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Symposium–The Short Film: A Genre Unto Itself?

November 18, 2008

As stated before, I made it to the symposium. I was that girl that showed up late and looked lost until lunch arrived. Lunch always makes me think straight again when I’m confused.

At any rate, my impression of the symposium was fantastic. I got to see Ernie Gehr speaking about time as it affects his art. His speech went through the first optical coin tricks to the first animations and later, moving pictures as first explored by the Lumière brothers. We saw two of his short films, one by the name of Greene Street, where objects and shadows floated surrealistically until you realized it was a time-stop filming of the sun’s movement and the lights and shadows it caused on the buildings of Greene Street.

After the speech was finished, we moved into concurrent afternoon sessions. I could not stay until the very end of the symposium, but what I saw was definitely interesting. The panel discussion I chose was about short film and audiences in the era of YouTube. With the explosion of user-created content, especially short movies and videos, the short film has more exposure than ever, but is it its own market? We first explored the topic by watching this, which got the panel discussion off to a hilarious start:

YouTube Contest Challenges Users To Make A ‘Good’ Video

Unfortunately, as most know, YouTube is a catch-all (a term used in discussion by panelist Ralph Vituccio) where not every video is of great artistic merit. With this flood of content, what is a viewer to do? Panelist Kim Ann Pfau (who organizes the Sandy Valley Independent Short Film Series) advocated seeing short films as an audience experience, as the reactions of the crowd around you can greatly affect your perception and enjoyment of the film. All expressed concern over wide exposure via sites like YouTube or Atom Films, or the traditional film festival circuit.

It’s definitely an experience I would recommend if film and the visual arts are your passion in life.

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