Thursday, August 16, 2007

Short is the New Long

Later in the year, I’m to help judge the best 60-second film at Filminute, The International One Minute Film Festival. The other judges include Canadian author Michael Ondaatje, Kenichi Kondo, a new media curator at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, and Samira Makhmalbaf, who is a member of an extraordinary family of Iranian filmmakers. You can guess why I’m there. For one thing, my son Dan is a budding movie maker and recent graduate of the New York Film Academy. I’m also, as a passionate believer in sisomo and lover of 30-second movies (aka TV commercials), and this is going to be a fantastic opportunity to see some of the world’s best in action. Filminute asks a big question about what makes a great one-minute film, and answers it with:

“A great one-minute film will deliver a well-balanced equation of content, acting, dialogue, storytelling, photography and sound design. It’s everything a good film or animation should be, only in 60 seconds – no more, no less!”

Personally I’d put a question mark over ‘well-balanced’, but that’s a debate for another day. The attraction for me of short, short films is their accessibility. They are pretty well within the creative reach of just about everyone. Maybe not to the level of Filminute award winners, but most of us really can express ourselves in short sisomo. We just have to jump in. I had a good experience of this at a workshop in Geneva last year. As part of the day, each group was challenged to create a short film. The theme? How to change your world. The results were surprising, fun and fantastic proof of sisomo creativity. Try experimenting with sisomo to tap into ideas, engagement and connection. Start with a digital movie camera and a laptop, mix them with a whole lot of enthusiasm and get moving. The deadline for Filminute entries is August 20, 2007.