Making Time: Mark Tapio Kines Wins Getty Images Contest With "The Closest Thing to Time Travel"

Hey, what's the big idea? That was the concept of Getty Images recent short film competition, "The Next Big Idea." Filmmakers were asked to explore what the big idea means to them and to create a 60-second film. It was required that at least half of the images used were from the enormous amount of still images and digital films made available to contestants from Getty's website.


Getty provided filmmakers with access to 1.4 million still images and 100,000 film samples to make a creative work of art. More than 200 films were submitted from nearly 23 countries around the globe such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico and Poland. 28 films made it to the finals and were posted on Getty's website for online voting.


The initial submissions were viewed and cut down to a final list of 28 by a group of film experts: Lewis Blackwell, Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director at Getty Images, and leader of this group of judges (London); Sophie de la Motte, Executive Producer and Managing Director, Hamster Publicist (Paris); Jeremy Hollister, Founder and Creative Director, Plus en Plus (New York); John Turk, Co-Fonder and Head of Production, RES (New York); and Mark Waites, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Mother (London).


Getty named Mark Tapio Kines of Los Angeles, CA as the winner of "The Next Big Thing." His film, "The Closest Thing to Time Travel", was elected number one in online voting and earned him a $10,000 grand prize to use toward other creative endeavors.


The film starts with a satellite or mirror in space, viewing all life on Earth from millions of miles away. If it could somehow bring that information back to Earth faster than the speed of light, the film postulates that would be the closest thing man could have to time travel. The tool would allow people to view both ancient and recent events such as the crucifixion of Christ and the JFK assassination.


"History is interesting because it is so subjective. We can see it in so many different ways and people could record it," Kines said.  "What would happen if we could really go back in time? Our perception could change if we could really see what happened."


The idea for the competition started with seven of the world's best filmmakers in 2004 as they also tried to voice their view of "the big idea" through film. With the amount of feedback they received, the filmmakers decided to turn their idea into a contest, although Getty is not sure if this will be an annual competition. Getty simply recognized the opportunity to do a contest and to generate discussion through the final, selected films.


Blackwell found diverse films styles throughout the entries. "The films brought dreams to life," he says. He was amazed with what people were doing with the clips. He is looking to provide more of a mix of clips to Getty's collection, such as animation and live action.


Prior to this competition, Kines majored in experimental animation at California Arts Film School where he graduated in 1992. He then worked as a graphic artist and began his first live action film in 1996, which was finished in 1999. He later became the Art Director for Paramount Pictures Online Division but quit and free lanced for a while before hearing about the competition.


When asked about the theme for the film, Kines said he had always been interested in time travel, as a filmmaker, and wanted to explore a way to go back in the past.


Kines looked at still images, and then wrote the narration, which tells the story of an old man remembering a young woman from his past he wished to find. Kines then looked into images of satellites and images from the past to fit his story.


Kines plans to keep making features independently and has developed more ideas for short films after participating in the contest.