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Nottingham International Microfilm Festival

7 August 15 words: Ashley Carter
We spoke to Faith Blakemore, the director of the freshest festival in town, prior to the October event
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So, what exactly is a microfilm?
Microfilm is a sector of Chinese filmmaking that brings together a range of short format films - music videos, promotional videos, short stories, documentaries, adverts, etcetera – under one banner. It is an expansion of the short film format rather than a limitation, a way to engage with new audiences using new technologies and social media developments. This format also offers a really interesting partnership between business and filmmaking – it gives the film industry another form of funding and support, and businesses a new and exciting form of brand promotion. The key thing about microfilms is to provide a film that is consumable; a film that people will enjoy watching while standing at the bus stop or on their lunch hour. People can explore and consume films that can educate, inspire or simply entertain. We are really keen to explore this new sector and ask the necessary questions to see how we can make this a successful model for the UK industry.

What is the Nottingham Screen Partnership?
NSP is a consortium of local and national organisations coming together with a mutual objective and desire to support, promote and encourage the screen industries, whether that be local, national or global. It was formed just over a year ago and our key members include Nottingham City Council, the University of Nottingham/Asia Business Centre, Nottingham Trent University, Confetti Media, the Creative Quarter, Broadway Cinema, GameCity, Creative England and Wellington Films. This is a pretty unique partnership and it is because of our combined resources and joint perspective that a festival such as NIM is possible.

What can people expect from the first Nottingham International Microfilm Festival?
This festival is shaping up to be a very exciting event! We have microfilm screenings, networking events (partnering with the Tweet Up Film and TV network), masterclasses from industry professionals, including scriptwriting (Michael Eaton), costume (Anna Robbins), VFX (Francine Marchetti) and production design (Tom Walsh). Also, there will be the first Microfilm Summit which will include panel discussions covering topics such as ‘Microfilms in China’ (led by representatives from the Chinese film industry), ‘Digital startups and talent development’ (led by colleagues from UCLA), ‘Toolkits for the new generation of filmmakers’ (Tom Walsh and Francine Marchetti), ‘The power of sound in storytelling’ (led by Dolby) and ‘The power of image in storytelling’ (led by Red cameras). By offering such a range of activities we hope to engage with the screen industry, businesses and the general public, encouraging access to, and exploration of, microfilms.

What categories of film is the festival open to?
We have four categories for NIM: Drama (fiction), documentary, animation and extreme shorts (under 90 seconds). We have also run the second edition of the NSP student microfilm competition, which was open to students across Nottingham academic institution campuses, including those in China. Those films will be showing at the festival, too.

How can people submit their films?
We are accepting films in MP4 format through WeTransfer (including the submission form available on our website) or through FilmFreeway.

Who will be on the panel of judges?
The student competition is being judged by a selection of industry professionals, such as Gary Rydstrom (Director and Sound Designer of Pixar/Lucas Film/Disney), Oliver Parson (Creative Director from Red Bee Media), Mike Blair (Executive Producer at Shiver, an ITV Studios Company), Thomas A. Walsh (Emmy award-winning production designer), and Dr Yang Ming (President of Xinhua Net Future Media Convergence Institute). The wider NIM Festival is curated by members of the NSP and selected local SME partners including Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, Confetti Media, GameCity, Coalescent Films and Short Stack.

What are your ambitions for the future of the festival?
Nottingham has the capacity to be the global hub for microfilms outside of China. There is such a wealth of talent here and, following on from the loss of Carlton TV studios and EM Media, we hope that the festival will help highlight this existing talent, develop new talent, and re-establish Nottingham as a key filming city in the UK.

What does the emergence of a new major film festival say about the current strength of the Nottingham film industry?
The development of the NSP shows the existence of an increasing appetite for a new episode in Nottingham’s screen history, the existence of a collective desire to bring Nottingham out of the shadows and to outline our unique selling points as a creative city. Through the development of the NIM Festival we are offering Nottingham the opportunity to engage as a community with its screen industry, as well as celebrate our infrastructure, talent and innovation on a global level. It’s an exciting time and one I look forward to being a part of.

Nottingham International Microfilm Festival (NIM) will be taking place in various locations across the city from Thursday 15 to Tuesday 20 October 2015. The deadline to submit your films is Friday 4 September 2015.

NIM Website

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