From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Two Oklahomans named winners in Ron Howard’s new photo contest
The Oscar-winning director and Canon U.S.A. have partnered for the nationwide “Project Imaginat10n” contest — the follow-up to last year’s “Project Imagin8ion” — and five celebrities already have signed on to direct short films based on some of the winning photos.
For Brittany Johnson, photography is about conveying stories and inspiration as well as capturing striking images.
Now, the Edmond resident has a chance for one of her images to inspire a celebrity filmmaker’s storytelling.
Johnson and Richard Waters of Broken Arrow are among the winners of the nationwide “Project Imaginat10n” photo contest, part of the ongoing “Long Live Imagination” partnership between Canon U.S.A. and Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, who was born in Duncan.
“I am so incredibly happy and honored to be a part of something so amazing,” Johnson said in an email. “The goal for my photography has always been to tell a story, to make you feel an emotion and to inspire you.”
Canon representatives, Howard and a public vote selected 91 winners, including the two Oklahomans, for “Project Imaginat10n,” in which 10 celebrity filmmakers each will use 10 of the winning photos to inspire a short film.
Five celebrities already have been tapped to direct “Project Imaginat10n” shorts: Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx (“Ray”); Golden Globe-nominated actress Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”); Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter; Georgina Chapman, designer and co-founder of the Marchesa fashion label; and singer/songwriter/producer James Murphy, founder of the Grammy-nominated band LCD Soundsystem.
All five short films will go into production between this fall and spring 2013 and will premiere at a special “Project Imaginat10n” Film Festival. Five additional directors will be announced at a later date, according to a news release.
For “Project Imaginat10n,” 10 winning photographs were chosen from the thousands submitted in nine different storytelling categories: Character, Mood, Goal, Backstory, Setting, Obstacle, Relationship, The Unknown and Time. Howard personally picked the victor in the Discovery category — “Unparalled” by Jennifer Harris of New Orleans — and that photo will provide a thematic tie for all the celebrities’ short films.
“I am so passionate about the integrity and user-generated process of ‘Project Imaginat10n’ where our celebrity directors can be directly inspired by photographers from all across the country,” Howard said in the news release. “As we selected the photographs, I was blown away by the beauty, perspective and intrigue that they conveyed, and was thrilled that so many people wanted to once again take part in this exciting artistic experiment.”
Along with the Discovery image, the celebrity filmmakers each will now select one photograph from the other nine storytelling categories that personally inspires them, ultimately using 10 photos to create their short films.
A winner in the Character category, Johnson’s photo “Her throne was magic” depicts a little girl bathed in silvery light holding court with a pack of stuffed animals underneath a stately tree. Waters’ “Gone fishin,” which he took of two silhouetted fishermen casting their lines on foggy Lake Bixhoma, was among the 10 selections in the Relationship category.
“You know the phrase ‘The early bird gets the worm’? Well, I wake up the bird. If you’re going to take sunrise pictures, you have to be there way before the sun gets close to coming up,” Waters said in an email. “I want to thank Ron Howard, Canon and the judges. I’m sure it was a tough job deciding which photos to pick for the finalists. … I also want to say a special thank you to ALL that voted for my picture.”
Last year, Howard and Canon partnered for a similar creative endeavor, “Project Imagin8ion.” From the more than 96,300 photos submitted online, eight photos were selected and influenced the award-winning short film, “when you find me,” which Howard produced and his actress/filmmaker daughter Bryce Dallas Howard directed. Broken Arrow resident Chris Wehner’s “Yea, Though I Walk,” a stunning image of a gate at Tulsa’s Memorial Park Cemetery, was one of the winning photos in the “Project Imagin8ion” competition.
For “Project Imaginat10n,” Ron Howard again will mentor the celebrity directors as they begin the filmmaking process in his effort to prove that “we’re all creative.” To see all the winning photos, go to http://imagination.usa.canon.com.