder than a PG-13 type film.
Wallace, who had once hosted a television show on teenage problems for cable channel 20 called “Tulsa Teen Talk,” was intrigued by the possibility of expanding his communication options. There were some problems, however; he had no script, no cast, no equipment and no money.
“I decided to write a script about a young man whose father leaves the house and who then has to escape the influence of gang violence. There’s some of me in the role of the young man; my father left our house when I was a teen.”
Wallace set to work writing the script. Then he borrowed a high-definition 8 mm video camera from a cousin. “We shot the whole thing in just a few hours,” he says. “I had to do some on-the-set improvising when one of my actors didn’t show up.”
After the shooting came the post-production work. From first setting pen to paper to winding up the finished project took perhaps 90 days.
“I won an honorable mention,” says Wallace, “and it has turned my life around. I’d like to go back and do a longer version of the story. I’d also like to do films on combating teen suicide and child abuse.”
The VCI competition was begun when VCI Entertainment public relations director Chris Lowe was trying on some pants.
“The salesman asked me what I do and I said I worked in film. He said he had just won an award for a film he had done and asked if I would take a look at it. I did and was blown away. I got to thinking there had to be more talented Oklahoma filmmakers out there and suggested the contest to my boss, who liked the idea.”
Approximately 200 films were entered in the contest. Five were chosen for top prizes as well as Wallace’s, which won the sole honorable mention. All six films will be included on a DVD to be made available around March.
“We had fixed our number of winners at five,” says Lowe, “but Wallace’s film was special. He took on a very difficult subject and managed to address it without violence or profanity. It was an extremely moving work and we had to honor it.”
Tommy Wallace can be reached by calling (918) 378-3342.
He can be e-mailed at tomas74401 @Yahoo.com.
Christopher Lowe can be reached by calling (918) 254-6337.
His e-mail address is crowe @vcient.com.