Annual balance sheet presented on French short film sales abroad
During the festival in Clermont-Ferrand, Unifrance presented a study on the sale of French short films outside the country. The period examined, the year 2008, witnessed a significant growth in sales. Compared to 2007, revenues rose by 65% to 510,592 euros. In 586 contracts, 375 different film titles were sold. The most successful film of all was the Oscar- and César-award-winner “Le Mozart des pickpockets” by Philippe Pollet-Villard.
The film theatre market accounted for 12% of turnover, while the television market proved to be the most important medium for showing short films, with 69% of all sales. Other screening channels, such as video-on-demand, mobile phone and similar platforms did not play an appreciable role.
The study was conducted by Unifrance under the direction of Martine Vidalenc and Ron Dyens at the behest of the Commision des producteurs et exportateurs de produits courts.
20 years of ARTE: television station celebrates with film festival || 14/11/2010
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the German-French television station ARTE, a film festival with online competition (including a short film category) will be held from 22 November to 4 December 2010.
The cross-genre films taking part in the competition are all co-productions by the station that are making their television debut. What’s special about this competition is that the viewers alone select the winner via online voting. All competition entries can also be viewed for seven days on the video platform ARTE+7.
Amongst the films vying in the competition are: “Yuri Lennon’s Landing on Alpha 46″ by Anthony Vouardoux (D 2009), “Le Cirque” by Nicolas Brault (CAN 2010) and “Doll” by Alice Anderson (F 2009).
As a special encore, there will be two open chats with a few of the directors who entered their films. The chats will take place on 27 November and 4 December, on at 20h and 21h each day.
40 years of the Copenhagen Film Workshop || 14/11/2010
On 1 October 2010 the Copenhagen-based Danish Filmví¦rkstedet celebrates its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1970 under the name “Workshoppen” as a joint project of the Film Fund and Danmark Radio, the main aim was to close a gap by offering employees in the film and television industries an opportunity not found elsewhere to experiment with unconventional forms of expression and working methods in producing their films. Instead of funding, support was provided exclusively in the form of equipment, film stock and advice.
Later, Danmark Radio withdrew from the project and the workshop had to shut down for a time, but it was later able to reopen. There followed a long series of ups and downs. After several changes in location, the Film Workshop moved in the late 1980s, under the name Den Danske Filmví¦rkstedet, to a 750sqm space on Vesterbrogade, where it remained for many years and established itself more firmly on the film scene. During this period the Film Workshop launched video production facilities and acted as festival organizer and partner. When Denmark’s film institutions were reorganized and centralized in the 1990s, a new chapter began for the Film Workshop as well: under the umbrella of the Danish Film Institute it joined other institutions in the new Filmhus.
Though founded as an alternative to the mainstream and dedicated to experimental film, the Danish Film Workshop, unlike for example American and Central European filmmaker cooperatives, is closely tied to the state-run film institutions and the film and television industry.
Today, as a funding agency of the Danish Film Institute, the Film Workshop is responsible for talent promotion. Its main task is to develop and produce projects by up-and-coming filmmakers. Some 50 such productions in all genres and formats are sponsored each year. In addition, the Film Workshop still supports experimental and innovative projects by professional film artists.
English article on anniversary: http://www.dfi.dk/English/News/October-2010/40-years-of-talent-development.aspx
Long version in Danish: http://www.dfi.dk/Branche_og_stoette/Filmvaerkstedet/40-aar.aspx
URL Filmví¦rkstedet: http://www.dfi.dk/Branche_og_stoette/Filmvaerkstedet.aspx
24-25 online research portal || 14/11/2010
Seven French distributors and film institutions have joined forces to make their archives accessible online on the shared Internet portal “24-25 – Le portail des images en mouvement”. The portal is a new tool for scholars, curators and the interested public who want to research experimental and avant-garde films as well as video and media art.
“24-25″ provides access via a single search screen to the archives of the following participating organizations: Circuit-Court (Marseille), Collectif Jeune Cinema (Saint-Ouen), Heure Exquise ! (Mons-en-Baroeul), Instants Vidéo Numériques Et Poétiques (Marseille), Le Peuple Qui Manque (Paris), Light Cone (Paris) and Videoformes (Clermont-Ferrand). The film collections in these archives are largely complementary and hence cover a wide swathe of historic and contemporary, French and international, avant-garde film and video art.
The portal was created with the help of the team from the European GAMA Initiative. GAMA stands for Gateway to Archive of Media Art and receives technical support from the Technologie-Zentrum Informatik (Bremen) and funding from the European Commission’s econtentplus promotion programme.
GAMA is essentially a database with a specially developed search engine with which the archives of participating organizations can be searched via a common interface. Every film or video entry contains informative texts and images, artists’ biographies and filmographies. Some of the works have been digitised and can be viewed online in whole or in part.
While the older, main GAMA portal evidently suffers from server bugs and doesn’t function properly, the French offshoot 24-25 is fast and already fully operational. The only catch is that it is not possible to browse through the entries; you have to know what you’re looking for. Searches can however be done not only by title but also by person, production country or the collections in the individual archives.
The operators of “24-25″ have announced that the archives of additional French institutions (museums, cinémathèques) such as the Centre Pompidou will soon be integrated and accessible in the system.
Metropolis TV seeking young video journalists || 14/11/2010
Metropolis invites young filmmakers to act as correspondents by submitting journalistic videos to the station. Metropolis has built up an international network of documentary filmmakers and video journalists on six continents. Every week, the participants are asked to research a specific theme at their respective location and shoot a film about it. Ten films are then produced and put online every week. The best reports are also used in a television show broadcast in the Netherlands, Belgium and Nicaragua. For the selected films, Metropolis pays a fee of €250 for online release and €500 for those that are televised.
Metropolis is a project of the Dutch public television network VPRO, with funding from the European Cultural Foundation.
Goa Short Film Center hosts competition || 14/11/2010
A short film competition will be held for the third time in Goa, India, from 23 November to 1 December, in addition to a film market. The organizer is the Short Film Center, a platform for short film that is part of the International Film Festival of India.
The Short Film Center has announced two competition categories: an international competition and a competition for Indian short films about the environment. The organizers will invite the directors or producers of the ten films nominated in each category to come to Goa.
The Goa Short Film Center film market addresses in particular buyers, funding institutions and film distributors. A Short Film Center Lounge provides presentation options and a video library.
Further information: shortfilmcenter.org
SanctionedArray in response to Guggenheim’s YouTube Play || 03/11/2010
SanctionedArray is an online database of video art conceived in response to the exclusion of artists from OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctioned countries from participating in “YouTube Play – A Biennial of Creative Video”. Artists who are citizens or residents of Belarus, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Myanmar/Burma, and Zimbabwe are not eligible to submit their work.
In protest to the continuity of such restrictions of virtual exchanges, artists of any origin – including those from the sanctioned countries – were invited to submit their work to SanctionedArray in an open call for video entries.
The database will continuously expand via ongoing series of curated exhibitions entitled CuratorsArray and was conceived and organized by Specify Others in collaboration with White Box, and co-presented by ArteEast (New York).
Guggenheim Museums to present this autumn the results of the “YouTube Play” competition
“YouTube Play – A Biennial of Creative Video” is a joint initiative of YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum. The concept behind the biennial was to seek out the most exciting and innovative online videos of the past two years. An international competition was held in June and July 2010. By the application deadline of 31 July the channel had been called up nearly seven million times.
During and after the competition, the Guggenheim featured some 200 submissions on the biennial’s Play channel. As second step, a jury of prominent figures is choosing the best videos from the shortlist. Jury members are: Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, Darren Aronofsky, Douglas Gordon, Ryan McGinley, Marilyn Minter, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Stefan Sagmeister, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Nancy Spector as chair.
The jury will select up to 20 videos, which will then be presented to the public not only on YouTube but also at the Guggenheim New York as part of a special event on 21 October, and during the week after at the Guggenheim Museums in Berlin, Bilbao and Venice.
Dubai Film Festival extends partnerships in Middle East
The Dubai International Film Festival – whose motto is “Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds” – is expanding its strategic partnerships in the region. The first step was to establish the Dubai Film Connection (DFC) at its own festival, a co-production market for Arab filmmakers at which funding has already been secured for 46 projects and award money in the amount of 120,000 US$ is available to Arab filmmakers.
A further festival initiative supports the Lebanese organization Beirut Documentary Course. Beirut DC has put on events including the Arab film weeks abroad and the highly acclaimed Ayam Beirut Cinema’lya Festival. A cooperative agreement with the DIFF has now enabled Beirut DC to expand its documentary film workshops and to present a film project at the Dubai Film Connection.
The next Dubai International Film Festival is scheduled for 12 to 19 December 2010.
Golden Kuker – New animated film festival in Bulgaria
This October, an international animated film festival will take place again in Bulgaria after a long caesura. Nicknamed the “Golden Kuker”, the festival is endeavouring to pick up the tradition inaugurated by the World Animated Film Festival in Varna, which was last held in 1989. The new festival will take place in the capital of Sofia.
Evidently, the former co-organizers of the festival in Varna, the Bulgarian ASIFA association, feel left out. ASIFA complains that the kuker symbol has been appropriated without permission by a “suspicious organization”, underscoring the fact that the new festival has nothing to do with the original.
The new festival is being put on from 13 to 17 October by the Bulgarian Association of Independent Cartoon Animation Artists at the National Palace of Culture.
A “kuker” incidentally is a masked figure thought to ward off evil spirits – a tradition in south-western Bulgaria that can be traced back to Thracian tribal rituals.
Artycok.TV – A non-commercial TV platform for the Central and Eastern European arts scene
Artycok was founded in 2005 by the Art Academy of Prague (AVU) as a non-commercial Internet TV platform. Since then, Artycok has been busy collecting and archiving reports on exhibition openings and interviews with artists and curators, which it then publicizes on its own website. A special focus is providing information and sparking discussion on important shows, projects and artists who receive little or no attention from the mainstream media. In 2008 a section on time-based media art was added.
From May 2010 to April 2012 Artycok will implement the European-Commission-funded project “open archive”. The idea is for Artycok to extend its operations to other European countries, in particular Slovakia, Serbia and Slovenia. Partners in Budapest, Warsaw, Krakow, Chisinau, London and Berlin are involved. The project is designed to promote communication on the arts scene and foster intercultural dialogue. As an archive of contemporary art, Artycok is in particular a good information resource for the educational field.
The “Audiovisual” section of the website includes artistic films and videos. Every work listed includes an explanation by the artist and an option to enter a comment. Films can be streamed in full length in HD quality. Some titles can also be downloaded.
The videos and photographs of exhibitions, art projects and lectures are licensed under Creative Commons (cc) and are hence available to anyone for non-commercial use. The platform is in three languages (f, cz, en).
Germany: Campaign for short film as supporting film
With the help of the Berlin advertising agency WE DO, AG Kurzfilm, the KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg and interfilm Berlin are launching a campaign for short film as supporting film. Called “Kurz vor Film” (“Shortly before the Film”), the campaign is supported by the Filmförderungsanstalt (German Federal Film Board) and will advertise nationwide from September to December 2010 for the inclusion of the short form at the cinema. Actors and other prominent figures will be canvassing theatre audiences for signatures on a petition advocating the revival of the short film as supporting film.
“Short films have not vanished from theatres due to lack of public interest, but because of economic constraints and reduced freedom of choice”, explains Sylke Gottlebe, managing director of AG Kurzfilm. While in the 1960s and 70s tax benefits were offered for the cinematic release of short films, from the 1980s onward commercials replaced the supporting film before the main feature.
Today, however, a host of festivals document the growing number of excellent short films available, while the preponderance of the short format on the Internet demonstrates the existence of substantial public interest. The campaign “Kurz vor Film” is working toward seeing this trend reflected at the cinema as well.
ARTE celebrates 500th edition of Short Film Magazine “Court-Circuit”
On 17 September, the German-French cultural channel ARTE celebrates the 500th edition of its short film magazine “Court-Circuit”. ARTE is the only broadcaster that has provided a fixed slot for international short films – for the past ten years.”¨”¨
To celebrate the show and its anniversary, ARTE presents on 17 September a night of shorts with internationally awarded short films. For once these films are also streamed live on the Internet. Accompanied by magazine reports the following award-winning films will be shown: “Händelse vid bank” by Ruben Östlund, “Wasp” by Andrea Arnold, “Chiennes d’historie (Barking Island)” by Serge Avédikian, “A Letter to Uncle Boonme” by Apitchatpong Weerasethakul and others.”¨”¨
As a special bonus, all films presented in the night of shorts will afterwards also be available for seven days on ARTE+7, the broadcaster’s Internet video platform.
Spain: Festival visitors to be counted like cinemagoers
Spain’s state-run Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) is enlisting the aid of representatives of the major Spanish festivals to determine how festival visitors can be counted as cinemagoers. A working group, comprised initially of the directors of the festivals of Valladolid, San Sebastián, Sitges, Huelva and Ourense, is charged with developing a suitable procedure.
With the introduction of a film promotion rule by which the amount of funding a film is eligible for depends on the number of viewers it can boast, this issue has now taken on new urgency. This comes at a time when Spanish films are experiencing a crisis in their own country, where commercial cinemas rarely show demanding, high-quality films anymore. Independent filmmakers and authors in particular are hence now demanding that viewers at festivals be counted as well, where Spanish films still enjoy great popularity.
Danish Film Institute and Danish television promote animated films for children
The Danish Film Institute (DFI), together with the public television station DR, has created a promotion fund for animated children’s films. A total of 15 million DKK (2 million euros) are available for 2010. The new fund is designed in particular to help young filmmakers develop innovative projects with low production costs.
Sponsored projects should target children aged from 7 to 10 years. The films will be shown on DR’s children’s channel. Films of 25 minutes in length are eligible to receive up to 1.6 million DKK in funding.
Source: Nordisk Film & TV Fond
Crisis report: Docíºpolis Barcelona cancelled for 2010
The nine-year-old Festival Internacional de Documentales de Barcelona will not be held in 2010. After the Catalan Institute for the Cultural Industries cancelled funding for the festival in 2009, the Centre de Cultura Contemporí nia de Barcelona (CCCB), which was also the venue for the festival, likewise withdrew its support this year, sealing the fate of Docíºpolis.
Docíºpolis was a pioneer among the Spanish film festivals in the field of documentary. Director of the festival, Hugo Salinas, is in the meantime continuing the project under the name “Docíºpolis iberoamericano” as a series of documentary film events in various locations in Chile.
First international film festival in Vietnam
In October 2010 an international film festival will be held in Vietnam for the first time. The Vietnam International Film Festival will take place from 17 to 21 October in Hanoi. Organizers are the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Vietnam Film Department and the Vietnam Media Corporation. The festival is planning seven different sections, including a short-film competition.
The main focus will be on cinema in Southeast Asia, with the intention of further strengthening the booming local and regional cinema markets.
The festival has been in planning for four years, with the organizers relying on advice from the Pusan International Film Festival (South Korea).
The festival’s launch will be part of the festivities marking the 1,000th anniversary of the city of Hanoi. A new multiplex centre has been chosen as location.
Openfilm platform pre-selects user-generated content as guarantee of quality
Located in Miami, Openfilm is a special kind of video-sharing platform: anyone can upload films, like on YouTube and the others, but the films are not released to the public until an internal selection committee has given its approval. The organizers at Openfilm want to ensure in this way that only quality work is presented on their platform.
To make sure the technical quality is high as well, Openfilm relies on high-resolution Flash video with an HD option.
Openfilm addresses in particular young, independent filmmakers, film festivals and film schools. These are also offered their own channels where they can present a clear overview of their work.
Sitting on Openfilm’s Advisory Board are some seasoned and well-known figures – among them currently James Caan and Robert Duvall. The Advisory Board regularly offers webchats in which registered users can ask questions and obtain advice. The members of the Advisory Board also choose the winners of competitions held by Openfilm.
Financing for the website comes from advertising, and a subscription fee is charged to filmmakers, who then receive a 50% share of the advertising proceeds. Filmmakers in addition have the option of offering their films for download for a price of their own choosing. Openfilm receives a fixed fee for each sale.
Openfilm also cooperates with Internet television providers, which opens up additional opportunities for film distribution. The platform is funded by the private equity firm Enerfund.
New journal: “Short Film Studies”
British academic publisher Intellect (Bristol, UK) is currently at work on a new journal dedicated to short film. “Short Film Studies” aims to promote better understanding of the short form by analysing individual films from a variety of perspectives. In every issue, two to three short films will be examined in detail in several expert articles. The journal will also feature interviews with the films’ directors, illustrations of each shot and a link allowing readers to watch the film on the Internet.
The journal’s editor is Richard Raskin, who teaches at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and previously published the magazine p.o.v., based on a similar concept. The last issue of p.o.v. came out in December, to be replaced by the new journal.
For the first issue of “Short Film Studies” Raskin is now inviting authors to contribute articles. The following films have been chosen for study: “The War is Over” by Nina Mimica (I), “Undressing My Mother” by Ken Wardrop (Ireland) and “Village/Old Man” by Miles Goodall (F/ZA). Those who wish to participate are asked to send a brief outline of their planned paper to Richard Raskin. The deadline for the completed article is 15 April 2010. “Short Film Studies” will be published twice yearly.
Publisher’s URL: Intellect Books http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal
Editor’s contact address
National Film Board of Canada produces Web documentation of financial crisis
At the end of 2009, the National Film Board of Canada/Office National du Film du Canada (NFB/ONF) initiated a project to trace the effects of the financial crisis on Canadian’s daily lives during the course of a year. The Web documentation consists of a four-minute short film and photo-essay on each person interviewed, allowing them to express their personal experiences and concerns.
Titled “GDP – Measuring the Human Side of the Canadian Economic Crisis”, the film is produced in both English and French and covers the entire country. A team of filmmakers and photographers put together under the direction of documentarian Hélène Choquette is working “coast to coast” to portray affected citizens in the various regions.
GDP is a multimedia project published on the Internet only. After the year is over, the project will be concluded as a collective history of a country in crisis. A total of 250 short films and photo-essays have been planned to date.
The website is organised according to regions and themes. To supplement the films and photo-essays, a blog is available where opinions can be voiced on the project and the themes it addresses, also serving as a public forum where the crisis in general can be discussed.
Swedish Glimz AB closes down pay-per-view platform for short film
One of the first professional pay-per-view platforms for short film, the Swedish Glimz.net, is being withdrawn from the Web. From now on, its organizers will be acting exclusively as aggregators for the sale of short films.
Glimz.net was founded by filmmaker Johan A. Larsson and IT specialist Palle Torsson as a way of offering high-quality short films on the Internet using the pay-per-view system. The online platform was launched in 2003 with a selection of films chosen primarily from the catalogue of Folkets Bio. Later, many additional partners joined in – including some from abroad starting in 2005. Unlike comparable platforms, Glimz.net offered not only fiction, animation and entertainment, but also children’s, documentary and avant-garde films.
In recent years, Glimz AB began selling films through classical channels in parallel with its online offerings. This activity will now become the company’s core business and the pay-per-view webpages suspended. In their place, Glimz.net offers producers and purchasers the opportunity to research the films in its portfolio and view them free of charge in a password-protected section of the website.
The collection in the meantime boasts more than 800 titles from 57 countries, which Glimz AB supplies as aggregator for other online platforms as well as for traditional channels and media. Licences for some of the films, more precisely for those in the programme Vision IN/OUT released and curated by Glimz and Filmkontakt Nord (see also our Report) have been sold to the company Headweb, which now offers these on its own video-on-demand platform Kortfilmer.nu (Swedish for: shortfilm.now).
Crisis report: Kara Film Festival in Pakistan cancelled
The 8th Kara Film Festival was scheduled to take place in late January in Karachi (Pakistan). The films had been selected and large parts of the programme had already been prepared. But the festival had to be cancelled at the last minute for financial reasons and postponed indefinitely.
The organizers announced that they would be unable to conduct the festival due to drastic funding cuts attributable to the global economic crisis.
The Karachi International Film Festival is mounted by the non-commercial KaraFilm Society, an association of young filmmakers, and positions itself as a platform for alternative and independent film.
Bitfilm launches crowd production of an episodic film on the theme of money
Hamburg’s Bitfilm Festival is set to reinvent itself in 2010: instead of holding an online festival for digital films, the organizers are experimenting with the idea of the worldwide crowd production of an episodic film on the topic on money. What’s special about the project is the mutual participation of filmmakers, audience and sponsors from all over the world in every phase of the production, to culminate in a cinema feature titled “Money & Me”.
To start off, filmmakers will be invited to submit their own work on the selected theme in the documentary, fiction or animated categories, up to three minutes in length. This might be a rags-to-riches story, a scripted film with professional actors, or an animation depicting the inner workings of the finance system. All film technologies are permitted.
Once the films have been submitted, seven will be chosen in each category via online voting. Bitfilm will show the selected shorts at the November 2010 festival in Hamburg and then compile them into a feature-length film, adding connecting elements, a musical score and intertitles. The result will be released at the cinema in 2011 and subsequently marketed on DVD, as Video on Demand or on television.
The filmmakers retain all rights to their original titles, while granting Bitfilm permission to make something new out of their work in accordance with the open source principle. Upon conclusion of a contract, they receive a minimum guarantee and are entitled to a percentage of future box-office proceeds. The prizewinners in each category furthermore receive award money of 2,500 euros each.
Financing for the films will come from conventional sources along with so-called crowd funding. This means that anyone can contribute to funding the film. To this end, Bitfilm will sell “filmbits” at the price of 300 euros per second. Purchasing a share – in legal terms an interest-free loan – entitles the holder to a percentage of the profits. In addition, shareholders receive a greater number of votes in the online selection, graduated according to number of shares.
Shares can be purchased until 1 July 2010 for 300 euros – after which the price will go up. The deadline for submitting films is 31 July 2010.
Mekas goes online – Revisited
In March 2007 we reported that Jonas Mekas would present himself and his works on a new internet platform. Back then, he commented on the project in a Quicktime movie: “Do I really know what I am doing in this adventure? I am not so sure. I am not so sure. I have no idea where this will end up – this adventure!”
As we can see today, his scepticism was justified: clicking on the URL www.jonasmekas.com brings up only an empty page. Why? The website’s operator is the Maya Stendhal Gallery, which represents, or represented, certain works by Mekas and hosted some important Mekas exhibitions in past years. Apparently, Jonas Mekas has become involved in a dispute with the gallery and, according to an entry in the blog for the Paris label RE:VOIR, has even called for a boycott if the gallery continues to run the website and offer his films there online.
At present, Mekas is in the process of setting up a new website at http://jonasmekasfilms.com. The webpage is still only a placeholder, but a few films by Jonas Mekas are available for viewing and downloading at RE:VOIR.
– New Jonas Mekas website
– RE:VOIR blog
– Our report from March 2007