On an 8-minute video shot with a smart phone that won a film festival prize
I recently heard Carlton Evans, the director of the Disposible Film Festival, speak about “disposible films”— all the video that is made when you click open your smart phone and start shooting away.We’ve all done it, but what I didn’t realize was the possibility of the medium. Luckily, Evans and his team did and created a film festival around it.
The festival celebrates “the democratization of cinema made possible by low cost video technology: everyday equipment like mobile phones, pocket cameras, DSLRs and other inexpensive devices.”
This sounds good in theory, but what does it mean?
The short, an entry at the 2012 festival, starts out with the filmaker holding up a Nokia N8 smart phone a bit larger than his hand. And then the film rolls. It’s about a boy and the cardboard box that arrives at his house one day. The countryside setting is vaguely northern European (I’m guessing), the day sunny, and the creative possibilities, within a warm family, large.
If you’ve ever had kids—or spent time with them—you know the allure of cardboard boxes. My daughter has spent more time playing in them, making up stories around them, and then cutting them to pieces, than any toy we’ve ever bought. The attraction of cardboard is only matched by colored duck tape. So actually if you buy a few rolls of duck tape and get it delivered by mail, you get the ultimate twofer. Often the duck tape ends up around the box it came in, or rather the sail boat that the shipping box has now become.
So, I was transfixed while this movie played at a recent conference I attended, on a large screen no less. At the end of it, the audience broke out in applause.
Is this the democratization of film? The vast possibility of art, made with whatever you have on hand? A way to be an auteur on the cheap? I don’t know, but it won the audience choice award at the festival. If you have 8 minutes and a love of creativity it’s worth viewing. It will brighten your world and make you think of disposable objects—cardboard boxes, childhood memories—in a new light.
- Samuel Fromartz