Who Is Making The Best Short Films Out There?

If you were going to give an award to the "Best Short Film Director", what would be the criteria? I think the director would have to have made at least three shorts. Maybe over a five year period. If a director only has made two shorts, my sense is that they aren't doing it for the love of the short, but more for their "career". Three shows a commitment to the form. Making one great, or even two great short films does not detract from the strength of those shorts, but again it does not show the devotion to the form. Now, as I believe that the dominance of the feature film form is on it's last legs, and that ending it is TGHOTFOC, I think we will see even more great short directors in the years ahead. Presently though, I am a bit at a loss to nominate multiple directors who have made three or more excellent shorts. Nonetheless, that limitation does not reduce my enthusiasm for my nomination.

I had the good fortune of being asked to be a judge at TropFest NYC this year. It was an incredible program, and in the highlights of years passed, I was reminded of how great Nash Edgerton's short work is (I also dig his feature The Square). Can you name a filmmaker who has made three shorts stronger than these:

LUCKY (Tropfest Finalist TSI "Umbrella")

SPIDER was the short film that brought Nash to my attention. I have blogged about it before.

BEAR is Nash's sequel to SPIDER and it's pretty f'n awesome too (although having set a high bar with SPIDER, I confess I wanted things to go even further with BEAR). Unfortunately I can only find this teaser online to share with you, but trust me. He hits the trifecta with these. Maybe if Nash wants to win the HFF "Best Short Film Director" Award, he'll have to put the full version online for you to decide...

Who would you nominate for "Best Short Film Director"? But remember, they must have done three excellent shorts.

PS. Nash's partners at Blue Tongue deserve some extra kudos for their entire body of work (Kieran Darcy-Smith "Wish You Were Here", David Michod "Animal Kingdom", Spencer Susser "I Love Sarah Jane"). If the film business had any sense, they'd give these guys a heap of money to do whatever they wanted... #Just Saying

How COLLABORATOR Happened & Why The Actors Did It

If you couldn't make it to the IFC Center in NYC on June 18th, you missed having Hal Hartley moderate a Q&A session with Martin Donovan, David Morse, Melissa Auf der Meur, and myself on how Martin wrote, directed, and got his debut feature made.

Ah, but no worries, the glory that is the internet brings the past back to you for your eternal enjoyment.  COLLABORATOR is currently available on VOD and will return to the IFC Center tomorrow July 6th, and then the Egyptian in LA on July 20th.  Please check it out.

 

Certain highlights to check out:

Hal Hartley & Martin Donvan on "What is directing" approximately 1745- 2250

David Morse, Hal Hartley, Martin Donovan, and me (Ted Hope): "What makes a director someone an actor (or producer) wants to work with" approx 25:00 - 31:00

For more of Martin's secrets, check out his interview with Marshall Fine here.

Francis Ford Coppola Is Here To Teach Us All

FilmSchoolRejects tipped me to this great interview The99percent did with Francis Ford Coppola.  As we started out with Good Machine, only two established players ever reached out to us, David Picker and Francis.  His generosity of spirit and love of cinema is evident in this piece.  The entire interview is a treat and a wealth of knowledge and good advice.  Among it:

When you make a movie, always try to discover what the theme of the movie is in one or two words. Every time I made a film, I always knew what I thought the theme was, the core, in one word. In “The Godfather,” it was succession. In “The Conversation,” it was privacy. In “Apocalypse,” it was morality.

The reason it’s important to have this is because most of the time what a director really does is make decisions. All day long: Do you want it to be long hair or short hair? Do you want a dress or pants? Do you want a beard or no beard? There are many times when you don’t know the answer. Knowing what the theme is always helps you.

Free Directing Masterclass (With All The Best)

The LA Times has been offering a great series of videos in the form of a roundtable with Ethan Cohen, Lisa Cholodenko, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, Ben Affleck, and Tom Hooper.  Watch all the episodes and you should be ready to pick up your Oscar.