With one click of a camera shutter, Tampa Bay artists Dave Ballis and J.W. Hendricks each caught the attention of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. Photographs taken by Ballis, 46, of Pinellas Park and Hendricks, 20, a University of Central Florida student from Seminole, are finalists in the 10th annual Project Imaginat10n contest that Howard helms in cooperation with Canon. Ballis' shot titled Tourist View, taken in 2012 atop St. Petersburg's now-closed Pier was chosen in the contest's Setting category. "The sun is setting and the sky is darker, so this could be like a goodbye," Ballis said. "A relationship is ending." Hendricks' photo titled Memories, featuring a scuffed baseball in a Gainesville park, made the short list in the Backstory category. "I saw all these heart-wrenching stories (on the contest website) about how this picture spoke to them," the UCF film school student said. "I had no idea that photography could do that for people." Ballis and Hendricks each won $500 in Canon store credits and tickets to the Project Imaginat10n Film Festival in New York. Their photos weren't selected from 91 finalists to inspire five celebrity filmmakers — including Jamie Foxx and Eva Longoria — to create short films for the festival.
Steve Persall, Times movie critic