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netribution > features > interview with kim and doug > page one
The Short Film Bureau’s 3rd Cinema Programme is a scheme that gives new filmmakers the opportunity to have their work assessed by the industry for mainstream cinematic exhibition rather than the usual forum of underground film clubs. This one coincides with FACE, a brand new award for filmmakers sponsored by loads of wealthy and equally forward looking companies like, Virgin Atlantic, Kodak and Odeon etc. Basically, 20 films were chosen from the Cinema Programme catalogue and given to a panel of judges that included Minnie Driver, Peter Bowles, Jeremy Northam and the like who had to choose 10. These 10 got prints made for them by Kodak, gratis of course, they’ll be couriered around 30 screens all over the country by Securicor, gratis and will be shown in front of The Hollow Man and Me, Myself and Irene. Pretty cool huh?
Nic and I attended the launch at the Odeon Leicester Square, the coffee wasn’t free but the films were extremely good indeed. We’d seen a few already like The Cookie Thief with Jack Davenport that Peeping Tom’s first showed a few months back.The important thing here of course is that the public will begin to see quality shorts announced in front of mainstream features and will, at last, be able to see where their favourite filmmakers started out and how. Its also great to see the Bureau (Short not Federal) realising the plans that they had in place when we’d spoken to them earlier in the year, they all wore fetching, deserved smiles despite the early hour.Jim Bob Public and his charming spouse Mary Lou can vote on their favourite short film, the winner will receive the Face award at the Media Awards Ceremony in February. If you fancy voting the cinemas where they’ll be screened are listed below the interview with the Short Film Bureau’s contact details - A simply divine set of people darling! Now you know, my favourite film was just fabulous...blah blah blah.

| by nic wistreich |
| photos by tom fogg|
| in london |
Who is funding this scheme?
Doug - There are 6 sponsors. MyMovies net, Odeon, Virgin Atlantic, The Observer, Empire and Kodak are all financial sponsors. Columbia TriStar and Fox have donated the feature films that these are going out with, Securicor have donated their time to courier the films around the country and Hagen Daz(?) has donated some ice cream vouchers! (laughter)

What will the shorts be shown in front of?
Kim - There are 2 feature films that the shorts are going to play out with. Columbia TriStar’s The Hollow Man by Paul Verhoeven and the Farrelly Brothers’, Me Myself and Irene from 20th Century Fox. So very good mainstream films that will fit the 10 short films well.

Was it a deliberate decision not to put them in front of arthouse or niche pictures?
The whole thing about the Short Film Bureau is that we are trying to get out to a mainstream audience, so we want the shorts going out in Odeon and Warner Bros cinemas. Most shorts are shown in arthouse cinemas but to show them in a mainstream cinema is quite rare and that’s what we are trying to push.

Do you think that there is a mainstream audience for shorts?
I think there is. What cinemas need to do is publicise the fact that they are showing them because the audience will be put off if they aren’t expecting it. They need publicising. Where and when is one going to see them?Doug - Yeah, audiences do like short films, they are very, very popular and we haven’t met anyone who has said otherwise. Particularly dramas but the films have to be well made with nice tight stories. Audiences tend to be more critical of shorts than features because you’ve only got 10 minutes to get the point across, there’s not a lot of room for development or room to cover any soft areas but a good short film does phenomenally well.Kim - Simple plots work best.

So in choosing the shorts for FACE, what particular features were you looking for?
Doug - They came out of the Cinema Programme and we took the top 20 requested films from the catalogue and the criteria for the catalogue were fundamentally, they had to have prints and had to be serious mainstream oriented films. The subject matter was not important but they had be high production quality films, we gave the top 20 to the panel and the panel chose the top 10 to go out.
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