Shooting for Impact: Online Doc Shorts Now
At a time when many are pursuing new approaches to storytelling that involve non-linear narratives, interactivity, and the influences of gaming, an unlikely but exciting format is attracting viewers and filmmakers alike: the online documentary short. Up close, intimate, and personal, documentary shorts on the web take audiences into lives of characters we might never otherwise meet; they stir the hearts and minds of viewers with an accessibility and immediacy that long form can never approach; they require no distributor or middle-man to make their way into the world.
So in this moment when traditional funding opportunities are receding, industry models of distribution are broken, and documentary filmmakers are as passionate as ever about their hardy form, online documentary shorts pose an interesting question: affordable, authentic, and highly impactful, might they be just what the doctor ordered, breathing new life into the form and giving doc filmmakers a second lease on life?
Beth Levison (Producer/Director) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning independent producer/director based in New York City. She was the supervising producer of documentary shorts for Etsy.com, remains an Etsy advisor, and is now the producer of AWAKENING, a full-length film about women and the Arab uprisings. In her nearly two decades of documentary and television experience, she has worked for such outlets as ABC News, MTV, and National Geographic Television, and has enjoyed long-term relationships with both HBO (A Child’s Garden of Poetry, Don’t Divorce Me!, and the Classical Baby series) and PBS (EGG the arts show, the e2 series, and others).
Ted Hope took leadership of the San Francisco Film Society as Executive Director in September 2012, leaving New York City where he produced independent films for more than 25 years. A survey of Hope’s 65 plus films includes many highlights and breakthroughs of the last two decades, including recently Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene and Greg Mottola’s Adventureland. In 1990 he cofounded with James Schamus the production and sales powerhouse Good Machine, which was sold to Universal in 2002. Known within the industry for having an extraordinary ability to recognize emerging talent, Hope has more than 20 first features to his credit, including those of Alan Ball, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener and Ang Lee, among others. In addition to his independent film productions, Hope is editor of the HopeForFilm blog and is one of the most influential and followed voices in independent film on social media. At the San Francisco Film Society, Hope is providing a launchpad for film lovers and filmmakers to participate in the broadest definition of cinema by creating innovative programs for the creation, appreciation and monetization of the art form.
Nirvan is an award winning filmmaker and social entrepreneur. His 11 minute short film "Caine's Arcade" became an viral phenomenon in April of 2012, launching a global movement of cardboard creativity in kids and classrooms around the world. From Caine's Arcade, Nirvan founded the Imagination Foundation, with a mission to foster creativity & entrepreneurship in more kids. Nirvan is also a partner at Interconnected, an LA based creative agency, and serves on the board of CicLAvia.
Jeremy Boxer is Creative Director and Festival Director of the Vimeo Festival+Awards. He is splits his time between London and New York as he works on Vimeo’s creative and editorial strategies. Jeremy has been working the digital filmmaking world for over 15 years, starting with the trailblazing RES Media Group where he was Director of International Operations and Senior Programmer for the maverick digital festival RESFEST. He became Head of Programming for final festival in 2006. Between the end of RESFEST and his arrival at Vimeo in 2010, he was co-creator of the award winning 221b.sh for the launch of Warner Brothers’ Sherlock Holmes franchise and has worked with clients as diverse as Tribecca Film Festival, Kswiss, Nike, PlayStation, Art Alliance, NYU and Royal College of Art. As a filmmaker his award winning film "The Last Supper" traveled to over a dozen festivals including Sundance and as a cinematorgrapher he shot over 40 short films. He graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.