A lad with a harpoon makes some mischief and a local teen creates a grind-house style parody: Here are the winners of the 2016 3 Minute Masterpiece contest, presented by The Seattle Times and SIFF.

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A harpooner (who doesn’t hurt the whale) and giant killer Legos are the stars of this year’s winners of the 3-Minute Masterpiece digital film contest, presented by The Seattle Times and Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

Films from the grand-prize and youth winners as well as the runners-up will be shown at a special event Saturday, May 21, at SIFF, and will be streamed on seattletimes.com. The event begins at 10 a.m., doors open at 9:30.

The winners

• “A Lad With A Harpoon Gets Into Mischief In The Frozen North” in the grand-prize winning “Le Harponneur,” created by Cameron White, of Redmond. White won a SIFF festival pass.


• Carlos Key, of Seattle, won the J. Michael Rima Youth Prize for “Attack of the Killer Legos,” which, Carlos wrote, is “ A grind-house style parody trailer featuring stop motion animation and lots of screaming.” It was inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” Carlos won a six-pack of SIFF tickets.

| How to make your way around SIFF 2016 |


These films were selected to be shown at the May screening:

• “The Magic of a Second,” by Deborah Achak, of Seattle;

• “Full of Color,” by Ryan Cass, of Kenmore;

• “Super,” by Suzanne McAuley, of Sammamish;

• “The Boy in Black,” by Preston Scott, of Bellevue;

• “The Grand Illusion,” by Andrew Tribolini, of Seattle



A critic’s take

The winners’ films impressed our judges, but what did a reviewer make of them? We asked Seattle Times movie reviewer Soren Andersen to screen both our winners’ films, and here’s his professional opinion, starting with the grand-prize winner:

A solitary figure in black stands atop a glacier, gazing at the floe-clogged waters of the fjord below. Harpoon in hand, he leaps over the edge and slides, like a skateboarder without a board, like a skier without skis, down the icy slope to the frigid waters and hurls himself onto the back of a passing whale.

He gets to his feet. He plunges his weapon into the animal’s blowhole.

So, some kind of environmental thing going on here? Message: Save the whales from a fate such as this?

Well, no.

Whispering “sorry,” he yanks upward. The weapon dislodges with a moist “pop,” and on the tip is a … cork?

And at that instant, the minimovie “Le Harponneur” slides into “Twilight Zone” territory. Because, lo, here comes a mystery ship captained by … a crab? A crab that speaks in a voice seemingly borrowed from SpongeBob’s boss, Mr. Krabs. The crabby captain asks the young fellow, “And where might you be off to?”

“France,” is the reply. “Champagne region.” Mr. Harpooner gazes into the lens, and in a raspy whisper declares, “Where do you think corks came from?” Meaningful pause. “It’s the whales.”

(Oh, and the whale is unharmed.)

Yo, ho, ho, matey. The movie’s maker, Cameron White, has one peculiar sense of humor. And pro-quality filmmaking chops, as he demonstrates significant expertise using digital techniques to create an icy, realistic dark world where weirdness abounds. No wonder the picture snagged the grand prize in the Times’ 3 Minute Masterpiece contest.

And there are even more ho-hos in “Attack of the Killer Legos,” winner of the contest’s youth division.

The title says it all. Using digitized stop-motion animation, young director Carlos Key sends a giant Legobot on a rampage in what looks like the filmmaker’s kitchen, towering over a cowering victim as the off-screen announcer declares in doom-tinged tones while Bernard Herrmann-like strings shriek in the background, “When these Legos are done with you, you won’t be getting put back together.”

And at the end, as the creature runs wild at school and a teacher screams in terror, there’s this: “This time, the Legos are what’s playing with you!”

“Killer Legos.” It’s a scream.