Posted August 5, 2011 by Alex Moss Editor in Features
 
 

FILMMAKERS GUIDE! Platforms For Filmmakers


If you fancy yourself as a Hollywood director, an auteur, the next empowering female filmmaker, the passage to the big screen, unless you are the heir of global franchise, is never going to be a smooth ride

If you fancy yourself as a Hollywood director,
an auteur, the next empowering female filmmaker, the passage to the big screen,
unless you are the heir of global franchise, is never going to be a smooth
ride. Different decisions early in
your career can define where you end up for the big picture; for blockbuster
machines James Cameron and Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Main Picture) it started with adverts;
minute glimpses into careers of epic proportions. Spike Jonze and Michel
Gondry
applied their off centre visions to the tunes of Radiohead, REM and
Björke, spreading to the houses of Levis, Ikea and Nike before skipping into
the bittersweet void of independent cinema.

Unknown
BFFs John Davies and Jason Eisener saw their gut punching
Hobo with a Shotgun morph from a short trailer to a fully fledged motion
picture thanks to a Robert Rodriguez
blessed grindhouse competition. Famous friends or an experienced leg up can
sure help, but at times a simple thirst for distribution can land that crucial
foot in the door.

With
digital outlets spilling out of screens it’s one thing to post, blog, tweet and
share until you cry, but there is never a guarantee those outside your
immediate family will see your work. There are a good source of competitions, organisations and
festivals desperate to get unsung talent shown, and whereas primarily you would
want everyone with functioning eyesight to see what you’ve got to show, it’s
best to scope out an audience, and which avenues you should be approaching.

But where
to start? For some, a concept is all it takes, with something like Hobo With a
Shotgun becoming a motion picture based on a painfully small budget and an eye
for a niche market, i.e. exploitation.
If you’ve called in every favour owed and sweated out a short film,
there are a number of valiant organisations that are hellbent on getting your
work out there.

The Money

A
shoestring budget will only take you so far, unless the cheap handheld world of
British working class cinema is what you’re going for. Here you find a
surprisingly large selection of helpful organisations who want to encourage new
talent and take careers to their next stages.

If you feel
you have developed a wider vision of where you would like your ideas to go,
there are any number of competitions, lottery and privately funded projects and
institutions that can help push you forward to a broader audience.

If a
domestic direction is best suited for you, IdeasTap
is an ideal organisation to approach. A non profit funding body, they provide
finance to make short films, as well as providing a portfolio to showcase your
work. They’re currently holding a competition to award five young artists
£30,000 to fund their project for a year. The specifics are pretty loose, as long
as you are aged 18 to 30, are a member of IdeasTap (which is free) and can
offer a detailed explanation into how the funds would help move your career
forward. More information about IdeasTap and the competition are posted on the
site (http://www.ideastap.com/Opportunities/Brief/f5eebaff-7f13-40bb-bfa8-9ef10145a8b1#Overview.) The deadline is September
19th.

If you feel
an international showcase is the next stage for your career, Berlinale Talent Campus is currently
taking entries to be shown at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival. The organisation
is holding events for makers, actors and writers during the festival, which
could prove great for networking with experienced members of the industry.

The
festival takes place February next year, with the deadline for entries is
October 5th (more details can be found here http://www.berlinale-talentcampus.de/campus/event/home.)

Women
filmmakers are alas grossly underrepresented in the industry and national
organisations such as Women in Film and
Television
aim to provide a step up for ladies in the arts. They hold
events across the calendar to exhibit established and upcoming work aimed
specifically at the slightly overseen gender. Show Us Your Shorts for example is a quarterly event broadcasting a
host of female filmmakers work to industry members and the public, so for
promising Kathryn Bigelows this
could be where you find your maker. Membership to Women In Film and Television
can be found here http://www.wftv.org.uk/wftv/default.asp?menu=home.

The Short
Film Night

Open film
nights held nationwide are the first places to approach for the amateur
filmmaker to get your work seen. Organisations with a love for the democratic
process of making motion pictures hold regular events for aspiring auteurs to
show their work and gain an initial response from audiences and network with
fellow creators.

One of the
front runners for holding London open film nights is Explosive Cinema. The group frequently hold showcases as well as low
budget film tours which can offer an idea of the sort of competition you’re up
against as well as tips for filming technique and how far you can go with a
budget.

They accept
films up to twenty minutes long on
DVD, VHS and the lost format of Celluloid, so this is perfect for short filmmaker
still finding their feet. Their next night will be in Hackney’s Stoke Newington
on September the 30th, submissions can be forwarded through this
link; http://www.explodingcinema.org/.

North and
East London are littered with weekly and monthly events for new showcases.
Rushes Soho Shorts has become an established collective that holds its own film
festival. Entries are judged by industry professionals which is a great way to
receive feedback from experienced panellists. This year’s festival has just
drawn to a close so there’s plenty of time to consider for next year, and in
the meantime there’s BAFTA seminars, discussions and opportunities to get your
work shown around central and east London.

Rotoreliefs at east London’s
Roxy Bar provides showcases, but also is ideal if you are wanting some real in depth
insights into making film and a professional take on how to get started. Their
next night is on the 17th of August, http://www.rotoreliefs.com/Rotoreliefs_-_networking_spiral_for_independent_film_makers_and_video_artists.html.

There are
any number of similar events held across the country, so if you’re not based in
London this is not the end of the world. Imperfect
Cinema
in Plymouth holds monthly micro events across academic institutions and
numerous venues around the city.

Whereas
Explosive Cinema encourages any entry, Imperfect holds themed nights, but offers
more in terms of live discussions, debates and advice for filmmakers.

More
information can be found at http://imperfectcinema.com/?page_id=131.

Another organisation
floating around putting on events across Somerset in Cineme. A simple platform for your work, this Bristol based group
take straight up submissions, another outlet if you’re testing the waters with
your creation. Submissions are currently being taken for short documentaries
for a screening on the 23rd of August, pop onto their Facebook page
for details of how to apply; http://www.facebook.com/groups/26484548311#!/groups/26484548311/

These are
just a few options for how to get your film out to an audience, even if just a
small one for starters. Depending on whether this is your first attempt to show
your work, or feel confident that you are ready to expand to a national or even
international scale there are partners, groups and non profit organisations that
recognise the significance of what you are capable of achieving.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com