Written by Shona Smith on Apr 21, 2020. Posted in Awards and Festivals

Isolation Short Film Competitions Rally Fresh Talent

In response to quarantine measures, free competitions open to professionals and public are asking people to get creative with equipment and locations found at home.

Industry bodies that champion fresh talent and young creatives such as the BFI Network and the Young Directors Award have opened up short film competitions to provide a creative outlet during lockdown measures. Free and open to anyone, the competitions provide fresh talent access to film industry professionals who are judging the competitions.

The BFI, Encounters Film Festival and Watershed have set up
#shortitout, an opportunity for filmmakers all over the world to submit ninety-second films that capture and share their view of this unique moment. A selection of the best films from the UK will be hosted on BFI Player and subsequently held in the BFI National Archive, allowing future generations to access these creative responses to this exceptional time.

Open until 4 June, entries can be 90 secs or under, in a format which is accessible to work with and to watch, cover any subject or genre, and must be made strictly adhering to current social distancing guidance. Running alongside the competition, a dedicated #shouttout online space will provide tips and inspiration, from both peers and industry experts, and newly commissioned resources to support professional development include live filmmaker Q&As with celebrated filmmakers including Desiree Akhavan and Jim Cummings. More information about how to enter can be found here.

Jessica Loveland, head of BFI Network outlines the importance of creative outlets during this period and notes that it is an opportunity to reach out to a cross section of the public who are stuck at home due to Covid-19. “We are all living through unprecedented times, and we believe film, both watching and as an outlet of creativity, can play an important role in helping us get through it and to make sense of the many challenges we are facing”.

Another free short film competition has been launched by the Young Directors Award. Creation in Isolation is a quest to find and promote the best bits of user-generated content during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Humour is the theme for YDA 2020 for both the main competition and the free Creation in Isolation category. “While this was announced long before the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe that keeping us smiling is more important than ever given this difficult situation. Finding hope, brightness and laughter during this time will help to make this period easier on all of us.” Open anyone, young directors or not, the entries will be judged by the YDA team, with the best entries published on Instagram. Free entries can be made via the YDA platform.

Other short film competitions are opening up across the world, including from Roger Corman, the “Godfather of Independent Film” using the hashtag #CormanChallenge. The producer has challenged filmmakers such as Gullermo del Toro to get involved.  

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