A new website recently launched that is hoping to serve as a resource for Connecticut filmmakers, specifically those who create in short form. Www.CTFilmShorts.com is a sort of film community oriented Youtube-esque database of short films made in Connecticut, and also features a blog for keeping visitors up to date on events and screenings related to the film community in Connecticut, as well as link to news and reviews for the latest intra-state film productions.
The website’s creator, Hadria Douglas created the website to provide a platform for the numerous short films featuring local talent that disappear after running in film festivals.
“I rarely see short films again after they do their festival run. I recognized the need to have an online space for these shorts where they may be viewed all year round. Filmmaker’s put a lot of passion into their work and it shouldn’t disappear,” says Douglas.
Since developing and launching the site, Douglas has already received positive feedback from visitors.
“People are very excited about CT Film Shorts. They mention there is a great need for this website in our community and they enjoy the eclectic mix of films,” says Douglas.
Douglas hopes for the website to accomplish three main objectives. First and foremost, she hopes to expose local filmmakers to a wider audience both nationally and abroad. Secondly, she hopes for the site to serve as a visual reference for the quality of the filmmaker’s work, including its ratings and comments by the general public. Lastly, she hopes that the site will eventually generate revenue through sponsorship opportunities in order to keep the website operating and possibly create some employment opportunities for people. Make sure to check out the new website here.
Over 125 students from Sanford High School in Maine were involved in the making of their own professional, high quality movie. The film, April’s Heart, will premiere October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Curtis Lake Christian Church in Sanford.
April’s Heart, created by the Sanford High School Film Club and other students with the help of Project AWARE and Gum Spirits Productions, provides an intimate look at the challenges, hopes and dreams of teens. Sanford youth not only created the story and script but were also directly involved in the filming, acting, and producing of the movie; they hope to empower young people and encourage safer schools and healthier teens.
Watch the trailer for the movie here:
Don’t miss your opportunity to view this poignant film. Please arrive at 6:30 p.m. as the doors open to hear music created and performed by the students.
Project AWARE was created in 2003 as a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about issues troubling youth, including prescription drug abuse, bullying, harassment, child abuse and teen pregnancy. The organization sponsors presentations by young people and teenagers that target the issues in the form of skits, songs and dance. Project AWARE gives presentations to schools and organizes empowerment workshops to spread their message, in addition to creating movies. Their mission is ultimately to “empower young people to lead.” Visit their website here.
Next week, August 10 through the 15, one of the the largest New England film festivals will take place in venues throughout Providence, Rhode Island. And although we’ve previously mentioned the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), it is worth mentioning again simply for the fact that it is is one of the top 10 short film festivals and top 10 international film festivals in the United States.
RIIFF is one of the most important New England film festivals for filmmakers because it is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as a qualifying festival for the Short Films category for the Annual Academy Awards. In fact, out of more than 7,000 film festivals, only 65 have this recognition. Some shorts to look out for this year are La Premiere, which features James Earl Jones and is about the Lumiere brothers and their invention of The Kinetoscope, Kirsten Dunst‘s Bastard, which also played at the Cannes Film Festival and The Mouse That Soared, an animated tale about a flying circus mouse who reflects on his life.
Along with some of the world’s best short films, viewers can also expect to see a lot of well-made documentaries. Some interesting ones include RIIFF’s opening night premiere of Emmy nominated G. Warren Miller’s new documentary Behind the Hedgegrow: Eileen Slocum and the Meaning of Newport Society, which offers an exclusive glimpse into the private world of aristocratic Newport, RI society, Waking Sleeping Beauty, a film that chronicles how Disney animators revived animated feature films in the 1980s, and Do It Again, a journey of a Boston Globe music writer who makes it his personal mission to reunite The Kinks one more time.
RIIFF’s programming is also unique because it offers a wide range of diverse programming including Jewish, musical, animated and GLBT themed films that play throughout the week in their own venues. Viewers should keep an eye out for Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, a documentary about the impact baseball has had on American Jews, Wagner and Me, a film featuring actor Stephen Fry and the controversial composer Robert Wagner, and the Hip, Hot GLBT shorts series happening almost ever night of the festival.
RIFF also offers a panel series featuring different filmmakers and industry insiders. This year’s series explores “The New Art of Distribution,” “The Documentary Film Experience” and “Shooting with ‘The Red.’” More information on attending these panels can be found on the RIIFF website.
Acclaimed artists and filmmakers are also honored each year at RIIFF. Past recipients include Zach Braff, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner, and Ernest Borgnine. This year’s winners will include actor Jonathan Katz and artist Jon and Betty-Jane Berberian.
Tickets and passes are already on sale for RIIFF on their website or can be bought at the door.
If you’re interested in RIIFF, but can’t make it out this year, Hollywood East Connection will be there! Let us know if you are interested in coverage on any specific films, topics or filmmakers.
To keep tabs on other New England film festivals, be sure to check out Hollywood East Connection’s film festival page — the only complete list of festivals in New England.
The New Hampshire Film and Television Office held the New Hampshire High School Film Festival last Saturday at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. Students grades 9-12 submitted their short films earlier this year and 32 films were chosen for screening.
The film festival originated in 2007 and has had a growing response rate ever since. It was created for high school students to showcase their work in a larger and more competitive setting. The festival will soon offer a comprehensive online resource for New Hampshire film students and teachers, providing them with tips, forms and documents to aid in the filmmaking process.
All of the genres were judged together to come out with one over all winner (the Jury Award). This year Home vs. Homeless by Jeremy Holber, Tim Taylor and Ben Pacocha of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH., took away the Jury award. Their film just made the 10-minute time limit at nine minutes and 56 seconds and was about a homeless person who steals a blank check and uses it to live a more comfortable life until he finds out that the house has a different plan for him.
Second place, or the Jury Award Runner-Up was David Nieman’s Beginning’s End, about a girl singing alone in an empty building. Keller Nunley’s Mustache received an honorable mention for his film about how a little lip hair can go a long way. Watch Beginning’s End here:
The Jury Award winner and Jury Award Runner-Up will be screened at the the New Hampshire Film Festival in Portsmouth this October, at the Red River Theater in Concord and on New Hampshire Public Television over the summer. All films screened were featured in the showcase program and put on a DVD that will be released later this summer.
New England actor, director and screenwriter Bill Doherty Jr.’s first short film, Love Hurts, has just premiered at the Boston International Film Festival. Doherty is already a seasoned actor, most recently starring in the films Donor and Smark.
Doherty’s short, Love Hurts, is a comedic action film about three lifelong friends who venture into a routine, clockwork hit involving a safe, a combination and their target. Of course nothing goes as planned and hilarious gangster mayhem ensues. Doherty says of his film, “think Goodfellas meets The Three Stooges. “
A movie about gangsters might not seem so funny, but Doherty insists that audience members will “fall in love, or at least care about these main characters despite their actions. They are just having fun doing their job. Who can’t appreciate that, right?”
Watch the trailer for Love Hurts here:
Be sure to support this local filmmaker and look out for Doherty in Festival, 3 in the Clip 1 in the Chamber, and The Machine all to be released later this year. For more information on his upcoming films including Love Hurts, check out his website.
In 2008 Aleah Graham and Josephine Cooper attended the Project AWARE Summer Film Institute in Maine. Over the course of a week they learned the basics of movie making and created a 60 second public service announcement (PSA) about how parents role model for their kids. Aleah said that they knew about drug and alcohol use among their peers, but it was how parents role model for their children and how it affects their kids that inspired them to make the short film. The PSA caught the attention of local producers who commissioned them to make a 30-minute direct-to-dvd film. Over the summer of 2009, Aleah and Josephine wrote and co-directed Influenced which was inspired by their short. They were only 12 and 14 years old, directing a cast of over 100 teens. Aleah was also the starring role. Here is the trailer:
Influenced is a 28 minute short film showcasing three teens dealing with different parental issues. One girl has a mother suffering from bulimia, a teenage boy picks up on his mother’s prescription drug abuse, and another girl has to deal with parents who set boundaries, unlike her friend’s less attentive parents. Once the film was completed, Aleah and Josephine would travel to different schools presenting their work to students to raise awareness and educate them on the issue of parental role modeling. “The best part of the experience was seeing the kids come together and share their stories. I connected with people and they were relating to what we were doing,” said Aleah.
Project AWARE was created in 2003 to raise awareness about youth prescription drug abuse, bullying, harassment, child abuse and teen pregnancy. Working as a nonprofit, the organization targets issues by letting young people and teenagers take the lead through presentations, skits, songs and dance. They believe that starting a conversation and raising awareness on these issues with peers and adults will help get the word out and help today’s youth cope with complicated problems they all face. Project AWARE not only creates movies to spread their message, they give presentations to schools and run empowerment workshops.
Working with over a hundred kids sounds like it would be chaotic, but the girls said that it was anything but. You would think that everyone would just be fooling around all day, but Aleah said that every single person was super focused and dedicated to the project and they all wanted to create something that would help other kids deal with important issues.
Gum Spirits, a Portland based production company, supported the filmmaking process and trained the 16 member crew. The all-teen crew worked on sound, lighting, continuity, make up, props and cameras. The only part of the production that was professionally done was the editing to make sure the end product had the high quality look the crew was going for. Overall the film cost $30,000 to make, “a drop in the bucket” for a major picture Carl Lakari, co-founder of Project Aware, tells us.
Along with Influenced, the organization has filmed two other films. Falling chronicles prescription drug abuse in Maine teens and Untold Stories is a compelling film about bullying and harassment. Both were created by teens for teens to keep the conversation going about all the issues today’s teenagers go through. Project AWARE is currently accepting donations for their program and hopes to spread across Maine in the near future. For updates on ongoing and future projects, sign up for their newsletter on their website.
With so many film festivals happening around the world, it is hard to know which ones deserve your time or effort. New Englanders are in luck, however, and need to look no further than their own state for some of the best festivals. Recently rebranded, FLICKERS: The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), is one of those that should not to be missed.
Known for discovering new filmmakers and having a strong shorts program, RIIFF takes place in venues around the Rhode Island area and is the only United States Festival that is truly statewide in its presentation. Created in 1997 by a non-profit film society in Newport, Rhode Island, RIIFF was put on the map in 1998 when it premiered previous honorary chair, Bobby Farrelly’s, hit, There’s Something About Mary. Although that movie guaranteed years of comedy submissions, the festival is one of only a few in New England that accepts works of any type. RIIFF is also one of 65 festivals around the world where featured shorts can qualify for an Academy Award nomination.
Since its inception, the festival has become well known for discovering new talent and screening films that you would not necessarily see at other festivals.
When we interviewed Executive Director and CEO of the festival, George T. Marshall, he told us that the “mission is to get new filmmakers noticed.” Unlike many other festivals that screen some solicited films, RIIFF is built entirely on submissions that come directly from filmmakers. Last year, the festival received 3400 submissions and this year, Marshall is expecting that number to be even higher.
Mr. Marshall also explained that the festival is so dedicated to filmmakers, that once someone submits their film, they receive regular updates and have access to numerous resources on the RIIFF website. There is even an “Adopt-a-Filmmaker” program offered for strapped for cash filmmakers. This program is supported by generous RIIFF patrons who host filmmakers at their home during the festival.
During our interview, Marshall repeatedly emphasized the importance of the New England film community to “work in cohesion” instead of competing against each other. These and other programs prove that RIIFF is clearly dedicated to supporting its filmmakers and the greater film community in Rhode Island and New England.
Along with the annual festival in August, RIIFF hosts a yearly Film Forum and a variety of other events for the New England community. Some upcoming events include their Providence Oscar Night America Celebration (one of 50 in the U.S. sanctioned by the Academy), a GLBT Expo and their Annual First Look Screening, which previews some of the short films set to premiere at this year’s festival.
RIIFF also provides many other opportunities to get involved for those who have more time. Throughout the year, RIIFF hosts a series of “You Be the Judge” nights, where the audience is left to determine whether certain films make the cut to screen at the annual festival. If you have more time to dedicate, you can also intern or volunteer at the festival. RIIFF is driven by interns and volunteers who help out with many aspects of the festival including programming, community outreach, and development/fundraising.
For those interested in submitting to the festival, you can print out a submission form through their website or submit through Withoutabox.com. The regular deadline for submissions is May 15, while June 1 is the late deadline and the extended deadline is June 15. For more information on interning, volunteering or attending any of RIIFF’s upcoming events, be sure to check out their website.
The street is lined with trendy dining and drinking hot spots but the movie house is the main attraction. The hip and ever so lively theatre welcomes over 16,000 patrons monthly.
The community that surrounds the theatre doors come to take in a diverse selection of popular, classic and independent films daily. Not only is art house filled with past classics and upcoming film it also hosts several prominent film festivals annually. This year the Coolidge Corner Theatre is launching a new initiative to support students, professional and every filmmaker internationally by introducing The Coolidge Shorts Film Festival.
“In our commitment to showcase very short films created by emerging and established artists, the Coolidge Corner Theatre proudly continues the historic role of movie exhibition houses,” said Elizabeth Taylor-Mead, associate director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and the curator of the Coolidge’s Shorts Film Festival. “Today, technology allows us to cast our net as wide as possible in search of outstanding programming and then engage our audiences in the conversation. It’s exciting for us to both honor the past and bring it with us into the future.”
The future of film lies within emerging filmmakers who choose to bring color and vibrancy to the screen to make movies that bring a smile, laugh or a tear. Only four films will be chosen each month to screen before feature films. All genres are welcome but they can only be up to 5 minutes in length. The first submission period has begun and will end September 25th. The next submission period will begin in February 2010. It’s new and exciting and there’s no better way to be part of Hollywood East.
You can subscribe to HollywoodEastConnection.com by e-mail address to receive news and upates directly in your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail below and click Sign Up!