Announcing the Audience Award!

$100 bill (Image courtesy of Bank of Canada)
Image courtesy of Bank of Canada

Over the past year, I’ve been very happy to see the growth in our audience, for two reasons. First, because it means that more people are discovering and enjoying the wealth of riches in the world of short film. Second, it gives me hope that we’re on a sustainable footing. Which brings me to the image above.

From the very beginning, I wanted to support short filmmakers, not only by sharing their work, but also financially. Though paying respectable screening fees to every filmmaker is still not feasible, I’m happy to announce something that might help. Last week, I read a very insightful article on the financial realities of distribution for short filmmakers by my Short of The Week colleague Ivan Kander, in which he reveals that the sums paid to filmmakers by even large distributors can be paltry indeed. Very few people are making short films for money, but that doesn’t mean that creative work shouldn’t be compensated fairly.

So, beginning with our April 11th screening, I’m instituting a $100 (Canadian) prize, awarded by our audience. We’ve hosted online polls for previous screenings, letting the audience choose their favourite film after the fact. But starting in April, we’ll have paper ballots prepared ahead of time, and will collect them from every audience member after the screening. The winner will be announced on Twitter and featured on the blog, and I will PayPal the filmmaker the prize money. Simple.

I know it’s not a huge amount of money. But I think it’s something, and hopefully as we grow, the award can grow with us. I’m hoping this might even be a small incentive for more filmmakers to submit their work to us. It could also be something a sponsor might want to put their name on. What do you think? Is this a good idea?

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