As the Showbiz Software-sponsored HollyShorts Film Festival kicks off its 7th annual installment tonight at the Arclight Hollywood Cinema Dome, the filmmaking world couldn’t be more gaga about short films and the promise they hold. For indie filmmakers in particular, shorts can serve as proto-trailers for proposed feature projects looking for funding, showcases at big-ticket festivals that mainly highlight feature films, or even just as calling cards for the producer, director and cast.
One short film that will be featured at tonight’s red carpet opening celebration is a perfect case in point, showing that even veterans are turning to the short form to pitch themselves and their projects. Hollywood screenwriter Jamie Linden (Dear John, We Are Marshall) will premiere his short film “Ten Year,” which he used to pitch into a star-studded feature film adaptation that stars Channing Tatum, Kate Mara, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Anthony Mackie and Scott Porter.
Also joining Linden in the festival’s opening night celebration is Jacob Chase’s short film “After-School Special,” which was written by indie darling and playwright Neil Labute (In the Company of Men, Nurse Betty), and produced by Andrew Carlberg. Labute will be on hand to receive a special Maverick Filmmaker Award tonight as well, and his short film “Sexting” will screen later in the festival.
If prior years’ turnouts are any indication, a bevy of stars should be out for tonight’s big affair, as well as for the week-long schedule of screenings and the closing night events on August 17. In-competition films this year will include such known performers as Jason Ritter, Bobby Canavale, Alicia Witt, C. Thomas Howell, Anthony Michael Hall, Beau Bridges, Carla Gugino, David Morse, Hector Elizondo, Alan Arkin, Robin Wright Penn, Tom Arnold and Tom Hardy. Even more will make appearances in out-of-competition films: Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Woody Harrelson and Virginia Madsen, to name a few. Some well-known faces are even putting their skills to work behind the camera: tonight’s screenings will include films from directors Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston.
“With over 300 short form projects being showcased, a one of a kind star-studded opening night premiere at Arclight Hollywood, a week-long celebration of the top shorts from around the world, multiple industry panels, networking events, and major meet and greet opportunities,” Hollyshorts is the place to be in the coming week, said festival co-founder and co-director Daniel Sol. “We look forward to once again bringing great shorts to Hollywood. HollyShorts is the starting block for many of the top next generation filmmakers and we can’t wait to unite everyone.”
As viral videos and web series continue to proliferate, what used to be called short subject films now stand as full-fledged webisodes. Make six of those, and you’ve got yourself a series. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it will only be you and your kickball team Google Group watching it: major advertisers now regularly sponsor web series – usually with a lot of product tie-in – so there are ample opportunities out there for filmmakers with a knack for brevity.
This year, HollyShorts received a record 1,000 submissions with filmmakers from 36 countries. The festival is showcasing a record number of films with an international array of countries represented in competition including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, UK and the US.
As a sponsor of the festival and solo sponsor of its Emerging Filmmaker Award, Showbiz Software has donated a Producer’s Toolkit bundle, complete with all the software producers need to plan and fund their films: Showbiz Budgeting, Showbiz Scheduling and the Showbiz Labor Guide. Showbiz has also donated event space and co-organized a monthly screening series of short films leading up to the festival.
Check out the full festival lineup.