The filmmakers competing in TheWrap’s 2018 ShortList Film Festival had to contend with children, Nazis, drunk college students, financial challenges, peer criticism — and in the case of one of the festival’s winning short films — an adorable goat, in order to get their movies completed.
“We’re not going to pout and cry about it,” student filmmaker David Fortune told TheWrap’s Steve Pond on Thursday. “We’re going to make something happen.”
Now in its seventh year, The ShortList gathers award-winning short films from festivals around the country into one competition. And considering that for many directors, these shorts represent their first films, they’ve already faced immense adversity getting here.
“There are so many things that went wrong, it’s a miracle we’re here today,” the director of “Night Shift,” Marshall Tyler, said while speaking on a panel discussion during the awards presentation at the AMC Century City 15 in Los Angeles.
Randall Christoper’s “The Driver Is Red,” an animated, documentary short about the hunt for a Nazi war criminal, won the festival’s Industry Prize as determined by a jury. And “Magic Alps,” an Italian film about an Afghani refugee forced to separate at the border with his beloved pet goat, won the Audience Prize as voted on in an online poll.
The jury of industry veterans, including “Blindspotting” co-writer Rafael Casal and filmmakers Jim Cummings and Irene Taylor Brodsky, called “The Driver Is Red,” “an incredibly crafted, elegant, and possibly timely story of the execution of civilized justice under circumstances where no civility was due.”
“When I started this project in 2016, I never imagined in 2017 there would be people marching on American soil with swastikas,” Christopher said upon accepting the Industry Award.
“Magic Alps” co-director Andrea Brusa said prior to accepting the Audience Award that the goat in his film often called the shots on set. Unlike a trained dog, this was a beautiful, but stubborn animal that dictated when the crew took breaks or where they could shoot at a given moment.
“She was the queen of the set,” Brusa said. “At the end of the film we put no animals were harmed, actually she was the boss. We were like the interns.”
All the same, this group of filmmakers each gave some advice to aspiring filmmakers who, with any luck, might be in this same spot next year. Among their words of wisdom were: always shoot everything to make sure you’re fully covered, insist on getting that extra shot that you might need later, don’t miss out on those special moments on set by getting too stressed out or caught up in your own headspace, and always remember that directing involves the “art of listening,” as one director put it, not just dictating orders.
“You have to embrace the challenges. Otherwise it’s not going to be fun,” said student filmmaker Cecilia Albertini.
Watch a clip from the 2018 ShortList Film Festival above.