Friday, December 15, 2006

86 Days in Front of a Television? Don't Blame Us, Our Films Are Short.

The Census Bureau reports today that Americans will spend 65 days in front of the TV in 2007. Those are 24-hr days, mindyou. If you just counted one’s waking hours, it’d be more like 86 days. 41 more days (by their count) will be spent listening to the radio, a week on the Internet, and a week reading newspapers.

This is all in the latest copy of Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007. Today’s press release is titled, “Nearly Half of our Lives Spent with TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers, According to Census Bureau Publication,” which we think is hilarious; they could have used the title for statistics on rampant poverty or teen pregnancy in the U.S., but perhaps they know better. A title like that never would have been covered by the press, since the media knows that Americans are aware of poverty and just don’t seem to care. Instead, the title is making headlines—we heard the story on the radio, . . . part of our 41 days(?). Then we looked it up on the Internets.

Perhaps we’re feeling a little guilty around the office, upon hearing this news. It could be argued that the Journal is keeping people in front of televisions, too. Life is too over-mediated and unexperienced, as it is. A population of anti-social, sheep-like media consumers can’t be good for a nation, especially when that media is all centrally beamed to you by a handful of corporations. You could argue that a homogenized and nationalized culture—everyone watching the same shows, etc.—should lead to more social and/or national unity, but how can that happen when this “culture” is simply advertising and escapism. This kind of culture is not engaging—over the dinner table, the water cooler, wherever—it is disengaging. The only engagement this culture wants is between you and its brands; e.g., on The Amazing Race(tm): “Log onto CBS dot com backslash Excedrin to vote for your favorite Power Through And Go(tm) Moment. The Pain Stops, You Don’t(tm).” Okay, well, to sum up: it seems like this “culture” and these media habits lead to disconnected, alienated, indifferent people. They lead to violent or sad individual action (Columbine, anyone?, anti-depressants, anyone?) and widespread public inaction (Iraq War, anyone?).

We blame suburbanization, too. Oh, and a government that encourages self-interest. Oh, and a political system that thrives on a lack of participation. Oh, and corrupt religious movements that promote selfishness. Oh, and an unequal public education system that keeps people ignorant and economically segregated.

Wait, this was supposed to be an act of self-justification. Here it is: we hope the JSF is an independent, non-commercial, thoughtful alternative. It’d be nice if quality could trump quantity for a change and you could leave the TV off most of the time.

Whew, I guess we can blame everyone but ourselves. Have a good weekend!

Screening: Neil Needleman, NYC-area, 12/16-1/28/07, + Talk by Marcy Freedman, 1/13

If you find yourself in the northern burbs of NYC, stop by The Studio in Armonk for Neil’s Stamford Storefront Loop. His piece is a “slowly evolving meditation on an urban scene reflected in a store window over the blank expressions of several mannequins.”
Here are the details:
Winter Solstice V: Expressions of Our Time and Place (a group show including Stamford Storefront Loop)
The Studio: An Alternative Space for Contemporary Art
2 Maryland Ave., Armonk, NY 10504
December 16, 2006 through January 28, 2007, Open Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. 5 p.m.
Gallery talk:
January 13 at 2:00 p.m., Artist & art historian Marcy Freedman on “Freedom of Expression”
Registration required; $5 fee
For more information:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Popmatters Features the Journal

Popmatters has posted an article on the Journal. It is written by Shaun Huston, who has previously contributed good pieces on digital video (HERE) and V for Vendetta (HERE). Included in the JSF article is an interview with the publisher wherein he (the publisher) bloviates on subjects ranging from literature to legalities.

In case you haven’t visited The Reeler, lately, drop by to read their latest and to behold the comely JSF web ad.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

More on Short Film Contests

With increasing frequency we are finding short film contests floating around the Internet. It’s hard to know right now if this is good for short film or not. It often sounds like a cheap bid for content, as in Yahoo!’s case. But any excuse to create something and any opportunity to share it seem like a blessing, especially when considering what the landscape looked like a few years ago. We will continue to highlight a contest every now and then, but/and it will usually be associated with some worthy cause, like Current TV or a musician we like.

Today’s contest is mentioned mostly because we couldn’t resist the name of Rafter Roberts’ new CD, for which he and Asthmatic Kitty Records are hosting a video competition. The upcoming CD is called Music for Total Chickens, and filmmakers are invited to submit videos for one of 4 pre-released tracks. Here is their announcement:

Contestants will be offered four mp3s to choose from off of Rafter's upcoming release, Music for Total Chickens. These mp3s will be posted on various blogs and the Asthmatic Kitty website, contestants will choose one of these mp3s to make a video. Contestants will create and upload their videos to the Rafter Contest Group on YouTube. They will have two months to create and post the video. The contest will run to January 23 and the winners will be announced on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007. No submissions will be taken after January 23, 2007. Two $500 cash prizes will be given.
THE QUALITY PRIZE: The first prize will go to the video selected by a panel of "celebrity" judges.
THE QUANTITY PRIZE: The second prize will go to whichever video is the most viewed according to YouTube's statistics.

Sounds good to us. Again, I’ll reiterate the office’s philosophy that short film deserves more permanent distribution than streaming media and better screenings than on laptop and vPod screens. Short film deserves nothing less than theatrical releases and permanent archiving. But, hey, in the meantime, we’re cool with this. If a filmmaker were crafty and talented enough, she could win several contests a year and support herself, all the while creating her ass off and honing her craft.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chel White Films Available

Another Portland filmmaker made his way into the journal recently. Chel White’s (JSF, Vol.5) film “Dirt” helps, um, ground the volume in solid (but fun) experimental territory. But his other work is amazing, as well, and can now be found in a dvd collection. Go HERE to explore his website and HERE to acquire the collection.

Also of interest is Chel’s video for Thom Yorke’s new song “Harrowdown Hill.” It’s a marvelous combination of animation, documentary footage, and photographic effects. You can watch it HERE. For some making-of info., be sure to read a description of their “Smallgantics” technique.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Screening: Marie Losier, NYC, Wed., 11/22

A film by Marie Losier that appeared in Volume 3 of the JSF will be screening at MOMA in NYC on Wednesday. ELECTROCUTE YOUR STARS will screen in a series of “groundbreaking narrative shorts” next to films by Robert Rodriguez, Bill Morrison, and others.

Marie’s film is described as “a delightful, campy portrait of director George Kuchar,” but/and the film has some documentary elements that are funny and interesting, as well.

Details: MOMA, Wed., Nov.22nd 5:00pm; Program 8
A selection of groundbreaking narrative shorts.
Electrocute Your Stars. 2005. Marie Losier. A delightful, campy portrait of director George Kuchar.
Night Cries a Rural Tragedy. 1990. Australia. Tracey Moffatt. The classic, tragic story of a middle-aged Aboriginal daughter and her aging white mother.
Bedhead. 1991. Robert Rodriguez. The director's popular debut film is about a young girl's revenge on her pest of a brother.
Seven Hours to Burn. 1999. Shanti Thakur. A personal documentary tracing two wars that produce two émigrés, the filmmaker's parents.
Ghost Trip. 2000. Bill Morrison. A mystical road trip to New Orleans in a Cadillac hearse.
Burn. 2002. Reynold Reynolds. Unspoken secrets create a force that sears the fabric of everyday interaction.
Program 77 min.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Short Film and the Film Lit. World

The other day, the publisher was bemoaning the dearth of writing about short film when over the transom came an invitation to the new Storefront for Art and Architecture exhibit in NYC. It was very relevant; here’s the notice:

CLIP / STAMP / FOLD----THE RADICAL ARCHITECTURE OF LITTLE MAGAZINES, 196x - 197x; November 14, 2006 - January 31, 2007; Opening reception: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 6.30 to 8.30pm
In recent years, there has been resurgence of international interest in the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s. Yet the role of the many experimental publications that were the engine of that intensely creative period has been largely neglected. The exhibition . . . tracks the critical function of the little magazine in architecture during these years, when a remarkable outburst of publications disseminated and catalyzed a range of experimental practices.

It led to an office discussion that included the following: where is the best film lit. right now? Where is the lit. that is pushing the field? Do filmmakers even read that much? There weren’t many good answers, but it seems clear that short film is not getting much attention. (Though we have to point out the good things printed in Film International recently.)

Some good writers—whether they’re practicing filmmakers or not—would be useful in pushing the film world forward. The field of architecture provides a good analogy, since it, too, straddles the terrain of art and application (or art/commerce or form/resources). During the slow building years of the 70s, many of today’s big names like Libeskind and Eisenman were academics doing all of their work on paper.

Anyway, this was all on the publisher’s mind when he happened to sit next to Steve Bognar (JSF, Vol.1) on Friday night at a Wexner Center event . Steve reminded him of Reverse Shot, the online quarterly that has been putting out good writing for a while now. So, we’ll all get reacquainted with their work and keep looking for more. If you have any favorite sources, drop us a line.

In the meantime, we’ll make the comparison again: no one ignores short stories and their literary importance. And until short film receives its due attention, the film world will be the weaker for it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Movies, Formulas, and the End of Culture?

Anyone interested in film, psychology, and turning Americans into a nation of mindless consumer zombies (...turning?) must read Malcolm Gladwell’s article in the 10/16 New Yorker titled “The Formula: What if you built a machine to predict perfect movies?” It’s a classic piece of Gladwell’s work that considers the quantification of social and cultural phenomena. Only this one is a bit more relevant . . . and frightening. . . for film lovers.

When he says “perfect movies,” he’s referring to top-grossing movies, not platonic ones. Like, “favorite” not “best,” right? Though business people see no difference, of course, but that’s nothing new. What IS new is using computers to analyze patterns in movies and in consumption to see where they intersect, ie. to see what makes a blockbuster. In short, they’re getting close.

Anyway, read it. It starts off and ends kind of slow, but the middle part will impress. If it doesn’t impress you with the predictive powers of computers and algorithms, you are clearly ill prepared for a robot invasion. And by robots, I mean your neighbors.

Here’s a scenario for the near future: once the entertainment industrial complex perfects the ultimate entertainments, culture will cease to develop. There will be no experimentation, no independent productions, there will only be a few formulas and big profits. Americans will never be confronted with anything new. They will be supremely entertained, relatively comfortable (when not working 40-70 hrs/wk), and will begin to detach more and more and more from the world around them. They will fear and avoid anything different, build a wall around the country, lose interest in their government, and become totally oblivious to world events. Sorry, maybe this isn’t so new after all.

Well, the publisher just came into the room and called me naive and ungrateful, after scalding me with hot espresso and saying, “In some countries, that’d just be plain coffee, you scholarship ingrate.”

New Film Website of Note

Well, since the office has been overrun with film submissions, phone calls from politicians (Bill Clinton, just yesterday), and wild raccoons making a mess of everything, no one around here has sat down to summon a post in a while, so I’ll pass along something I’ve been meaning to mention for a couple of weeks. JSF friend Stu VanAirsdale in NYC has gone independent and launched The Reeler as a website about New York City film. His longstanding and excellent blog of the same name—which previously was hosted at IndieWire and then Movie City News—is still a main feature, but there are other contributors to the site, as well. This is what they aim for—“The Reeler is a paean to and an unofficial resource for news, happenings and gossip emerging from the world of New York City cinema.” The website provides plenty of good reading, good info about the festival circuits, and info about NYC-based short film, of which, judging from our PO box, there is plenty.

The Reeler has also been hosting an excellent series of screenings lately, including films like Half Nelson, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, and Jesus Camp, always attended by the directors.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

press release: The Journal of Short Film releases Volume 5

for immediate release

The Journal of Short Film
releases Volume 5 (Fall 2006)

Columbus, OH (October 24, 2006) The Journal of Short Film released Volume 5 (Fall 2006) today. This volume celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Journal and maintains its commitment to diversity, experimentation, and independent work.

The JSF is a quarterly DVD providing its subscribers collections of exceptional, peer-reviewed short films. It was the first DVD publication to make the Top 10 list of BEST MAGAZINES in 2005 in The Library Journal.

The biggest news surrounding Volume 5 is the JSF’s focus on a single location of vibrant filmmaking—Philadelphia. Many of the volume’s filmmakers come from Philadelphia, and the collection demonstrates that exciting work is happening in different communities all over the world.

Joining the editorial board for Volume 5 was Lucy Raven, NYC-based filmmaker and co-creator of The Relay Project. The volume’s ten films come from veterans, students, and a variety of artists in between. Genres like “narrative” and “documentary” fail to describe the diversity of visions found in this collection.

1. LITTLE THINGS – James Twyford and Alex Feakes (2005, 4:45) Everything’s a game when you’re four. Until you get caught. 2. DIRT – Chel White (1998, 4:00) A fractured tale of one man's strange obsession. Dark and humorous, DIRT is an ecological parable for the 21st century. 3. GRAND LUNCHEONETTE – Peter Sillen (2005, 5:00) This film documents the final days of Fred Hakim’s unforgettable 42nd Street lunch counter. 4. THE LEGEND OF BLACK TOM – Deron Albright (2005, 16:00) When a freed slave fights for the British bare-knuckle championship, he faces not only his opponent, but an entire nation. 5. NOEL – Hope Tucker (2005, 5:00) A songwriter’s identity remains as obscure as his motives for penning an American holiday standard. 6. THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF EXILE –Sara Zia Ebrahimi (2006, 12:00) A contemplation of the connection to family in a globalized world where fewer people live where they “came from.” Filmed in Iran. 7. YOU, STARBUCKS – Jennifer Levonian (2006, 2:05) Set in the mundane environment of a Starbucks, a couple engages in unspoken communication. 8. Something Rubber, Something Glue – Jen Schneider (2006, 14:30) Sibling warfare erupts over the only bathroom in the house: a private theater for role-playing, mirror confessions, and practicing for the “real thing.” 9. BAND OF SISTERS – Joel Fendelman (2005, 8:00) A group of 1.15 million women and men march through Washington, D.C., in the largest march in U.S. history. 10. REVERIES FROM CISTAE MEMORIA – Phillip Hastings (2005, 10:35) A delicately woven dream-journey through fragmented and reconstructed memories. Nostalgia for what may or may not have ever happened.

Recent rumors of the acquisition of the Journal by Google proved to be unfounded, earlier this month. Despite Google’s acquisition of the online video service YouTube, the JSF remains steadfast in maintaining that short film deserves a better medium than the Internet.

The JSF continues its open submissions policy and will welcome Sam Green as a guest editor for Volume 6 (Winter 2007). Sam’s Academy Award-nominated film The Weather Underground sometimes overshadows the fact that he is a renowned short film maker. The Journal is happy to have him on board and is excited to enter its second year publishing great independent filmmakers.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Indie Music and Short Film Converging Further. Plus, YouTube Sells; We Don’t Tell You What It Means for You.

A few things have coincided to push me to write about music and short film again---the release of the new Beck album, an update on the Film2Music competition, and an email exchange with John Brophy of Gingerbread Patriots—a band we learned about via short film, sort of, and whom we definitely like a lot.

1) The new Beck album The Information comes with a DVD of music videos for each of its songs. For months, the tracks and videos were slowly leaked on his website. Now, when you buy a single track, you automatically get a video download, and so on. Said Beck recently, “We’re moving into a time when the song and the imagery and video are all able to exist as one thing.” First, we know, Beck can hardly be called “indie,” anymore. And second, . . . really?

So, is this a big deal, or not? Some kind of film renaissance or DV revolution? Is it maybe just a renewed interest in music videos created by the new interest in short film, the proliferation of nifty/viral/buzz-creating videos on the internet, and 10+ years of MTV sucking? Beck isn’t the first to do this; we’ve seen Sean Lennon and Death Cab for Cutie do similar video album projects this year, too.

What, you didn’t think we were answering questions, here, did you? By the way, did you hear that Google bought YouTube for $1,650,000,000, yesterday? Seems relevant, somehow.

2) The Film2Music competition, started by composer Kubilay Uner, is still on until Nov. 1st. He has invited filmmakers to create films to accompany his latest music and has offered significant prizes for the winners.

Clearly, musicians see some gain in having images accompany their music.

3) Which is why I was interested when some filmmakers I knew about drew attention to some indie music that they had used in their work. It seemed like a reversal: filmmakers talking about finding cool, independent music to score their films; i.e. music making their images complete instead of the other way around. Here are the details, with appropriate links in case you need to kill an afternoon exploring some rich indie soil---the filmmakers in question were Arin Crumly and Susan Buice, two young, soulful artistes making the film Four Eyed Monsters. While attending Sundance and trying to get a distributor for their film, they were making video podcasts, each of which was a fairly elaborate, earnest, behind-the-scenes-ish short documentary, complete with heartfelt voice-overs, arty animations, and some of the hippest music you’ve heard in a while. There are eight podcasts, to date. Eventually, they started crediting the music at the beginning of each podcast, but from the start they had discussed the music on the “Music” part of their website (the website, remember, made to promote the feature film but which is half full of podcasts and related info, . . . the podcasts definitely by now having a life of their own and, i wonder, starting to perhaps become more interesting than the feature film itself; i can’t tell, since their film still doesn’t have a distributor, and i haven’t seen it yet.). Infact, they’ve even created a myspace page for the podcast music. It’s their fourth myspace page, alongside one for Arin, Susan, and the film. We can’t stand maintaining the JSF’s single lame-ass myspace page (not even gonna link to it), so we are fairly in awe of their industriousness.

But back to John and the band. Arin and Susan wrote about how they got in touch with the band (HERE), how they acquired the music, and how much they loved it. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for everyone. (disclosure/endorsement: all of this led us to get their latest cd, Wax Lips & Hummingbirds, which has become a regular listen around the office.) But a couple months passed, and I started to wonder if anyone really benefited from the hook up. Surely the filmmakers did, since the music made their promotional stuff (ie. the good and somewhat arty videos, which, let’s face it, were/are pure promotion) much more cool. But I emailed John and asked if the band saw any kind of concrete benefit to the relationship, other than just the normal warm fuzzies of sharing art.

He said that they originally lent the music just to be nice, but that it ended up benefiting them some, too. He, too, thought the music helped the filmmakers’ work, but was also happy to see their own music in a video format, which was the first time that’d happened. They liked how the well-cut video could make the songs come alive. He said the opposite was true, too: the music could be mismatched with an image and could really deflate the music, which happened once.

I found this remark interesting, too:
we did gain a lot of exposure from the collaboration. i guess in this age of ongoing a/v stimuli i.e. video ipods, you tube,... there are a lot of people that have difficulty sitting through an unfamiliar song in its entirety unless it's paired with visuals to hold their attention through the unfamiliar audio territory. we had people writing us in swarms about how they loved the track after only one viewing of the video but normally it takes quite a few listens to get the same response from our myspace player or our cd.

He said they are now more interested than before in making some videos and invites filmmakers to contact them.

And so perhaps we’ve come full circle.

In other GP news, they say they’re working on a new album. If you want to see them live, it’d help to live in Portland, OR, it seems.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Screening: Neil Ira Needleman, Berkeley, CA, Oct. 6-8

Neil (JSF, Vol.2) is an invitational guest filmmaker at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival this weekend. His recent work is in documentary, experimental film, and lots of ground in between.

In describing his film that appeared in Vol.2 (Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn), this blog used a word—kvetchumentary—that now appears as a Google singularity, a single search result. We have to take our victories where we can get ‘em! But it’s Neil’s film that’s so unique and that deserves all the credit. I’m not sure if that film is playing in Berkeley--they’re showing “assorted videos by”--but stop in if you're in the area.

And speaking of small victories, HERE is a bit of good press that appeared in the Chicago Tribune during our hiatus.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Journal of Short Film Blog’s Short Hiatus

The JSF Blog will return in 12-14 days. The publisher is having its asbestos removed. The rest of the website and Store will remain up and running, as usual.

Screening(s): Brian Liloia; Newburyport, MA, and Anthology @NYC; Sept.

Brian Liloia’s film ¡SI, SÉ PUEDE! is the most topical film the JSF has ever published. The immigration film was finished within a month of the massive street protests in April and released in Volume 4 in July. Catch the film at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival in Newburyport, MA, during the weekend of Sept. 29th. For more info on the festival, go HERE.

Another of Brian’s short films, THE IMMORTALITY OF MAN, will play during a NewFilmmakers screening on September 20th at the Anthology Film Archives in NYC. For more info on the series, go HERE. This film is funny and very different from the other; the title is very tongue-in-cheek.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Film School Gets the Business Page Treatment

I noticed that there was little or no comment last week over the NYT story about film schools setting up new courses in “technology.” Read “When Film School Isn’t Enough, the EnterTech Age Dawns” here. The story reports that numerous film schools are creating degree or certification programs in what they call the “convergence of entertainment and technology.” Spoiler alert: that phrase doesn’t seem to be a euphemism. These programs, with input from Hollywood executives, are exploring how the film industry can adapt to changing technology. These aren’t history classes; it appears they’re “how does Hollywood make money in the 21st century” classes. Or maybe ie., “Our 80-year old business model isn’t making the returns our investors are demanding, how can we make money off these kids on the Internet?” classes.

But as our lukewarm outrage was brewing, we realized that none of us has actually been to film school. So perhaps these kinds of business classes are common in film school. What do we know, our ranks are an ebb and flow of publishing dropouts, underground filmmakers, grad school dropouts, and slacktivists. But our first instinct is to say get an MBA already. Drop us a line, if you have any insider information for us. For now we will pretend to reserve judgment.

Production update:
We’re in the thick of assembling Volume 5. By the end of the week, everything will be final and the DVD will go into production.
We’re trying to use some more recycled packaging, but of course it costs more than the alternatives. As always in this country, doing the right thing costs more, see ethical food, hybrid cars, urban living, etc. We’ll keep you posted.
We’re also working on setting up some screenings around the country for the fall and winter. We’ll let you know as soon as they are finalized. If you’d like to see a screening in your burg, let us know.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

JSF Production Update

Well, another Labor Day has come and gone. The publisher took a break from his usual union busting to bring us all donuts . . . at the office. Then he went off to Kennebunkport or wherever he goes with Sumner or Rupert or whomever. We were left to fight over who has to stuff envelopes, who has to make the schedules for the Toronto and New York film festivals, and (apparently) who gets to sit on the couch and explain the appeal of NASCAR. Whoever DVR’ed the entire Sony HD 500 California Speedway Nextel Cup race isn’t funny. “500” = five hundred miles. This is perhaps as far from short film as one can get. On the other hand, a savvy editor could make a nice political film from the beginning of a NASCAR race; did you know they start those races with a prayer over the P.A.?

Moving on, the publisher said I could make our exciting announcement today, so here it is: Volume 6 will have a noted guest editor—Sam Green! We’re bicoastal! Columbus has been graced with Sam’s presence in the last few years, whether it was at his screening of The Weather Underground or while working on his short film Lot 63, Grave C. Sam lives in San Francisco and divides his time between teaching, filmmaking, helping run the Free History Project, and being generally awesome. We’re very happy to have him on board for a while.

Vol. 5 news? It’s coming together. The release date will be in mid-October. We’re working on a new design, as Vol.5 is the first volume of our second year. We’ll keep you posted.

Lastly, bon voyage to Lucy Raven, who was a guest editor on Volume 5. She was in town working on a project , but is heading back to New York City this week. Hopefully we’ll see her again at our next NYC screening. Watch for the next issue of her audio release The Relay Project.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Paul and the Badger, Episode #1"

This blog post writes itself, the publisher tells me. Last week, the Chicago Underground Film Festival gave the Best Narrative Short award to Paul Tarrago’s “Paul and the Badger, Episode #1.” None of us were there, but the publisher heartily endorses the award, having seen the film at the N.Y. Underground Film Festival in March. He says you won’t find a better film about mortality that involves a contemplative badger puppet, he guarantees it. Watch it HERE. Note the key scene in which they call Uncle Duncan for help, asking him, “What’s the difference between dying for a cause and suicide?”

We don’t usually link to online videos (unless it’s vérité stuff like THIS), but this film might make your day. Note: it’s 11 minutes long and will be hard to disguise at work. Apologies for the quality of the video; this is one of the reasons we don’t believe in online video.

Paul Tarrago is a member of the London-based film collective Exploding Cinema.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Submission Fees, Festival Policies, and Without a Box(tm)

Over the last week or so, there has been a lively discussion about festival and venue submission fees and Without a Box(tm) on the Frameworks listserv. Many experimental filmmakers on the list seem rather put off by what Without a Box (WAB) is doing and its potential impact on film festivals and other venues. In short, WAB is selling a service where a filmmaker pays a flat fee ($500) to mass-submit to festivals and venues. WAB covers the submission fee for that festival, and/but gets a cut of it from the fest or venue.

Here is what a few people had to say about it:

>All in all, I found WAB to be very unhelpful and unconcerned with
issues confronting experimental film, formats and issues.

>If you see withoutabox listed for a festival, then you know that festival cares little for you and your film or for ANY filmmakers.

>The Ann Arbor Film Festival accepts entries from WAB, and we DO care for filmmakers and their films.

>If a festival wishes to use the withoutabox system then they must impose a fee. The festival effectively has no choice.

>Thus as withoutabox spreads, so do the entry fees.

The discussion is not just about WAB, however, If you travel back through the thread a few days, they discuss the pros and cons of submission fees, in general. Click HERE to start reading the WAB discussion. To go farther back in the discussion, click HERE for the summer archive; this page is sorted by subject, and start reading at “The Tank” on August 21st.

We'd like to say again that the JSF has no submission fees.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Short Film on the Big Screen, . . . in France, Anyway

What does a big-budget short film look like? You’ll have a chance to watch 19 of them when ”Paris, Je T’aime” opens in the semi-near future. This French feature is a two-hour collection of 5-minute films directed by big names. The subject is, predictably, Paris. And “love,” maybe. And probably smoking and being nonchalant. Each film is set in one of 18 different neighborhoods.

Just how big-budget is this feature? I saw a budget estimate of $16 million and 5 production companies attached, including Canal+. But we’re not judging. It’s a fine idea. We have always said that short film belongs in movie theaters.

The list of directors is strong. Among them are Olivier Assayas, Ethan and Joel Coen, Alfonso Cuarón, Christopher Doyle, Alexander Payne, Walter Salles, and Gus Van Sant.

The U.S. release date isn’t scheduled, yet, but I predict it’ll be in Dec. or Jan. Watch the so-so trailer HERE (find the film annonce), if you’re bored or like Natalie Portman.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Opportunities for Short Film if You Like Music

The Film2Music Competition was recently announced by the composer Kubilay Uner. You provide the visuals to one of the tracks off of his new cd (“Cinematic”), he provides an esteemed jury and a sizable set of prizes. Grand Prize=$10,000; two Second Prizes=$1,000 each; Online Audience Award=$5,000. You’ll probably agree that this is pretty good money for short film, these days. Plus there are meetings with some Hollywood film types.

Visit the competition’s website HERE. You can listen to the tracks and visit Kubilay’s website, as well. You might note how professional the websites are; I started to get suspicious, so I wrote to them and asked if it was all some cross-promotional corporate deal---you know, e.g., some Viacom/Paramount/MTV synergy of evil. Well, Kubilay wrote me back personally and told me that it’s not. Apparently he has some Hollywood friends that are helping out, but that it’s an independent venture. Plus, the music is not commercial stuff. Again, check out his website.

Another somewhat similar competition I’ve found is being hosted by the band The Residents and the Metropolitan Museum of Art---“The River of Crime Community Art Project.” Filmmakers are invited to provide a film for a 1:30 track off of “River of Crime,” their new CD (of sorts). They’ll post the winner on YouTube and it’ll show at MoMA. See the previous post for how we feel about YouTube, and MoMA’s pretty cool, too.

Anyway, there are worse reasons to make a short film. At least one of the JSF’s many films was created to accompany a piece of music (“Cakewalk” by Jeff Economy (JSF, Vol.2)), and we’re very fond of it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How to Get Your Short Film Reviewed, and YouTube: What Is It Good For?

The other day a filmmaker wrote in and asked how one might get one’s short film reviewed. I sent the question out to several JSF vets, and a general response came back: good freakin’ luck.

Fortunately, there are some exceptions, however rare. We were happy to read a review of three short films in Volume 1 of the JSF that appeared in the new issue of Film International. And we had more good news yesterday with the review of Brian Liloia’s (JSF, Vol.4) film “Sí, Se Puede!” on today’s Cinematical. Erik Davis writes a weekly feature called “Eat My Shorts: Something Different,” and yesterday he drew attention to Brian’s documentary and to the Journal. He invites people to submit their short films to him for his weekly inclusions. So voila.

Sure, Erik’s feature directs you to online films, but you can’t blame him: that’s where most of the films are. The JSF can only publish four DVD’s a year, right? Anyway, if one is open to competing with online films, there is at least one more website to submit your film to: The Daily Reel. This site promises to “showcase the best in online video” by sifting through it all and recommending a daily Top 10. We can’t vouch for the films, but Anthony Kaufman is one of the reviewers, and he’s okay by us.

Around the office, the only online videos we find ourselves watching are things crashing and things about to crash.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Lightboxes and Video Art in San Antonio

If you find yourself in San Antonio this month, stop by the Salon Mijangos to see the work of Leslie Raymond (JSF, Vol.1). Last Saturday night, Leslie and Jason Jay Stevens (comprising Potter-Belmar Labs) performed there to open the exhibit. Their filmic performances are “improvised cinema”—live-mixing audio and video, weaving sampled media and original work. The JSF published a piece of their work in Volume 1 (“Amelita Destruction”), but beholding it live is a treat.

The August exhibit, however, is on the walls all month. Leslie says the lightboxes were created “with imagery taken from my video work, and highly worked over with digital processes.”

If you thought San Antonio was devoid of contemporary art, you’d be wrong. At least in July and August, you’d be wrong. July is the town’s Contemporary Art Month, with a slew of events and exhibits all month long. She says there is plenty of art being made in S.A., and that video work is infiltrating all kinds of art. The way she talked about it, I feel like making an illegal immigration- or “porous borders” analogy, but I’ll not. Anyway, viva el video, and buena suerte Leslie and Jason.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

JSF Production Update:

Thanks to everyone who came to the screening last night. The place was nearly packed, and it was a good time. A few people brought submissions, which was great. It was also nice seeing some of the JSF friends in one place for the first time.

The release yesterday went well until our email server crashed. It’s not the first time. We’ve been busy for a few days sending out the new volume. We’re keeping the Post Office in business. We should be done with the mailings in a day or two.

Whatwith the screening, it’s been a really busy week (and weekend), so the publisher has given us the afternoon off! We are flocking to go see Miami Vice. (We’ve left our irony in our lockers at the office.) The publisher rolled his eyes at us and headed for the Turkish bath or wherever he disappears to.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

For Immediate Release: Volume 4 Released Today

It only comes around four times a year, so every release day is a celebration, around here. Today is more special than most because we’re having a screening tonight downtown.

The Journal is still dependent on word-of-mouth support, so please spread the news. Below is the press release.

for immediate release

The Journal of Short Film releases Volume 4 (Summer 2006)

Columbus, OH (August 8, 2006) The Journal of Short Film released Volume 4 (Summer 2006) today. Its ten films represent five different countries and nearly every genre of film imaginable. The summer volume contains more than the usual thrills and comedy, but maintains the Journal’s manic commitment to diversity.

The JSF is a quarterly DVD providing its subscribers collections of exceptional, peer-reviewed short films. It was the first DVD publication to make the Top 10 list of BEST MAGAZINES for 2005 in The Library Journal.

Some of the films in Volume 4 have appeared at the Cannes, Sundance, or Toronto festivals. Comedies come from the Basque region, the offices of The Onion, and the Columbia University film school. A noirish thriller comes from England. Two very different films about immigration come from Hungary and New Jersey. Experimental films span the worlds of music performance, automated abstraction, and romantic obsession.

1. ÉRAMOS POCOS – Borja Cobeaga (2005, 16:00) When his wife leaves him, Joaquín turns to his son to help him bring his mother-in-law out of a home to do the housework. 2. THE MAN WHO MET HIMSELF – Ben Crowe (2005, 9:50) Who is Stephen Maker? Did he fake his own death, or do doppelgangers really exist? 3. BEFORE DAWN – Bálint Kenyeres (2005, 12:00) Before dawn the wheat quietly undulates on the hillside. Before dawn some people will rise while others will take away their hope. 4. DUMB ANGEL – Deco Dawson (2005, 9:00) Equal parts improvisational performance, experimental film, behind-the-scenes documentary, music video, and audio composition. 5. ROBO-CLONES – Steve Delahoyde and Nathan Rabin (2005, 5:30) A timely and provocative look at an explosive social issue: the effect of murderous robot clones on workplace morale. 6. THE OPTION OF WAR – Nick Fox-Gieg (2005, 6:30) A soldier is taken prisoner in the night by a pack of jackals who demand that he betray his sleeping friends. 7. WHY I DON’T GO TO THE MOVIES – Paul Karlin (2004, 7:00) The force of romantic obsession and the doldrums of life with a goddess lead to a strange vow. 8. DEPRESSION – Louis Lapat (2005, 13:20) How do you fight depression? Routine exercise, daily work, and an insecure girlfriend to soothe your ego when feeling down. 9. ERRATA – Alexander Stewart (2005, 7:00) An abstract film made by photocopying copies of copies thousands of times. Each frame of film is a copy of the previous frame. 10. ¡SÍ, SE PUEDE! – Brian Liloia (2006, 14:00) A timely documentary giving a voice to undocumented immigrants currently facing reform issues in the United States.

The JSF is continuing its open submissions policy and will have a guest editor for Volume 5 (Fall 2006). Lucy Raven will join the editorial board of the JSF for its one-year anniversary volume. Lucy is a filmmaker, artist, and founder of The Relay Project ( in New York City.

The JSF is available at and

Contact: Karl Mechem, publisher, The Journal of Short Film,


Sunday, August 6, 2006

Documentary and the Interview Subject, Part II

Last week we raised the question of how to get the best information out of an interviewee while filming. (A JSF-vet. filmmaker had reported that interviewees were increasingly telling him the best stuff off-camera.) I floated the question to some other JSF vets and they came back with some interesting responses. Some are common sense, but some are a bit more illicit.
Try to avoid conversations with your subject about the material you intend to discuss. If you talk about the material off-camera, the subject might end up spouting off essential details at that time, and then forget about the juciy details once it comes time for the formal questioning. I guess most people rarely tell a story the same way twice, after all. When you are actually doing the interview, play it casually. Making the subject feel comfortable is pretty key. Or, if you are setting up for the interview, prep the interviewee with what you plan on talking about without posing any of the actual questions. Give them an idea of what you want to talk about, but don't give them too much time to start forming answers ahead of time.
He also advises having your camera ready, in case the subject starts talking without prompting. Another filmmaker offered the following:
Everyone, it seems, has an "on screen" and "off screen" persona. People naturally feel freer to say what's on their mind when they know the camera isn't rolling. Sometimes they are justified. Sometimes they are just shy. One way to circumvent this dilemma is to keep the camera rolling. Start shooting before you say "action" and keep the camera going after you say "cut." Video is cheap enough.

One more trick: Tell your on-screen interviewee that this is "just a rehearsal." But tape it. And, if it's better than the actual interview, use some of the footage.
That’s right, he went there. He admits that you’ll still need to get the person’s approval, afterward. Both of them stress that it’s important to make the interviewee as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

One of the publisher's friends, a guerrilla historian, offered this:
. . . the first thing that jumps to mind for me is you HAVE to make sure that the person being interviewed trusts where the documentary is going and that the information that is being searched for will be treated respectfully and honestly.

. . . The film maker needs to empower and embolden the interviewee by assuring him/her that by telling the truth, the larger truth can be seen, explained, understood. As long as the person being interviewed trusts that the documentary will achieve those ends, then maybe more honesty can get captured on film.
What seems kind of obvious is actually pretty complex. Among other things, interviewing is a combination of camera tactics and logistics, psychological nuance, and establishing trust. Some of this stuff can’t be learned in film school. Experience helps, so get out there and start making mistakes.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Columbus Premiere of The Journal of Short Film; Volume 4 To Be Released 8/8

Tuesday's the big day--besides it being the release date for Volume 4, it's also our hometown premiere. Below is the announcement. Spread the word.

Join us for an evening of the best short films you'll never see anywhere else. The Journal of Short Film is produced here in Columbus and is pleased to premiere a selection of its films for hometown filmmakers and film buffs. The Journal is a pioneer in the DVD magazine field. Its quarterly volumes provide a new avenue of distribution and exposure for independent filmmakers while giving short film the attention and respect it has long deserved. Besides publishing films from all over the world, the JSF also wants to help unite the Columbus filmmaking community. The screening will be hosted downtown by the Columbus State Educational Resources Center and the Marketing & Graphics Communications Dept. of Career and Technical Programs. This free program will be held in Franklin Hall, Room 104 on Tuesday, August 8th, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The publisher will be on-hand to accept film submissions in person.

"intriguingly open-minded"--The Washington Post
"Best Magazines of 2005"--The Library Journal
"an excellent contribution to the arena of filmmaking, facilitating
access to cutting edge works"--Film International

Visit the Events page of the website for more details.

Monday, July 31, 2006

JSF Production Update:

1) The release date for The Journal of Short Film, Volume 4 (Summer 2006) is August 8th. You can order it now on the website (see the top right of this screen), and you will receive it a couple days before your jealous friends. Don’t forget to call them sucka’s.
2) You can see the list of films for Vol. 4 on the website.
3) The JSF will have a screening near its HQ on the release day. It promises to be rollicking. Check out the Events page of the website for more details, . . . tomorrow, ...when we get it up there. If you would like to have a screening in your town, send us an email and let’s talk.
4) Did anyone else hear the good reviews that Miami Vice got? We plan on getting us some guilt-free Miami Vice sometime very soon.

Films Flee Theaters, Hit the Road

The other day Marcy Freedman (JSF, Vol.2) tipped us off on her latest project. She has been working with collaborator Gene Panczenko on an experimental video piece called Misconvergence. They’ve been independently shooting video according to a set of rules that they established months before. In August, they’ll meet up and edit the footage into a 3-5 minute work. What’s most novel is that the piece will debut on wheels. They’re building a VIDEO VEHICLE with monitors and speakers. Their first location will be the Peekskill Project, in New York. They’ll be building audiences one sidewalk at a time. We’re gonna want to see some pictures, Marcy!

Her news brought to mind two other mobile video projects that we wish were more common. (though Marcy bests these two in pure mobility.) These two outfits are inspired by the drive-in. (1) Mobile Movie holds impromptu drive-ins and, on its website, instructs you on how to build a mobile projector and audio transmitter. (2) The Santa Cruz Guerrilla Drive-in holds screenings every other weekend during the summer. Their list of upcoming movies is great. Their events are more “walk-ins,” however. People bring blankets, everything’s free, space is reclaimed for the public, etc. Check them both out. The world needs more cinema anarchists.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Documentary and the Interview Subject

One of our veterans raised a filmmaking conundrum the other day. He has been shooting interviews for documentary shorts and finds a growing problem:
So here's the problem: More and more, people are telling me the good stuff off-camera. As soon as the camera is rolling, blah blah, they say whatever. Switch off the camera, and then some amazing stuff comes out. Just to be clear, they are purposefully telling me the best stuff off the record. It's an epidemic, and it's got to stop.
How is it possible that people are getting worse? I usually think Americans are media savvy—we may have our faults, but at least we watch a lot of TV!—and know what is expected of them in front of a camera. But his experience indicates the opposite.

We know the dynamics between filmmaker and interview subject are vital. Who hasn’t cringed at an interaction between Michael Moore or Werner Herzog and one of their subjects? They’re both famous for interjecting themselves into the frame/process and establishing a familiarity that makes a lot of purists uncomfortable. To address some of these interview dynamics, Errol Morris invented the Interrotron (see diagram HERE). This device allows the interview subject to look into the camera and see a reflection of Errol asking questions. This way Robert McNamara gets to stare directly at us and act all faultless (...sorry, I’m digressing; see Fog of War).

But these dynamics are not exactly what our filmmaker is talking about. His problem seems more tactical than aesthetic or philosophical. So what is going on? Are the subjects not comfortable sharing the information they have? Is it significant that he’s often asking political questions? Are they just dense?

So I’m putting his question out there for general input: how does an interviewer ensure that the subject delivers the best info on-camera and not off-camera? I’ll float the question to a few of our other documentarians, as well. Send us your thoughts ( and I’ll bring this up again next week.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Censorship, PBS, & the Price of Free Speech ($325,000)

The NYT has already told the story of PBS’s upcoming censorship battles, so I won’t go into the details. In short, Ken Burns’ new documentary about WWII soldiers is controversial (...stop laughing, this is serious!) because it contains a few words—spoken on the battlefield—that could trigger the newly massive FCC fines. Burns and other PBS people think the FCC rules are inappropriate for documentary subjects like this one.

This post isn’t about short film; I just wanted to say that our national culture has taken a sad turn when Ken Burns is fighting our civil rights battles for us. When Ken Burns is (1) speaking out against the system because (2) his documentary is unacceptable to the FCC, there is something seriously wrong. What is going to happen when Ken Burns completes his 14-part series on Motherhood and his 8-part follow-up on Apple Pie??? By then, broadcasters will be so afraid to air anything that every channel will be Lawrence Welk.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Je Regrette, and Other Franco-significant News

After the “nonsense” that I wrote yesterday, the publisher is punishing me by making me write about Luc Besson. When I reminded him that I don’t actually get paid, he hurled his espresso cup at me and stormed off to his Alfa Romeo yelling “and be sure to say The Fifth Element was awesome!” (i might have made that last part up.) But, to get it over with, it does appear that Luc Besson is retiring. He has two new films out this year and has announced his retirement, saying he doesn’t really like directing much any more. But then his mind wanders, and he starts to rethink a bit— read the Guardian interview for the whole story.

But speaking of upcoming French movies that aren’t really French, Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep is scheduled to open in September, which is none too soon. The current issue of RES Magazine reminded us of the short piece he made last year, The All Seeing Eye. That piece would look fine in a future volume of the JSF, hint hint, Michel. HERE’s a description of the short film.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Art vs. Entertainment

This morning, A.O. Scott addressed the critics vs. box office conundrum: why do movies with bad reviews often make loads of money? In his usual tactful way, he raises other questions too, like: are people idiots?, and why even bother? What interests me is the similar question of art vs. entertainment. But first, this is Scott addressing why critics even bother looking for quality in Hollywood movies:
So why review them? Why not let the market do its work, let the audience have its fun and occupy ourselves with the arcana — the art — we critics ostensibly prefer? The obvious answer is that art, or at least the kind of pleasure, wonder and surprise we associate with art, often pops out of commerce, and we want to be around to celebrate when it does and to complain when it doesn’t. But the deeper answer is . . .
Click here to read the rest of the review . You might or might not believe it. But, come to think of it, you probably wouldn’t be reading any of this if you hadn’t thought of a lot of this already.

We’re sensitive to the art vs. entertainment issue around here and mostly think it’s a false dichotomy. Firstly, one person’s art is another’s pretension, and one person’s entertainment is another’s cretinism. Also, art is subconsciously almost everywhere—in your kid’s playtime, at Target, on the Nissan 350Z, etc.—so it’s disingenuous to treat it as marginal or gay or whatever. One of our basic goals is to prove that the two are not mutually exclusive—that sounds dumb and obvious, but to many people it’s not (tho, of course, they’re probably not reading this).

But, with all that said, we set out to make Volume 4 more fun (“entertaining”?) than usual—whatwith it being a Summer volume and all. (release date: Aug.8th, by the way!) It has more than the normal laughs, thrills, and rocking. But it’s also filled with compelling, powerful stuff, including two very different films about immigration.

We contend that no matter what camp you fall in—e.g. if you feel anything more interpretable than a NASCAR race is called art OR if you think anything more mainstream than Godard or the Cremaster Cycle is mindless entertainment—we’re all probably a lot more similar than we think. These differences we draw are more about identity politics than about art or entertainment.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Good Review

The latest issue of Film International includes a long review of Volume 1 of The Journal of Short Film. We’re happy to say that it is all quite positive, especially for some of the filmmakers involved. The reviewer highlighted the work of Joe Merrell, Heidi Mau, and Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre. It’s refreshing to see short film get so much close attention.

So pick up a copy of Film International today. Also included:
Available now - Film International #21. Articles, essays and interviews on everything from Brokeback Mountain to Ginger Snaps. We dig deep into the phenomenon that is Dennis Hopper, highlight the forgotten roots of Japanimation, dissect Patrice Chéreau's visions of death, and file festival reports from around the world, including Miami, Nepal, and London.
For the review, click HERE and go to page 8.

JSF Production Update

Volume 4 is finally off to the replicator! The official release date is Tuesday, August 8th. Stand by for hella fanfare.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Current TV Supports Short Work to the Tune of $100K

I’m still a fan of Current TV’s scheme, though I’m not sure who’s watching the channel. Sure, they seem a bit over-earnest, at times, but we tend to forgive that, around here. Even if you claim that their programming isn’t the pinnacle of short film, I’d argue that they regularly show good short work. Sometimes you have to wait for it, and you never know when something good might be on, but I often enjoy the wait. Plus, their Google Zeitgeist bits every 30 minutes are nice.
Anywho, the publisher has directed me to mention Current’s new contest—the Seeds of Tolerance contest—which has a prize of $100,000. Who else is doing that for short work? Here are some details---
Our grand prize creator will receive $100,000 cash, and $15,000 to a relevant charity of your choice. Two runners-up will receive $10,000, and be aired on Current TV, in 28 million homes across the country. . . . Between now and August 15, submit a video on the theme of tolerance—any form of tolerance. Whatever story you want to tell, and however you want to tell it.
For more details and rules, go to their website. If you think films about tolerance are a dumb idea, perhaps you’ll like the following story. (sorry, but i need an excuse to tell this story!) After the fourth of July, someone called into a conservative radio show with a complaint about the fireworks display in a Columbus suburb. The complaint?: one firework exploded in the shape of a peace symbol. He felt it was treasonous.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On Location: Where Do YOU Make Films?

We at the JSF spend a lot of time dwelling on the notion of location. In short, does your location matter to your film career? Perhaps you’ve noticed that the JSF is located in central Ohio—not the hub of the film universe. But it does help give us some extra reasons d’etre, e.g., we know how few options exist for watching quality, independent films outside of a few big cities. But what about filmmakers? We argued from the first that people are making films everywhere, now, and that distribution needed to decentralize to keep up with it. New technology has allowed this (though Business prevents it). But is it really true that you can make films anywhere?, that it doesn’t matter where you live?

The JSF continues to publish films from all over. Volume 4—coming soon!, we promise—has films from 5 different countries and towns as small as San Sebastián, Spain, and, um, . . . Chicago? Okay, so this volume doesn’t represent any many small towns, but we’ve had plenty in the past, including Yellow Springs, OH, Norman, OK, Salt Lake City, UT, Syracuse, NY, and more.

I recently asked this question of Joe Merrell (JSF, vol.1), who said that digital technology has allowed him to work on his own, when he chooses. While he has collaborated with others in the past, his recent projects are more or less solo. Because of this, his location may seem a bit ironic: “I live in Hollywood (the hill with the HOLLYWOOD sign on it is behind my apartment). . . . Though location is significant to the content of my work, the fact that I live in Hollywood The Movie Capital of the Universe is pretty much irrelevant to it.”

Perhaps social networking sites on the Internet may help, someday. But I don’t think it’s working, yet. Has anyone really made Yahoo Groups,, or Myspace work on a practical level for production? Myspace certainly seems useless. It’s full of users, and we’re not entirely innocent of that ourselves, as the JSF’s lame ass myspace page would attest.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, send us an email. The field is changing, and we’ll revisit the issue later, I’m sure.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Screening: Neil Needleman, Sat. 7/8/06, NYC

Neil is bringing ONCE UPON A TIME IN BROOKLYN (JSF, Vol.2) to Manhattan tomorrow. The film will be part of DCTV’s 24 Hour Film Festival. In my mind, this film is a seminal work in oral history. Neil’s two late aunts attempt to discuss family history and end up creating a noisy multi-narrative that could set the standard for a new form: the kvetchumentary.

Here are the details: Saturday, July 8th, 1:30p.m., Downtown Community Television Center, 87 Lafayette Street, New York City.

Neil also has screenings coming up in London, Dallas, and Berkeley.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

JSF Production Update

Our apologies for the bloglapse. We were too busy celebrating over the holiday weekend—-you know, celebrating Freedom: freedom to eat too much, drive too fast, and burn piles and piles of American flags while we still can. (And not just flags, but flag pins, flag magnets, and flag napkins!) Oh, the Journal of Short Film also invaded Honduras. I mean liberated.

Anyway, here is a production update. Volume 4 is, um, coming along. We are nearly finished producing the dvd master. We all expected the Summer volume would sail through here, but we didn’t anticipate being held up by Cannes, the end of the academic year, and other stuff. We have learned that, sadly, there is no slow season. These filmmakers are working ALL the time. And so are we, except when the publisher slips off to “explore new markets” in Central America.

But we assure you that when Vol. 4 is released later this month it will be pretty spectacular. More details soon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

What Short Film Can Learn From the School of Missing Studies

The SMS documents stuff that isn’t there. But why shouldn’t they?, anthrop- and archaeologists make a living documenting missing stuff. The School of Missing Studies has produced a film along these lines; LOOKING FOR OCTOBER will screen at Anthology in NYC tomorrow night under the title “Storefront Films presents.” SMS is a loose association of educators, artists, and sundry intelligentsia, many of whom have roots within a day’s drive of Serbia.

The work of the SMS focuses on places that are in transition and the identity of their residents. E.g., here’s what they say about this film:
LOOKING FOR OCTOBER concentrates on the last official liberation of Belgrade, when Tito's partisans seized the city from the German occupiers on October 20, 1944. Belgrade is a city that has been liberated many times. Each change in power created a new political and ideological layer. This accumulation obscures attempts to pin down or return to a specific identity. Questions about the traces of these events manifest in the urban surroundings of Belgrade were posed to young participants during a series of workshops titled LOOKING FOR OCTOBER, . . . . An unsettled layer of Belgrade is exposed through their individual interviews and group conversations. The city is seen through the eyes of its young inhabitants, future builders born after Tito's death, raised during the collapse of communism, and growing up under sanctions and isolation to live in a time with no fixed ideals.

SMS is clearly interested in architecture (which explains the Storefront sponsorship). So identity boils down to histories, ideologies, and where/how people live. But it doesn’t always boil “down,” does it? Sometimes it just boils, as the Balkans have been doing since the early 1990s. SMS has made it their mission to study how massive change affects a population, reshapes its culture, and creates a new socio-cultural obstacle that is never addressed by the U.N., KFOR, or whoever thinks they’re “fixing” the region. (my words, not theirs.) Besides seeking to understand Balkan identity, SMS’s work also pertains to the European Union and how/if unity can be forged from so much diversity.

So what does this have to do with short film? It seems that short film would be a good medium for these issues on a local scale. Plus, the films could be distributed more easily throughout communities, given a little creativity (e.g. #1, e.g. #2). I wouldn’t want to tackle the Balkans in an 8-min. film, but what about local subjects like post-Katrina New Orleans, gentrification, emigration, factory closures, the end of small farms? In every case, the loss of something has changed everything—culture, politics, economics, et al.

So there you have it: start making films about things that aren’t there. You just might answer some big questions. Oh, and check out the work of SMS.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Screening: Marie Losier, NYC, Sat. 6/24

Join Marie Losier (JSF, vol.3) and artist Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria for the opening of “MAGIC BOX” tomorrow night at the LUXE Gallery.

Marie has made her short film—Flying Saucey!—much shorter. In order to put her film into a hand-cranked mutoscope, she cut her film from 9 minutes to 9 seconds. The viewer animates the (approx.) 300 still frames by turning the crank and peering into the Magic Box, one viewer at a time.

Because I know you’re dying to know, click HERE for the specs of an original c.1900 mutoscope. But it sounds like the Magic Box is no ordinary mutoscope. It was designed by Sanz de Santamaria and sounds like a bit of an art object.

The process of cutting 9 minutes of film into 300 frames must have been an adventure in editing. In her words:
It thus investigates an entirely different approach to film editing, with the goal of developing an intimate relationship to film since the option of setting the box into motion or of facing a still image is left to the initiative of an audience reduced to one person at a time.

Here are the details: LUXE Gallery, June 24th, 6-8pm, 24 West 57th Street, Suite 505, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212. 582.4425

Also, two of her films are being shown at the Wexner Center (Columbus, OH) in their video installation space, The Box, during the month of July. Hey, it’s free, it’s air-conditioned, it’s heavily-referenced, whimsical short film--what more could you want?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Screening: Steven Bognar; PBS tonight!

Tonight is a big night for Steven Bognar (JSF, vol.1) and Julia Reichert: their documentary A LION IN THE HOUSE is airing on PBS. It will be shown in two installments, tonight and tomorrow. It will probably be on at 9pm, but check your local listings.

This film premiered at Sundance this year, where it garnered heaps of praise and held the distinction of being the longest doc. ever accepted.

I was fortunate enough to see the film at the Wexner Center in May, where I had the pleasure of bumping into Steven and Julia.

The film is phenomenal. I won’t attempt any kind of review, here; it's just too massive a film to reduce down to a quip or two. I’ll just say that it is deeply impressive, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t somehow affect the medical world that it portrays.

The IFP and Short Film

Well, the god of billionaires giveth and then taketh away. Or the other way around, I guess. As soon as Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks(tm) lose the NBA championship, the IFP announces that it will give Cuban (and Todd Wagner) the 2006 Gotham Award for, um, all’round awesomeness(?) in independent film. This got people around here talking.

While most of us think Mark Cuban’s film efforts (2929 Productions, “Good Night, and Good Luck,” etc.) are swell, others think he’s a bloviating dot-com poser. Plus, some are concerned about Anthony Kaufman’s coverage of Cuban’s Landmark Theater chain. After hours of bickering, we concluded that, while any new interest in independent film is a good thing, we can’t believe people still watch professional basketball.

On his way out to have lunch with Graydon Carter, the publisher directed me to blog about the IFP and its various grant programs. (See, and you thought this wasn’t going to be about short film.) The IFP has at least three funding opportunities for short films. They include the Chicago Production fund (valued at $100,000), the Market Award for “Emerging Narrative” short film (worth $5,000), and more. Find the entire list of grants here.

The IFP has been around a long time and continues to do good work. So get off their backs about their busy and uncool website.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Screening(s): Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre; Melbourne, London, L.A., etc.

All of our devotees in the state of Victoria should be aware of a screening in Melbourne tomorrow. Or is it yesterday . . . or right now? Anyway, Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre’s (JSF, vol.1) new film “McLaren’s Negatives” is opening the Melbourne International Animation Festival on Tuesday night.

In other great MJSTP news, the film is also being featured at the London Intl. Animation Film Fest. in August, where she’ll be giving a masterclass on Animated Documentaries. The film continues its domin-/animation at the L.A. Film Fest., as well as Jerusalem, New Zealand, Seattle, Sydney, Sao Paulo, and then it might take over a small country; this film can’t be stopped. To watch a trailer, visit her site. To learn more about film pioneer Norman McLaren, click here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Screening: Richie Sherman, 6/16, Brooklyn

Every summer, Brooklyn beckons to us with the screenings of Rooftop Films. It is what it sounds like: films on rooftops. In Brooklyn. If you happen to be in the area on Friday, you can see the cinematographic work of Richie Sherman (JSF, vol.2) in the NY premiere of the feature film THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. Check out the Rooftop Film listing HERE and see what else will accompany the show—here’s a hint: there will be live music by two musicians with connections to Philip Glass, Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, and the films of David Gordon Green.

But back to Richie. His film “Demolition 7” in vol. 2 was an “expressionistic recording of a demolition derby,” so I’d love to see his work in this feature. Incidentally, the film’s synopsis begins thusly: “In the confusion following a massive power outage, an awkward demolition derby driver vanishes, . . . “ Both Richie and the director, Todd Rohal, have roots in southeastern Ohio, but I’m not sure who is influencing whom or what’s in the water down there. Either way, the film looks great and I wish I could be on that rooftop Friday night.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Destructive Experimental Films. No, Seriously Destructive.

Okay, enough talk about distribution. Back to film. So you’ve noticed that the JSF always includes a few experimental films in every volume. I think the publisher has an affirmative action policy or something. Well, here are some films that will NEVER make it into the JSF. To screen these experimental films in 1973, Annabel Nicolson ran the film through a sewing machine and then back into the projector. Check out some documentation on the event HERE.

Thanks to the Frameworks listserv folks who brought this up. (The discussion doesn’t seem archived yet, but might appear HERE soon.) Under the header “pathology of film,” they bantered about various film movements that have dealt with the fragile nature of film stock, deterioration as art, film as metaphor for biology, and etc.

Apparently, a piece from a sewing machine was used to build an early film projector. So maybe her films were just early guerrilla advertising for Singer.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Films in Libraries

Okay, this’ll be the last email about distribution for a while. (i was actually going to write about the crazy deal between Paramount and Technorati—ie. how Paramount is channeling third-party blog posts and comments into movie marketing campaigns—but i realized The Reeler already covered that HERE. i was prepared to make an obtuse NSA joke, but that’ll have to keep.)

But let me bring up an important venue where independent filmmakers should be represented and often aren’t—public libraries. Of course this isn’t the best venue for optimizing cash flow, but let’s be realistic. This seems especially important for social issues films. If a fat distribution deal has eluded your social issues film, why not try to place it in libraries? At least it might be seen that way, and perhaps some costs could be recouped.

So how do libraries acquire films? Um, this remains a bit of a mystery. If any librarians are reading this, feel free to email us with clues.

So far, the record for library acquisitions has been, um, uneven. No single method is in place. In a 30-sec. search in our huge public library, I found the Media That Matters has one of its five DVDs in the stacks, while a search for Focus on the Family yields a couple dozen. The Media That Matters collections of short, social issues works are ideal for libraries. I think libraries will come around. Just like the JSF is trying to bring short film to audiences, public libraries will eventually figure out it should bring independent film to the public.

In the meantime, try to have your film reviewed in the press and apply for an ISBN from the Library of Congress. Perhaps we’ll have more clues, later.

[cough—JSF ISSN 1558-9846; LC PN1993; Dewey 791.430; OCLC Accession 62315470—cough]

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Meet the New Speculation, Same as the Old Speculation

The “new Internet economy” keeps making promises to short film that it can’t seem to keep. I shudder a bit when they call it “Web 2.0,” but I guess something’s easier to sell if it has a name. While it’s too early to call it a complete farce, it appears that 2.0 is just a new version of 1.0’s(?) speculation. The speculation over the first boom was seen in stock values and venture capital, while 2.0’s is seen in corporate acquisitions (of content delivery and, increasingly, social network sites). Will Harris has written a nice explanation of 2.0 HERE, and then eventually rips it apart.

There are a million short films on line, but it still remains hard finding consistently good work. 2.0 promised to be a boon to short content –makers—remember the sale of iFilm?—but not much has changed. Other than these websites being loaded down with new ads.

There are certainly new digital avenues opening up—I watch Google Video and YouTube as much as the next person—but (1) these have yet to deliver anything resembling art, and (2) the new acquisitions in this web market are simply ridiculous. Though enjoyable, really; I can’t wait to see how Rupert recoups his half billion he spent on Myspace.

As you probably knew already, it remains for us to find good film in theaters and on DVD.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Canadians and Copyright Reform

Today’s message goes out to the JSF’s Canadian following. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) is issuing a letter to the government tomorrow about upcoming changes in copyright rules. In short, the rules might be getting more strict and less friendly to artists. To read the open letter, go to; to sign the letter, send your endorsement and thoughts to

With any luck, issues like Fair Use will become a little more concrete in the near future. Digital editing, mash-ups, YouTube, and etc. keep creating more opportunities for creative borrowing (or copyright infringement, if you’re The Man), and clearer rules are needed. Though in this political climate (um, the corporate one), it’s hard imagining the rules becoming more inclusive. Maybe it’s better to keep Fair Use practices as ambiguous as they’ve been for decades? I’ll try to run that question by some JSF filmmakers soon.

On this subject, last week’s story about the IFC’s public statement that it would no longer pay massive licensing fees to rights holders for clips in documentaries was definitely relevant for our crowd. You can read a summary of this story by The Reeler here.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Screening: Neil Needleman, 6/4, NY

Apologies for the posting delay. The publisher closed the office, having traveled to Philadelphia where he was “ass-deep in Liberty” all weekend. Currently he is busy compiling Volume 4, in talks with the Basques, and dabbling in underground Americana in hopes of a smashing release on the Fourth of July.

It’s a challenge staying on top of screenings by JSF filmmakers. I’ve already missed some—-like Tiffany Shlain appearing at Tribeca and Marie Losier in the Whitney Biennial. I’ll certainly remember to note Steve Bognar’s film showing on PBS later this month. But here’s something for your weekend calendar, if you're in the NYC/Hudson area:

Neil Needleman [JSF, v.2] video screening at Beacon Artist Union
Join me for a lively screening of some recent, semi-recent, almost-recent, and newer-than-recent video works.
There may even be a world premiere…or two.
Videos will be drawn from several series of work that I’ve tinkered together and/or concocted, including:
- Intensely lyrical abstractions (Infinity Fragments series)
- Rhythmic pulsations (Cellular Activity series)
- Quirky observations (Between Blinks series)
- Touching and humorous family documentaries (Shut Up, Sit Down, and Listen to Your Elders series)

Vital details:
Sunday, June 4, 2006 at 6:00 p.m.
Beacon Artist Union, 161 Main Street, Beacon, New York

845-440-7584, (directions on website)
See you there. Bring your eyes.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Short Film Is Making News in Cannes

According to this Guardian story, short film is having a good showing at Cannes. Most encouraging, I think, are two examples of how short film might widen its audience in the future and maybe pull off theatrical releases.
First, there is the “feature” PARIS, JE T’AIME, a collection of 18 five-min. films about Paris directed by people like Olivier Assayas, the Coen’s, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alexander Payne.
Next, two entries in the shorts category are installments of an 8-part “feature” (called “8”) co-produced by the United Nations. These films, shot by “eight world-class filmmakers,” are about the eight Millennium Development Goals (the U.N.’s goals of halving poverty indices by 2015, but you knew that already). Even if short films about things like “achieving primary education” and “improving maternal health” don’t excite you (you heartless bastard), the project can perhaps become a model for thematic collections of short films that can be screened as “features.”
By now you might have considered that this great new opportunity for short film is not exactly a new opportunity for independent filmmakers. All of the filmmakers mentioned in these two projects don’t exactly need the help.
Anyway, it’ll be nice to see how these collections work. “The Animation Show” (by Judge/Hertzfeldt) was successful, and they’re planning on another tour of films this year. Perhaps it is just a lack of organization that is keeping short film from being distributed. That was certainly the premise for the JSF.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Oscar Shorts Category

The other day I got a press release from The Academy about the Oscar shorts category and the issue of eligibility. I then asked some of the filmmakers what they thought about that category, and they didn’t have too much to say. Marcy Freedman (JSF, v.2) said she’s never given much thought to it, but that it’d be nice if The Academy created an avant-garde or experimental category and tried to put the Arts into the AMPA(!)&S. More than one other person thinks the Oscars are overly commercial, political, and ergo ignorable.

The JSF is not taking a position just yet, but did retch a bit when reading the quote below.
Film festival qualification is the most common way short filmmakers qualify their films. However, filmmakers may become victims of their own success if their films win the “wrong” award or are given a television or Internet premiere as a part of the festival’s prizing.

“I want to make sure that filmmakers don’t shoot themselves in the foot regarding Oscar in their zeal to get their film seen,” he says. “I want to be sure they don’t jump into a screening opportunity before they check to see if it will affect their qualifying for Oscar competition.”

In addition to festival complications, short films were disqualified from last year’s Academy Awards for:
§ Submitting the film in the wrong format;
§ Submitting the film in the wrong category;
§ Submitting alternate versions of the same film; and
§ Airing “too much” of the film on television or the Internet (including advertising).

If you would like additional information about short film qualification or would like to talk to Jon, please contact me.
Tarrah Lee Curtis
9310) 247-3090

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Coolest, If Unsexiest, News of the Day

The Journal of Short Film has long had an ISSN (like an ISBN, but for serials), issued by the Library of Congress. But now the JSF has a Dewey Decimal Number. 791.430. All you other 791’s, step off. What Congressman does the publisher have to take golfing to get 791 for ourselves? Where’s Tom Delay when we need him most?

Anyway, while seeing where 791 lies within the Dewey Decimal Classification system (“Arts & recreation,” duh), I learned a lot. E.g., we’re up to DDC22. This 2003 edition is available in a printed 4-volume set. If you want to learn more, check out the DDC blog, 025.431: The Dewey blog . I can only guess that the 025.431 is a hilarious DDC inside joke. The blog is written by a DDC staffer at the Library of Congress, who, when he’s not blogging, we can assume is classifying his ass off.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Alternatives to Silence, Poverty, and Maybe Film School

The 48-Hour Film Festival’s title of Funnest Film Event has been threatened by the Pilot Television project in Chicago. Okay, so the Pilot project happened over a year ago, but there’s no reason it can’t happen again.
The current issue of The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest has an article on Pilot Television. The project is self-described as an “artist-built temporary autonomous video production studio.” Here’s how it worked: over 150 participants came together in Chicago over a weekend and turned two 3-story warehouses into a production compound. It was free, open to the public, and made up of borrowed equipment.

Sounds like a loose definition of filmmaking? Maybe. Sure, it was video, and, yes, they weren’t aiming for Sundance or the IFC, but the organizers created a model for filmmaking that might be useful elsewhere.

Pilot worked especially well because it was organized around a purpose—participants were feminist activists producing political works. These works came in the form of talk shows, historical reenactments, and some wack etc. Their work would be edited and redistributed back to the participants to be broadcast on local cable, in schools, at microcinemas, wherever. But the experiment went beyond the final product: it was also a way for activists to interact in a collective and educational way. The event was a means, not just an end.

So who cares? Activists should care because it is a new model for media reform and getting across one’s message (esp. on single issues). The collectivism in production can lead to videos which are truly local. This work can then become local tv, viral videos, etc. Meanwhile, the event serves as a free production workshop. Filmmakers should care because this is a great way to share resources and knowledge. Even if you’re not a commie, collaboration in film is nearly unavoidable. A few weekends like this one might take the place of quite a few film school classes. Does the collective have to have an agenda? You just want your stuff shot, right?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Point, Counterpoint: Using Short Film for Counter Recruitment

POINT: Counter Recruitment
JSF friend Sven recently drew my attention to the ”SIR, NO SIR” website, which is by far the slickest attempt I’ve seen to educate and persuade young people on the subject of the war and saying #&% You to the Army. When you “click here to start” on the website, a trailer plays. I know it's not technically a short film, but I thought it was when it started. Note the Flash stuff around the frame. Pretty slick.

If you’re looking for a proper short film on the subject, I’ll point you to Gabriel Cheifetz’s (JSF, v.2) “No Child Left Behind.” You can watch it HERE or below. Shakademic joins Cheifetz again to ask the hard questions like “Do recruiters lie to kids?” and “If I go platinum, can I quit the Army?”

COUNTERPOINT : Counter- Counter Recruitment
Dude, the Army rocks and who are these people? Forget these hippies, our biggest problem is Reality in Iraq. But you should be happy, we’re spending billions in media production and broadcasting every year. You camera geeks want jobs, right?

And our TV ads rock. Who doesn’t like snowboarding and fighting dragons?! Pussies, that’s who. And hey, we have other visual stimuli for the young’ins, too. E.g. “America’s Army,” the official video game of the U.S. Army. To eff'in wit, from, “America's Army provides civilians with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's premier land force: the U.S. Army. The game is designed to provide an accurate portrayal of Soldier experiences.” See eff'in also, “Download America's Army computer game now or see your local U.S. Army Recruiter for a copy on CD.” But don’t worry, parents, “America’s Army is rated ‘T’ for Teen.”

And don’t forget the Army 01 Team NASCAR NEXTEL CUP race car and the NHRA Top Fuel dragster, driven by crowd favorite Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher.

A 50-plus-Year-Old Film Festival; Submission Deadline July 1

We have always held the position that films are made everywhere, not just NY and LA. And that the more far flung filmmakers need support, both in production and distribution. And we claim that the Internets have helped bring us all together somewhat and have made the JSF possible.
But in reality some far flung places have been home to lively film scenes for years. Over time we’ll explore some of these communities and what they mean for their members, but today I wanted to post a notice of a long-standing event in Columbus, Ohio. While the film “scene” in Columbus is a bit nebulous, not many cities can boast a film festival that is 50+ years old. Anyway, check this out:

Call for Entries Columbus International Film and Video Festival
54th Annual Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Call for Entry regulations and Entry Forms are available on our web site:
JULY 1 Entry Deadline
The Columbus International Film & Video Festival, a.k.a. "The Chris Awards,"
one of the most prestigious documentary, educational, business and
informational competitions in the U.S., the oldest of its kind in North
America and celebrating its 54th year.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Release of Volume 3

Today marks the release of Volume 3 (Spring 2006).

If you follow the links (top right of this screen), you can go to the website and read a description of the films, contact many of the filmmakers, find out how to submit, read press about the JSF, download the cover art, and etc.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Using SAG in Short Films

Over time, we’ll use this space to discuss production issues surrounding short films. One issue we’ll tackle is union labor. While this may seem irrelevant for many or even most short film -makers, the questions are still valid---can filmmakers afford to use, say, SAG actors?, can they afford NOT to?, can they maintain guerrilla cred by using unions?, can they have liberal cred without them?, what is the anarcho-syndicalist to do?

Some JSF filmmakers have never needed to use SAG. Gabriel Cheifetz (JSF, v.2) didn’t need them for his documentary “Battleground Minnesota.” Chris “Shakademic” Johnson is a fixture in Gabriel’s films, and Walter Mondale was in it for the public service. But J.J. Adler (JSF, v.2) said that she has had no trouble using SAG actors. “They generally sign the student film or no-budget film contracts and waive any payments without incident,” she reports.

The JSF has had at least one filmmaker excluded because of his deal with SAG, but we’re reserving judgment. Maybe someone at SAG can email us their take on the issue?

Send Your Short Films to Stephen Gaghan

I stumbled across the Charlie Rose show on Fri. night, and thankfully there was a guest host. Brian Grazer interviewed Malcolm Gladwell. While it was kinda smart, the pairing was mostly a strange hair -off.

It made me wonder if Malcolm's book “Blink” was still going to be made into a movie. Guess so. Dir. by Stephen Gaghan, no less. Apparently, Leonardo DiCaprio will lank around making snap judgments about stuff.
But, Q: shouldn’t “Blink” be a SHORT film??

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Budgets and Media of Student Films

So far, we’ve published one or two filmmakers in every volume of the JSF who are or recently were students. The publisher recently asked some of them about their budgets and some of their choice of media.

Budgets range from almost nothing to the $10-20K range. Working in video or digital art is less expensive, of course. Luke Lamborn (JSF, v.1) fell in this category with “Tascam 224.” On $, he says “limited funding was available for video projects, but had to be applied for in the form of grants.” J.J. Adler (JSF, v.2) says that most of her peers relied on grants or scholarships. I’d hope so, if one needed $20K for a short film in school. It’s nice to know there is some $ out there, but I’m sure it’s still a hassle getting it. J.J. does not recommend self-financing.

Warren Johnston (JSF, v.2) says his budgets are usually determined by “the actual base material cost” and/or, as he puts it, “what medium do I have?” While he says “the budget will greatly affect the length and possibilities of the project,” he still credits divine guidance in bringing it all together.

J.J. says most of her peers are shooting on digital for budget reasons. (“...but if you've got a crafty producer, you can shoot on 16mm for really cheap.”) Someday I’ll ask them about how shooting in digital affects their cinema-, dvd-, and/or web- aspirations.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Why Does The Journal of Short Film Need a Blog?

Why? Because we’re sitting on a goldmine, that’s why. With the release of Volume 3, we’ve published 30 filmmakers. In July it’ll be 40+. See where this is going? These filmmakers represent the vanguard of the film world. This blog will try to compile their collective wisdom and to chronicle their productions, their agendas, and their thoughts on short film. Over time, we’ll cover some of the following topics: trends in the field, funding, equipment, techniques, motivations, ambitions, day jobs, dream jobs, dream shoots, best festivals to submit to, grant writing, classes they’re teaching, festivals they’re organizing, not to mention their upcoming screenings and publications.

The Journal of Short Film was established in March 2005 when it put out a call for submissions. Volume 1 was released in October. May 2006 will see the release of Volume 3, alongside the recent news that the JSF was named on the BEST MAGAZINES OF 2005 list. The JSF is putting the DVD serial on the film- and publishing maps, but it is the filmmakers who can teach and entertain us. This blog will share that resource with other filmmakers and with the film-curious on a daily basis.