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.

What’s Up?! Happy 2016, Ya’ll

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Common

Sundance is Just Around the Corner and Down the Block

If you read our blog from two weeks ago, you already know that the granddaddy of all film festivals, the Sundance Film Festival 2016, takes place January 21-31 in Park City, Utah. And itsashort.com will be there, front and center.

Sundance will boasts an impressive lineup of 72 short films, from documentary and animated selections to international and “New Frontier” films. What’s more, this event is attracting wider audiences, more than ever before, according to one of the event’s coordinators.

Mike Plante, Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Our longstanding showcase of short films has become a home for audiences who love watching these rowdy, sweet, scary and surprising stories. In recent years, shorts have taken on a bigger presence within the film and media industries, helping more and more people feel the power and potential of these short-on-time, big-on-ideas films.”

Plante is the man to know at Sundance. He’s one of 10 people who selects the films that appears at Sundance. He offers some much needed advice to filmmakers in this interview. If you get a minute, you might want to check out Shorts on SundanceTV, which features a library of short films curated by Plante himself.

One thing is for sure, itsashort.com can’t wait to meet, Mike Plante to take some selfies.

 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Add “Attend SXSW” To Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is upon us, and in the first 48 hours of 2016, you have already worn out that gym membership and read the table of contents for just about every popular self-help book published in the last 15 years. You are a monster right now: an unstoppable, irresistible force. Just remember to keep it up. Most of your peers will quit by March, but not you. You have creative goals to accomplish and films to pitch and shoot.

Speaking of March, the 2016 SXSW Film Conference and Festival takes place March 11-19 at the Austin Convention Center, and it is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most prominent film showcases. In other words, you have to be there. Itsashort.com certainly will be in the building.

The video below should inspire you to meet us out there:

Passes to the eight-day festival are not cheap, but the lineup looks legit (as usual): renowned actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Kerry Washington are the headliners. Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some” will be the festival’s opening night feature. Yet, the array of panels, networking opportunities and short film screenings should be nothing short of scintillating.

The short film sections include narrative, documentary and animated shorts, among others. In keeping with this whole “New Year, New You” deal, the SXSW Film Festival, which runs concurrently with the SXSW Music and Interactive programs, could be a game changer for your 2016.

You could meet potential investors for your next project or future collaborators who can assist in materializing your idea. Again, if the registration fees don’t make you sneeze, go for it. This is the year for your breakthrough, right?

For more information on registration for the SXSW Film Festival, visit this link.

If you come out, be sure to follow itsashort.com for the latest news on our SXSW journey. We can’t wait to see you there.

 

Star Wars “Awakens” at The Register – Big Time

 

In case you lost count, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has amassed record numbers at the box office: $740.266 million in the United States in 17 Days and $1.51 billion worldwide and rising, according to Forbes. It is the fastest film ever to $1 billion mark and appears to be on its way to topping Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time domestically. Even after two weeks, the trailer still gives us chills:

At any rate, the box office take is enough to rival the gross domestic product of the Maldives. Still, one question remains: how many lightsabers does that buy? We at itsashort.com would like to know.

Here’s to a creative, abundant and prosperous 2016, good people.