The response to the inaugural The Short Film Project launched by Cinema Nouveau in September 2014 has been overwhelming. A total of 124 entries were submitted by the extended deadline of end November and, of these, 10 have made it onto the shortlist.
The initial entries were curated by Julie Stephenson of Short & Sweet, in conjunction with the Ster-Kinekor marketing and acquisitions teams. Overall, the team was extremely impressed with the standard of submissions received, as a reflection of the young, creative talent within the local film industry.
Lola Gallant, brand manager of Cinema Nouveau, says. “We launched The Short Film Project last year with a number of objectives in mind. As the country’s only dedicated ‘art-house’ cinema chain, we wanted to show our commitment to the growth of local cinema. We know this industry houses an abundance of raw and untapped young talent, and we wanted to unearth this creativity and display it on a wider public platform. We also wanted to encourage the creation of new and original content in the short film genre.”
“Overall, the majority of entries submitted have ticked all these boxes, which has pleased us. We are delighted to be able to give some of these young filmmakers a public platform to feature their short films on the big screen, alongside one of our feature films,” adds Gallant.
Curator of The Short Film Project, Julia Stephenson, who created and curates the popular Short & Sweet short film project, says it was a tough job compiling the shortlist. “There were some real gems among the entries received. It was pleasing to view the work of those filmmakers who just understand what a short film should encompass, in ten minutes or less.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the entries and recognising the exciting new potential that was on display. Overall, the shortlisted entries are a good mix of various film genres including animation, documentary, drama and experimental, which, I believe, will make for interesting viewing.”
The 10 short films that have been shortlisted – and the Cinema Nouveau films they will be released with – are:
- Birdman, directed by Robert Nicholls. It will screen with Inherent Vice from Friday, 10 April;
- Run Jose, directed by David Meinert. It will screen with Saint Laurent from Friday, 17 April;
- The Christmas Gift, directed by Timothy Argall. It will screen with Dear White People from Friday, 24 April;
- Fortabt (Loss of Love), directed by Benitha Vlok. It will screen with Far from the Madding Crowd from Thursday, 30 April;
- Endless, directed by Robert McEwan. It will screen with Serial (Bad) Weddings from Thursday, 30 April;
- 21th Street, diirected by Kelsey Egan. It will screen with Lullaby from Friday, 8 May;
- The Grave Digger, directed by Quean Groenewald. It will screen with Little Chaos from Friday, 15 May;
- Ashes in the Earth, directed by Sara Gouveia and Kofi Zwana. It will screen with Infinitely Polar Bear from Friday, 22 May;
- True – Jose, directed by Mandla Shonhiwa) – will screen with A Most Violent Year (from Friday, 22 May; and
- In Foreign Transit – India, directed by Dewald Brand. It will screen with Serena from Friday, 29 May.
These 10 shortlisted films will be screened as the ‘supporting act’ to the main feature film at the four Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. They will be released from Friday, 10 April to Friday, 29 May.
Spectrum, who has also partnered with Cinema Nouveau in this project, has spent time with each filmmaker to assist them with the post-production process. In addition, the Spectrum team has transferred the shortlisted films into the required digital format so they are compatible with the upgraded digital projection systems installed in all cinemas in 2014.
Following the screening period, the films will be judged by a panel of industry experts to select the overall winner of The Short Film Project. The winning director receives Sony camera equipment to the value of R20 000, and attendance at the 2015 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), where the winning film will be screened.
The public are also invited to vote for their favourite short film, after viewing the shortlisted entries at a Cinema Nouveau theatre. The film that receives the most number of votes in the Audience Choice Award will also receive a screening at DIFF.
Stephenson unwraps what makes for a good short film in her eyes: “A short film combines all kinds of media to make it a creative art form. There is a fine art to a well-crafted short film, which makes this medium a must for young filmmakers: short film allows directors to experiment with techniques, gain confidence, and get recognised. It is a great training ground for feature films. What I love about short films is that, unlike a feature film, there is no room for distraction. Good short film scripts are lean, focused and visually stimulating. Short films, when done well, have an incredible ability to connect with our emotions.”
“The team at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau and Short & Sweet are confident that the shortlisted films encompass all these attributes. Now it is up to the public and the panel of judges to decide which films deserve top honours. I am looking forward to finding out which film makes it through the final judging process as the overall winner,” concludes Gallant.
The winning films will be announced at a function at Cinema Nouveau during June.
For more information and screening details, visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za