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American Short Shorts to feature works by aspiring film makers

Date Posted: 2001-06-16

American Short Shorts Film Festival is scheduled to be held at Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City on July 7 and 8 (Sat. & Sun.). This marks the third time the annual event has been held in Okinawa and four other locations in Japan. This year, the festival will also take place in Singapore.

We usually call any film under 40 minutes a short film, but all short films differ in production quality, length, style, genre, subject matter, and many other aspects. In other words, there are no precise guidelines for what defines a "short film."

The films presented in a typical program of the American Short Shorts Film Festival range in length from one to 30 minutes. This year, all of the films are 20 minutes or shorter except for Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie."

The selections include comedies, dramas, suspense films, animated films, documentaries, experimental films, and heart-warming films. The common denominator of all "short films" is that that they express a director's creativity, energy and style in a very limited time. This intense concentration of talent is what makes short film such a fascinating and unique form of entertainment

Since its first edition in 1999, the American Short Shorts Film Festival has introduced many talented American filmmakers to Japanese audiences. The festival has attracted thousands of Japanese fans, and it has established itself as the only showcase exclusively for short films in Japan. In the festival's inaugural year, audiences had their first opportunity to see how young filmmakers break into the Hollywood film industry by expressing their own visions of the world in short films.

By its second year, the festival had established short films in Japan as more than resume-builders for filmmakers, but rather as a new genre of entertainment. The third edition of American Short Shorts Festival will include the visions of the next generation of Japanese storytellers in "Japan Short Shorts." For the first time, Japanese shorts will screen at the start of the American programs - eight Japanese films in total. The "Japan Short Shorts" were selected from films that were submitted in response to the festival's public call for entries. Anyone could enter a film regardless of age, sex and nationality.

The festival organizes discussion panels where the visiting filmmakers talk with the audience about their experiences in short filmmaking. The opportunity to interact with young directors and producers draws many Japanese students who wish to work in visually creative fields to the events.

The theme for the discussion panels this year is "Film vs. Digital." Filmmakers will share their opinions about what will become of analog film technology and whether the digital media will overtake good-old film in the wake of the on-going explosion of digital technology. The festival also offers the American filmmakers and the Japanese guest-speakers, usually established filmmakers themselves, an opportunity to exchange ideas and to share their mutual interests.

Since the first edition of American Short Shorts in 1999, George Lucas has supported the festival.

In 1999 when the festival screened Lucas' early shorts. In 2000, Martin Scorsese's short films were shown. This year’s festival presents two of Tim Burton's short films: "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie." It is a treat to see that these virtuosos took their first steps in modern cinema by making short films.

During the American Short Shorts National Tour (Nagoya, Sapporo, Okinawa and Matsumoto), the Japan-born festival will also travel to Singapore for the first time with the support of the Singapore Film Commission (July 11th to 14th). To further the new exchange with Singapore, the festival features a Singaporean short film in the International Program.

For more information, see the American Short Shorts Film Festival website at American Short Shorts

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