Watermelon on Film Nets Duke Prof a Prize

Duke Filmmaker Josh Gibson Took Top Honors in a Recent Film Festival

Josh Gibson at work
Josh Gibson at work

Duke filmmaker Josh Gibson took the grand prize at a recent Utah film festival after creating a one-minute film about watermelon.

Gibson, associate director and instructor in the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image, won an AF100 Large Imager HD Cinema camera in Panasonic's "Five Flavors of Filmmaking" contest at Slamdance 2012, a film festival in Park City, UT.

Each team in the competition was assigned a flavor and challenged to create a one-minute film using the AF100, the official camera of the festival.

Gibson's team's assignment: Watermelon.

"I had never seen Park City before, arrived in a blizzard, promptly had a
minor car accident, and didn't have any cast or crew," Gibson said in this interview for a Panasonic blog. "I
was the first up in the contest, and had about eight hours with the
AF100, so decided to try out one of the assignments I often give my
cinematography students, to  create a visual interpretation of a haiku. I
actually chose three poems by 17th century Japanese haiku poet, Basho."

The haikus all made mention of watermelon and other food that Gibson could purchase at a nearby supermarket.He did so and shot them against the backdrop of fresh snow, according to the Panasonic blog.

Gibson is something of a throwback in his filmmaking. He likes to use 35-millimeter technology, an old-school method of movie-making that led to his most recent film, Kudzu Vine, a 20-minute, black-and-white documentary which was screened at the Slamdance festival.