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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:51 PM   #1
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Short films.

If I have say a 20 page script, and it would come out to roughly 22 minutes or so. It would be harder to show at a festival correct? Or do submissions have to be a certain length. or does it vary?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #2
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It really depends on the festival. If your full version comes out to 22 minutes, you might try having shorter versions available. One that's 5, 10, and 15 minutes.

Last film festival I attended here in NYC had categories for: under 5, under 10, and under 30 minutes. It looks like they chose those categories, so they could properly play the different categories for the audience with time for presentation and Q&A.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #3
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another question : When showing films at a festival, does it have to be film? or again does this vary on the festival? Or do you think they would all have projectors to project a DVD or possibly a DV tape. Or this an unrealistic thought?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:19 PM   #4
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For screening purposes, most festivals will look at tapes or DVDs. If you're selected, they might ask for a BetaSP dub, so be prepared to get one made. THough some will screen DVD's or mini-dv's.

I just submitted my doc to fifteen festivals. (Yup, pretty pricey) and each one had variations on length for 'short' and 'feature' designations. Bottom line, chech out each festival, and without a doubt, whithoutabox is the place to start. At least sign up for their festival updates.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 08:02 AM   #5
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I can second that withoutabox suggestion. It's worth signing up for their email newsletter and updates just to learn about the variety of festivals out there.

I've yet to use them for submission but just starting the process is so much easier than dealing with all that paper, especially if you want to submit to more than one festival.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #6
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Personally and professionally, I like 8-12 minute short films, though my last three were 5 minutes and under each.

The ones that seem to be "hot" are always around 8-12 minutes.

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Old July 17th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #7
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It depends on the audience and festival. For festivals like RES or NY Underground, shorter is often better. For very traditional, mainstream, both longer and shorter work.

But ultimately content is king. Any movie from 30 seconds on can feel "long" and not everyone responds to films the same (I love Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut not to mention Tarkovsky but plenty of people find them long.

Ultimately, make the film you want to make and then try to help it find it's audience.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #8
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I think you should make the film that is in you. Then take a look at how long it is. Then take a look at festivals you think would be a good fit. Is it two minutes too long for THEIR designated short length. Can you trim it? (If the answer is yes... then you should consider trimming it anyway.) I've seen some fests that say 'short' is under thirty, some under sixty, some under fifteen. It's really a festival specific designation, so research will be necessary.

For what its worth, my documentary "American Jouster" was just accepted to the Breckendridge Festival of Film in Colorado. It runs 56:30, as I cut it to be 'broadcast length' for PBS. In some festivals, that's considered a short film, as it's under 60. In some fests, it's a feature doc because it's over thirty... so it's a toss-up.(Short and Feature being different for Docs and Films)

I also cut a three minute mini-doc out of the footage, and was screened this weekend at an "Extreme Shorts" festival at Aurora Picture Show in Houston, where the limit was three minutes. You see how it can work.
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