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?! Hangout with “Sour Milk” Filmmaker; Sundance Short Films

One of the best short films from this past year.

Poster for “Sour Milk”

What’s Up, good people?! Welcome to your weekly buzz report from ITSASHORT.COM. As you know, SUNDANCE is rolling and itsashort is flowing. And, We’re Talking short Films.

You need to flow with us this Thursday as we are planning to host another Google hangout, this time with award-winning filmmaker Elliot Gonzo and media mogul Brandon Broussard. These guys will answer all your questions about filmmaking, and Gonzo will discuss his critically-acclaimed short “Sour Milk.”

“Sour Milk” is a gritty and dark comedic delight, so much so that it earned Gonzo a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nomination and a Best Story award at last year’s London International Fimmaker Festival.

Here is the trailer, but you should subscribe at Itsashort.com where you can view it in its wondrous entirety.

The Google Hangout is scheduled Thursday at 8 p.m. You will be able to follow the live stream here.

Want more info about “Sour Milk?” Visit this link.

 

‘Sundancing’ In Park City

Among the 72 Sundance short films is "Bob Dylan Hates Me."

Bob Dylan performing at the Feyenoord Football Club Stadium, Rotterdam, June 23, 1978 (Wikimedia Commons)

Did we mention that itsashort is at Sundance? Of course we did. Our fearless team has been making the rounds in Park City. They created connections and participated in important discussions about filmmaking, technology and distribution. One of the panels, entitled “A New Deal?“, focused on the relationship between film and distribution.

Here’s a clip of Ted Hope, head of distribution for Amazon, who took part in the “New Deal” panel.

The Sundance short films program is robust, 72 entries in all and, as expected, they run the gamut. One is a six-minute, animated dandy called “Bob Dylan Hates Me,” which features the rock legend himself. Ever wonder what it’s like to meet your idol in real life? This film explores that question.

The documentary short, “Bacon & God’s Wrath” is about a 90-year-old Jewish woman who prepares to try bacon for the first time. Here’s the trailer from last year’s Toronto International Film Festival:

What would Sundance be without documentary shorts? This year’s entries tackle hot-button issues. There’s “Verbatim: The Ferguson Case,” about the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Many outlets are highlighting the work as a must see among the Sundance short films.

Then, there are those oddball entries that are simply compelling, like “The Chickening,” which is a rework of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, only it features – um – poultry. According to The Wrap, the animated short had Midnight audiences “clucking at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall.”

Sounds delightful.

Sundance ends January 31. There is a plethora of festival programs you can stream live. Check out live events at this link and get all your up-to-the-minute festival updates on Twitter. And while you’re at it, follow itsashort.com on Twitter for news about short films we’re excited about and events in Park City and beyond.

Until then, be well. We’ll be back next week with the full Sundance “4-1-1.”

 

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.