Pocket-sized cameras, full-scale ambitions

5th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) - Filmmakers aren't usually known for having pint-sized ambitions, but in an unusual Paris film festival taking place this weekend, that's exactly what they are proudly exhibiting.

PARIS, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) - Filmmakers aren't usually known for having pint-sized ambitions, but in an unusual Paris film festival taking place this weekend, that's exactly what they are proudly exhibiting.

The second Pocket Films Festival, running from Friday to Sunday, is to showcase what up-and-coming cineastes can do with the newest breed of digital cameras — those incorporated into 3G mobile telephones.

The event will screen 80 works filmed on handsets loaned to directors, artists, film students and even amateurs by a major French mobile phone operator.

The Forum des Images, a Paris centre dedicated to cinema, large and small, is organising the festival, which includes a competition section for 15 of the mini-movies.

While the movies may have been made with miniature equipment, the finished products — fortunately for the public — may be seen on the big screen.

That in itself is a feat, one made possible by the rapid advances in video technology incorporated into the new 3G telephones hitting the market, the Forum's artistic director, Benoît Labourdette, told AFP.

"This year, we've seen huge progress in terms of the telephones. The resulting images are four times bigger" than the ones in last year's festival, in which some films were heavily pixellated or took up only part of the projection screen, he said.

The filming experience — and the freedom of getting up close and personal with unobtrusive gear — was so conclusive for some of the directors taking part that they bought their own camera phones after having to return the borrowed handsets.

That, for example, was the case for Jean-Claude Taki, a French director who made a 24-minute film in Kazakhstan with his mobile. "Now he's made the (mobile) format his trademark style," Labourdette said.

The French festival broke new ground when it first came into being last year.

It is still the only festival to show only phone-camera films, but many of the French entries have gone to feature as sideline attractions for more general film festivals elsewhere, including Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Barcelona.

The winners of the top four prizes in the Paris festival this year will each receive a 3G camera phone.

First place will also get EUR 2,000 euros, while second place will get half that sum.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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