A Guest Blog by Flora Gregory, Executive Producer
The way we consume media has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. The dominance of long-form films and strict format broadcast television is being pushed aside by the tide of digital media platforms. Short-form video now reigns our news feeds, reaching a global audience at the click of a button – and this rings just as true for the world of documentary.
Despite this, training, support and financing for short documentary is sorely lacking.
Whilst decades of cultural and financial support have resulted in a well-established circuit of international pitching events and markets for the long form documentary film, the short documentary has been languishing in the shadows, with little value, appreciation or broadcast slots. As such, it is difficult for filmmakers to specialise in the form.
However, recent audience demographics, changes in viewing behaviour, the rise of a plethora of digital platforms and increasing use of video online all strongly indicate that the light should now be shone on the short documentary.
IDFA has recently brought short docs back to its programme. BAFTA, the Griersons and Emmys all now celebrate the short documentary with their own awards. It appears that the age of the short doc is on the horizon, and the industry needs to change to keep up.
A similar effort now needs to be focused on short documentaries that for decades has been directed at feature docs – training filmmakers with the appropriate skills to make them (a different set of skills to those required to make long form films), along with the necessary financial backing and business models to sustain them.
This is an exciting time for short documentary filmmakers, and those commissioners, film funds, media platforms and festivals who embrace the short format will unlock a world of powerful and engaging storytelling.
Global Short Docs Forum is part of the growing conversation looking at short documentaries – encouraging international excellence in filmmaking skills and diversity in their form and content. As well as facilitating conversations to explore new business models to support them. This year the event will be hosted by Docudays UA Film Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, and will be attended by 16 talented short documentary filmmakers from all over the world.