Shooting People: The (International) Disposable Film Festival

Category: Culture

Last night in San Francisco, The Disposable Film Festival premiered 24 short films made by people from around the world. Finalists hailed from the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, Spain, Germany, Russia and France.  The films, ranging in time from fifty seconds to seven and a half minutes, were not made by video recorders or professional cameras, but from point and shoot cameras, pocket cams, web cams, screen capture, SLRs, mobile phones and a “hacked” Kinect video game console.

While people in Arab countries are using their mobile phones to disseminate information and images about civic revolutions, these video artists are using their phones and other small devices to create a global film revolution. You don’t need to be a Hollywood or Bollywood film director with a big budget, diva movie stars, big name backers, or formal training to create innovative and compelling films.

Take a look at this film, titled “Thrush” by UK director Gabriel Bisset-Smith, the grand prize winner of the Festival:

While many of the films were actually more akin to music videos (or actually were music videos), the techniques were fascinating.  “Fan Video: the Limousines – Very Busy People” by Mathieu Wothke in France was created via Mac screen grabs and stop motion, while “Echo Lake – Young Silence” by American Dan Nixon is a dreamy, 3-D-like dive into the human form, made by a hacked Kinect, which is normally used with Xbox video games.

Films were short and sweet such as “the Morning Din” by Tai Toh from Canada:


Some needed some time to really see the beauty in a mundane chore, as in “Folded” by Saraf Surabhi from the States:




Others were beautifully edgy as “Graffiti Stop Motion” by Broken Fingaz in Israel:



A crowd favorite, rightfully so, was “Space Balloon”, about a New Jersey family who sends an SLR up into space to capture the earth’s roundness. It’s genuine and simple. It takes the layperson’s “disposable” video artform into a whole other level of the stratosphere – it makes it into a film.