Every filmmakers' dream is to secure enough funding and grounding to adapt their short film into a feature. After all, the longer format is more or less the standard for mainstream movies, so if an artist can create content on this kind of scale, it's proof they can hold their own.
In a way, it's a calling card not only for a filmmaker's creative prowess but it's a tangible qualification in the film industry — it's indicative of endurance and resourcefulness.
In case you missed it, we've teamed up with StudioFest this year, sponsoring their one of a kind festival that's setting out to reward winning filmmakers + screenwriters financial contribution and support in adapting a short film idea into a feature length movie. And in case you missed it, here's more about our sponsorship of the fest.
In anticipation of the festival's last call for entries this week (late deadline: August 3rd, 2018 — $65), we reached out to co-founder of StudioFest, Jess Jacklin, to learn more about what makes the fest a pioneer within the traditional festival circuit.
Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit about your background in filmmaking and your experience with the festival circuits? Was there a defining moment where you realized how much of a need there was for something like StudioFest?
Jacklin: I started out producing for a big agency in New York and during that time I spent four years working on and off making a documentary film about my grandfather and the Chesapeake Bay I grew up on.
When I got onto the festival circuit with the film, I realized pretty quickly that a lot filmmakers were searching for a way to turn their shorts into a feature. One great aspect of festivals is networking and I did get a sense for this pretty quickly.
So many festivals seem to be about ticket sales and are for movie-goers. They might not always be offering the most to filmmakers themselves looking for financing. My partner Charles Beale and I came up with the idea that we should really find a way to help emerging talent to make the leap from short to feature.
There are real barriers to go from a short to feature. The costs, even for a micro-budget project, are difficult for someone starting out. It was clear that there was a lot of talent but not a ton of resources. StudioFest is the first of its kind, a new take on the traditional model, and we hope it’s going to meet a real need for the filmmakers of today.
Marmoset: What's your vision for the future of StudioFest?
Jacklin: To start, we want make a film a year with the winning writing/directing duo. Right now we think it would be really cool to take the festival on the road. Perhaps the West Coast next year and maybe even a Europe fest someday soon.
Marmoset: What's something you're most excited about for StudioFest?
Jacklin: I’m excited to see our judges, finalists, and sponsors together over a bonfire talking about movies. We are so thrilled with the caliber of talent we have on board for this year. I am probably most excited for the moment when the dust has settled and we have our winners locked in prepping the film.
Marmoset: What would be some advice you'd pass along to someone submitting their short film or screenplay to the fest?
Jacklin: We are looking for sensibility. Show us what you are capable of as a writer or director. We also want to see an understanding of micro-budget filmmaking.
If you wrote a film that requires extensive CGI or a period piece, it might be harder to imagine. That said, we are looking for your talent. How do you write dialogue? How do you use a camera to tell a story? How well do you work with actors? Do you use little resources well and are you inventive? We really want filmmakers who are down to get in the mud with us, roll up their sleeves and have a lot of fun in the process.