january 23-30, 2002
greenbelt cinema 1, makati city
metro manila, philippines www.mov.moviespage.com
SHORT IS BEAUTIFUL
What is a short film?
Basically, a short film is a film that is short --- short being relative to the usual films one is accustomed to seeing (from commercials to music videos to telesines/
telenovelas to full-length features). Since "relative" is an ever-shifting word, we have different definitions of a short film, not only in terms of length but also in terms of purpose.
A SHORT FILM IS LESS THAN 60 MINUTES
Since the usual movies that we watch in cinemas, cable, and/or video run for at least an hour (or else we feel cheated; "bitin"), a short film must run less than an hour. The Gawad-CCP for Alternative Film and Video (now on its 14th year) fits in this category.
A SHORT FILM IS LESS THAN 30 OR 20 OR 15 MINUTES
Film festivals dictate the length of a short film, depending on their personal agendas/preferences. Cannes, the festival of festivals, has a requirement for their short films that it shouldn't exceed 15 minutes or else it won't even be screened by the selection committee. On the other hand, the International Hamburg Short Film Festival and the Tokyo Video Festival both have a limit of 20 minutes; but if an exceptional work exceeds the limit, an exception can be made. Resfest, the premiere digital film festival, has a "long" short category which has a maximum of 30 minutes. Me thinks arbitrary is in!
A SHORT FILM IS LESS THAN 10 MINUTES
There is an unspoken rule, that the shorter the project, the cheaper it is to produce. Also, for beginning filmmakers, it is commonly believed/practised that they have a tendency to ramble into monotony and meaninglessness; so a ten-minute cut-off point is deemed necessary. This cut-cost length is popular in Mowelfund Workshops and the Ateneo High School Film Fest. Another purpose for this length is so that they can show it as appetizers in cinemas before they show "the real thing" meaning the full-length feature, or as fillers in between shows for television/cable.
A SHORT FILM IS LESS THAN 5 MINUTES
Since streaming (watching a video/film on your computer via the internet) can cost you a lot of time/money (especially here in the Philippines), it's easier to wait for a couple of minutes than to wait a couple of hours to watch something. For the impatient, short-attention-spanned consumer-cineaste, it's bite-size or no-size at all. Check-out ifilm.com and/or atomfilms.com.
A SHORT FILM CAN BE MORE THAN 60 MINUTES
Some people refer to anything made by the alternative filmmakers (other synonyms: underground, counter-culture, avant-garde, arthouse, artfilm, independent) as a short film, even if it's longer than your grandmother's funeral. Benchmark: Pop artist/icon Andy Warhol and his Factory made this "short film" entitled "Sleep", wherein all you see on the screen is a man sleeping for eight or so hours; no editing, no camera movement, no nothing.
SHORT FILM AS CALLING CARD
Some use the short film as a calling card for a high(er)-paying directorial job. Instead of making your would-be employer/producer sit through an hour or so piece you're not even sure they'll like, it's near-to-impossible to get bored by a 3-minuter ditty. Trey Parker & Matt Stone made this Christmas 5-minute animation which all the top movie and TV honchos were able to watch, one of which commisioned them to make their "South Park" series, then the movie, and so forth and so on.
SHORT FILM AS EXERCISE
Some treat the short film as exercise, like going to the gym, or tae-bo. They see it as a way to break away from the burden of making a full-length and just shoot from the hip, as they say (although one can also shoot a full-length, short film style, but that's another article). There is a sort of Zen Enlightenment in focusing one's energies on a 10-minute project rather than dissipating one's self in full-length endeavor. Also, to recapture a "dwende" [a.k.a. magic, soul] lost in the hustle & bustle of commercial filmmaking.
SHORT FILM AS ART FORM
Some filmmakers, either because of personal fear or some adamant political belief/statement, prefer to make short films only (no full-lengths please). Their literary counterpart being Jorge Luis Borges who never wrote a novel, "only" short stories; though creating fiction vital enough to carve him a place in world literary history.
SHORT FILM AS SILVERSHORTS ENTRY
In the case of the SILVERSHORTS Philippine Short Film Festival, a short film is whatever you make it, as long as it's less than 20 minutes (reasons withheld for apparent arbitrary reasons) and you're a Filipino. The theme is open. All genres accepted. Production format can be in film and/or video, as long as you submit a preview tape in VHS (one short film per tape). Deadline is on March 31, 2001, Saturday. Submit at 23-F Kamias Road QC c/o ORACAFE MULTIMEDIA ARTS COMPANY. Prizes in cash and film gear await the winners. Silvershorts is an event of Filmless Films, made in cooperation with K2 Interactive/seeshorts.com. For inquiries, contact 9218434, 9288323, 0917-4511387, firstname.lastname@example.org
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