Saturday, 8 November 2014

Show Me Shorts Q&A with festival director, Gina!

Show Me Shorts Q&A with festival director, Gina!


The Show Me Shorts festival is now underway nationwide. I caught up with Festival director Gina Dellabarca to see how it's all looking!

Hi Gina, how have you been?
Hi Darren, I’m swell thanks. Busy year! Lots of exciting wins for short films here in NZ and abroad.

What's the field like this year for Short films?
We had almost 1,000 entries for Show Me Shorts this year. Our largest number yet. The result is outstanding short films. Our judges this year (Robyn Malcolm, David Larsen, Sophie Henderson and Joe Lonie) were blown away, especially by the NZ films.

It's a big year for the festival too with Academy Award accreditation and a Chinese delegation on the way over…
We’re proud to be hosting Yu Han for the international premiere of his film 家 (Home). It offers a unique peek inside the life of one small Chinese small apartment across ten years. Visually striking and hugely memorable.
Our Academy Awards-accreditation puts us in the same category as big international film festivals like Melbourne, Cannes, Sundance and Venice – in terms of being able to provide a pathway to the Oscars. It’s a big deal for our local filmmakers.

There are some big names in the short films this year too? 
Festival director, Gina Dellabarca
Short films are not just for amateurs, as we often see established directors (e.g. Wes Anderson) experimenting with short film. This year’s most high profile actors include Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!) in the romantic thriller Dog Food, and Oscar-nominated British actress Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky, Blue Jasmine) and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Moulin Rouge) who co-star in the high-stakes drama The Phone Call.
There are lots of Kiwi stars too! Loren Taylor (Eagle vs. Shark) features in two short films: Leo Woodhead’s award winning Cold Snap, and the post-apocalyptic world of The Light Harvester alongside Craig Hall (A Place to Call Home, The Hobbit). Greg Johnson and John Leigh (both ex-Shortland Street) wake up hungover in Antarctica wondering how they got there in the bromantic comedy Snowmen, and Charlie Bleakley (Scarfies) and Cohen Holloway (Boy, Good for Nothing) prove their friendship in the hilarious road trip comedy Coconut.

Over 1000 entries from 50 countries as well - did you see any trend in the films? 
There is increasing diversity of stories, which is great for audiences because there is healthy demand for a wider variety of films, with new and unique characters.

Which country was the most prolific for entries?
We have an established reputation in Australia so we always get lots from there, and their entries were really strong this year. America probably sent in the most. But closely followed by France and Germany, thanks to my visit to film festivals there earlier this year to promote Show Me Shorts and build market connections.

Does it always surprise you how this genre continues to be explored?
Shorts films are a medium for exploration of ideas and characters. My favourite thing is when filmmakers transport us to an entirely new world we couldn’t possibly have dreamed up ourselves.

How tough do you think your judges have had it this year?
They loved it! It’s a big job, but also a total privilege to watch all these wonderful shorts.

The festival's going nationwide again, did you ever envisage this kind of roll out when you first started?
Not at first. Year one was just a three-day event in one location. But as we have grown, so have my ambitions for Show Me Shorts. World domination is totally on our agenda some day.

Have preparations already started for next year?
Always. When you’re working with limited resources in terms of money and almost entirely volunteer staff, it’s important to look ahead and think about how we can be sustainable into the future.
Our programming team is also continually plotting how we can attract the best short films for the next season.

Just finally, which shorts do you think people need to make sure they see and why? 
If you need a laugh, see Snowmen and Coconut in the Bromance section. If you need to be reminded of the unique and wonderful qualities of the human condition, The Last 40 Miles and The Phone Call in the Listen Up section are in order. If you have kids, Vigia (Lookout) in the My Generation section for families and children is a must-see - it’s an animated story explaining why bees are so important.
But don’t stop at those ones. There are only six different sessions. It would be a very easy and enjoyable thing to get along and see all of them.

For more info, visit Showmeshorts.co.nz to get details of the festival showings!

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