Short Films & Modern Film-making: Why Tom Felton’s “White Other” Is Akin to Good Sex

One film festival is seeing an emergence in short film production as never before seen thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Tom Felton’s “White Other” has hit the Fort Myers Film Festival scheduled to open this Wednesday in Fort Myers, Florida.

Film festivals find niche here

Suddenly, short movies are everywhere.

You can watch them on YouTube, or at the start of the latest Pixar cartoon, or even on your smart phone. They’re getting more respect at the Oscars, too.
Now shorts are coming to Fort Myers.
More than half of the movies at the new Fort Myers Film Festival are shorts. And most of the movies at the Black Maria Film Festival clock in at 20 minutes or less.
People don’t always want to watch a butt-numbing epic like “Inception,” says Fort Myers Film Festival founder Eric Raddatz.
Shorts are kind of like sex, he says and chuckles mischievously. “Sometimes you want to take your time. And sometimes you don’t.”
For people who want something quicker, the Fort Myers and Black Maria festivals have just what you’re in the mood for. The Black Maria festival opens Friday. The Fort Myers Film Festival opens Wednesday.
Some of these films are just a minute or two long. But many of them are packed with thought-provoking ideas, stunning visuals, stark emotions and well-realized characters.
It’s gratifying to see the short film get the respect and popularity it deserves, says Black Maria founder John Columbus. His traveling short-film festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Columbus started the festival so he and other short-filmmakers could get their work out to the public. Studios weren’t buying the movies. Festivals weren’t showing them.
Then the Internet and digital cameras came along and changed everything.
Suddenly, it became relatively cheap to make movies. The filmmakers’ biggest expense – film – got replaced by super-cheap digital media.
Now filmmakers don’t even have to worry about festivals and film studios. They can just post their movie on YouTube, and if they’re lucky, it could become an Internet hit (think “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” or Will Ferrell’s “The Landlord”).
“There’s an explosion of work, and it’s getting noticed,” Columbus says. “It’s just a revolution.”
Black Maria started in Wisconsin with just three shows. Columbus named it after inventor Thomas Edison’s mobile film studio.
Now the festival does about 70 shows a year in 23 states. This is the festival’s fifth year in Fort Myers. Columbus also plans to debut the festival in Punta Gorda on Sept. 10 at The Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center.
“Each year, we add a little more,” Columbus says.
Black Maria’s schedule of movies includes “La Premiere,” a historical drama about the battle to project a movie on a big screen for the first time – complete with sets, costumes, dramatic tension and fully realized characters. Those characters include Fort Myers’ own Thomas Edison.
“It’s just totally engaging,” Columbus says. “It’s got all the elements of a good story film, and it does it all in 20 minutes.”
Fort Myers Film Festival, in turn, offers shorts on topics such as meth addiction, a Nazi general’s attempt to save his dying son, and a grandmother who works in the phone-sex industry.
The Fort Myers Film Festival pitches itself as the home to edgy and/or local movies. “Some of these are kind of out there,” Raddatz says. “These are conversation starters.”
Shorts offer a different kid of challenge to filmmakers. Raddatz and Columbus make short films.
They’re kind of like haiku poetry, Columbus says. There’s freedom within those time limitations, but there’s also tremendous discipline.
“You have to be really succinct,” Columbus says. “You have to be tight. You have to focus in on what you’re trying to do, and you can’t be sloppy.”
As for moviegoers, shorts can expose them to all sorts of ideas and viewpoints – all within a short period of time.
“It’s like a smorgasbord,” Columbus says. “You could have a sit-down meal with a main course. Or you could have a smorgasbord where you sample different things, and it could be just as interesting.
“It appeals to people who really like variety.”
Shorts are perfect for even those with short attention spans, Raddatz says.
“I don’t see why some films need to be two hours, anyway,” he says. “Some of the best movies are only 2 minutes. And those are the ones that stick with you.”

The Fort Myers Film Festival
• What: The Fort Myers Film Festival, a new festival focusing largely on local filmmakers and edgier movies
• When: 7 p.m. Wednesday (opening night gala). 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. 1-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Alliance for the Arts. (March 23-27, 2011)
• Where: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 8099 College Parkway, south Fort Myers. Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., Fort Myers. Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.
• The movies: Feature-length films, documentaries, shorts, faith-based films, local films and more.
The opening-night gala marks the debut of “A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy,” a romantic comedy starring Luke Perry of “Beverly Hills 90210.” Other highlights include the immigrant-rights documentary “Immigrant Nation!” and

the 13-minute “White Other,” a drama with actor Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy of the “Harry Potter” movies) as a troubled youth who goes to a hospital demanding to see a patient.

• Tickets: $5 per film or film session (some sessions involve multiple shorts shown one after the next). Gala tickets are $30 ($12 for students, $150 for VIP tickets). All-access passes cost $400 and give you access to all the festival’s public and VIP events.
• Info: fortmyersfilmfestival.com

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4 thoughts on “Short Films & Modern Film-making: Why Tom Felton’s “White Other” Is Akin to Good Sex

  1. Oh, it’s so difficult to shoot such films, which last only 13-18 minutes. It is difficult to reflect all the emotions and feelings of this movie. And the actors even more difficult. So that
    this is a great success! Keep it up, Tom!

    With Love,

    Annie)***

  2. Hello every one.!!!
    Actually I have seen these short film but could not understand anything because I cant understand so fast english. Can anybody explain me what is there in film??
    I am big fan of yours tom…..
    Love you…….

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