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Thursday 7 January 2010

Aesthetica Short Film Competition: Creating opportunities for filmmakers

The first ever Aesthetica Short Film Competition has been launched and to say the team in the Aesthetica office is excited would be an understatement! The competition will unearth a variety of forward-thinking and inspirational work from a range of filmmakers. With entrants allowed the freedom to submit work from a range of genres, including documentary, comedy, music video and artists’ film, there are sure to be some inspiring entries.

In a similar vein, Shooting People, a long-term partner of Aesthetica, has been running their Film of the Month initiative since January 2009, in which members can upload their own films and vote for others in a leader board system. The most highly rated three entrants are then viewed by a selected Shooting People patron, who reviews each film and selects the overall winner. The endeavour allows independent talent to be seen by experienced industry veterans, aspirations that are reflected in our own recently launched Short Film Competition. The most recent winning entry of the Film of the Month, The Good Heart Attack by Uli Hesse, can be viewed at the Aesthetica homepage, where the winning films can often be found.

Having grown a membership base from just 60 to over 35,000, Independent filmmaker’s network Shooting People have gone from strength-to-strength since their conception in 1998. Based in London, the venture allows communication amongst aspiring creators and now includes a second network operating in New York. The organisation supports its members in getting their work made and seen, taking steps into the world of distribution in 2005 – most famously with Unknown White Male directed by Rupert Murray.

Winner of October 2009’s Film of the Month Uli Hesse received the privilege of having her film The Good Heart Attack reviewed by Andrew Kötting. Kötting is the co-founder of BadBLoOd & siBYL studios in the French Pyrenees and is a Senior Lecturer in Time Based Media at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone, as well as gaining notable recognition for his films and winning the Channel 4 Best New Director prize.

Set in Russia in the 1930s, The Good Heart Attack is essentially an exploration into a curious and contradictory medical discovery. The film begins by documenting the story of a group of scientists who were able to allow a dog’s heart to beat outside its body. Fifty years later surgeons at University College London made a discovery that by sending a small shock to the heart, the organ can be strengthened and made potentially more able to withstand attacks. Hesse creates a succinct and informative production that presents the facts of the film with an underlying element of humour, providing an informative narrative in an enlightening and captivating manner.

The Good Heart Attack has already racked-up considerable recognition, receiving the best video award at the Vedere La Scienza Festival 2009 and being screened at Rushes Soho Shorts and a host of other festivals. Kötting referred to the film as "A well constructed and informative short film which weaves archive into the edit in a seamless and interesting way" and it continues to make an impact amongst viewers and Shooting People members. You can watch the film for yourself at the Aesthetica homepage, and let us know what you think!

Due to the hectic nature of the Christmas period, the announcement of the winner of the November 2009 Film of the Month has been delayed. November’s winner is currently being decided by Christine Vachon, a New York native and film producer. Christine was the producer of Todd Haynes’ feature film Poison which received the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival and has since produced an array of commended American independent films including Boys Don’t Cry, One Hour Photo, Happiness and Far From Heaven.

November’s finalists are Ant and Len by Duncan Raitt, Tashtastic by Tessa Morgan and Combat Rock by Blake Hamilton. Entries are still being accepted for December 2009’s Film of the Month.

To enter our own Short Film Competition please visit the Aesthetica website. The competition is open to anyone, both nationally and internationally, although please inform us if your work has been screened elsewhere. Entrants may submit more than one piece, as long as each entry has a running time of no longer than 20mins.

The opportunity is an excellent one, with the winner receiving a £500 first prize, as well as having their film screened at: The National Media Museum (Bradford), Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival (London), Glasgow Film Festival, Kerry Film Festival (Ireland) and on the Aesthetica website. Alongside this is a 12month membership with Shooting People, a gift of a collection of film books from Wallflower Press and inclusion on a DVD that will distributed to Aesthetica readers. The runner-up will receive £250 and will be included on the DVD alongside the rest of the finalists. A considerable prize, I think you’ll agree, and a great way to get your work seen by a large audience.

The deadline for entries is the 30th April 2010 further details about the competition can be found at the Aesthetica website. More information about the competition, alongside articles on what’s happening in the wider world of short film production, will be published in this blog. For a handy guide in DIY filmmaking why don’t you check out our two-part guide to DIY filmmaking as featured in our June/July and August/September issues? Part one focuses on Production and Part two examines Screening, helping even the most novice film creator! Alternatively, take a look at How to Animate: Part One, in the current issue of Aesthetica, which can also be downloaded individually from the Aesthetica website. In the mean time spread the word, submit your work and keep checking back for updates on the competition.

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