What’s Up?! MJ Comes To TV & Alicia Keys’s New Short Film

Michael Jackson (short film and movie news)

Michael Jackson/Facebook

What’s up good people?! Summer is here and we have the movie and short film news you can use.

The final months of Michael Jackson’s life is coming to the small screen thanks to filmmaker J.J. Abrams and author and talk show host Tavis Smiley.

Abrams is planning to turn Smiley’s new book “Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days” into a TV miniseries.

This is the second time Smiley and Abrams are teaming up on a project.

Smiley and Abrams will serve as executive producers. Their production companies, Smiley TV and Bad Robot, announced in April they are also developing a television series about Smiley’s 2014 book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year.”

The Michael Jackson project, which is described as a novelistic take on The King of Pop’s final months, follows a growing television trend where real life events are serialized for TV. FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” enjoyed enormous success earlier this year. Though the Michael Jackson project is in the developmental phase, it is expected to draw huge interest.

Abrams’ involvement is a mild surprise, if only because it’s such a huge departure from his other recent work…it’s hard to imagine a more compelling subject, and it’s being built from a solid base in Smiley’s book, says The Verge.

It may be awhile before this project becomes a reality. Still, legions will be waiting with bated breath for this development. Believe that.

 

Itsashort.com’s “Short of the Week”

TAPE by Sierra Parr (short film and movie news)

TAPE poster/Facebook

Our short film of the week transports us to a place not often seen. The psychological thriller “TAPE” takes place in purgatory and explores the critical issue of mental illness. The main character finds himself in this netherworld where he meets five suicide victims who have a secret they cannot share.

Bone-chilling is how most would describe this short. We think this film will keep you riveted while rewiring your insides, simultaneously. In other words, TAPE is compelling with a capital “C.”

Hit this link to watch the full film.

But please, do us a favor and buckle up — shoulders, waist and feet.

 

Alicia Keys’s New Short Film

Alicia Keys (short film and movie news)

Alicia Keys/Wikimedia Commons

Alicia Keys recently made a short film to tackle an important issue and showcase her music. Unlike Lemonade, Beyoncé’s sprawling and wonderful filmic album, Keys takes a different approach. Her short film “Let Me In” shines a light on the global refugee crisis. Plus, it is an actual film instead of a music video.

Alicia Keys's Short Film, "Let Me In"

Alicia Keys’s Short Film, “Let Me In”/Twitter

The 11-minute short, directed by Jonathan Olinger, depicts what happens when a young girl and her family suddenly become refugees.

“Creating this film really allowed us to imagine, what if we were the refugees? What if we were the ones torn from the arms of our families and loved ones? How would it feel if this were happening to us?” said Keys in a statement.

In addition, her new song “Hallelujah” serves the film’s centerpiece.

See this powerful short film for yourself below:

And kudos to those artists who are using the short film genre to tell important stories. Here’s hoping that more musicians follow suit.

 

Film Festing

Michael Moore (short film and movie news)

Michael Moore/Wikimedia Commons

The Palm Springs International ShortFest, which launched this week, is regarded as the largest festival of its kind.

The Huffington Post recently hailed the short film festival as brilliant and innovative:

The opening night selection boasts major award winners from the world’s top film festivals and focuses on the most talented emerging international directors. Elsewhere, there are plenty of other standouts—Romania’s “237 Years,” Berlin’s In Pursuit,” and featured programs such as “Sibling Stories” and the Monty Python-inspired “And Now For Something Completely Different” should generate applause.

Another film festival of note that launches this summer is the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), which was founded by Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore.  For more information about TCFF, hit this link.

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 outitsashort.com and subscribe for $2 a month to see the wonderful work of these creatives.

 

What’s Up?! #ChewbaccaMom, Top Cannes Movie And Short Film

#Chewbaccamom (movies and short film)

Internet Sensation ##Chewbaccamom (aka Candace Payne)/Twitter

What’s up good people?! Memorial Day is near and WE’RE HERE with the movie and short film news of the week.

The power of short film was on full display as a 4-minute Facebook video turned Texas mother Candace Payne into an internet sensation.

If you were orbiting Saturn last Thursday and missed Payne’s video, have a look-see.

 

Payne walked into a Kohl’s store looking for some Yoga pants and discovered an electronic Star Wars Chewbacca mask for $20. She bought the mask, filmed the video and the rest, as they say, is ‘herstory’. As of Tuesday, Payne’s video scored a whopping 142 million views on Facebook.

It also landed her interviews on Good Morning America, NPR and the BBC. It also earned her a drive with Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and CBS The Late Late Show’s James Corden.

 

It was also the perfect marketing moment. Since Payne’s video, the Chewbacca mask has sold out at major retailers and went for as much as $500 on eBay.  Kohl’s delivered Star Wars merchandise to the Payne family and $2500 worth of gift cards, according to the New York Times.

Just as cool was the fact that Payne’s uproarious rendition of the famed Star Wars character earned approval from the actor that played the Wookiee.

 

 

Critics Say This Was The Best Cannes Film

Toni Erdmann (movie and short film)

Toni Erdmann poster/Facebook

The Cannes Film Festival wrapped on Monday, and a modest German comedy ended up being its most beloved movie.

The film “Toni Erdmann” got shut out from the top prize at Cannes. The coveted Palme d’Or award went to the film “I, Daniel Blake” by socialist filmmaker Ken Loach. Loach’s win was stunning because it was not recognized as Cannes top film. According to critics, Toni Erdmann earned that distinction.

It was Toni Erdmann that lifted the mood of the festival and had critics chuckling, says the New York Times. While it lost out to I, Daniel Blake, the film’s popularity has raised the profile of 39-year-old director Maren Ade.

The rave reviews of Ade’s third feature earned her 30 hours of interviews with 60 journalists from more than 15 countries.

And despite being shut out, Toni Erdmann ended up garnering some cool consolation prizes: international rights deals out the wazoo. Sony Pictures Classics bought the rights to distribute Toni Erdmann in North America.

So expect this Cannes crowdpleaser to debut at a theater near you.

 

Top Short At Cannes

Timecode Director Juanjo Giménez (short film and movies)

Timecode Director Juanjo Giménez/Facebook

The top short film at Cannes was about the lives of two security guards.

Timecode, by Spanish director Juanjo Giménez, won the short film Palme d’Or. Timecode is about the relationship between two security guards on duty. In filming this short, Giménez utilized parking lot cameras in order to deliver the short film.

According to one publication, Giménez prefers the short film genre to longer movies because they allow him to bring out the best in cinematic language in a way that provides more freedom than that of long motion pictures.

For a list of all the Cannes 2016 winners, click this amazing link.

 

We Looove LA — The FilmFest, That Is

LA Film Festival Poster (short film and movie news)

LA Film Festival Poster/Facebook

As we announced last week, the next stop on the film festival circuit is the vaunted LA Film Festival, which runs June 1-9 in the City of Angels. This fest is all about independent filmmakers. And this year, it will also be about EDM music. Zedd, one of the world’s most popular Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artists, will have his feature-length documentary “Zedd True Colors” premiere at the LA Film Festival.

Zedd and Ariana Grande (short film and movie news)

Zedd and Ariana Grande be jammin.

The LA Film Festival is also a destination event for short filmmakers. A short film selected to the LA Film Festival automatically qualifies for consideration by the Academy Awards in the Narrative, Animated and Documentary Short Film categories.

For more information about this fest, check out this link.

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?! Tribeca, Will Smith And Dope Short Film Programs

Tom Hanks (short film and movie news)

Tom Hanks/YouTube

What’s up good people?! Welcome to your weekly itsashort.com roundup of movie and short film news.

The Tribeca Film Festival is an extravaganza of coolness. The prestigious fest is set to take New York by storm starting April 13.

Let’s just say this: the list of events is enough to make your freaking head spin.

Why?

Oprah Winfrey will be at Tribeca to premier a new television series called “Greenleaf,” which is set to air on her OWN network.

Want another reason?

Chris Rock will be interviewing J.J. Abrams on Friday for its Tribeca Talks series. Plus, the film “A Hologram for the King,” starring Tom Hanks, is set to premier at the festival as well.

Per usual, the short film program looks pretty amazing. The documentary short “A.C. Green: Iron Virgin,” profiles an NBA player who was a professed virgin that saved himself for marriage.

Another fascinating entry is FiveThirtyEight & ESPN Films’ 8-minute short “A More Perfect Union,” about the discovery of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons and their impact on the 2008 democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

That’s only a fraction of what Tribeca has to offer. For a full list of events, visit this site for more details.

 

Will Power

Will Smith (short film and movie news)

Will Smith/Wikimedia Commons

People tend to overlook Will Smith’s amazing career.  Thankfully, the good folks at MTV gave the man his proper due. The MTV Movie Awards bestowed Smith its highest honor for career achievement in film on Saturday. He was the recipient of The Generation Award for his extraordinary movie career, which nearly spans 25 years (!!!!).

That’s right, Smith has been in the movie game for a while now.  Yet, we tend to forget that he was already a successful Hip-hop artist and small screen star before transitioning to feature films.

Will Smith (movie and short film news)

Will Smith, you are amazing.

This Fresh Prince may not be in Bel-Air anymore, but you can find him in the lead role for just about every film he is cast.

Will Smith (movie and short film news)

No neuralyzer needed. Smith’s career has been unforgettable.

Stars like Kevin Hart and Halle Berry showed him plenty of love at the MTV Movie Awards, Saturday night.

Said Berry of the 47-year-old Smith, “Will is a champion for diversity in Hollywood blazing the path for actors by showing someone of any color, can play any role, can open any movie and can win every award; and be the biggest freaking movie star in the whole world. I love you Will Smith.”

Indeed Will, itsashort.com loves you, as well.

 

These Oscar Snubs Got Some Love

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (short film and movie news)

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega of Star Wars: The Force Awakens/Facebook

The MTV Movie Awards gave these films the full embrace, as expected.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by Itsashort.com favorite J.J. Abrams, won the “Movie of The Year” award and Straight Outta Compton took home the True Story award. The Oscars largely ignored both.

The top individual acting awards went to Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road and Chris Pratt for Jurassic World. Personally, we feel Ryan Reynolds should have won for Deadpool, but congratulations to Pratt. Reynolds did win for “Best Comedic Performance,” which isn’t a bad consolation prize. Actress Daisy Ridley won the “Breakthrough Performance” award for her role in the Force Awakens as well.

MTV might want to consider some awards for the short film genre in the future. We’re just saying.

Chicago’s Very Own

Chicago CIMMfest (short film and movie news)

Chicago CIMMfest poster/cimmfest.org

Cannes, Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca are your top-tier film festivals: the proverbial cool kids at the cool table.

Then you have those festivals trying to nudge their way in for a seat at that table or find one close to it.

Chicago’s CIMMfest is an emerging music and international film festival that launches April 13. The music lineup is pretty cool, but CIMMfest has some dope film offerings. “Cracked actor,” a rare BBC documentary on the departed, pop music icon David Bowie is a gem. Another is the fictive short film “Bail,” about “life on the down-low in 1926 Harlem.”

CIMMfest boasts a formidable short film program to boot. Itsashort.com will be in the building for this dandy and you should too. For a full rundown of CIMMfest events, visit 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?! 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.