Inside Encounters #2- Editorial

Storytelling, irrespective of its format, aesthetics or runtime, is and forever will be an art form. Whether it’s an intricate work of fiction or a snappy slice of real life drama, the ability to tell a story, no matter how complex or accessible remains one of the most enviable skill sets. Limited only by the filmmaker’s own creative vision, short films rightly continue to be an enormously popular outlet for bright ideas and creativity and a sure-fire way to make an impact in the briefest timescale. 

With the rise of video on the web, the format has become increasingly more accessible, resulting in the emergence of a new generation of filmmaking talents, each with their own unique stories to tell and a receptive audience to share them with. The likes of YouTube and Vimeo have all played an integral part in the format’s spectacular resurgence of late, but in an age where the shorts have been all but marginalised to the Internet and the festival circuit, it’s easy to forget that these bite-sized tales once held their own prominent and rightful place in the cinema, playing second fiddle to feature films during the silent era.

Although their influence never waned, today they have once again come to prove themselves no less powerful in their ability to enthral viewers and gain a substantial following. Shorts have always been a fine way for aspiring filmmakers to cut their teeth, but they remain an equally fine format for established talents to dabble from time to time. One need only look at the recent work of David Lynch for example, the vast majority of which has been released as online viral projects over the best part of the last decade, with the director largely shunning feature filmmaking in favour of intimate digital projects.

The format’s potential as a springboard for further creativity cannot be understated either. Earlier this year, the release of Evil Dead marked the feature debut of Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez whose striking short film, Ataque de Pánico!, served as his Hollywood calling card. Having clocked up over 7 million hits on YouTube, his five minute sci-fi tale caught the surprise attention of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell who would later offer him the opportunity to reboot the cult horror series for a new generation. Here’s a toast to the potential of the humble short film. Long may they continue to shine.

By Paul Weedon