Intel and the world-renowned W Hotel chain joined forces with VICE this month for short film competition Four Stories, that aimed to seek out the world’s next bright young things in film. From over 1000 submissions from aspiring filmmakers around the globe, developed into 10-minute short films, four were selected. A panel of industry judges including Roman Coppola were responsible for scrutinising the entries. With the aim of supporting ‘rising visionaries’ of film, the shorts brim with jet-setter lifestyle attitude, the rules of the competition stipulating two things; firstly that the films must feature Intel’s new Ultrabook at the centre of the plot and secondly be located within a W Hotel. Whilst these strictures had the potential to stifle creativity, the final four chosen showed diversity and originality. The tales ranged from a modern day morality tale centred on a laptop that could grant wishes, to a modern day love story that finds its genesis in an online chat room. Expertly shot and lavishly produced, the films (whilst containing more product placement than your average Bond movie) succeed in displaying a broad range of truly talented individuals who generated witty, charming and dramatic tales.
The winner, announced earlier this month, was The Winner Between Us, starring Nicole Beharie, who also featured (albeit briefly) in Steve McQueen’s Shame (2011). American director Kahlil Joseph was at the helm of the film and set it amidst the turquoise waters and sandy beaches of the Maldives. Unlike the other three, which used the laptops in very direct ways, Joseph manages to weave the product placement more subtly into the narrative. The real charm however lies in his eye for capturing the blissful shores of the tropical paradise and combining it with an impacting drama.
Not one to stay out of the limelight, Coppola also contributed a highly satirical short Die Again, Undead One which is framed by a vampire tale that sees Jason Schwartzman hunt down a lesbian alien bloodsucker. Coppola hits the mark with this self-deprecating short that shows above all else this competition wasn’t just about hotels and laptops, but about creativity.