short film review

Reviews and news about short films, short film festivals, reviews, links and guides to short films online,images from short films,directors,writers,cinemaphotographers. Copyright 2005, 2006 by Allan Maurer. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

MTV leading in Internet Short Film Site Acquisitions

One sign of the increasing viability of short films as a medium gaining traction as a separate genre rather than just a path to feature film making is the consolidation of online short film sites under large corporate media umbrellas:

Viacom's MTV has acquired the two leading purveyors of short films online. It has purchased both (which it bought last year) and Atom Entertainment, which has four sites including It bought Atom for $200 million, which should indicate that short video online is becoming a very viable medium indeed.

The deal Al Gore's Current TV -- another short film venue -- just made with Yahoo is yet another sign pointing to the emergence of short films and videos as one of the major media forms of the future.

This trend will only increase with the proliferation of portable devices capable of showing short films, the movement of the Internet to online everywhere status, and the increasing availability of digital filmmaking equipment that can turn anyone seriously interested into a filmmaker.

Palm Spring's Shorts Fest Awards

The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films in August screened 333 short films, including 74 world, 56 North American, and 16 U.S. premieres.

First place award winners are eligible to submit to the Academy for Oscar consideration.

Norwegian director Hisham Zaman's "Bawke" won the fest's best of the festival award, which includes $2,000 and software.

Award winners receiving a first place prize are automatically eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration. Norwegian director Hisham Zaman's "Bawke" won the festival's best of the festival award in the jury prizes, which includes $2,000 and a package of software. It also won best narrative short at the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival. It's about the travails of a father and son, both illigal immigrants to Scandinavia. Alex Weil won the Future Filmaker award, for his CG animated "One Rat Short."

The Panavision Grand Jury award went to Hubert Davis' "Aruba." His prize includes a Panavision camera package valued at $60,000 and two days studio time at Palm Spring's Casablanca Studios, so look for a feature from Davis.

Vince Marcello and Israeli Leonid Prudovsky tied for the audience favorite live action short for "Zombie Prom" and "Dark Night." Best documentary went to U.S. director Desiree Handall's "Chicken." Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson, both Canadians, won the audience prize for animated short with "First Flight."

Best live action over 15 minutes went to Swedish director Jens Assur's "The Last Dog in Rwanda" Best live action under 15 minutes went to comedy "Happiness" by Sophie Barthes ($2,000) ($2,000). Run Wrake's "Rabbit" won best animation, and Sam Green's "Lot 63, Grave C" won best doc. Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw won the Kodak Award for best student cinematography for "The City Eats its Weak" and best student doc went to "Going Home" by Hung P. Nguyen and Juliet Porter's "Breathe" and Andrea Janakas' "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" won best student live action prizes in the "under 15 minutes" and "over "15 minutes" categories respectively.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Short Films Site From Iran

Short Film News, a site which began in Iran in 2004, has launched an English language edition at Short Film News

Marjan Riaji, the site's attractive and intelligent editor and director, says that it focuses on Iranian short films and documentaries but is also covering short film events worldwide. It has an excellent list of festivals relevant to short film makers and links to a number of Iranian short films.

In this stressful time of discord between the U.S. and Iran, arts may do more to bring us together than diplomacy. In fact, the arts are diplomacy. The universality of the human experience comes through in movies as it does in travel itself. Iran has produced top notch feature filmmakers for quite a while and if Short Film News is any guide, its short film scene is equally vibrant.

We'll be reviewing some of the short films available via links on the site. As Riaji says in her "About Us" essay, the short film form has evolved beyond being merely a filmmaker's entry to features, becoming a genre unto itself.

We hope to establish and ongoing relationship with Short Film News and other such sites worldwide, but meanwhile, go on over and have a look.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

TCM Showing Day of Great Short Films

The Turner Classic Movie Channel airs “The Shorts Circuit” Wednesday, Sept. 15 over a 24-hour period offers a rare chance to view the short films of a bevy of major directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsesse, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Francois Truffaut, Roman Polanski, Chris Marker (La Jetee, done entirely in stills but for one frame), Fred Zinneman, Jacques Tourneur (who directed the Val Lewton produced “Cat People,” and “I Walked with a Zombie,” Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, and Jane Campion, not to mention some of Chaplin and Keaton’s best.

Get your VCR or DVD recorders ready, because this is a veritable college course in the history of the short film.

In several cases, such as the Polanski and Scorsese shorts, the films are the work the directors did in film school, a route still often taken by budding directors today. Polanski’s “Two Men and Waredrobe,” made while he was in film school in Poland in 1958, was once a stable of college film societies.

A number of the French “New Wave” directors of the 1960s, including Truffaut, also began their careers making short films.

Veteran Hollywood directors George Sidney and George Marshall provide diverting entertainments. Sidney’s “Hollywood Hobbies” was written by Morey Amsterdam, who later played a comedy writer on the Dick Van Dyke show on TV. It portrays classic MGM stars such as Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy at leisure.

Several of Tourneur’s shorts are narrated by Pete Smith. Smith, chidf of MGM’s publicity department during the Hollywood studio’s heyday, also starred in a series of his own shorts called Pete Smith specialties, which I remember seeing in theatres as late as the 1950s and which TCM runs fairly often.

The show includes a rerun of TCM’s documentary about “Added Attractions: Hollywood Shorts.”

Look for additional posts before and after this day long festival of shorts.

Here's TCM's guide to the films: The Shorts Circuit