Salad Fingers' web legend David Firth has first retrospective at Hull International Film Festival

6 days, 5 masterclasses, 4 competitions, 3 days of industry events, 2 retrospectives and 1 Hull Short Film Festival.

starwarstheempirestrikesbackNow in it's seventh year, the Hull International Short Film Festival is cementing its position as the UK's number one short film event north of London, continuing to determinedly beat its cultural heart in a town much maligned and misunderstand - and a place where I've had some of the most memorable festival experiences anywhere. Standing besides a giant bonfire with Oscar nominated genius Virgil Widrich at a Hutt Street party in 2004, singing a spontaneous acoustic mashup of Blue Moon, Happiness is a Warm Gun and A Message to You Rudy (all use the same chord structure, btw) with the festival team last year, Hull's really quite like Glasgow, and if you've visited either you'll know what I mean.

This year sees the first Anthoney Minghella Memorial Awards, the highly anticipated retrospective of one of the UK's leading web filmmakers -  local-boy / bedroom animator wizard David 'Salad Fingers' Firth - (the "creepiest and best flash animation online" San Francisco Chronicle) who regularly chalks up millions of viewers for his films on YouTube (see below), as well as an astonishingly good exhibition of Polish film posters (featured) and more than 50 World, International, European and UK Premieres in a programme almost as full as programmer Laurence Boyce's DVD collection.

Full details of the 200+ films and the rest of the programme are at Sponsored by the University of Hull, the Anthony Minghella Awards for Best International and UK Short will see movies from intense drama to hilarious animation, all compete for the award that commemorates one of the UK’s most talented – and missed – directors. The GLIMMER Award for Best Yorkshire Short will shine the spotlight on the talent from our own region whilst Hull City Council will support the GLIMMER Award for Best Hull Short.


Prague's Franz Kafka International Named World's Most Alienating Airport

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From The Onion.


GOP's 'What would it look like if the world changed?' goes Creative Commons

Funded by the American Kalliopeia Foundation, the Global Oneness Project seeks to compile wisdom of unsung world changers from every corner of the planet. With all videos licensed under the Creative Commons license, the videos are free to download, share, recut, remix and reuse (hence this trimmed version here). For a documentary series with a social purpose, the license gives them the edge over films such as Age of Stupid and An Inconvenient Truth which seek to reach the widest possible audience with their messages, but are still fettered by trying to make a financial return for their investors, and therefore avoid a more re-distributoin friendly license and system (which can still be profitable). But more touching is the content of some of the films - especially Ubuntu - and on a day that the world's (mostly) elected elite try to hit the brakes before our Titanic civilisation is sunk by the icebergs ahead, What would it look like?, which weaves many threads, including a Peruvian elder and Buddhist nun with Martin Luther King and Obama's speeches, seemed to say far more than anything I could muster.

Just imagine a world where we didn't work so hard and got to spend more time outside and with friends and family. That's what a real green evolution would mean.


World's Largest Film Competition Returns to Edinburgh

From The 48 Hour Film Project:

The world's largest competition of its kind returns to Edinburgh's Cameo Cinema this May 22-24!  Filmmakers from across the UK (and beyond) will meet up to spend a wild and crazy bank holiday weekend making a film, getting it screened and judged for prizes.

Registration is now open (and quickly filling up) at We are now half full, so you are advised to register soon.


Sail down the Wississiffi in Yorkshire - Whitby in Shorts 2009

From the Whitby in Shorts film festival
[please use the copy from Word function, when copying from Word - and preferably just use a text editor! thanks, Ed]

Great news! The "WHITBY IN SHORTS" INTERNATIONAL SHORT-FILM FESTIVAL is on! From September 5th to September 13th 2009 (inclusive), WiSiS-FF will host 240 of the very best short-films in the world.

From 1st March, the Festival, known to the 16-strong voluntary action group as Wississiffi (a bit like ‘Mississippi'), will be accepting entries from short-film makers from all over the world.


Become A Red Bull Reporter

From Red Bull's PR firm:

Red Bull Reporter is a nationwide search to find the best young music & culture, and sports writers, filmmakers, photographers and presenters, giving them the chance of a lifetime: to use their skills and indulge their passions as a Red Bull Reporter.

The most talented young media makers could be selected for one of our many exciting assignments - each designed to give them an amazing experience as a working member of the media - covering world-class sports, cutting-edge music and innovative culture events. What’s more, Red Bull events happen all over the world and we’ll be dispatching Red Bull Reporters out there to cover them!


Stupid premiere turns spotlight on film industry's footprint

The Age of Stupid has had its world premiere across 65 screens throughout the UK, including a green carpet premiere in London with a solar powered cinema and bike powered popcorn. As Channel 4 News points out in this segment on the film, the carbon footprint of film production is less often discussed, with the Film Council apparently now researching the area. A recent survey found that the Hollywood film industry creates more carbon than all LA air traffic.


Simon Pegg - How to Lose Friends and Alientate People

simon_pegg_1Fresh back from a whistle top promotional tour where he faced a grilling by hundreds of journalists, Simon Pegg stepped straight into his latest role – playing a celebrity obsessed magazine writer who has a terrible knack of upsetting everyone including the people he’s sent to interview. In How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, Pegg plays British hack Sidney Young who lands a highly coveted job on an upscale Manhattan based glossy called Sharps. But his dream of finding himself on the inside the glamorous world of premiers, parties and rubbing shoulders with beautiful starlets goes disastrously, hilariously wrong thanks to a series of spectacular gaffs.

“It was interesting because I started the film directly after doing a big block of press for Hot Fuzz so I had literally just been in contact with about 600 journalists,” says Pegg.

“So it was fascinating and funny and not as weird as you might think it was. I didn’t suddenly think ‘oh I’m on the other side of it now and now I understand them.’ I think journalists are individuals and I wouldn’t presume to say they are all the same.

How To Lose Friends And Alienate People is loosely based on British journalist Toby Young’s memoir of his time working on Vanity Fair magazine. But, as Pegg points out, although the book is the inspiration, the film is vastly different.

“The film is very much an adaptation of the book and I’m keen to stress that,” says Pegg. “The book doesn’t really lend itself to being a film in a sense, because it’s very anecdotal and it’s filled with huge tracts about philosophy and it’s very much a book and an enjoyable one, but in order to make it into a film Peter (Straughan, screenwriter) had to shape it as such so it is pretty different.”


Africa in Motion short film festival - call for entries from African filmmakers

africa_yeelenFor the second year, Edinburgh's Africa in Motion (AiM) film festival is inviting African filmmakers to submit short films of up to 30 minutes for the festival's short film competition. In order to target the competition specifically towards young and emerging African film talent, filmmakers who enter a film for consideration must not have completed a feature-length film previously. Films entered must have been completed in 2006 or after.

A shortlist from all the entries will be selected in July and announced by the end of August 2009. From this shortlist, the competition winner will be chosen by a high profile jury and announced at an awards ceremony at the Africa in Motion festival in October 2009. The jury will consist of local and international film specialists and established African filmmakers.


Haile Gerima's 'Teza', from Ethiopia, wins Africa's Golden Yennenga Stallion

teza_01In the heat of Bollywoods' renewal, it is interesting to read of the Fespaco Film Awards In Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where Ethiopian Haile Gerima has continued the film's awards success, nabbing the top African film prize, for his feature Teza. It tells of the disillusionment of a young Ethiopian who returns from his studies in Germany to question his beliefs amidst a country under the brutal rule of Haile Mariam Mengistu.

(from BBC online) At the end of the week-long Fespaco film awards in hot, dusty Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the BBC's James Copnall looks back at the films on show, and the delights and gripes of participants, at the event sometimes described as Africa's answer to the Oscars.

Teza, by the Ethiopian Haile Gerima, was an extremely popular winner of the Golden Yennenga Stallion - African film's top prize. A roar went around the 4th August Stadium in Ouagadougou when the prize was announced at the closing ceremony.

The film's main character, Anberber, heads to Germany to pursue his studies.


Future Shorts Partner with Noah and the Whale on Innovative New Tour, Fusing Music and Film


Short film lovers Noah and the Whale will be joined by Future Shorts on their upcoming ‘Club Silencio' Tour. The tour sees the band re-inventing some of their songs in real time to Future Shorts films.

After the huge success of the recent Guillemots rescore tour, Future Shorts are thrilled to be on board with Noah and the Whale, bringing another awe inspiring live music / short film experience to selected venues across the UK. The band are also welcoming entries for a competition to screen a winner's short film every night of tour.

A sneaky peek of what to expect, Future Shorts current screenings tour Dances with Love launched in style last Friday with Noah and the Whale performing a surprise set to specially selected shorts to an enthralled sell-out audience at Brixton's Ritzy cinema. Dances with Love UK tour and features Jeff Keen's Marvo Movie in association with the BFI alongside a programme of some the worlds finest short films including Sundance 2009 winner Lies, Kaige Chen's BAFTA and Golden Palm winning Zhanxiou Village and Grimur Hakonarson's love story about Icelandic gay wrestlers - Wrestling.


"We're coming down to the ground" as Slumdog Sweeps Up Oscars

india2.jpgI've been searching around trying to find a feed of the Oscars. Finally find an unofficial one on and arrive just as Heath Ledger's name is announced. There's wet eyes all over the place and for once it seems genuine.

There's so much I would like to say about Slumdog Millionaire, but like all my thoughts relating to India since getting back in March last year, I've not been able to put them down. Other than the few bits I wrote here that ended up in the Goa Herald (and these pics), it's something I guess I'll express when the time is right. In the meantime it's tempting to just talk about the more easy (but rarely discussed) subject of the business issues around Slumdog.

I mean, forget Shane Meadow's Eurostar bankrolled Somers Town, the 'three muskateers' of director Boyle, writer Beufoy and exec producer (and Celador chair) Paul Smith have pulled off the remarkable whammy of taking a multi billion dollar entertainment franchise and its cash, and building an Oscar winner around it. For those, like me, who question how much sponsor funded movies will erode the quality of feature films, a bag of shiny awards makes a pretty strong argument about what is possible.

india1.jpgTho it seems more likely that it's the film's combination of internationalism and hope in the face of poverty - which chimes with both the economic mood and Obama's 'new era of international dialogue and intelligence'  - than the film itself which is a little stereotyped and simplistic - and quite heavily criticised in India. Rumour has it Fox planned to send the film straight to video. Nevertheless, to see the country and her people again on the big screen, shot brilliantly, in a format that is accesible and entertaining to lots of people, and to know this is the Academy's film of the year does, ultimately, feel good and right. And Celedor backing or not, it's still a remarkable success for a film that was funded and produced by the UK yet never sets foot here.

Watching Resul Pookutty pick up one of India's five Oscars of the night (for Sound Mixing) just now was also rather special.



Elite Squad vs. City of God

tde As ever, there will be spoilers


Elite Squad has its UK DVD release tomorrow

Rio de Janeiro, 1997. The Pope is about to visit. Some doofus has put him up right next door to a notorious favela. The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) have to clean it up before he gets there. So we get to take a look at a Brazilian slum through the eyes of the supposed law enforcers.

Where City of God, despite the bloodshed and endless vendettas, is essentially a nostalgic, sometimes humorous, look back by a boy made good, Elite Squad is an unflinching morality tale from which no one emerges unscathed, least of all the average middle-class viewer with an "occasional use only" attitude to drugs. Unlike City of God's Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), the narrator of Elite Squad continues to contend with the favela's problems, and is far more cynical. He has reason to be.


A Brand New Film Festival



In metros, airports, shopping centres, trains…

ART BY CHANCE is the brand new “Ultra Short Film Festival” that will be aired in May 2009 all around the world. Films will meet with us un expectedly  in 6 countries; US,UK, Canada, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany and 26 cities. New ones adding to the list everyday.

Besides its global dimension, ART BY CHANCE is also unique because the selected short movies will be presented to the public through the advertising screens instead of movie theatres. ART BY CHANCE will present urban dwellers with stimulating content thus colouring the time slices that are usually considered dead. 



Hey - self-produced CGI music video

Guy Ben Shetrit writes in with details of the music video he directed, animated and composed. The visuals look like nothing else. Some really nice lighting and cell shading.

"Sci-Fi Fantasy journey of a little girl with a special pet friend, a huge toad. Once the girl loses her pet, which drifts in the sky in a form of a balloon, she is going through different adventurous scenarios by chasing it. This is a full 3D animation music video for the song 'Hey' by Eatliz band."



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