Internet streaming is changing how we watch films of all kinds, including short films. So how do filmmakers get into the internet groove?
During the recent Dawson City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF), Judy Gladstone from Bravo! FACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) held a workshop about the grants her organization administers.
A mixed crowd of about 30 came to hear Gladstone's presentation and watch some short films assisted by Bravo! FACT.
Gladstone used the opportunity to announce a new source of revenue for filmmakers. Bravo! FACT will soon be launching a new YouTube channel with curated collections of short films they have funded.
YouTube will take 30 per cent of the advertising revenue, and the remaining 70 per cent will be split evenly between the filmmaker and the division of Bell Media (which now owns the Bravo! television channel and Bravo! FACT) that is curating the channel.
The fact that Bell Media and YouTube are negotiating terms for this relationship demonstrates how major broadcasters are responding to the fact that viewers are changing their viewing habits, and turning more to the internet to watch all types of broadcasts.
Besides providing a source of income for artists, the potential exposure to a large audience could have a dramatic, positive impact on a filmmaker's career, helping them get their work seen by people who could help them make more films.
Bravo! FACT grants are given to new projects not yet in production. The foundation's mandate is to promote the arts in Canada through short film; there are no set quotas for regions, or for emerging or advanced filmmakers. Funding is awarded solely based on the project's merit.
There are four annual submission intakes: March, June, September and December.
Awards can range in value from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $25,000; funds are given when the project is complete.
Bravo! FACT also assists filmmakers with some distribution work as well, often sending DVDs of short films to various festivals around the globe.
This means filmmakers can circumventing submission fees and still be eligible for the accolades of their peers, as well as important awards.
Finding Milton, which screened during the recent DCISFF, is an example of the beauty and brilliance of a Bravo! FACT-funded film. Directed by Yukon filmmaker Daniel Janke, Finding Milton reintroduces the work of Canadian poet Milton Acorn.
Janke's premise is simple but effective: an actor stands on a busy nighttime street, reciting one of Acorn's poems through a megaphone, as crowds of people flow past. The colour and sound are both beautiful.
A sigh of satisfaction swept through the audience, along with vigorous applause, when the film finished screening during the Friday evening "Spell of the Yukon" program.
Later in the weekend, the Made in the Yukon (MITY) Award jury agreed, giving Janke first prize for a film by a professional Yukon filmmaker (this garnered him $1,000 cash and $1,000 in film services, and Finding Milton will screen at the next Tromso International Film Festival in Norway).
There are many doors into the internet, and Bravo! FACT is a good one to check out. Gladstone's approachable style and genuine enthusiasm for short film may be just the thing your film needs.