You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Directors ring in cell phone shorts

Stars from Sundance, Bollywood get mobile

Big names hit the smallest of the small screens here at the 3GSM mobile phone conference Monday as directors and stars from Sundance and Bollywood debuted short films made for cell phones.

Sundance helmers included “Little Miss Sunshine’s” Oscar-nommed duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Fariswho showed a 5-minute, all slow motion, stylized circus-like slapstick short called “A Slip in Time.”

Many of them lauded mobile as a platform that can provide exposure to independent filmmakers and a much-needed stage to the short film.

The Sundance Institute awarded the directors $20,000 each to make the mobile shorts.

“The mobile is a great place for up-and-coming filmmakers,” said Dayton.

“This is good, because there’s no venue for short films,” said director Cory McAbee, whose short “Reno” captures four cowboy-like figures dancing to a heavy rock beat in a gritty convenience store through the eye of a security camera.

“It’s a chance for filmmakers to become their own studio,” said Justin Lin, whose “La Revolucion de Iguodala” cuts together images of international revolutionaries and gives way to a jokey Mariachi rebel named Iggy-O.

They also spoke about the creative chances the medium provides.

“No one is looking over your shoulder,” said director Maria Maggenti, whose short “Los Viajes de King Tiny” follows a little dog through the streets and skies of L.A.

“I would not have done a whole feature film in slow motion,” said Faris.

Dayton said that he also experimented technically. He shot “A Slip in Time” with a high speed, 60,000 frames-per-second camera normally used by scientists to shoot hummingbirds.

Bollywood producer-director Sanjay Gupta said, “In India, we do not have the concept of short films.”

Gupta announced an initiative to produce 10 10-minute films that will run together in cinemas but which consumers will download individually to their mobile phones this summer.

The mobile shorts, he said, will not be the singing dancing extravaganzas that characterize Bollywood.

Gupta said the move onto mobile with drama reflects an overall Bollywood effort to expand beyond the extravaganza and more into drama.

Along those lines, Gupta himself plans to release later this year the feature film “Shootout at Lokhandwala,” about a real life all-day siege by police of gangsters in a residential Mumbai apartment complex.

Bollywood and Sundance filmmakers were enthusiastic about the potential of reaching a much wider audience through mobile, which has about 2 billion customers globally.

“As an actor, it gives you a chance to expand, and to think of reaching different audiences,” said Lara Dutta, a Bollywood star and former Miss Universe.

Sundance director Jody Hill said he sees the short film and videos joining music as content that cell-phone users will tap at the push of a button “without having to carry around different devices. Hill debuted the short “Learning to Skateboard.”

But at present, nobody quite knows how many people will actually watch mobile shorts, and how the entertainment or telecommunications industries will profit.

Sundance is making its films available for free but is expected to enter negotiations for commercial distribution through carriers. Gupta is working in partnership with Indian mobile media company Hungama Mobile to distribute through cellular carriers.

Research firm Juniper says the mobile entertainment biz could be a $76 billion industry by 2011.

Also at 3GSM today, London-based Omnifone unveiled a mobile music service that makes more than 1 million songs available through carriers’ decks for a flat fee of about $3.90 per week.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content