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Short Film Insiders Panel: Behind the Scenes and Center Stage

On a pleasant Sunday morning at the Discover Portsmouth Center, a quaint crowd was treated to the Short Film Insiders panel that featured three programmers and two filmmakers.

The panel was moderated by filmmaker Jeff Stern, who has had his short films The Morning of Everything and My Dark Side and My Light Side Meet in a Bar to Discuss the New Star Wars Movie, played here at the NHFF.

The panelists included Sharon Badal, the vice president of shorts programming at the Tribeca Film Festival, George Marshall, executive director of the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Linda Olszewski, the senior executive of Shorts Entertainment Networks, and Lance Edmands, a filmmaker of feature films, commercials, and short films.

The panel provided in-depth insight about what festivals are looking for in short films, George Marshall said that they should “communicate something to the audience,” and Sharon Badal added, “It’s important to think about what the audience wants.”

Lance Edmands’ approach to short films was different compared to the other panelists, because he is creating his own short films. When asked what he considers when he makes a short film, he answered, “It’s nice to do something you want to do, with no one breathing down your neck the whole time.” He also added that “passion, not a calculated formula,” is what is integral in making short films.

The panel was advantageous to short filmmakers because the programmers gave guidance on all aspects of submitting a short film to festivals. Linda Olszewski said that when someone thinks they have made a great short film, to remember that budgeting is important and to consider, “What audiences are going to be watching this film, and will your film resonate with them.”

The final topic was in regards to the online format versus the festival format for short films. All of the panelists agreed on the fact that festivals are integral in building relationships with other filmmakers and artists, it is a unique format for creating communities of like-minded people.

By Liam McNicholas

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