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HollyShorts: The Cannes of Short Film Festivals & The Evolution of the Short Film Market

HollyShorts: The Cannes of Short Film Festivals & The Evolution of the Short Film Market

Ken Kokin has produced and directed second unit on several award-winning films that include the ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Captain Abu Raed’,’The Way of the Gun’ and ‘Mortdecai’. Read about his most recent film and directorial debut ‘Blood Moon’ here

by Ken Kokin: It was 2008 when I discovered a little known film festival called HollyShorts because of my own short film ‘For Tomorrow, The TOMS Shoes Story’, about one of the first deliveries of the Toms One For One campaign to some of the poorest regions of Argentina, and because another film that I produced called ‘The Way of the Gun’ was set to screen there.

Once a tiny spark in the shadow of tinsel town, HollyShorts now attracts A-listers like Jessica Biel, Demi Moore, Kirsten Dunst, Matthew Modine and Josh Brolin. Festival honorees include the legendary filmmaker David Lynch and Oscar winner Paul Haggis.  

HollyShorts is an incubator for filmmakers. Dave Green’s short ‘Meltdown’, a comedy about food puppets in a refrigerator was featured at HollyShorts, and he believes that it paved the way for him to direct the massive studio film ‘Earth to Echo’.

HollyShorts founders Theo Dumont and Daniel Sol are two of the most passionate cinephiles that I have ever met.  Ironically, for creating a short festival, they are both over 6 feet tall. Their drive to support filmmakers is extraordinary, as they have created a showcase for the true artist who recognizes that short films typically don’t attract money or distribution. Yet, it is because of festivals like HollyShorts and mobile consumption of video content that the paradigm is changing.

In 2005, many of us in the film community saw the writing on the wall — short films would explode with the creation of YouTube. We were right, and Youtube was just the beginning… Enter in the short attention span theater of the newest Internet generation. Thanks to the 7 to 15 second time limits of SnapChat, Instagram, Vine, and others, the hunger for short video content and the advancement of the art form is skyrocketing worldwide.

With over 300 million active users on Instagram alone, advertisers are starting to actualize the importance of these content channels in the digital marketplace. HollyShorts and similar festivals have more relevance than ever. The international film sales & distribution industry is paying attention and is on the prowl for content like never before, so don’t be surprised to run into talent scouts while socializing at any of the festival’s epic parties.

The HollyShorts Film Festival takes place at the TCL Chinese Theatre in the heart of Hollywood from August 13th to August 22nd, and marks the festival’s 11th year anniversary with a grand prize of $15,000 for this overall winner, courtesy of HollyShorts sponsor, ZYPE.

Shorts can range from the cutest animations, to the most serious subjects like illness, war and homelessness. The program includes Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, Trailers, 3D Shorts, Youth Film and Digital Microbudget.

Learn more by visiting the HollyShorts website. 

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