nicolle clemetson / Jen Wick studio

Hey, stoner, I’ve found your winter project.

It’s not going to be hard, but it will require you to get off the couch, gather a gaggle of friends, and hit “record” on a camcorder. Actually, you know what? You could probably stay on the couch and do it.

This project will keep you warm and active, and you can be high as a kite while doing it. And get this: There’s $10,000 in cash prizes just sitting on the table.

The Mercury and its sister paper The Stranger are known for their amateur porn festival, HUMP! Hundreds of filmmakers have won thousands of dollars taking it all off for HUMP! and in fact, it’s been so successful for so many years, we’re starting a second short-film festival, this one for stoners. That’s where you come in.

The inaugural SPLIFF Film Festival (SpliffFilmFest.com) will give away three $2,000 first-place prizes in these categories: Trippiest Film, Funniest Film, and Stupidest Film. Plus, there’s a GRAND PRIZE of $5,000. That means a single entry could win up to $7,000. Do you know how much weed you could buy with that? A shit ton, especially in Oregon, where weed has never been cheaper.

This is the year to do this. The bar couldn’t possibly be set any lower than it is right now, because the bar doesn’t even exist. Next year, more people will have heard of SPLIFF, more experienced filmmakers will be entering, and the competition will be stiffer. This year? Who knows what will happen?

A few tips: Films should be short. Like, as short as possible. According to the official rules, they can’t be longer than four minutes and 20 seconds (get it?). But honestly, a two-minute movie is going to have a better chance of making it into the festival than a four-minute movie, because we only have a limited period of time for each screening of SPLIFF.

Think about how much content you create FOR FREE for Instagram every day. This is basically like an Instagram story. Sure, it’s going to need some creativity. Sure, it’s going to need to be funny. But you’ve got this. Get off the apps and put your highness to a higher purpose.

How many opportunities do you get in life to make something truly stupid and win thousands of dollars, citywide fame, and lifelong stoner cred? Imagine it now: Your stoned ass (maybe literally—asses are acceptable) up on the big screen, playing to sold-out crowds of stoners in Portland, Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco (yeah, we’re taking these films on the road).

I believe in you. And I know what you’re thinking: You don’t have any good ideas. Just for you, I’ve brainstormed a few free ideas that you can steal. Yes, these ideas are free for the taking!

Idea #1: Heard of Orbeez? No? Go on YouTube and look up Orbeez. You can buy 30,000 knockoff Orbeez for $10 from China. Buy a couple bags and fucking go wild.

Idea #2: Find a nun who’s willing to smoke pot. Have her explain God to you while the two of you dab.

Idea #3: Buy the biggest box of crayons you can find and film yourself looking into the camera and licking each one of them on your bed.

Idea #4: Interview a slug or a chicken or a teen about the president’s trade policy.

Idea #5: Buy a bunch of munchies and see how many you can mow down in a minute.

Idea #6: Get all your friends together, get as high as you can handle, and re-create your dreams using props you find at City Liquidators.

Idea #7: Put your houseplants in a baby carriage and take them to the dog park. Wear a GoPro and film the angry dog parents as they tell you the park is for dogs and not your plants.

Idea #8: Smoke tricks, duh.

Okay, that’s eight ideas. Again, free for the taking! You literally have no more excuses.

Still out of ideas? Search online for top-shelf stoner films. Holy Mountain, Half Baked, and even Pineapple Express are genre-defining classics. There’s even a shelf at Movie Madness devoted entirely to stoner flicks. Rent a few and get inspired!

As weed changes, so does the culture. It’s high time to reinvent the stoner film. SO LET’S DO THIS. Deadline for submissions is March 1, so get all the details NOW at SpliffFilmFest.com.

Let’s all toke up, grab a camera (even just your iPhone could work), and go make some movies.