What’s Up?! TCFF, #1 PBS Short Film, Oscar Contenders

Traverse City Film Festival (short film and movie news)

Traverse City Film Festival photo/Traverse City Film Festival–Flickr

What’s up, good people?! The dog days of summer can’t put a damper on all this great short film and movie news that’s happening. Let, ITSASHORT.COM clue you in.

Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival wrapped on Sunday and dozens of filmmakers emerged as big winners, especially women directors. The entire list of winners can be found here, but special mention goes to Kulikar Sotho’s The Last Reel, which won the Founders Grand Prize for Best Film and Rebecca Miller for Maggie’s Plan, which was designated the “Best U.S. Fiction” film.

Two documentaries were bestowed TCFF’s top honor: Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson, and Unlocking the Cage, directed by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Both won for “Best U.S. Documentary.”

Out of the 107 shorts that comprised the short film program, six took home awards. “Over,” directed by Jorn Threlfall, won for “Best Fiction Short,” and “Speaking is Difficult,” directed by AJ Schnack, was named “Best Documentary Short.”

The Audience Award for “Best Fiction Short” went to Timothy Busfield and Tommy Lohmann for “One Smart Fellow,” and Amy Nicholson’s “Pickle” won the Audience Award for “Best Documentary Short.”

All in all, TCFF was a rousing success. Thousands attended the festival’s opening night with 82 of the 250 screened films sold out on the first day.

Traverse City Film Festival (short film and movie news)

Traverse City Film Festival photo/Traverse City Film Festival–Flickr

Sounds like a winner to us. Now, it’s time to plan our Traverse City trip for next year.

 

The Short of the Week

Who Is Evelyn Black? (short film and movie news)

Who Is Evelyn Black? poster/http://themichaelfoster.wix.com/evelynblackmovie

So, “Who is Evelyn Black?” That’s the question and title of our “Short Film of the Week,” an intriguing, suspenseful thriller about a woman who leads a double life.

Let’s juts say that, by the end of this film, her duplicity will seem warranted.  Directed by Michael Foster, Evelyn Black is a compelling little short that deserves more attention. It has our stamp of approval.

It will get yours as well. Don’t believe us, just register and watch at this link.

Gold Star for “Gold Star”

Gold Star film poster (short film and movie news)

Gold Star film poster/http://goldstartheshort.com/

Karla Legaspy’s short film “Gold Star” won the PBS Online Film Festival. It beat out 24 other shorts as the contest’s top vote-getter.  

To see this wonderful short film for free.99 (translation: free), visit this link. It will include all the info you’ll need on Gold Star and the other shorts.

 

Awards Season Starts With TIFF

Snowden (short film and movie news)

Still from Snowden/Twitter

Awards season is about to ramp up real soon. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which will run from Spetember 8-18, is a kingmaker for the major movie awards.

TIFF has a history of breaking Oscar darlings. Films like Silver Linings Playbook, Argo and The King’s Speech debuted at TIFF before going on to earn gold statues the following year.

A scene from Silver Linings Playbook (short film and movie news)

Silver Linings Playbook/Facebook

Several films that will be screened at TIFF could generate Oscar buzz.

According to CNN, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, is a potential contender.

Loving, a powerful film about an interracial couple fighting racism and the law in the 1960s, could also vie for a gold statue.

One intriguing entry is the Oliver Stone-directed biopic Snowden, which chronicles the life of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The phenomenal Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the lead role — and we’re not mad at that.

Other films that could get  Oscar love are Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe (starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o) and Ewan McGregor’s American Pastoral.

 

We’ll keep track of TIFF news and the fates of these and other Oscar contenders over the next several months. Meanwhile, feel free to use the info we just shared with you at your next gathering. Our knowledge will be sure to impress your friends — wink!

Fun Short Fact…

Napoleon Dynamite (short film and movie news)

Still from Napoleon Dynamite/Facebook

Did you know that Napoleon Dynamite evolved from a nine-minute short film?

Yeah, we didn’t either. IndieWire recently spilled the tea on how Napoleon Dynamite writer-director Jared Hess came up with his cult comedy hit. It evolved from a short film entitled, “Peluca,” which he shot as a student at Brigham Young University.

IndieWire uncovers the links the short shares with its predecessor, but you can see them for yourself by checking out Peluca in its entirety:

 

Enjoy!

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What’s Up?! The Birth of a Nation And Top Sundance Short Film

The Sundance short films that won big and Parker's passion project, "The Birth of a Nation."

Nate Parker/Wikimedia Commons

What’s up, good people? Your Short Film News and everything else Is Here.

The Sundance Film Festival just concluded and ITSASHORT.COM had a great time at Park City, Utah. Some stellar short films took home coveted awards, but the feature that was the biggest winner of all was “The Birth of a Nation,” the Feature about Nat Turner’s 19th Century slave revolt.

The film sparked a bidding war. That’s when Fox Searchlight eventually plunked down $17.5 million for its distribution rights, a Sundance record.

On Saturday, the film, which Variety magazine hailed as a “searingly impressive debut,” swept the top prizes at Sundance: The Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Those wins could mean a 2017 Oscar award run for the provocative feature.

What’s more, the film’s driving force Nate Parker quit acting for two years to realize his dream of completing the film. He paid $100,000 of his own money to meet with investors across the country. Eventually, a dozen investor groups, including San Antonio Spurs star player Tony Parker and former NBA player Michael Finley, helped to put up the film’s $10 million budget.

Here is Parker, the film’s writer, director and lead actor describing why he wanted to make “The Birth of a Nation”:

 

The Sundance ‘Shorts’ That Stole The Show

The iconic movie theater that plays host to Sundance, featuring award-winning movies and short films.

The Egyptian Theatre at night/Wikimedia Commons

Over 8,700 short films were submitted to Sundance this past year, and 72 of them were featured in the festival’s short film program. The top winner of them all was “Thunder Road,” which was awarded the Short Film Grand Jury Prize. This 13-minute dark comedy is about a man who eulogizes his mother. Described as quirky, ridiculous and funny, “Thunder Road” is the brainchild of Jim Cummings, who wrote, directed and starred in the film. He even funded it himself.

Cummings talks about what it took to create a work that would capture the top prize for short films:

In case you missed it, here is the full list of short films that won big at Sundance:

Short Film Grand Jury Prize: Thunder Road / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jim Cummings)

Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction: The Procedure / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder)

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: Maman(s) / France (Director and screenwriter: Maimouna Doucoure)

Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction: Bacon & God’s Wrath / Canada (Director: Sol Friedman)

Short Film Jury Award: Animation: Edmond / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Nina Gantz)

Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance: Grace Glowicki for her performance in Her Friend Adam.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Best Direction: Peacock / Czech Republic (Director: Ondrej Hudecek, Screenwriters: Jan Smutny, Ondrej Hudecek)

 

2016 SXSW Film Fest Headliners

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the headliners at this year's SXSW Film Festival, featuring acclaimed movies and short films.

Jake Gyllenhaal/Wikimedia Commons

The SXSW Film Festival will be here before you know it (March 11-19 in Austin, Texas) and itsashort.com will be there for all the glorious short films. Speaking of which, the 2016 Short Film Program will be announced in just a few weeks, so stay tuned. To whet your appetite, here are the SXSW short films that captivated festival-goers last year.

SXSW is sure to have its fair share of luminaries. Check out the headliners for this year’s festival: Kerry Washington (Scandal, Django Unchained) Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko), Richard Linklater (Boyhood, School of Rock) and Sarah Green (The Tree of Life, Frida).

Our heads are still in the clouds over Sundance. Nevertheless, Itsashort.com cannot wait for SXSW.

This small promo clip for SXSW has us hyped up:

Our Mission

We love short films. Plus, we at itsashort.com want to introduce audiences to award-winning and award-nominated artists who create movies, web series and videos. Check out itsashort.com and register to see the wonderful work of these creatives here.