Sundance Programmer Mike Plante On Going Places with Short Films

The notion that making a short film is just practice for a feature has never made sense to me. Every time you write a story or dialogue, work with actors and crew, or edit image and sound, you are making important artistic decisions. To think that the end product would simply be left on the side of the road is not taking it seriously enough. And if you can make all that work in less than 10 minutes, that is a real accomplishment.

When you are making a short film, take your time and concentrate on the film you are making. Don’t worry too much about what you may make in the future. Sergio Oksman tackled the strange, true world of Hemingway’s doubles and the running of the bulls in his short “Notes on the Other.” While the subject is well known around the world and full of mythic lore, Oksman needed only 12 minutes to tell the story. The result is hypnotic, with a vibrant visual style guiding you through the multilayered background. You can see the time and effort put into the filmmaking in the image, the soundtrack, the narration, the edit. Not to mention the locations and events involved. You leave the film with new insight.

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