Disposable Films from Around the World

Category: Culture, International Business

Had you worked in the film industry even five years ago, you’d more than likely need the following in your back pocket:

1. $100 million

2. Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts

3. The support of an established Hollywood or “independent” studio

4. Miles and miles of film stock

5. A studio-vetted editor who cuts a film each and every time to around 90 minutes in length

The Disposable Film Festival, with entries this year from the U.S., Australia, Israel, Norway and France, has already redefined film as we know it for the 21st century.

Put aside that heavy, professional movie camera, forget the studios and from your back pocket, take out your smartphone. Shoot a video and edit it on your laptop. Cull the net for public domain films or videos and mash up a movie. Use screen capture with personal or public domain digital photos and videos to fashion a staccato, stop-action film.

What we’ve learned in the past five years is that it’s not the device, whether cheap or expensive, that makes a film a film, but it’s the unique vision you have in your brain. Smartphones, webcams, digital photos, and other devices make everyone, including you, a filmmaker.

Does this mean that Spielberg and Bigelow should put away their light meters and directors’ chairs?  Not really, because a film still tells a story. And without a story, what you have is just an idea, a feeling, a set of images. That’s why directors and screenwriters are paid the big bucks (think about that $100 million it requires to make a 90-minute film) — they know a good story when they hear it and they can transform it into an emotionally compelling and cohesive set of images.

And at this year’s Fifth Annual Disposable Film Festival, story took a front seat, giving Hollywood a run for its money. Here are my favorites from the festival’s premiere on March 22 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre:

From the UK came the night’s best short, “The Adventures of a Cardboard Box”. No words.  Just a story about boy and his new best friend.  Filmed on a mobile phone.

The Adventures of a Cardboard Box from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Next was a subtitled film from France. It will make you think twice about biting your nails. Also filmed on a mobile phone.

Les Ongles (The Nails) from Disposable Film Festival on Vimeo.

From the U.S. came “The Voyagers”,  a dual reflection on love and space.  Filmed with screen capture.

The Voyagers from Penny Lane on Vimeo.

Lastly, here are the cineastes of the future, telling us about new worlds, planet and green peppers that wear yellow hats. Created with a point and shoot camera and DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera).

Lil’ Aliens from Carolyn London on Vimeo.

What’s your favorite, homegrown short film? It could be from across the street, or across the ocean. Let us know in the comments area below.

Photo attribution: flowercat