Short film wins — by complete surprise
We think this is, well, a little bit funny.

It seems that we took some top honors at a film festival. Without even trying. Without even knowing about it.

We produced an eight-minute short film called "Placing Children First" for the state's Department of Human Resources. It's an infomational piece aimed at divorced parents, encouraging them to remember to keep their children from becoming victims of their problems. Calhoun Community College administered the grant that paid for the project, and unbeknownst to us they entered it in Decatur's River City Film Festival.

You can imagine our surprise to learn that the piece won first place "Independent Short." Above that, it won second place in the overall "Best Alabama Filmmaker" category, which included all films in the festival — even features.

Fortunately, the film takes a happier turn as it goes on.

Phil Schmidt wrote and produced "Placing Children First," with Todd Terry directing, and Joey Skelton as editor. Janette Smith appears as the host and narrator, with students from Calhoun and Alabama A&M University in the other roles. Wes Torain from Calhoun coordinated the project with the schools.

Now, if we could just win a lottery that we didn't know we'd entered...