The 13th Annual BBC British Short Film Festival opens this Thursday 21st September at the UCI Leicester Square for a week. Starting out as a small annual showcase for student film based at the Riverside studios in Hammersmith, the festival has grown up into a registered charity and a limited company supported exclusively by arts funding. Its aim is to provide a showcase for new and emerging film-makers to screen their work to a broad audience and to give them opportunities to network with like-minded people and exchange ideas and experiences. Among the many sponsors of the festival this year are BBC 2, UCI Cinemas, Kodak, American Airlines and Planet Hollywood.
This year it will screen around 350 new shorts in 45 different film and video programmes of all genres from all over the world, not just in the UCI but also in their sponsor, Planet Hollywood's Leicester Square site and their preview theatre in Coventry Street. The Festival features an array of British and International film-stars who have lent their support to emerging film-making talent including: Helena Bonham-Carter, Kenneth Branagh, Ewan McGregor, Rosemary Leach, Mona Malm, Irène Jacob, Artus de Penguern and Norman Kaye. Its growth can be explained by its reliance on showcasing exciting and innovative work no matter where it comes from. For example, in 1989 they screened Nick Park's, A Grand Day Out while he was still a student at The National Film and Television School. That won an award in the same year that Peter Cattaneo, still studying at the Royal College of Art, screened his short comedy Spotters. Andrew Kotting was also a regular festival visitor with both his early BFI and Arts Council films like Hoi Polloi and Smart Alec. The special guest this year is the maverick American film-maker, Robert C. Banks Jr., famous for his improvisational abilities and extraordinarily cheap films, he'll be screening various recent works on the Sunday at 7pm. On friday there'll be a seminar entitled 'How To Market Short Films' unsurprisingly targeting the multitude of inexpensive but effective marketing techniques available to low budget filmmakers.
The BBC British Short Film Festival is competitive and each year various awards are given. Awards to be presented at the 2000 Festival are:
BBC Award for Best Drama Production - £1,000
Kodak Award for Best Cinematography - £1,000 worth of film stock
UCI Award for Best British Film - £2,000
UCI Award for Best International Film - £2,000
American Airlines Award for Best American Short Film - Return transatlantic flight.
The Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 28 at 7pm and will be followed at 9pm by a screening of the Award-Winning titles. Further information and programme details can be obtained by contacting the Festival Publicists, Churchill Kirsch PR, on (44) 207 637 7222.