African Metropolis – six short films from six African cities on tour and on DVD

“African Metropolis” is a programme consisting of six short films from six major African cities. The films from Abidjan by Philippe Lacôte, Cairo (Ahmed Ghoneimy), Dakar (Marie Ka), Johannesburg (Vincent Moloi), Lagos (Folasakin Iwajomo) and Nairobi (Jim Chuchu) tell urban stories about life in these African metropolises.

Nowadays, over 50 per cent of the continent’s population live in cities with vital urban cultures. The films represent young African cinema, which currently displays a predilection for stories about city life, in contrast to the focus on the traditional, rural side of Africa that used to predominate.

Following premieres at international film festivals, most recently the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2014, the films, produced by Big World Cinema (Cape Town), returned home and are touring South African cinemas in May and June. They will subsequently be available for purchase on DVD.
The film compilation is based on 40 screenplays that were submitted in advance, from which filmmakers from six cities were chosen. A mentor programme and workshops followed during the two years of preparation. The project aims to help African filmmakers, who are currently redefining African film, to gain opportunities and recognition. The executive producer, Steven Markovitz, hopes that the films’ release will spark the public’s awareness of and interest in African cinema.

“African Metropolis” is an initiative of the Goethe Institute in South Africa and the South African executive producer Steven Markovitz, with the support of Guaranty Trust Bank and the Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam. The DVD was made in Germany.

Info: http://www.goethe.de/ins/za/prj/afm/enindex.htm?wt_sc=africanmetropolis
Production: http://www.bigworld.co.za/

CINESUD – an alternative to commercial film rentals || 17/07/2014

CINESUD (Cines del sur) is an audio-visual media network developed by a group of Latin American film clubs, based on an idea of the Catalan film club association and sponsored by the International Federation of Film-Clubs (FICC). The aim of this non-profit organization is to make films that are not in commercial distribution available to film clubs, alternative cinemas and citizens’ initiatives.

After consulting with the authors and rights holders, the participating film clubs or a national association selects films to be released copyright-free under a Creative Commons license or similar. The titles are then added to the CINESUD catalogue and can be ordered by film clubs and cinemas. The films are distributed as DVD copies, and their screening must be non-commercial. A small, negotiable fee is charged for the rental. Donations are welcome. The contract – dubbed “Contrato Social” by CINESUD – is based on the principle of mutual trust.

At the moment, the catalogue contains predominantly documentary and short films from Spain and Latin America focusing on social and political topics. CINESUD also offers touring programmes. The programme that is currently on tour features “Los Inundados” by Fernando Birri, a mid-length Spanish-Palestinian documentary and Goya Short Film Award winner, as well as short films from Catalonia, amongst others.

CINESUD currently has offices in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Nepal and New Zealand. It aspires to expand to further countries. The International Federation of Film-Clubs is represented in 40 countries.

URL: http://plataformacinesud.wordpress.com/

News from the Agence du court métrage (Paris) || 17707/2014

At the end of April, the French short film agency relocated. Its new address is: 77, rue des Cévennes, in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. All departments and functions are housed together for the first time in these new rooms; apart from offices, there is a film warehouse that stores the agency’s 10,000 films, a cinema and a workshop room.

The agency’s new location was financed by the City of Paris as part of its initiative Mission Cinéma. The inauguration of the premises gave the Agence du court métrage an opportunity to draw attention to new activities in the area of film education in schools: the internet platform Le Kinétoscope makes over 300 short films available to pupils and teachers for online use. Teaching material on the films is also available to schools.

The new 42-seat cinema, “La Salle Jacques Tati”, can be booked for screenings at a price of 70 to 100 euros per hour.

77 rue des Cévennes 
75015 PARIS

Tel: +33 (1) 44 69 26 60
Fax +33 (1) 44 69 26 69

URL: http://www.agencecm.com/pages/contacts.php
Salle Jacques Tati: http://www.agencecm.com/pages/salle_tati.php
Kinétoscope La pateforme pédagogique: http://www.lekinetoscope.fr/

Talents Beirut || 17/07/2014

The initiative Talents Beirut was launched by the Metropolis Association (Beirut) and the Goethe Institute in Beirut, in collaboration with Berlinale Talents and FIDMarseille. Its purpose is to support a new generation of Arab filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa. 
In September 2014, fifteen participants will attend a four-day programme of master classes and workshops. This first event focuses primarily on the areas of camera, cut, audio and soundtrack – aspects of film production for which there are not enough opportunities for education currently on offer in the Arab world, according to the organizers.

The non-profit Metropolis Art Cinema Association was founded in 2006 in order to develop Lebanon’s cinema culture. Since 2008, it has planned the programme for the Metropolis Empire Sofil Cinema in Beirut and run its own distribution service for auteur films. The cinema shows current film art, holds retrospectives and is the host of the European Film Festival, the Docudays, and the Lebanese Film Festival.

URL Talents Beirut: http://www.talents-beirut.com
Metropolis Art Cinema Association: http://www.metropoliscinema.net/

New: UK Shorts Portal || 17/07/2014

The British Council launched a short film portal at the beginning of this year. The UK Shorts Portal is a viewing platform exclusively for professionals, featuring new British short films. Buyers and festival organizers can register on the portal and gain access to the final projects of British film school students as well as short films funded by British institutions.

Currently, 145 shorts are available for viewing online in full length. A menu featuring filters such as genre, language, duration and year of production can be used to refine the search function. Playlists and notes can be saved online. The portal uses Reelport’s PicturePipe technology.

The industry portal is part of the new initiative WE ARE UK FILM. This publicly accessible online presence also has its own collection of short films: “Shorts in the UK”.

UK Shorts Portal: http://t.ymlp299.net/jmwataumuqwalauubapamuejw/click.php
Shorts in the UK: http://www.weareukfilm.com/shorts

Crowdfunding for short film project with Ai Weiwei || 11/04/2014

US filmmaker Jason Wishnow has shot a short fiction film in China featuring artist Ai Weiwei and is now looking for postproduction funds on Kickstarter. “The Sand Storm” is a dystopian science fiction film. Ai Weiwei plays a water smuggler in a sand-strewn city where water is scarce.


In contrast with most crowdfunding projects, this film has already been shot. This is due to the precarious situation of Ai Weiwei, who lives under constant surveillance in his home in Beijing, subject to the strict conditions of the authorities. The filmmakers feared the film would never get made if it was publicised in advance on Kickstarter. The planned length of 10 minutes is also owing to these circumstances: “When the air is toxic and your lead actor is under surveillance, you make a SHORT film and you shoot it FAST,” it says on the Kickstarter website.


A goal of $33,000 for postproduction was set on 31 March of this year. Within only a few days, the amount had already been raised and the decision was made to stretch the goal to $88,000 to cover all production costs and also a making-of.

Filming was done by cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who is known in particular as a frequent collaborator with Wong Kar-wai. Director Jason Wishnow also directs the TED Talks, among other projects. A video statement by Ai Weiwei was recorded in early 2011, smuggled out of China and played at the TED Talks. Shortly thereafter, the artist was held captive for almost three months at an undisclosed location. On the second anniversary of his release, Ai Weiwei satirized his confinement in the music album “Dumbass”, for which Christopher Doyle shot a music video of the same name.


Kickstarter website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wishnow/a-secret-sci-fi-film-shot-in-china-starring-ai-wei

Videoimage.ge – Archive of Georgian Video Art established || 08/04/2014

Videoimage.ge is the first online archive for Georgian video art. With current holdings of 400 works by 80 artists, the archive was founded by the initiative “Active for Culture” as part of an effort to fill the need for information and access to contemporary Georgian art. 

According to the initiative, a diverse new art scene has emerged since the 1980s in Georgia in parallel with the official discourse. These new art currents have yet to be adequately researched and analysed, and the political and economic circumstances of the 1990s moreover impeded the cataloguing and conservation of the works.

The first step that must now be taken is to prevent the artworks from falling into oblivion by placing them in their art historical context. Due to the limited financial and material resources available to the initiative “Active for Culture”, its first focus will be on collecting video art, a dominant art form during the period in question.

Nearly two hundred videos have already been published on the archive’s website via YouTube. Along with the further development of the online archive, future plans include organizing exhibitions and curating travelling programmes. A book on video art in Georgia is also envisaged as well as a gallery in Rustavi, in the south-eastern part of the country.

The founders of “Active for Culture” are graduates of the Center of Contemporary Art Tbilisi (CCAT). Three of them, Aleksi Soselia, Galaqtion Eristavi and Tata Muskhelishvili, belong to the artists’ group Tetsi.
The archive project is sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

URL of the Archive of Georgian Video Art: http://www.videoimage.ge/
 URL Tetsi Group: http://tetsi.ge/

PLAT – Spanish initiative operates non-profit online film archive || 08/04/2014

Under the name PLAT, the non-profit Kinora organization is now operating an online archive for independent Spanish film. The aim of the platform is to make the entire spectrum of artistic Spanish audiovisual work more accessible to the public. In addition to short films, which make up the bulk of the current collection, feature-length and documentary films are also offered online. Among the authors represented are Alberto Cabrera Bernal, Chema García Ibarra, Victor Moreno and Léon Siminiani. Background information is available on the authors and on each film.

In addition, the platform offers many other sections such as the “Videoplatlist” with selected documentaries on film themes, and “Documentos”, featuring film reviews and studies. The films are accessible for global viewing, free of charge and without compulsory registration. PLAT is financed exclusively through donations. Users and filmmakers who would like to use the platform are asked for voluntary contributions.

The name PLAT is an abbreviation of Picto Lumínico Audio Tactil – commemorating the eponymous laboratory of the film artist and inventor José Val del Omar. The Kinora organization, headquartered in Madrid, is an association for audiovisual literacy dedicated to promoting a better understanding of contemporary audiovisual production. Founded by Beatriz Navas and Víctor Berlin, Kinora cooperates with filmmakers, critics, curators and film enthusiasts. Kinora offers on-site workshops and organizes film events.

Since November 2013, PLAT has been cooperating with the Spanish cultural institute Instituto Cervantes, which makes a selection from PLAT’s film collection accessible to users of its own Biblioteca Electrónica library network spanning 60 countries.

 URL: http://plat.tv/que-es-plat

German Short Film Association adopts a code of ethics for German film festivals || 08/04/2014

In February 2014, the General Meeting of the German Short Film Association – AG Kurzfilm – adopted a voluntary code of ethics for film festivals in Germany. The preamble to the paper, which comprises eighteen points, describes as the main motive for drafting the code the desire to promote fair and respectful dealings between film festivals and filmmakers.

The first point already ventures onto the difficult terrain of what distinguishes a festival from regular cinema or open-air screenings. According to the definition proposed, festivals offer several screenings per day on several consecutive days. This definition is expanded on further elsewhere with references made to guests, trade visitors and trade events as typical festival features. Criteria for internationality are also cited: films from at least three countries should be represented if a festival is to call itself international, and the juries should also have international members.

Several points concern the treatment of filmmakers and their works. Already in advance of a festival, i.e. when the competitions are announced and the submission procedure described, there should be sufficient transparency as regards the conditions, meaning that the relevant information must be formally communicated. During the festival, the programming should give equal weight to all competition entries, the number of screenings and the framework in which they are presented should be mutually agreed, and the rights holder should be consulted as to the technical format for the projection. Another point deals with the appropriate publication of film titles, crew information and contact details by the festival.

The code furthermore frames guidelines regarding rights and the apportionment of costs. Festivals should take out insurance for the film copies and cover the costs of return shipping of copies. Screening rights should be restricted to screenings at the festival. The code specifically rejects the practice of linking additional exploitation rights to the festival submission.

The code of ethics can be downloaded as a PDF – to date in German only – at the address provided below.

 Download URL: http://www.ag-kurzfilm.de/shared/doc/upload/page/1048/page_de_1048.pdf
 Related topics on shortfilm.de: http://www.shortfilm.de/en/short-film-magazine/archive/topic/topic.html#c12126

BBC to host Arab documentary festival on the Arab Spring || 08/04/2014

  The BBC Arabic Service has initiated the Aan Korb Film & Documentary Festival in partnership with the British Council. The festival sees itself as a forum for films that deal with the situation in the Arab world since the uprisings in December 2010. Aan Korb will take place from 31 October to 3 November at the BBC Broadcasting House in London. The call for submissions was already made, with a deadline of 28 April.

Eligible to participate are feature films, short films, documentaries and works of investigative journalism or citizen journalism. In addition to prizes in those categories, an Arabic Young Journalist Award will also be presented. Plans are to later show a selection of the prize-winners on the BBC.

URL: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26515589

Straight 8 develops free “Super 8” app for iPhones || 08/04/2014

The British film group Straight 8 has been organizing competitions for Super 8 films since 1999. What makes them special are their restrictive rules: the films are not allowed to be cut or edited after shooting and must be no longer than the running time of a film cassette – about 3 minutes. The best films are shown at festivals such as Cannes or Rushes Soho in London – to date in their original format, using Super 8 projectors. The last competition was held in 2012.

During the year-long break, Straight 8 took time to rethink its strategy and has now gone “changed sides” by developing an app for smartphones. After a non-public beta test, Straight 8 made its app available free of charge at the beginning of this year. The app lets users shoot three-minute short films in HD quality on an iPhone. Editing can only be done “live”, in the camera itself. According to Straight 8, this amounts to transferring the Super 8 ethos to today’s world, where the digital mobile phone has largely supplanted the analogue camera for everyday use.

Info: http://www.straight8.net/app.html
Download: https://itunes.apple.com/app/straight-8/id513897631?mt=8&affId=2287939 

Short Circuit – European network of short film and video art distributors || 10/01/2014

In February 2013, during the Clermont-Ferrand film festival, representatives from European short film distribution companies and national film institutes came together to found the non-profit organization “Short Circuit – Réseau européen des diffuseurs de courts métrages et d’art vidéo”. In the meantime, the association has set up a website and decided on the initial activities it will undertake.

Amongst the goals cited in the articles of association, under French law, are to represent the interests of short film organizations at the European level, to draft joint statements on important issues in the short film sector, particularly in view of the impact of new technologies, and to develop new resources in the field of distribution.

Further objectives, such as networking amongst each other, sharing information and disseminating film programmes, resemble the aims of the previous organizations International Short Film Conference (ISFC) and the European Film Festival Coordination (EFFC), which have meanwhile discontinued their activities, leaving behind a gap. In contrast to the ISFC, the new Short Circuit initiative is limited to European countries, and in contrast to the EFFC, members must be active in the field of dissemination (“diffusion”) or promotion of short films.

Founding members are L’Agence du Court Métrage (France), KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg (Germany), interfilm Berlin (Germany), Hrvatski audiovizualni centar (Croatia), Agencia Freak (Spain), Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio (Italy), Irish Film Board (Ireland), Norsk filminstitutt (Norway), Eye Film Instituut (Netherlands), Curtas Metragens CRL – Agencia (Portugal), Svenska Filminstitutet (Sweden) and Swiss Films (Switzerland).

The president is Alexandra Gramatke (Hamburg) and the secretary is Amélie Chatellier (Paris). The official seat and address of the association is the address of L’Agence du court métrage.

As its first project, Short Circuit plans to build a database of information on all of the members’ films.

URL: http://www.shortcircuitnetwork.org/

European Council adopts Creative Europe || 10/01/2014

The European Council adopted the Creative Europe programme on 5 December 2013, which unites the previously separate MEDIA and Culture programmes as of 1 January 2014.

For the so-called MEDIA sub-programme, calls are now open for project proposals in the areas of Project Development, Distribution Selective Scheme, TV Programming, Film Festivals, Audience Development, International Coproduction Funds, Training, Market Access and Distribution Automatic Scheme.

In the context of the Creative Europe programme, the MEDIA budget for the funding of producers has been increased by around four million euros per year. A 500,000-euro increase for project promotion and project funding packages raises the total to 17.5 million euros annually.

Creative Europe places great importance on the audience (audience development, audience reach). For producers and festivals, this means that they must in future focus more strongly on the target group for their project when applying for funding. Under the (new) area of audience development a maximum of ten activities per year that encourage the audience’s interest in European film and their film expertise will be supported with a budget of 1.9 million euros.

The previous Media Desks and Antennae will be renamed Creative Europe Desks.

Source: MEDIA Desk Germany
URL: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/media/index_en.htm

UK: Accelerate Animation Report published || 10/01/2014

The “Accelerate Animation Report – animation art and craft” was published at the end of 2013. The broad-based study on the state of the creative animated film sector in the UK provides the first in-depth overview of the animation sector as cultural practice and creative business. In recent years, animation has not only undergone sweeping technical and artistic changes but has also become more complex conceptually, thematically and organizationally, making the field much more diverse.

Based on research as well as interviews and surveys, the study now takes stock of the state of animated film today, offering some interesting statistics and an analysis of animators’ areas of endeavour and the working conditions prevailing therein. Specific recommendations have been derived from the findings for the professional development of this traditionally strong sector, which British film and cultural policy has neglected in recent years.

The study was prepared in cooperation with Animate Projects (formerly animate!) and the London College of Communication. The authors include Tim Shore, Gary Thomas and Susi Wilkinson. With the support of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the work on the study was used to develop the Accelerate Animation internet platform, where the results of the study have been published online.

URL: http://accelerateanimation.com

International network established for alternative film culture || 10/01/2014

At the Film Festival Münster in October 2013, sixteen film collectives from twelve countries came together at the Kunsthalle Münster under the motto “filmLab EU”. The fields of focus of the individual groups range from Super 8 and 16 mm film production, to training and media education in the area of film, to cinema work. What they all have in common is the promotion of independent, alternative film culture.

The meeting made clear how many different skills and resources the individual institutions and collectives represent, but also how, due to precarious living situations, they have little opportunity to interact on an international level. The participants therefore founded the “International Independent Film Platform” (IIFP) as an open forum for work in film culture. In order to broaden the basis in future, it was agreed to hold the next meeting at the Vienna Independent Shorts Festival.

URL: http://iifp.eu/

Afghanistan: second women’s film festival in Herat || 10/01/2014

In March 2014 the second International Women’s Film Festival will take place in Herat, Afghanistan. The festival is organized by the Armanshahr Foundation and the Roya Film House, with both local and international support. The Armanshahr Foundation Open Asia is an independent, non-profit organization based in Kabul that promotes human rights and democracy.

For the first festival, in March 2013, ten competition films from Afghanistan and twenty-five from other countries were selected from 100 submissions. Several female filmmakers from Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan and India attended the festival. As Herat has no cinemas, the festival received the 2,000 viewers in the old citadel, erected under Alexander the Great.

Films by women, in all genres and lengths, can be submitted to the festival, which is scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day (8 March). Entry deadline is 25 January 2014.

Contact: http://afghanistanintwomenfilmfestival.com/

Turner Prize 2013 goes to Laure Prouvost || 10/01/2014

Laure Prouvost was awarded the Turner Prize for contemporary art on 2 December 2013. The French filmmaker and installation artist, who lives in London, received the prize for her work “Wantee”, a video installation about a fictional teatime shared by her grandfather and Kurt Schwitters, which was commissioned by Tate Britain for the exhibition “Schwitters in Britain”.

The Turner Prize, endowed with a total of £40,000, has been awarded annually since 1984 to artists aged under 50 years. Eligible are artists who were either born in Britain or live there and who have shown an outstanding exhibition or presentation of their work in the past 12 months.

The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize, which was presented in Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland), included the Berlin-based British performance artist Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley (cartoons, films, actions) and the painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Laure Prouvost, who was deemed more of an outsider in the competition, has previously shown her films at international festivals and has received several awards, including at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, where a film version of “Wantee” was shown in a retrospective. For 2014, the New Museum in New York has invited Prouvost to present her first solo exhibition.

URL: http://www.turnerprize2013.org/

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