The festival, which begins September 1 and runs throughout the month, will feature a short-list of 25 films from 16 countries. A jury, including Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis, will select the best 'filminute' while a worldwide audience will determine the 'People's Choice'. Awards will be announced on October 12.
Founded by London-based media entrepreneur Sabaa Quao and Bucharest-based filmmaker John Ketchum, Filminute reported a 2007 audience of more than two million individual screenings from more than 90 countries. The 2008 edition predicts audiences from more than 100 countries with a particular increase in interest from the US.
In all, Filminute selectors screened more than 1,500 submissions from 60 countries, a 33 per cent increase from 2007, when submissions were received from 45 countries. The 25 60-second finalists hail from Canada, China, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Korea, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, the UK and the US.
The festival will present digital installations in three cities, London, Toronto and Bucharest. In London, Selfridges department store has given over its Wonder Wall and Ultralounge exhibition spaces for the event; visitors can download copies of the shortlisted films via Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. Toronto and Bucharest events will be pegged around the awards event; details are pending.
Initially developed as means of generating content for video-enabled mobile phones, Filminute has expanded across the media spectrum, to include broadband and conventional broadcasts and cinema screenings.
Speaking to Screen Daily, Sabaa said the festival's strength was not just in its scope but its depth. 'Anyone anywhere can access but it is truly a festival because it is a curated selection. The challenge is to attract a level of content that is strong enough that when we give that award it will become a standard.'
Films can be screened at www.filminute.com.