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DepicT! 2014: We want your shorts

DepicT! – Watershed’s ultra short film competition – is once again challenging filmmakers across the globe to create a movie-masterpiece in just a minute-and-a-half! Simply enter for free and be in with a chance of winning up to £2500 prize money, invaluable industry exposure, and other exclusive prizes. Whatever your budget, whatever your genre, we want your shorts!

All shortlisted DepicT! filmmakers are invited to network at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival (16 – 21 Sept 2014), the UK’s longest running competitive short film and animation festival held right here in Bristol. With distributors, producers, funders, exhibitors, other filmmakers, and enthusiastic fans of the short film format – not to mention the stellar judges – the festival is the perfect opportunity to get some priceless exposure and industry experience.

Now in its nineteenth year, DepicT! prides itself on the quality of its films as well as the quality of the filmmakers who submit them. Previous DepicT! winners have had their work screened at international film festivals, been picked up by commercial distributors, carved themselves successful careers in the film industry, and have even been recognised as Stars of Tomorrow by industry magazine Screen International.

We recently caught up with Ninian Doff of DepicT! 2013 fame – he scooped both the Main DepicT! Award and The Shooting People RPS Audience Award with comedic gem Cool Unicorn Bruv – to gain some insight for those of you who are thinking of applying…

What drew you to the DepicT! 90 second format?

Constraint is a very useful tool for creativity. Forcing yourself to tell a story in 90 seconds makes you lose all extraneous or self indulgent elements. I think a big problem with short films is they are often not very short! I love the 90 second format.

How did you find the making of your DepicT! film?

It was manic but great. When a company I had done some directing work for got in touch to say they had a unicorn I could use as a prop for a film if I wanted, no strings attached – it was impossible to turn down. I wrote the script that night and it came together bizarrely easily. My neighbour had been doing up his moped and thought it would be funny to apply that matter of fact young guy banter about motor parts to the merits of a unicorn. The whole film took a week from initial idea to completion!

What have you been up to since your DepicT! success? Where did the competition take you?

Before I entered DepicT! I was already working as a director making music videos, commercials, comedy sketches and short films, but Cool Unicorn Bruv has been far and beyond my most successful short film, and DepictT! has opened a lot of doors for me as a narrative filmmaker too. It makes people pay attention. Off the back of my win, Creative England have had me in to talk about my film plans and a bunch of festivals have got directly in touch requesting my DepicT! winning film.

Image courtesy of www.joncraig.co.uk

What have you learnt about filmmaking and the industry since winning a DepicT! prize?

Good things! It’s been really great to find so many friendly and enthusiastic people who want to help, collaborate or just encourage you. I think the filmmaking world can seem quite daunting and impossible to get into, but my experience at DepicT! was so welcoming and I met so many great people.

Do you have any advice for this year’s DepicT! entrants?

Don’t try to cram a five minute idea into 90 seconds, but write for the length so it sits naturally in that time frame without feeling rushed or confused. Interestingly, a lot of people are surprised my film is 90 seconds as in that time there’s an (admittedly very simple) three act story with three different characters whose personalities you get quite a good sense of by the end.

Can you sum up why DepicT! is so important to emerging filmmakers?

DepicT! is the perfect creative challenge. 90 seconds to do your best means its not some daunting shoot but a manageable task that forces your screen writing and editing skills to be super sharp. DepicT! is also a really good platform – a lot of people pay attention to it and just making the final screening at Encounters is a prestigious achievement. The fact that DepicT! is a competition which genuinely anyone can win, whilst also being a serious, professional filmmaking award, means it is pretty unique and well worth entering.

Your film can be from any genre, you can enter from anywhere in the world and it is always totally free to enter your movie – the only caveat we have is that your film must be 90 seconds or less! You have until Mon 7 July 2014 to get it to us – meaning there is plenty of time to read the rules and get some more inspiration by checking out our archive of 18 years of teeny, tiny shorts.

You can also hear what Watershed’s Cinema Curator, Mark Cosgrove has to say about how to approach this unique micro film challenge.

So what have you got to lose? Not only could your film be shortlisted and screened at a special Encounters showcase, there’s the cash prize and invaluable industry exposure as well. So pack your tiny film with masses of creativity and send it to us. Who knows – maybe next year we’ll be telling everyone to watch your creation for inspiration?

Posted on 10 Mar 2014 at 3:49 pm.

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