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The Washington Psychotronic Film Society (WPFS) held its second annual Psycho Awards last Wednesday at 15 Minutes. Ten short works, mostly shot on video and culled from 40 submissions, vied for the $100 first prize and handsome Capitol dome/UFO trophy. The full house cheered appreciatively throughout the evening as all the works hewed closely to WPFS’s guiding philosophy that laughter is the best response to the artistic impulse.

The overall quality of the entrants represented an impressive improvement over last year’s event. WPFS executrix Melanie Scott declared an upset when celebrity judges Esmirelda, Kim Kane, and Craig Smith voted Derek Rose’s wry shaggy-dog tale, It, the winner. The in-house favorite was Matt Sesow’s The Box, a sweetly Lynchian opus shot with a toy camera. Second prize went to Erik McClain’s ambitious and assured Apple Crumb Panic! Accepting his award, McClain happily noted, “Rosebud dissed us. New York Underground dissed us. You are the only people who appreciate this type of filmmaking.” Actually, if Hollywood gave him a real budget, a lot of multiplex-goers could get behind his action/sci-fi style.

Other notable also-rans include: The North Country Machine Gun Shoot, Glenn Baker’s straight-faced look at arms-enthusiasts getting a little too excited in a New Hampshire gravel pit; Virginia Vitzthum’s amusingly blasphemous Leather Jesus Girls in the Year Zero, which dares to question the foundation of Christian belief—to a catchy Shangri-Las beat; The Extra-Mundane Tour of Washington, Brad Dismukes and Bess Powell’s get-outta-town docu-comedy; and Marc Slanger’s succinct prescription for the blahs, Rainy Day Activity Book. Gimme a double and show ’em all again.