Sundance First Look: "Short Films, Big Ideas" and the Three-Minute Filmmaker Challenge

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by Maggie Lange
January 23, 2012 3:28 PM
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Maybe the best ideas do come in short films. That's the notion behind the Focus Forward which is launching its Filmmaker Challenge. The Filmmaker Challenge will select five winners, determined by a professional jury. These five winners will receive $200,000 in awards and a spot to premiere their films at Sundance 2013.  YouTube launched its short film challenge last Thursday, with promises to premiere its winners at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.

Focus Foward looks to challenge its filmmakers by asking them to depict how something innovative, new, or inventive will impact humanity in just three minutes. Focus Forward looks to highlight unconventional subjects or inventive methods that make positive ramifications in the fields of computer science, medicine, engineering, or green energy. 

The Filmmaker Challenge is an expansion of Focus Forward's Short Films, Big Ideas, where thirty leading documentary filmmakers took produced three-minute nonfiction films that showcased invention or innovation, and the ways that the power of ideas impacted humanity.

Focus Forward will premiere five of these Short Films, Big Ideas at Sundance, including "Meet Mr. Toilet," about unusual sanitation methods in underdeveloped countries, "Hilary's Straws," about a quadriplegic champion sailor, and "Heart Stop Beating" about two visionary Texan doctors who successfully replaced a heart with a continuous flow-device they developed.

A new group of filmmakers has joined the Focus Forward Initiative, including Steven Cantor ("loudQUIETloud), Kief Davison ("Kassim The Dream), Jeff Reichert ("Gerrymandering") and Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern ("Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work").  

Focus Forward will distribute their short films on cable, VOD, as well as on Vimeo.  Submissions for the Filmmakers Challenge open in mid-April and the winners will be announced at 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
 

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