by Eugene Hernandez
The project has been in the works for years and the producer is set to
lose money -- sound like the making of an indiefilm? Well just about.
The project is "Short Cuts," a half-hour television program showcasing
short films, and the producer is Larry Russo -- one of the original
founders of New York City's famed "Shooting Gallery."
"I am losing a lot of money on this show," Russo told indieWIRE yesterday,
admitting that his decision to go for a higher production value increased
the cost of each episode, which is being sold to two PBS stations (WNET
in NY and KLCS in LA) for a low per show fee. Each episode offers a
selection of shorts alongside interviews with the filmmakers and intros
from Bob Gosse (also a Shooting Gallery founder) and Melinda Wade. The
segments were produced on film to give the program a better look,
according to Russo, who added that the higher quality look of the program
is meant to make the show more attractive to audiences.
The original idea for "Short Cuts" evolved from a program entitled, "Short
TV," a public access episode that was produced by Russo and hosted by
The Shooting Gallery's Gosse and Larry Meistrich.
To get a spot on NYC's popular WNET, Russo took his program directly to
Anne Garfinkle by confronting her during a panel discussion at last year's
IFFM. The two met later and agreed on a price for six episodes of the
show. A seventh episode of the show is also being produced, Russo said
that he hopes to secure a PBS showing of the program.
Russo is approaching PBS stations outside NY and LA through American
Program Service by offering the show for free in the hopes that money
can be made by attaching an underwriter to the program -- about as close
as you can get to an advertisement on public television.
Throughout the long journey to the PBS premiere, Russo maintains that
he has developed a strong sense of the short filmmaking scene by visiting
festivals and establishing relationships with short distributor Forefront
Films, and through collabortations with producer Gill Holland, founder of
the video-distributed, short
film tape, CineBLAST! With experience and alliances, Russo explained
that he is prepared to produce more episodes of the program, adding that
he has "a huge roster of good films for future episodes, but can't commit
"It's definitely an uphill battle," Russo added, "but the market here in the
U.S. is on the cusp of breaking through a new threshold."
[The first two episodes of "Short Cuts" will air back to back Sunday at
midnight on WNET (Channel 13) in NYC. KLCS (Channel 58) will debut the
show on April 3rd at 9:30 p.m.]