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?! Kerry Washington at SXSW, The Short Film Program

Kerry Washington, keynote at SXSW (movies, short film, interactive)
Kerry Washington/Wikimedia Commons
Kerry Washington, keynote at SXSW  (movies, short film, interactive)

Kerry Washington/Wikimedia Commons

What’s up good people?! ITSASHORT.COM is back with the short film and movie news you need. It’s a special week for the gang because we’re out at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin!

This spectacular event is only a few days old, but the itsashort.com crew has been making the rounds and spreading the word about our mission. Boys and girls, it has been a grand old time and we do not want it to end.

But it’s not all “work-work-work.” We are out here making connections and checking out cool discussions. One of our favorite events so far was a talk featuring Scandal actress Kerry Washington. That’s right, Olivia Pope was in the building with a roomful of gladiators.

Washington spoke about the power of social media and how it has impacted her life and career.

“That kind of ability that social media has to give a voice to the voiceless is very important,” she said in her discussion with InStyle Editorial Director Ariel Foxman.

Here’s one important aside: Ms. Washington said that her tweets are her own and that she likes to partake in “live tweeting” from time to time. But Twitter as a vehicle for amplifying awareness and social change? She’s all in on that.

The diversity of interests in my tweets, I think that’s just a sign of being a curious person,” Washington said. “I really do care, I won’t say as much, but I am as interested in what just walked at Paris Fashion Week as I am with Hillary (Clinton). I just have a lot of interests.

 Among celebrities, Ms. Washington is an early adopter of Twitter, having joined the social media platform in 2010. The first episode of Scandal aired in 2012. She credits Twitter, Facebook and others for fueling the show’s runaway success.

“To this day, I know we would not have had a second season if it were not for social media,” she said.

All in all, the discussion touched on social media as a pathway to establishing an audience while engaging in meaningful conversations with them, something all filmmakers and creators need to hear.

In other words, get your content out there, learn what people are saying about the key issues/themes you want to utilize in your work and engage them.

After hearing Ms. Washington speak, our minds were blown too. Imagine what we could accomplish as creators if we properly utilized all that social media has to offer. Something to think about.

 

Boban Stojanov at SXSW Film Festival (films, short film program, interactive)

itsashort.com’s Boban Stojanov/Boban Stojanov

Words From The Prez & ‘Don’t Think Twice’

Itsashort.com got to check out a feature film “Don’t Think Twice,” about the cut-throat world of improv – yes, you read that right. The gang also dropped in on a Q&A with director Mike Birbiglia and cast members. Check out a clip of the discussion here.

But that was just one event, there were many others and this festival isn’t even four days old.

The crew got to check out talks on digital marketing and mobile engagement in today’s world, key issues involving short film and video creators.

The crew also got to see the main headliner at SXSW, and in American life in general: President Barack Obama.

And thanks to the SXSW channel on YouTube, you too can check out the President’s full keynote address below:

We are eagerly anticipating the short film program and a host of other interesting and diverse programming. To get updates on itsashort.com at SXSW, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 

itsashort.com at SXSW (features, short film, interactive)

itsashort.com at SXSW/Boban Stojanov

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?! Barack, Michelle at SXSW and the Short Films Movement

Barack and Michelle Obama at SXSW (short films, movies, music, interactive)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama/Wikimedia Commons

What’s up good people?! Welcome to your weekly itsashort.com roundup where we talk short films, festivals and movies.

The biggest news of the week has to be SXSW. Oh, you didn’t hear? Barack and Michelle Obama will be keynote speakers at the music and interactive festivals. You read that right: The President and The First Lady.

No they will not take part in the SXSW Film Festival, but the fact they are coming to Austin is still significant.

It will mark the first time in SXSW’s 30-year history that a sitting President and the First Lady will participate in the event, according to the SXSW site.

On Friday, March 11, President Obama will sit down with Evan Smith, CEO / Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives.

 First Lady Michelle Obama comes to SXSW Music on Wednesday March 16 “to discuss the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which aims to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today, more than half of whom are adolescent.”

Said SXSW Co-founder Roland Swenson, “I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and First Lady to SXSW.”

Whatever the case, itsashort.com will be in the building and we cannot wait.

Details regarding location, time, streaming, and access to these events will be announced on the SXSW website soon. Check back here.

 

The Movie Business (short films and movies)

Pixabay.com

The Short Film Revolution And Us

Do you know the story of itsashort.com and how it came to be?

Founder Chris Boulware wanted to give life to the films of independent artists because many don’t have a platform to showcase their works.

“If you don’t get into festivals, you don’t get seen,” said Boulware, recently. “We wanted to create a platform where people can see curated short content.”

Short films are a passion of Boulware’s and they are becoming more popular than ever.

Some of the most creative and engaging stories are being told through short films, states a recent article in The Atlantic. Even though the genre remains marginalized to a degree, there is hope:

…the Internet has allowed people outside the studio system to create and distribute their own work, and has helped filmmakers reach viewers around the world with unprecedented ease. As a result, short film is again becoming a vibrant and original medium in a blockbuster-driven, reboot-riddled industry.

Itsashort.com is proud to be at the forefront of this movement. In two years, nearly 400 filmmakers have uploaded content to our site. To be a part of this burgeoning movement, feel free to register at itsashort.com to view our repository of award-winning short films and upload your own content.

One more thing: get your popcorn ready. That is all.

Our Mission  

Itsashort.com is a platform for filmmakers and creators the world over. 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?! Earth Shattering Oscar Short Films And SXSW

'A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness', one of five Oscar-nominated short films.

A still shot from ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’

What’s up good people?! The Oscars are this Sunday and some potent documentary short films have tongues wagging, including ours at ITSASHORT.COM.

All five of the nominated shorts have one thing in common: all are impactful. These stories not only make you think; they rewire your entire being.

This year’s Oscar-nominated documentary shorts are a harrowing lot. Although there’s at least one uplifting effort — mind you, uplifting in a pass-me-a-tissue way — the five entries will likely have you reaching for your anti-depressant medications, states the Hollywood Reporter.

Needless to say, they pack quite a punch – the kind that will make you keel over. In the realm of filmmaking that is a great thing.

Thematically, these short films mine tough territory, like the Holocaust (Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah); honor killings (A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness); the effects of Agent Orange (Chau, beyond the Lines); the Ebola Crisis in Liberia (Body Team 12) and the death penalty (Last Day of Freedom).

Three of the five nominated films are being distributed by HBO, including category favorite Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, about 90-year-old Claude Lanzmann, who created the most influential documentary on the Holocaust, Shoah. Here’s a quick peek at the trailer:

 

 

Another emotional powder keg is Chau, beyond the Lines, a short film about Vietnamese children and the deformities they have incurred due to their mothers’ exposure to Agent Orange, the herbicide deployed during the Vietnam War. It is one of those short films that will make you question your own life:

This is a film that reminds a viewer to stop complaining and making excuses about his or her own life because people find a way to be happy and accomplish their goals in spite of far greater adversity than most of the rest of us will ever face.

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness will simply shatter you. The HBO-distributed short film recounts the horrific story of a young Pakistani woman who survives an honor killing attempt by her father and uncle. Both men felt disrespected because the woman eloped to marry a man from a lower social class.

It is absolutely gripping. Yet, whether it wins or not, it stands to be the most impactful film at this year’s Oscars.

Notes New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof,

I don’t know whether “A Girl in the River” will win an Oscar in its category, short subject documentary, but it is already making a difference. Citing the film, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan has promised to change the country’s laws so as to crack down on honor killings.

Last Day of Freedom takes place a hemisphere away from the other Oscar nominees. Made in the Bay Area, this poignant, black-and-white animated short, which is available for streaming on Netflix, is according to the Berkeley Daily Planet, “an emotionally open 35-minute taped conversation with Bill Babbitt who tells the story of his little brother, Manny—an innocent child who grew up to become a US Marine and a combat hero, only to stumble into homelessness as a result of physical injuries and the unseen wounds in his head.”

Another astonishing fact about this film: it was made from 30,000 drawings. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at its creation:

Last week, itsashort.com profiled Body Team 12, which chronicles Director David Darg’s time with a team that collected and cremated the bodies of Ebola virus victims in Liberia —another filmic sledgehammer.

Feature films like The Revenant, The Big Short and Spotlight will garner the majority of the headlines this Sunday, but these documentary short films are noteworthy in their own right.

The 88th Academy Awards is set to air this Sunday night on ABC at 8:30 (EST)|5:30 (PST), and Comedian Chris Rock will serve as the master of ceremonies. Itsashort.com, along with the entire world, waits with bated breath to see what unfolds. Stay tuned.

Blind Date Rules

'Blind Date Rules' (itsashort.com short films)

‘Blind Date Rules’ poster/http://www.mareleentertainment.com/

Itsashort.com will be at the SXSW Film Festival, which goes from March 11-19 in Austin, Texas. Not only will we be in the building, we will continue to be the premiere destination for quality short films.

We like to brag on the cool films we have up at our site. One such work is the hilarious, romantic short Blind Date Rules. We can all agree that blind dates are generally for the birds, but they can make for some entertaining stories.

Director Brie Eley gives us one as this poor, exasperated single gal finally decides to lay down some ground rules before going on yet another frightening blind date. The official trailer gives you just a hint of the hilarity:

Itsashort.com is proud to feature the full short at our site, which you can stream in ts entirety here. As you watch, try to resist those flashbacks of your own blind date misadventures. And if not, just laugh, because Blind Date Rules will provoke you to do so.

And Speaking Of SXSW…

Don Cheadle (SXSW Film Festival, short films)

Don Cheadle/Wikimedia Commons

The Short Films Program has officially been announced. Here’s the rundown: The 114 short films were selected from 4,784 short film submissions. They are featured across four categories: Narrative, Documentary, Animated and Midnight (shorts that feature sex, gore and hilarity). The film selections come from all over the world, from as far away as the Netherlands and to home-grown short films set in the Lone Star state.

SXSW will have its share of headliners, like acclaimed actors Don Cheadle, Jake Gyllenhaal and famed director Judd Apatow. Itsashort.com will be on the ground networking , advertising and socializing with all the good folks attending the nine-day festival. It should be a blast, and we’ll have plenty to report about  our trip. Be on the lookout, ya’ll!

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.