WEST BOUNTIFUL - Short films are like the salad bar of movies – you can enjoy a little of everything without overindulging.
Local filmmaker Doug Vandegrift Jr. will be showing a collection of his short work at a free screening on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at West Bountiful City Hall, located at 550 N. 800 West. Among the mix of movies will be a Lego epic set in the Old West and an eight-minute ghost story that delivers chills without saying a word.
“I’ve shown it in front of audiences and had them gasp,” said Vandegrift.
The ghost story, “Ring Wraith,” shares a title with a well-known “Lord of the Rings” monster but isn’t connected to the universe in any way. Though he describes it as closer in spirit to “Insidious,” a horror film, it’s safe for families to watch.
“There’s no nudity, gore or language,” said Vandegrift. “It’s just a silent little thriller.”
His Lego Western, “America: Outlawed,” is a much more complicated story, involving everything from a classic gunfight to the straight-razor shaving scene so often found in cowboy movies. Made in 2004, the movie has a similar style as the big-budget “The Lego Movie” due out next year.
“I was looking at some of my Lego sets on display, kind of playing around with them,” said Vandegrift of his inspiration for the film. “I had already done a stop-motion film before, and I thought ‘What if I did a whole film using Legos?”
The process of making the film led him to a small but devoted group of Lego filmmakers who helped him with technical problems on the film. By the time he got back from his mission, however, the Lego culture had exploded.
“The movie really took off,” said Vandegrift. “In a way, I was there for the beginning.”
A video producer for Intermountain Health Care by day, Vandegrift is currently writing the scripts for two new films. He hopes to have one of them completed by the end of 2014.
The first is a direct sequel to “America: Outlawed” that his YouTube fans have long requested. The second is a Lego adaptation of “The Legend of Zelda” video game that will be interactive.
“It’s choose your adventure,” he said. “It pauses when there’s a fork in the road, and there are different paths the viewer can take.”