DIFF Daily 2010

Variety - Short Interviews

Dec 17,2010 - 05:17 PM

Carter Pilcher, chief exec of Shorts International, is here in Dubai scouting for short pics. His outfit, which functions as a distrib, broadcaster and producer, has a catalogue of more than 3,000 pics. Here, he talks to Variety about why aspiring filmmakers should never underestimate the power of a short pic.

What are your motives here at DIFF this year?

We’re looking for short movies from young emerging filmmakers. We have a partnership with the festival as part of our TV series, called ‘Festival Roadtrip,’ where we pick a couple of filmmakers, who are in the competition here in Dubai and follow them around, meet them before the festival and record their experiences. It’s not staged - it’s more documentary style than reality short. Last year’s is airing in the States and this one will air in fall in the S.

Secondly, because we have a channel in Turkey, we are this year looking to regionalise the channel more. Right now we are mostly showing English and European films. At the moment, the production of short films in the entire Middle East is much smaller than all of England. But I believe production in the region will increase.

Why do you think there will be a surge of filmmaking from the region?

The technical side of filmmaking is becoming more and more advanced. I can use my phone to record things and edit on my computer. We’re seeing younger people who can use these things so I think it’s really growing. The region is growing but it’s seeping out from the Western world and it is growing an amount of films. In two years, regional short films in Dubai have improved remarkably.

Why would you encourage a young filmmaker to make shorts?

I would encourage all filmmakers to make shorts. If you are an aspiring and creative person and you have ideas and stories that you want to tell, you should be telling in short form and long form. I think the problem with the long form is that it takes over your life. It can take two, three, even five years from getting the funding, getting it shot to getting it in the marketplace. When Spike Jones came to us with his short (‘We Were Once A Fairytale’), it was because he had been working on ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ for five years and wanted to do something creatively different. His short took two weeks. And that is part of the real excitement of films. For big filmmakers, short films should be about making your mark in an area where you wouldn’t have had the time or the budget otherwise.

Is there an appetite for these short films?

I think it’s different in different countries. We’re seeing a rising interest overall. What’s happening everywhere, and it’s happening more in the west but starting to happen here, is that there is this growing sense of short movies and stories. They’re online and they’re on Youtube. Kids are borrowing their parents’ cameras, so I think in 10 years everybody will be some form of filmmaker. I am certain in even five years that everyone will make videos and it will mean something. The video that you put on your blog or Facebook page will mean something about you. People are going to start saying, ‘we have to teach our kids how to present themselves in the video format because it’s their future’ even if they’re not filmmakers.

What’s exciting for short filmmakers here at DIFF?

The exciting thing for a young filmmaker here is the energy of these festivals, and DIFF is starting to realise it. I think we will absolutely see more short films in the future. There are more short films here than there were two years ago. Two years ago there was one film that we made an offer on. This year, we’re making offers on around 8-15.

What would you say to young, budding filmmakers here who are making a short. What kind of advice would you give them?

I think focus on getting a quality story. Write a great script and work on it until it’s great. And then, just stick to that script and don’t allow yourself to wander into something that doesn’t make any sense. It’s about the story, getting the right story, working it and editing it ruthlessly.

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