I’m very happy to announce that the winner of our very first Audience Award is Johannes’ Nyholm’s Las Palmas. It received 20 votes out of a total of 60 completed ballots. Audiences laughed throughout this tale of a middle-aged tourist at a bar in the Canary Islands. The main character is played by the director’s one-year-old daughter Helmi, while the rest of the cast are marionettes. Nyholm assures me that his daughter, now three and a half, is perfectly normal. I suggested they take the $100 prize and go out for beers.
You can download and watch the entire film at the Las Palmas site.
Image courtesy of Bank of Canada
Over the past year, I’ve been very happy to see the growth in our audience, for two reasons. First, because it means that more people are discovering and enjoying the wealth of riches in the world of short film. Second, it gives me hope that we’re on a sustainable footing. Which brings me to the image above.
From the very beginning, I wanted to support short filmmakers, not only by sharing their work, but also financially. Though paying respectable screening fees to every filmmaker is still not feasible, I’m happy to announce something that might help. Last week, I read a very insightful article on the financial realities of distribution for short filmmakers by my Short of The Week colleague Ivan Kander, in which he reveals that the sums paid to filmmakers by even large distributors can be paltry indeed. Very few people are making short films for money, but that doesn’t mean that creative work shouldn’t be compensated fairly.
So, beginning with our April 11th screening, I’m instituting a $100 (Canadian) prize, awarded by our audience. We’ve hosted online polls for previous screenings, letting the audience choose their favourite film after the fact. But starting in April, we’ll have paper ballots prepared ahead of time, and will collect them from every audience member after the screening. The winner will be announced on Twitter and featured on the blog, and I will PayPal the filmmaker the prize money. Simple.
I know it’s not a huge amount of money. But I think it’s something, and hopefully as we grow, the award can grow with us. I’m hoping this might even be a small incentive for more filmmakers to submit their work to us. It could also be something a sponsor might want to put their name on. What do you think? Is this a good idea?
I’ll admit that I could never keep the Geminis and the Genie Awards straight. Looks like the folks at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television have gotten the hint. This year, they’ve combined the awards into a new format called the Canadian Screen Awards. These awards will honour Canadian work on all screens: cinema, television and interactive (ie. computers, tablets and phones). I was fortunate enough to attend this morning’s press conference where many of the nominations were announced. Unfortunately, that didn’t include those for short film. Though they were included in the full press release, I wanted to bring them front and centre here. Winners will be announced during the televised awards ceremony on Sunday March 3rd on CBC, but truly, it’s an honour just to be nominated!
Best Documentary Short
Best Live-Action Short
Best Animated Short
Titles marked with an asterisk (*) have screened at Shorts That Are Not Pants. The others are on my radar!
I’m a big fan of poster art, both for movies and rock shows, and I was thinking how amazing it would be if we could have a unique poster designed for each screening in our series. It might just be used online, but if there was enough interest, I could see having a limited print run of posters or some letter-sized handbills printed up and posted around the city.
I have zero budget for this at the moment, but thought I’d throw the idea out there for any artists/designers/illustrators out there looking for an interesting challenge. Get in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions. And if you’re not an artist but know someone, please let them know!
This poster for Blood Simple by Jason Munn is a small example of some of the stuff I like, but I’m happy to look at all different kinds of work.
At 5pm this Wednesday September 19th, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, we’ll lose an important part of the city’s cinema scene. The Canadian Film Centre’s monthly shorts series A World of Shorts will screen for the last time (see the full September lineup here). This is an additional blow to the news that the CFC’s annual Worldwide Short Film Festival is going on hiatus.
If you’re a fan of short film (and if you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you are), please come out to show your support for the great people behind A World of Shorts and the Worldwide Short Film Festival, all of whom have worked very hard for a very long time to build their organization into something short filmmakers and film lovers around the world admire and respect. Hopefully, this is just a temporary farewell, and we’ll have them back in some form soon.
If you were a fan of A World of Shorts, I invite you to join us on Thursday October 11th, at 7pm at the Carlton Cinemas, to share our appreciation for the art of short film. Although this will be our last screening of 2012, we have lots of things planned for 2013, and we hope you’ll come along with us as we grow.
Buy your tickets in advance to save.
We held our last screening at the NFB Mediatheque on John Street a few weeks ago. It’s set to close its cinema in September, so we’ve been looking around for a suitable venue for a few months now. I’m delighted to announce that we’ve found a perfect partner for our series. Starting in October, we’ll be showing at the Carlton Cinemas, conveniently located at Yonge and Carlton, just steps from the College subway station.
The Carlton is an arthouse fixture, first opening in 1981. A recent renovation and new owners have made going to the Carlton a new experience. The cinemas are cozy, between 80 and 120 seats, which will be perfect for our growing community of short film lovers. And for the first time, you’ll be able to buy popcorn and other snacks!
It is very important to me that we keep the standards high for Shorts That Are Not Pants. I didn’t want to ask people to come to a dingy, out of the way space. On the other hand, I don’t have bottomless pockets, so some of the nicer spaces were off limits. And I didn’t want to show in an enormous room where people would spread out all over. I’m hopeful we can grow Shorts That Are Not Pants, but I can’t see us using even half of a 500-seat cinema. The Carlton seems like a great fit, and I want to thank general manager Alan Smith for working with me over the past few weeks.
I hope you’ll join us on Thursday October 11th at 7pm for the next great installment of our little short film series. I promise it won’t be “pants.”
Well, though it scares me just a little bit, I’ve decided to open up our programme to filmmaker submissions! Though I’ve loved working with our partners at Future Shorts and the National Film Board of Canada, I want to begin curating things a little more actively.
So although I may be approaching filmmakers directly some of the time, I want to leave the gate open a bit for filmmakers to contact me, too. I’ve created a form using the Submittable service, and am charging what I feel is a fair submission fee, just US$10, which covers my time, weeds out spammy submissions, and might even help sustain the series going forward. Time will tell.
So, I guess what I want to do now is share the big SUBMIT link. Please tell your filmmaking friends!
P.S. Obviously our July 13 programme is locked at this point, so anything submitted now will be in consideration for our next screening in October.
Now that the dust has settled a bit on our April screening, it’s time to start planning for our next one. Keep your calendar open on Friday July 13th. Yep, another Friday the 13th. We’re not superstitious, although maybe we should be. We found out a few weeks back that due to federal budget cuts, the NFB is planning to close our beloved venue, the NFB Mediatheque, at the end of September. Barring any last-minute reprieve, our July screening will be our last one there. If you are a fan of our program, you can do two things:
- Send an email expressing your disappointment with this decision to James Roberts, Assistant Director General, Accessibility and Digital Enterprises and Director, Asset Management of the National Film Board of Canada. Handy email link provided.
- Use the comments section below to suggest a new venue. Ideally, a place with between 50-100 seats and relatively central and accessible by transit. Oh, and somewhere I can rent for a reasonable price, too!
The lineup of films is still to be determined, but I’m committed to keep the quality level high while also trying to include a few surprises. Short film can encompass so many different things, and trying to build a community of people who not only love shorts but who will pay money to sit together and see them on a large screen is a daunting challenge. Thanks to all of you who have joined us so far, and I look forward to seeing even more of you in July!
P.S. I don’t know about you, but from June 5-10, I’m going to be gorging myself on short film right here in Toronto. The Worldwide Short Film Festival celebrates its 18th year with all kinds of screenings all over the city. Don’t miss it!