Big venue, little screens for new film fest

7th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 7 (AFP) - A film festival for movies shot on mobile telephones opened Friday in Paris, aiming to take cinema a technological and creative step forward in the country that gave birth to the seventh art.

PARIS, Oct 7 (AFP) - A film festival for movies shot on mobile telephones opened Friday in Paris, aiming to take cinema a technological and creative step forward in the country that gave birth to the seventh art.

The Pocket Film Festival, which was to screen pictures ranging from 30-second shorts to a full-length feature set in Rome, seeks both to showcase an emerging art form and to ask what effect it might have on mainstream cinema.

"I don't think we'll ever see (US director Martin) Scorcese making films on phones," festival director Laurence Herszberg told AFP. "It's a new form and it will attract its own creators."

Several months ago the Forum des Images, the Paris film centre hosting the festival, handed out 100 third-generation (3G) phones to film-makers, writers, musicians, and other creative types and told them to go off and experiment.

They came back with films that spanned genres from film noir parody to personal diaries to a 90 minute feature titled 'Jours ou je n'existe pas' ('Days When I Don't Exist').

Many of these films were in the running for prizes of cash and mobile phones to be handed out Sunday at the close of the festival, which is jointly sponsored by Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone maker, and the French mobile operator SFR.

Several hundred people turned out for the opening on Friday, at which half a dozen of the films in the running at the festival were to be screened, followed by British director Mike Figgis's experimental 2000 film 'Timecode'.

Films competing in the festival and other movies were to be shown on regular cinema screens in the Forum over the weekend but can also be seen on mobile phone screens set into installations in the centre's lobby.

These phone screens also show short films from the Lumiere brothers, the French inventors whose 1895 film "Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory" is considered the first motion picture.

The festival director explained that the constraints of making movies on a mobile phone were in some ways similar to producing film on the primitive 'cinematographe' camera invented by the Lumiere.

Herszberg rejected suggestions that mobile phone films were merely a gimmick, pointing out that, for example, digital movie cameras were at first scorned by serious film-makers but have now been widely accepted.

Wladimir Anselme, one of the film-makers showcased in the festival, agreed that the reduced capacity of the mobile phone drove him to be more creative.

 "Whatever tool you use gives you creativity, you have to overcome its limitations," said Anselme, who is also a musician and cabaret artist.

He made several films with his 3G phone, two of which are brief episodes in a film noir series to be screened at the festival that are a witty parody mix of Scorcese's 'Taxi Driver' and early Jean-Luc Godard gangster flicks.

The festival comes as mobile network operators in many countries are thrusting 3G phones equipped with video cameras and internet capability on their customers in the hope of recouping some of the huge investments they made in the sector.

While mobile phone users are long familiar with downloading ringtones, games, and graphics, they can now in some countries view 'mobisodes,' clips that play on a cell phone's screen.

In the United States and Britain, for example, '24: Conspiracy,' a series of minute-long episodes drawn from Fox TV's '24' television series were available during the soap's last season.

There have been prizes for movies made on or for mobile phones at events such as the Sundance Festival in the United States, but the three-day bash at the Forum des Images was the first in Europe dedicated to flicks made on phones, said Herszberg.

A film festival in Taiwan for Asian directors of phone flicks began in late September.

Festival-goers keen to make a break into this new art form will be able to make their own mini-films in a special studio and editing facility set up in the Forum, where actors and technicians will be on hand to help.

And, this being France, the festival was also to host several weighty round-table debates on subjects such as the meaning of the new art and its sociological implications.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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