What the Oscars 2014 nominated shorts say about the U.S.

What the Oscars 2014 nominated shorts say about the U.S.

Last week I enjoyed the live action Oscars 2014 nominated shorts program at The IFC Center. There was a British film, a French film, a Spanish film, a Danish Film and a Finnish film. At first I wondered if I had bought a ticket to the foreign language shorts program. But no, there is no foreign language shorts program. Apparently there were no American short films that were good enough for the Academy in 2013. What do all of the homelands of these nominated films have in common? The governments of these countries  recognize and support film as an art form, not just a business. Most American filmmakers have to think about marketing, selling and recouping as much as the actual film they are making. And these aspects can limit creativity. Perhaps if our government supported us , our esteemed institution would also recognize us. Maybe the Academy should consider a foreign language category for live action short. In case you are wondering, my favorite film of the program was Avant Que De Tout Perdre....
Will other festivals follow True/False’s lead?

Will other festivals follow True/False’s lead?

Imagine knowing that if your film plays in 20 festivals, that you can gross an additional $10,000-20,000. How would that inform your filmmaking future?Great News! True/False Film Festival will now pay a $450 stipend to all filmmakers who come to the festival to exhibit their films. I love the transparency of this announcement as well as the motivation behind it. The fest organizers want to incentivize long term careers with this incentive, and hope to boost the stipend from $450 to $1000.  Imagine knowing that if your film plays in 20 festivals, that you can gross an additional $10,000-20,000. How would that inform your filmmaking future? A filmmaker could pay back outstanding debt incurred by the film, or use the funds for developing a new film. What I can’t help but wonder is why some of the larger festivals haven’t come up with this first. What can we do to encourage other festivals to follow suit?...