Show Me Shorts, New Zealand’s renowned International Short Film Festival, is screening from October 2018 around the country, taking a selection of films from Kaitaia to Stewart Island. The Festival is presenting 50 short films from around the world, with a special focus on South Korean cinema this year. French short films are present throughout the sections of the programme.
Now in its 13th year, Show Me Shorts is an important film showcase for New Zealand talent but has also reached international status under the leadership of its enthusiastic Festival director, Gina Dellabarca. The winners of the ‘Best NZ Film’ and ‘Best International Film’ awards, are eligible for entry to the Academy Awards, the Oscars.
I spoke to Gina Dellabarca on the occasion of the national launch of the 13th edition in Auckland:
Dorothée Basel: Congratulations to your 13th edition of Show Me Shorts Film Festival. What is your personal affinity to the short film genre?
Gina Dellabarca: I’ve been in love with stories of all kinds for as long as I can remember. Film is a particularly powerful genre that has the ability to immerse us in another world. I saw my first short films while at university in Wellington, and was impressed with the way the best ones managed to distill the essence of a story. Ever since then I’ve thought that short films were an underrated component of our screen ecology.
Could you give us your view on the importance of short films as an independent film genre for New Zealand filmmakers? Are short films generally a ‘prelude’ on the way to a first feature or do filmmakers see this as oeuvres in their own right?
It depends on the filmmaker. Certainly short films are a useful and important step for filmmakers at the beginning of their career. Some experienced filmmakers, like Grant Lahood for example, find that the kind of stories they are drawn to telling suit the short film format better, so they return to this format regularly. Others move on to features, or more commonly they work in a variety of areas within the screen industry – film, TV, commercials, web series, music videos and more. We’re happy to see our alumni move on to other projects of all types.
Dorothée Basel : In France, short films are highly regarded and several renowned film festivals focus on short films either exclusively or showcase an important section, about 300 short films are produced each year, and the annual ‘fête du court-métrage’ in March screens in about 4,000 sites in France. There is even a monthly magazine, Bref, that focuses exclusively on short films. The largest and oldest short film festival Clermont-Ferrand celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
Were festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand an inspiration when you co-founded Show Me Shorts in 2006?
I didn’t yet know about Clermont-Ferrand when we started Show Me Shorts. Our first stage of the project was more inward looking. We wanted to give New Zealanders the opportunity to see New Zealand short films. It was only after three years that we added films made outside of Australasia. Then certainly we did a lot of research into the top short film festivals in the world, and Clermont-Ferrand was among those we wanted to emulate – in our own uniquely Kiwi way.
Could you tell us something about the French content at the festival this year? I believe there are mainly animation shorts from France shown?
There are seven French short films in our programme this year. That’s the most of any country outside of New Zealand and our special focus country, South Korea. We always find a lot of great French short films, because there is such a well-established tradition of this kind of filmmaking in France. The films presented are Mécanique, La Boîte (The Box), Achoo, Hybrids, Negative Space,5 Ans après la Guerre (5 Years After the War) and Raymonde ou L’Évasion Verticale (Raymonde or the Vertical Escape).
These seven films are all extremely high quality animations of various kinds. Four of them feature in the My Generation section of the programme for children and families. The other three are more sophisticated stories that have deep themes around connection that will resonate widely.
Where do you source the films for Show Me Shorts? Do you attend other Festivals or are films mainly submitted?
The festival receives around 2,000 entries from across the globe. We also attend some international festivals when possible to watch films and speak with filmmakers. We attend Clermont-Ferrand every second year. Other festivals have included St Kilda Short Film Festival in Australia, Busan International Short Film Festival in South Korea, Festival Regard in Canada, Berlinale in Germany, Kaohsiung International Short Film Festival in Taiwan, Leuven International Short Film Festival in Belgium, Vision Youth Awards in China, Jinzhen International Short Film Festival in China, and China International New Media Short Film Festival.
At feature film festivals we occasionally have the opportunity to see short films screened ahead of a feature film rather than in a separate short film section only.
How would your ideal way of short film presentation look like? Is there a way to bring short films back into regular cinema screenings beyond the Festival?
I don’t have a preferred way for short films to be viewed. That’s why Show Me Shorts posts short films in the Screening Room section of our website, and works as a sales agency now. We have licensed packages of short films to TVNZ on Demand, Lightbox, and Rialto Channel here in New Zealand. Overseas we’ve worked with a number of TV and VOD channels to give people as many options as possible to view our shorts.
We’ve been in discussions with cinemas about how to get short films screened before features, but this presents a number of problems mainly around paying for them. We haven’t been able to come up with an acceptable solution for this yet, but we’re always talking about new ideas.
Show Me Shorts New Zealand International Short Film Festival, October 2018 – January 2019
For regular news on Show Me Shorts and the opportunity to watch more short films, go to showmeshorts.co.nz
All pictures courtesy of Show Me Shorts