They’re back! Across the US and in Canada, assistant editors, assistant audio mixers and assistant graphic designers at AICE member companies are channeling the spirit of Russian film theorist Lev Kuleshov as they prepare to enter the 2017 International Camp Kuleshov trailer competition.

The leaders of AICE’s Camp Kuleshov committee – Editor Kathryn Hempel of Cutters in Chicago, who co-founded the very first trailer competition back in 2002, and Editors Chris Franklin and Val Lasser of Big Sky Edit in New York – have announced several changes to this year’s contest. This is the third year that assistants at all chapters will be working to the same brief and with the same set of source films.

Led by Hempel and Franklin, the Chicago and New York chapters conducted informal focus groups with former CK winners to gather suggestions to improve the CK experience for assistants, and came away with several valuable insights that led to these changes, according to AICE Executive Director Rachelle Madden.

The most notable change is that all categories – Editing, Graphic Design and Audio – will be working from the same list of source films. In the past, each category has its own list of potential films to re-imagine according to each category’s rules. As with years past, any assistant at an AICE company – or freelance assistants sponsored by an AICE member company – can enter any category, regardless of their specific discipline.

The list of source films for this year’s competition runs the gamut, as usual, including everything from Hollywood classics like “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Music Man,” to silent gems like 1929’s “Man With a Movie Camera,” to social satires like “Zoolander” and to films made by Oliver Stone. As with all CK competitions, the films are arranged via genre. This list includes Political Thriller, B Movie, Science Fiction, Film Noir, Dystopian Drama, Heist Film and the alluring Worst Movie Ever Made. For a full list of films and category rules, along with information on how to enter, please go to: Deadline for entering is September 5, 2017.

As with the 2015 and 2016 CK competitions, the category winners from each chapter will then go head to head for the coveted “Lev” Award, named for Kuleshov himself. The goal of Camp Kuleshov is for the entries to not only be entertaining and to reflect ingenuity, creative thinking and mastery of craft, but to also function as true feature film trailers or TV promos do: to act as advertisements which promotes and sells the new ‘film.’

In Editing, the brief is to select one of the films on the source list and cut a trailer no longer than ninety seconds which promotes the film as a picture of a different genre, or as if made by a different director. Entrants can also choose to select two films from the list and cut a trailer which promotes the 'mashed up' film as a picture of a third genre.

Major changes are taking place with the Graphic Design category. In past years, this assignment has ranged from creating an opening title sequence for films that lacked one to designing posters for films that positioned them as from a different genre. “With last years ‘opening title sequence’ brief, we realized most of the entries could stand alone as trailers in and of themselves,” explains Big Sky’s Lasser. “So this year’s Graphic Assistants will be faced with the same challenge as the Editing Assistants, and that’s to make an awesome trailer. They’ll be working from the same list of films and genres as the other categories, but their entries should be driven by compositing, animation and manipulation using the tools of a graphic artist.”

Entrants in the Audio category will be tasked, as before, with choosing a 90-second snippet from a film on the source list and creating a sound design with a different intention than the original. Assistants are reminded that they’ll need to ensure their work molds the scene into something new, rather than recreate what was originally there.

Also new this year is the introduction of ‘At Large’ entries. These will be for assistants at AICE companies not located within a recognized chapter, or for those in cities whose chapter is not participating this year. The chapters holding CK competitions include Chicago, Detroit, L.A., New York, San Francisco, Texas and Toronto.

Finally, the Camp Kuleshov committee is assembling a list of senior editors, artists and mixers who will serve as ‘camp coaches’ during the time that assistants are working on their entries. They will be available to help guide the assistants through their creative processes, offering advice and mentoring (but not solutions).

Commenting on the growth of Camp Kuleshov, Cutters’ Hempel says, “I’m thrilled about the passion and continued involvement and support that keeps our Camp K competition and festival thriving, both locally in the individual AICE Chapters and globally on the International AICE stage. The participation from all the assistants – as well as the senior artists and editors, support staff and owners and EPs who judge, mentor and support their efforts – fills me with pride for our amazing community.