fri 13/12/2019

Opinion: What's the point of short film? | reviews, news & interviews

Opinion: What's the point of short film?

Opinion: What's the point of short film?

The director of the Encounters Film Festival leaps to the short film's defence

Got a spare 10 minutes? Encounters in Bristol

The emergence of digital both as a technology and a culture has fundamentally changed the world in which short film now exists. Now short film has public, industry and social value and its role and routes have fundamentally changed.

Short film is one of the most creative art forms on Earth, a space for research and a format in which an artist can experiment, take risks, explore their craft and develop their cinematic vision. The Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival champion it as an art form, place for information communications and a talent development space. It’s a flexible, powerful medium and has the ability to convey a bold idea in a contained space.

What’s encouraging is that the market for short film is growing and developing a global environment that is increasingly characterised by its social function in society. This is a role that extends the impact of aesthetics, politics, activism and art into everyday life.

The industry is busy exploring the issues of linguistics and aesthetics

The proliferation of digital technologies means that platforms where short film will be presented change the medium itself and its applications. This new era for film, augmented by the digital, is an era that is not only just beginning. It’s a period of constant change leading us towards a state of permanent technological change. To quote the short film The Future of Cinema according to Paul Schrader: “Today we don’t know what movies are, we don’t know how long they are, we don’t know how you see them, where you see them, how you pay for them. Everything is being made up on the fly. The idea of film entertainment is undergoing a systematic change. Every week brings another change. No one knows for sure what the future of cinema will be like.”

The redefinition of cinema by artistry paves the way for a cross-sector approach to both talent and audience development and the use of festivals as platforms for research and connectivity across short film, media, art, music, technology, architecture and biology etc. The industry is busy exploring the issues of linguistics and aesthetics. What actually differentiates a short film from an Internet video? Is a vine short film? Can vlogging be defined as a form of short film?  These questions are important to debate.

The Encounters Film Festival introduces directors to people who invest in films or exhibit films such as buyers, distributors, programmers and festivals. Showcasing their work at our festival gives them a profile, which assists them in securing the attention of investors and/or securing public funds to make their films. In the past we have also run production and commissioning schemes for filmmakers and our role in commissioning is something we are exploring in terms of our future role as a festival.

Commercially, technologically and culturally, the contemporary media landscape is compelling the festivals and the industry to look at and to establish broader networks. Cinema in live, digital, virtual and biological worlds transcends film industry intelligence and festivals are well placed to make the links that the filmmakers need to thrive and survive in this interdisciplinary context.

Overleaf: watch Cool Unicorn, Bruv, a winner from last year's festival

What actually differentiates a short film from an Internet video?

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