A Film Festival with a Mission

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    The independent filmmaking movement seems to have gone the same route as the off-Broadway movement in New York in the 1950’s.


    Off-Broadway arose from the need to offer a creative platform apart from the commercial pressures that required prohibitive resources and dictated a high but narrow standard of creativity. The need for Broadway theatres to make money prevented them from bold experimentation. Independent theatre artists created the off-Broadway movement to provide a platform for such experimentation.


    In recent years, however, the off-Broadway movement has seemed to develop a narrow set of standards itself. There appears to be a “closed shop” mentality that has cropped into this once bold and open venue.


    There seems to be a similar restrictive nature on today’s independent film festival circuit. In order for a film festival to be “legitimate,” they must select films which meet an understood set of standards. This has resulted in many fests that feature a series of slick, Hollywood-like films with similar promotional material. They promote themselves with such slogans as, “Tomorrows Blockbuster Filmmakers Today!”


    There are still many film festivals that make a space for local, low budget films. Unfortunately, this is typically for commercial reasons. Big fests know that the best way to get local audiences to their event is to present local talent.


    This is not to suggest that this is a bad development. It has created a higher standard for independent films which is desireable. But it can’t be denied that a vacuum has been created.


    Where are the platforms for those learning the art of film? Where are the opportunities for an artist who creates unencumbered by the narrow standards dictated by a test audience? Where can a filmmaker who creates independently of the expectations of the typical independent film find an audience?


    The Winter Shorts Film Festival was created to make room for such filmmakers. We are more likely to select a film that uses their limited resources creatively rather than one that uses the most current, popular technology. We attempt to acknowledge the short film that strives to create its own set of standards rather than adhere to the Hollywood standard.


    We are decidedly small.  Somerset is a small rural community in southeastern Kentucky. We don’t charge a registration fee and never will. We don’t charge admission to the festival. The fact that we aren’t required to derive revenue from many different sources and don’t rely on a large audience for our existence, means that we can focus on the filmmaker.


    We are decidedly local. We feel the best way to develop a creative community is to nurture our local artists. We tend to feature the same local filmmakers each year. We also have a category dedicated to the Kentucky filmmaker. The fine films we screen from outside of Kentucky have categories of their own.


    However, we know that sharing work and ideas with filmmakers from outside of our own community is essential. This is why we welcome participants from outside our creative community with open arms. We have been fortunate to have filmmakers attend our festival from as far away as Ireland.


    We are decidedly educational. We have included a Teen Filmmaker category each year. We hope to grow an independent film movement at the grassroots level. We include filmmaking workshops to exchange creative ideas and to share pertinent information. We attempt to grow artists.


    If you’d like to be a part of our mission and wish to follow our festival, we invite you to “Like” our page (Winter Shorts Film Festival) on this network.  


    You can also follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winter-Shorts-Film-Festival/233437633360055

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