|Bully enjoying some sun and his shorts|
Shorts are much maligned and largely unloved.
Lets face it short of an online promotional video most people don’t watch short films. I mean how many of you actually watch shorts with any regularity? Almost none of you do. Its okay to admit it I’m not going to beat you up for it.
The thing is shorts are vital. Without shorts many a feature filmmaker would never have gotten green lit to make the big film. Also many feature films started as shorts.
When shorts are good they are better than most feature films. Last year my best of the year list was full of them.
And yet most people don’t watch them. Not only don’t most people not watch them the media doesn’t cover them. How often do you see reviews of short films? Outside of Unseen you really don’t. I mean do you really think that any of the major outlets will give any sort of real coverage to the shorts at say Tribeca? It’s not going to happen.
I’m sure the decision is going to be that no one sees them so why report on them, but the other problem is most writers don’t want to write on them. Why should I spend an hour writing up a six minute film? More damaging is how do you write about something as delicate as a short film when the brevity of the telling requires great tact and skill since you don’t want to ruin the film and in some cases literally give it all away?
Not to toot our own horn again, we at Unseen do cover shorts. I spent all day today watching 3 of the short film collections at the New York International Children’s Film Festival. I gave coverage of a good number the shorts at DOC NYC last year (and got a lot of thanks yous from the filmmakers as a result). I got to see Jerimiah Kipp’s killer The Day God Slept last year (and yes I know I know I promised to do an interview with him, but life keeps pulling me away from doing the prep work for it).
Personally I like the challenge of trying to do a large article on something so small. Writing on short films requires a great deal of thought. You can’t attack them in the usual way because of the dangers of giving it all away.
The funny thing is that over the last six months some of our highest read posts are the ones covering short films. Rose McGowan’s Dawn got a lot of hits. The Mostly wonderful Rat Pack Rat not only got tons of hits but sparked several great conversations. Post from DOC NYC were among our most read of the festival. People clearly want to hear about good shorts.
I did a quick unscientific study in my office and I found two things-
The first is that most peoples aversion to shorts is not a version to the form, rather it’s a fear of seeing something bad. What if its a bad film? How can I tell if something is good if I can’t find anything out about it?
The other thing I found is that most people only think of short films as cartoons, if its not animated it confuses them. When I pointed out that the Three Stooges and the Little Rascals were shorts I had a couple of people correct me to say no they were TV shows.
We at Unseen are going to continue to try and get word out on worthwhile shorts. Not only will we be wading into the shorts at festivals like Tribeca but we’re going to ramp up out coverage of shorts. I’ve just signed up for a film festival service that has some great films I have to tell you about. been stock piling shorts from You Tube and elsewhere so in a couple of weeks, after NYICFF and New Directors I’m going to a run what will be the first of what I hope will be many weeks of nothing but shorts.
You have to believe me when I say good things come in small packages- and if you hang in there we at Unseen are going to prove it to you.
(and yes if you have a short or even a feature- you want Unseen to take a look at feel free to contact us.)
A couple of quick reports on up-coming festival coverage
This week will have reports from this past weekend’s New York International Children’s Film Festival. This was the heaviest weekend for me (I was there every day) so there will be lots of reports. Reports will continue through the month as I’m going each weekend.
Tomorrow will have our first review from SXSW. I’m still trying to get more films into the cue and reports from the ground but my emails are not being returned so I don’t know where we stand.
Rendezvous with French Cinema continues this week and there is plenty of good things going on. I’m hoping that I can slip in a few more reviews.
I’ve been hip deep in films for the New Directors New Films series at MoMA and Lincoln Center. Look for at least twelve new reviews- maybe more. I do want to say that the festival is really all over the place this year with the films falling into some of the best I’ve seen and some of the worst.- and in one case a film is both at the same time. I’ve got more tickets for public screenings so I’m still hopeful I’ll be seeing more great stuff.
The Treefort Film Festival is 10 days away and I’m hoping to get you more coverage- I’ve got a film or two in the cue and I hope to get more reviews up.
Also look for the things to shift to all Tribeca all the time. They’ve started announcing titles and I’m starting to salivate. Yes I’m going, I’m just waiting for word from my compatriots at Unseen to see if they are going to the dance so so look for tons of reviews.
And now we conclude with som links ala Randi-
When films fall into public domain
A reference needed to appreciate True Detective
Best films never made
Frank Darabont commentary
Muppets break the fourth wall
The Oral History of Ghostbusters
Why you can't recreate a film shot by shot
100 foot tall Pixar
Over a century and a half later the New York Times corrects itself
Watching Gravity while listening to Darkside of the Moon. (thank you John)