A few weeks ago, filmmaker Dane Clark (Long Branch, January 2013 screening) contacted me in order to introduce me to his friend Tara Woodbury. Tara is the director of a really interesting program for young filmmakers called the CityLife Film Project. It’s an intensive multi-month workshop for “disadvantaged youth” from 18-25 to help them tell their stories and build towards careers in film, television and other creative industries. The culmination of the program is that the ten participants write, shoot, and edit three short films, chosen from their ten individual pitches.
With the demise of the Worldwide Short Film Festival, Tara needed a way for the students to see more short films, so she asked me to put together a selection of films and come in to talk to them. Since they’re in the early part of the program now, focussed on screenwriting, I brought a few films where the writing was strong enough that the film could get away with one location or very simple cinematography.
Although I never feel like much of an “expert,” I did have a previous life as a teacher, and I have to say I probably got more out of answering their many questions than they did. It was inspiring to see such a motivated and hungry group of creative young people and I’m now eager to follow their progress as they are molded into filmmakers. So, a big thanks to Tara and to the students for having me there.
You can find out more about CityLife and how to support their program on their web site.
Back in 2006, I started lending money to small businesspeople around the world with Kiva. Over the past 6+ years, I’ve made 32 loans totalling more than $800. The beautiful part is that I’ve really only spent a fraction of that amount. You see, when these loans are paid back (and research shows that default rates for these types of “micro” loans are much lower than those made to larger businesses), the money can be lent out again and again. It’s immensely gratifying to know that my money is being stretched as far as possible to help people not just make a living, but to improve the lives of their families and communities. Here’s a bit more on the concept of microfinance:
Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to connect the concept of short films to these small loans. In the same way that a short film can give you an introduction to a vastly different culture in just a few minutes, you can make a big difference a long way from home with just a few bucks.
If you’re a fan of what I’m trying to do with Shorts That Are Not Pants, please give a thought to all the men and women struggling to make their businesses a lasting source of income for their families all around the world. And then consider making that first loan. I don’t mean to alarm you, but you’ll find it’s immensely satisfying. And addictive!
At 5pm this Wednesday September 19th, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, we’ll lose an important part of the city’s cinema scene. The Canadian Film Centre’s monthly shorts series A World of Shorts will screen for the last time (see the full September lineup here). This is an additional blow to the news that the CFC’s annual Worldwide Short Film Festival is going on hiatus.
If you’re a fan of short film (and if you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you are), please come out to show your support for the great people behind A World of Shorts and the Worldwide Short Film Festival, all of whom have worked very hard for a very long time to build their organization into something short filmmakers and film lovers around the world admire and respect. Hopefully, this is just a temporary farewell, and we’ll have them back in some form soon.
If you were a fan of A World of Shorts, I invite you to join us on Thursday October 11th, at 7pm at the Carlton Cinemas, to share our appreciation for the art of short film. Although this will be our last screening of 2012, we have lots of things planned for 2013, and we hope you’ll come along with us as we grow.
Buy your tickets in advance to save.
I’ve been talking to the people at Future Shorts since early in 2011, and am so happy that we are finally launching with them as a partner. Future Shorts, the largest short film network in the world, is a UK-based organization that was founded in 2003 to promote short films from all over the globe to audiences all over the globe. Their sister company Future Cinema has become renowned for re-imagining the filmgoing experience through events like the incredible Secret Cinema.
The organization has recently tweaked their programming and partnership requirements, making it much easier for anyone anywhere to host a screening. They’ve done this by featuring a quarterly program of films in a “pop up festival” format which can be shown anywhere in the world in venues of all sizes. The current program, which we’ll be showing on Friday January 13 (get your tickets!), will be screened in more than 75 cities in 50 countries between November and January. In fact, on the night of our screening, the program will also be showing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Glasgow, Scotland. What’s amazing is that the films have also screened in such far-flung places as Afghanistan, Rwanda, Palestine and Vietnam.
With your support, I hope to make Shorts That Are Not Pants a regular quarterly event and if we can make that happen together, we’ll be working with Future Shorts again. Come on out to our first screening on Friday January 13th at 7pm at the NFB Mediatheque (150 John St. at Richmond). Tickets are just $10 at the door ($5 if you’re wearing shorts), or $8 in advance.