DIFF Daily 2011

KEEPING IT SHORT, SIMPLE

Dec 12,2011 - 05:45 PM

BY MIRA YACOUB

At DIFF, as with any other film festival, there are a wide variety of short films coming from all over the world. But are short films a self-sufficient genre within themselves, or are they regarded as a rite of passage for aspiring filmmakers at the start of their careers?

This is an interesting question and is answered in various ways by different filmmakers. Ahmed Ghoneimy (‘Bahari’) says that short films are not a necessary first step for a filmmaker to start their career. Yet the Palestinian short film juror Annemarie Jacir, who is a filmmaker herself, says: ‘It’s a good way to start a career, but it’s not a thing that leads to a career.’

Klaus Eder, the FIPRESCI Secretary General and the Shorts & Features Jury President, explains that, just as there are no rules in life, so it is not necessary that short films are the first step for aspiring filmmakers. Whilst conceding that new filmmakers can find some value in shooting short films ‘to try and understand what cinema is about’, he continues by explaining that filmmaking should not depend on a budget but instead ‘on ideas.’ Those ideas, when developed, lead to a story, and that story is what determines the genre of the film, its length and the necessary budget.

Shorts allow for filmmakers to play fast and loose with rules, trying experimental approaches that would present challenges in longer formats. As Ahmed Ghomeiny says, ‘It’s a way to be brave and break conventions’. Hopefully theatres across the country will be more receptive of bringing back the idea of screening short films preceding a feature film, as Annemarie and Klaus suggest.

Now all we have to do is wait for the jury’s verdict!

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