Monday, December 10, 2007

Short Films and Documentaries Take the Lead at Festivals

Although you still get the occasional million dollar plus-budget shorts and docs taking up undeserved space at indie fests, the rise in submission numbers say a lot about emerging independent movie makers. Movies such as 10mph are seeing tons of love from the indie community trail which was blazed by others before it like Murderball, Super Size Me, Iraq in Fragments and Born Into Brothels.

With last week's release of their 2008 Short Film selection, Sundance Film Festival announces they've received "a record number of submissions" according to Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer Trevor Goth.

Its counterpart, The Slamdance Film Festival will be screening "more documentaries than ever before" says Sarah Diamond, Director of Programming/Chair of Documentary Competition. The Slamdance fest programming includes documentaries, special screenings, shorts (which will be announced tomorrow) and narrative features (out of 1,200 submissions, they'll only be screening 29 of them - whoa). And still, with as many categories and submissions between the two of them, these top tier film fests are seeing more and more filmmakers delve into shorts and docs. Why?

Says Goth, "We are really proud to present the entire shorts program, which represents a higher level of filmmaking craft than ever before. The work is extremely broad and ranges from outrageous animation to fascinating short documentaries, to original and wild comedies to outstanding dramas."

Slamdance's Diamond goes on to say, "“Slamdance is emerging as a major festival for documentaries. The 2008 doc slate is themed around people who have chosen the path not often taken, from a schizophrenic pop star, to a family of wild animal trainers, to competitors in the Miss Gay America pageant. Our documentary programming team was moved by these films celebrating the diversity of human experience.”

Both festivals will run from Jan 17-25, with Sundance continuing on 'til the 27th .