What’s Up?! Taylor Swift, “Hardcore Henry” and Short Film News

Taylor Swift (short film and movie news)

Taylor Swift/youtube

What’s up good people?! ITSASHORT.COM is back with your weekly short film and movie roundup.

Before we get into some movie news, we have to give a shoutout to Taylor Swift. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Taylor’s world and we are all just living in it. This notion was evident at Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards where the reigning pop music queen won three trophies, including “Album of the Year” and “Female Artist of the Year.

And by the way, sitting with Ms. Swift is like being at the cool kids’ table. Her boyfriend Calvin Harris won a iHeartRadio award for “Dance Artist of the Year,” and her BFF Selena Gomez was named “Biggest Triple Threat.”

It’s good to be Ms. Swift these days. Being associated with her isn’t bad either.

Taylor Swift (short film and movie news)

Taylor Swift at iHeartRadio Awards

But game recognize game (as they say), so itsashort.com had to show Taylor some love.

 

A New Kind Of Hardcore

"Hardcore Henry" (movie and short film news)

“Hardcore Henry”/Facebook

A new kind of film is set to debut in theaters this week. “Hardcore Henry” is entirely shot from the first-person perspective of the central character, some dude named Henry. The movie was shot almost entirely with wide-angle, body-mounted Go-Pro cameras.

Have you ever played those video games where you’re holding the gun and the action is from your perspective? That’s what this film is, according to the Guardian.

…the film is rife with familiar video game staples – not just the way we see Henry’s arms flailing about, but the way he throws things, the way he shoots guns and the fact that he’s accompanied by supporting characters constantly shouting exposition and instruction at him.

What’s interesting about the film is that it evolved from a viral music video, a short film of sorts. It got made into a full-length feature after Russian movie mogul Timur Bekmambetov viewed it.

The movie is just days away from opening. Yet, the reviews have been largely positive. As of this writing, “Hardcore Henry” has an 81 rating over at Rotten Tomatoes.

Hardcore Henry (short film and movie news)

Hardcore Henry/Instagram

And if “Hardcore Henry” becomes a hit, expect more movies like it to be made: films that make you feel like you’re in a video game.

“If Hardcore Henry does well then people are gonna be more open to it. And if it makes money, I guess people will jump on that bandwagon,” director Ilya Naishuller told the Guardian recently.

 

Big Bubbles

Andre Royo (short film and movie news)

Andre Royo/Wikimedia Commons

Starring in a critically-acclaimed television series doesn’t necessarily guarantee you more work. Just ask Andre Royo, who played Bubbles in the award-winning HBO series “The Wire,” a show widely regarded as a milestone in television history.

Unfortunately, Royo hasn’t gotten much work since the show ended in 2008.

“The Wire” is one of the best things ever done and it certainly changed me. But I wasn’t getting offers after “The Wire,” said Royo in a recent IndieWire report.

But it looks like Royo found his flow.

He is the lead actor in “Hunter Gatherer,” a film that premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. In fact, Royo received the festival’s top acting award, SXSW’s Special Jury Recognition for Best Actor.

“When I heard I won the acting prize at SXSW, I was just kind of overwhelmed with appreciation and a little bit of awe. You’re always scared that maybe you’re a little crazy, maybe people aren’t gonna get it,” he said.

People certainly seem to get it now. And it’s good to see more actors from “The Wire,” a favorite of itsashort.com, get their due. More short film roles for Wire actors would be great as well.

SXSW Short Film Winners

The SXSW Film Festival wrapped a few weeks ago, but we wanted to present you the list of the short film winners. Itsashort.com also wants to remind you that submissions for the 2017 film festival will start this summer. To receive reminders about the upcoming SXSW Film Festival submission period, go to this site.

Our Mission

Itsashort.com is a platform for filmmakers and creators the world over. We love the short film genre. 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?! J.J. Abrams, Don Cheadle at SXSW and Short Film News

Filmmaker J.J. Abrams (movies, short film, technology)

J.J. Abrams/Wikimedia Commons

What’s up good people?! It’s your weekly roundup of all the short film and movie news you desire. It has been a whirlwind week for itsashort.com after the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. It was an amazing Stretch of talks, meetups, screenings and networking opportunities.

One of the best SXSW discussions we attended featured Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. All told, 2,000 people attended the discussion, which occurred directly after President Barack Obama’s keynote.

Abrams talked about the impact of technology on filmmaking, particularly as it relates to the making of The Force Awakens:

The idea was, in the case of Star Wars, to both create a sense of analog authenticity visually, and most importantly to make sure the humanity of the characters wasn’t getting lost wherever possible,” he said. “That was our ambition, it’s up to every viewer to decide whether that worked — but that was the idea, to try and make sure the movie felt as human and as emotional as possible.

Abrams, who participated in a discussion alongside writer and director Andrew Jarecki, also advised filmmakers to take this approach when incorporating technology into story:

The challenge with what we all do, using whatever technology is that we use, is to hide it, in a way,” Abrams said. “The machinery — whether it’s the technology of what a story is, the map of a story, whether it’s the technology you’re using to code something — you’re trying to make that invisible so that the audience or the user is having as effortless an experience as possible and they’re as engaged as possible.

Truth.

Don Cheadle Talks Miles Davis

 

Miles Davis (movies, short film)

Miles Davis/Wikimedia Commons

If you thought that was groovy, the SXSW panel discussion with Don Cheadle was absolutely phenomenal. The actor talked about the making of “Miles Ahead,” his biopic on jazz legend Miles Davis.

“I wanted it to be something that was innovative and crazy and kind of gangster,” Cheadle said of the movie.

“I was more interested in making a movie in the way that I think Miles Davis would approach that medium, and create a film that he would want to star in as opposed to making a Cliff Notes version of his life.”

Cheadle, who directed, co-wrote and starred in the film, went to great lengths to convince Davis’s family members that he was the right guy for the lead role, according to one relative.

“This guy Don Cheadle, he really cared what the family thought,” said Davis’s nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. “He really wanted our input, a lot of times you sign on the dotted line and that’s it, then the director changes their phone number.

“He took time on his break and had us come to his trailer. He really cared.”

“Miles Ahead” hits theaters April 1, and we at itsashort.com can’t wait to see it.

You can watch the rest of Cheadle’s conversation below:

Perfect Match

The Perfect Match (movies, short film)

The Perfect Match/film poster

We would be remiss if we did not mention the latest accomplishment by our friend Brandon Broussard. Brandon served as a co-writer for the film “The Perfect Match,” which stars Terrence Jenkins, Paula PattonLauren London and Brandy Norwood (yes, that Brandy). The film was directed by  Bille Woodruff and executive produced by Queen Latifah

It’s a fun, romantic comedy about a playboy who meets his match in the love department.

Check out the trailer for this cool, funny flick below:

Again, a huge mazel tov to Brandon for the release of the film, which is in theaters now. Go out and support.

Our Mission

Itsashort.com is a platform for filmmakers and creators the world over. We love the short film genre. 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?! Sundance, “FirstGlance” Short Film Winner

What’s up, ya’ll? Welcome to a new week, and here’s the good word.

Itsashort is hosting a live Google hangout with the winner of the prestigious FirstGlance Fall 2015 Short Online Contest!

That’s right, this Thursday you will get the opportunity to chat with Brian Mellen, director of the gripping short film “Spark and Fade,” which you can check out below:

Rock star media mogul Brandon Broussard will moderate the discussion. You can pose questions on the live stream or participate on Twitter. Just use the hashtag #sparkandfade to chat with two of film and television’s rising stars.

The Google hangout is on Jan. 14 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT.

 

Submit to Sundance Next Year

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival opens in less than two weeks, and itsashort.com can’t wait to be there.

You know the saying about the early bird getting the worm, well the early filmmaker who submits in a timely fashion, will get his work seen and heard (Okay that didn’t sound as cool when I read that out loud).

Nevertheless, it is never too early to consider submitting for Sundance 2017. Interested? Well, Sundance wants you to check back here during the first week of May.

But you just can’t submit your piece “willy-nilly,” without a bit of inside info.

Thanks to this wonderful article with Sundance Film Festival programmer Mike Plante, here are the most important pieces of advice regarding the submission process.

On short film submissions: “8,700 this year, which is the third year in a row we have received over 8,000.”

According to Plante, a 10-person committee screens the films. They are tasked with selecting around 70 shorts out of that batch that will make it to Sundance. That’s an arduous task, folks. Why? Plante said there are usually 300 shorts that the committee really loves. That means they have to break the hearts of 230 submitters before getting to the winners.

The trend from this year’s submissions:

Filmmakers are getting better at telling stories and creating characters in a shorter amount of time. It feels like they are trusting the audience more and more. You don’t need to imitate a feature, in fact that hurts a short film. Less is more. We have hilarious comedies that are less than 7 minutes long, and powerful documentaries with huge stories in just 15 minutes of run time.

And finally, advice for those who want to submit next year. Here is how you can impress a Sundance film programmer:

Did I say less is more yet? Audiences are so savvy at festivals that you can trust them. You don’t have to tell them what to think with more dialogue and “action” for lack of a better word. They watch shorts all the time—TV shows, commercials, music videos, and now actual short films online.  

“World of Tomorrow,” the 2015 winner of the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, is one work that captured the hearts of judges last year. Here is the trailer for that mesmerizing short:

Awesome, right? Now it’s your turn.

 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

See The Golden Globes Tonight

We would be remiss if we did not mention the arrival of awards season with tonight’s airing of the 73rd annual Golden Globes. Sorry to disappoint you, but if you’re watching, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler won’t be your co-hosts this year. Instead, British comedian Ricky Gervais will serve as your master of ceremonies.

Expect some edgy and irreverent humor.

 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Denzel Will Be in The Building

Ladies (and some gentlemen) don’t swoon. That’s right, Denzel Washington will be one of the main stars of the evening. He is receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, bestowed to those who have made “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Mr. Washington certainly fits that bill.

Oscar Film Buzz

As far as the big films are concerned, the Globes have long served as the bellwether to the Oscars. The strongest Oscar “Best Picture” contenders from the Globes’ Best Motion Picture, Drama category are “Spotlight” and “The Revenant,” supposedly. In the “Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy” category, Globe nominees “The Big Short” and “The Martian” are seen as the prime contenders as well. Nevertheless, the race is said to be wide open. “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Compton” have their supporters as well.

The 88th Academy Awards will air February 28 at 7pm ET. Until then, we’ll enjoy the awesome three-hour spectacle that is the Golden Globes, and more importantly, we’ll see who gives the most inebriated acceptance speech. Itsashort.com will be watching and it should be fun, fun, fun!

What’s Up: PSI Shortfest and Alan Becker and Animation!

Palm-Springs-ShortFest-2015-gifThe festival was amazing! The short film winners, wow. The Palm Springs International Shortfest has just concluded it’s 21st year. It is the largest short film festival  and short film marketplace in the United States.

Actually Palm Springs does two festivals per year, the International Film Festival held in January and then ‘shortfest’ every June. As a market place this year they screened over 300 shorts actually culled from 3000 submissions….all available through the market place.

But, which short film was our favorite?

Well Body Team 12, is a favorite, it was also recognized this spring  at Tribeca and mentioned in our previous blog post. Our new favorite and part of the online contest for Palm Springs International Short fest is Animation vs Animator!

Its our favorite because the story is cool…and so is the animator Alan Becker.

The Story of Alan…he started his series Animation vs Animator very early in his career/life. The fourth in the series, Animation vs Animator IV is on the itsashort.com platform. And was created by Alan just after graduating from school.

The story, which you have to watch is about the central character, a stick figure. The stick figure, does the stick figure have a name…I think it’s just stick figure, takes over the Alan’s computer and in the process demonstrates very unique characteristics…like it can talk?

The stick figure makes friends with other animation figures being developed on the same computer, has major temper tantrums, kicks butt, crashes Facebook messenger, totally boss. Resolution was tough but ultimately, the stick figure agrees to negotiate a relationship, which though hard to believe, makes a lot of sense!!!

Alan, as the animator is genius. The short film also animates the iphone, totally cool.

itsashort.com

Deeply committed to award winning and nominated artists we introduce our audiences to Alan Becker…an animator worthy of respect.

What’s Up: The Northwest Film Festival?

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.53.47 PM

Asian gangs in Vancouver, BC? Seems like an odd idea, but what do we know about Vancouver, BC? Lewis Bennet, a Canadian ‘shorts’ filmmaker and featured artist this year at the Northwest Film Festival, made a documentary about his personal experience at age 10. He was involved in his first ever actual fist fight.

Okay…And then what…

After a full and complete accounting of the ‘incident’, for lack of a better word, his mother was left with a ‘harrowing’ thought: if Lewis’ behavior did not change he could become a member of an Asian Gang! Seriously? What was that? A threat, a warning, or preposterous. Below is the trailer for his short and also a link to the actual short film.

Strange idea since Lewis is not actually Asian…no one is sure how to even understand the idea…but the documentary ends with the story of someone who really was a member of an Asian gang and explains how that experience changed his life. Today, that same person has dedicated his professional life to saving kids from this kind of choice. Check out the short at: asiangangs.ca

Asian Gangs:

Lewis has a current short in the Northwest Film festival and we expect will be one of the select artists for the itsashort.com launch. So, register on the itsashort.com to see the work of amazing media artists; ‘like’ the FB page to get updates on our launch, profiles of media artists and the buzz on everything else.

Woman’s Independent Filmmaker Project

Woman’s Independent Filmmaker Project

A Maasai Woman’s Journey from the Village to an Urban Center

Alison Duke is an amazing filmmaker based in Toronto, Canada. She has had an unabiding interest in learning more about African women and particularly the Maasai Women. This piece, a documentary in development, explores the journey of one Maasai woman from her village in Kenya to Toronto.

What makes this woman’s independent film project so great?

For Alison, this is a deeply personal story of determination, drive, courage and ultimately personal victory. Beautifully filmed in the true colors of the village, the trailer shares with the viewers the extraordinary brilliance of the village. There is some dialogue mainly from this young woman who tells her story through the eyes and sense of promise of the village elders.

No woman has ever left the village to go to ‘university’ She navigates the university and the city, using public transportation, and finds her way to a very different and new life. She studies, she marries and she prepares for her graduation. Her parents will come for the graduation, a trip supported by the entire village.

Woman’s Independent Filmmaker Project Purpose

Allison Duke, as the filmmaker, seeks to share key ideas like the interest  to enroll in ‘university’ a concept so foreign to the members of her village, not as an unknown idea, but as a dream that seems so far away from the daily existence of the village families. Allison shares a key idea and the celebration of the independence, drive and courage of women and this Maasai woman.

Also, the idea that life in the city is very different from life in the village: shopping, transportation and the ultimate photo shoot where her dress combines the traditional dress of the village and the dress required living in the ‘dead of winter’ in Toronto. Alison beautifully contrast the daily living experiences of women in the village and women in the city. Truth, women can adapt to any environment when creating new future pathways designed to ensure opportunity for other women from the village.

Watch the trailer below and look for the announcement of the kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of the documentary.

[brightcove vid=1846122823001&exp3=686821939001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=681630997001&pk=AQ~~,AAAAnrRfmgk~,5GgQICPKXrYMOqnO1uq5oBhMmoetOVVz&w=480&h=270] One woman’s journey from her village to an urban center.

To watch more short film like this piece, go to www.indiefilmz.com