One of the many great things about the digital age is how it dramatically increases people’s accessibility to a variety of arts, both as audience and artist. As a budding filmmaker in the 90’s I got to experience this first hand when I shot a short documentary about the Sundance film festival with a simple, Hi8 consumer camera and then one week later watched it air on Canadian national television. Even two years prior to that I couldn’t have dreamed of such thing, because low-cost technology options like Hi8 didn’t exist and weren’t being accepted by conventional broadcasters.
Much of what I learned from that and other subsequent experiences with digital technology, played a big role the creation of Filminute, the international one-minute film festival we launched in 2006 with partners from the filmmaking, design and communications industry. With digital technologies far advanced from where they were in the late 90’s and YouTube freshly launched, we saw in one-minute films the opportunity to offer a format and a platform that would enable professional filmmakers and artists of all stripes and nationalities to showcase their storytelling talents on film to a respected international jury as well as a massive global audience. Four years in and the accessibility of the one-minute format has indeed proven itself with photographers, writers, actors and painters from all over the world joining the list of professional filmmakers who have been featured on Filminute’s annual and exclusive 25-film shortlist, a list that this year will reach audiences in more than 100 countries.
In addition to the range of artists that have successfully taken on the challenge, Filminute can also proudly point to the impressive role of female directors in the festival. In an industry, where an average of 7-10% of directors are women, Filminute can point to 25% of its 2009 shortlisted directors being female. It’s a very strong showing and also reflective of earlier successes by women at Filminute including the 2007 BEST FILMINUTE honours that went to Bulgarian director Kristina Groseva, and last year’s People’s Choice Award won by Hungarian female director Papai Pici.
Together with the wide variety of artists drawn to Filminute, the presence of so many women speaks to what’s possible when the barriers to entry are lowered and new technologies enable a challenging of the status quo.
Filminute’s annual international jury is also built to reflect the wide range of participating directors at Filminute, including women. This year we have award-winning Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie on the jury as well as Paris-based Chilean film journalist Pamela Bienzobas. In previous years we’ve had Cannes-awarded Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf as well the head of the German Film Critics Association, Andreea Dittgen. All of these women are leaders whose presence serves to inspire established as well as up-and-coming filmmakers – men and women.
The accessibility that Filminute inspires also applies to countries. Over 75 countries have submitted films to Filminute over the course of the first 4 years. The U.S, the UK, Canada and Germany are always present, reflecting the strength of the film industries in those countries. However, countries like Romania, Bulgaria, India and Russia are also strong players who have won top honours from the jury and public alike. I’m especially pleased with Romania, one of Filminute’s anchor cities along with Toronto and London. The quality and quantity of films from Romania is always amazing and this year can be seen in 5 incredible films on the 25-film shortlist. It’s all proof that in today’s digital, global culture, no country or gender has a monopoly on good storytelling.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Filminute Co-founder and head of Jury wrote a recent article for 121.ro Here's the English translation.
Posted by Filminute at 9:09 AM