By Dan Walton
Though hes a frequent visitor to the valley, Napoleon Dynamite spent the last weekend of April in Alberta, where he was awarded Best Performance in the Cosplay Contest at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo for his dance routine, re-enacted from the feature film.
Beneath the Napoleon Dynamite get-up was Japhy Hunt from Invermere and hes on a winning streak. Japhys admission to this years event was covered after he won the same contest at the expo last year, as Captain Jack Sparrow. Both wins were in the Journeyman category the intermediate range of competition.
With the Jamiroquai song Canned Heat queued up on his tape cassette, Japhy treated the venue as a high school presidential debate, and delivered an awkward dance for the crowd he knew he could impress.
The contest happened on Saturday, April 26th at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park.
The event is won by impressing a panel of judges, who give each contestant one minute to deliver a performance. While Napoleons lasts a little longer in the movie, Japhy was able to imitate a similar finale, where he was caught off guard by the abruptly halted music.
The dance may not sound awe-inspiring, but to a live audience, it shows an oddly confident Napoleon demonstrating the pinnacle of his skills. And the crowd at the Cosplay Contest was blown away, just as the crowd in the film was knocked off its feet.
It got so loud, it then just felt easier to dance on stage, Japhy said. It was so cool.
By winning the contest again, Japhy was awarded a four-day pass to next years expo, as well as a pass for the 2015 season of the Theatre Calgary. As the cult movie Napoleon Dynamite is nearly ten years old, Japhy discovered it through one of his favourite teachers, Mr. Kopp.
I gave it a watch and I loved it I found it hilarious, he said. Most of the work came from finding the personality that was so much fun.
Japhy said the costume was easy to assemble, and his curly hair is a natural fit for Napoleon.
When Japhy was approached with photo requests, he gave Napoleon-like replies a sigh and then a miserable, drawn-out fine.
Napoleon can sometimes be spotted around town, and his alter-egos are also on the loose. Sometimes at the Invermere Farmers Market, and other times just strolling around, Japhy also takes on the roles of the Mad Hatter and his own creation Pepperman.