It is an unfortunate reality that since the heightened prevalence of modern technology, attention span levels have dramatically… oh look, an email notification. Really, though, in 2015, a group of Canadian researchers calculated the average human attention span: about 8 seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish, who takes great pride in its significantly longer 9-second attention span.
This discovery has two practical implications. First of all, it means that next time you feed your goldfish, you should take a moment to be more appreciative of its concentration skills, which are undoubtedly superior to yours. Secondly, this observed tendency partly accounts for the growing prominence of very short films, and subsequently, afferent competitions which aim to reward them.
In today’s world, people have less and less free time on their hands – or so they say. Sometimes it is indeed a daunting task to find time for Lars von Trier’s newest three-and-a-half-hours long philosophical masterpiece, so something shorter has to do. Something 200 times shorter. A 1-minute short film, perhaps? Let’s have a round of applause for these 10 film festivals/competitions, which strive to provide you with the best selection of 1-minute titles, once a year.
1. Möet Moment Film Festival – New York, US
‘The Minis’, as the film contest started last year nicknames itself, offered a generous prize of $25k for its winner. This year’s theme was “This is Your Moment”, and participant projects had to last between 30 and 60 seconds. Unfortunately, the festival only accepts US-based entries. “Make American 1-minute shorts great again”, I suppose.
2. Stockholm Film Festival Junior – Stockholm, Sweden
Just like in so many other professions, filmmakers can showcase creativity and talent from a very young age. So, what better chance to have a cheeky go at early fame than entering the Stockholm Film Festival’s 1-minute film competition, for youths aged 6-19? Featuring both an open theme and a special one, “identity”, the winners can enjoy not only the glamorous award ceremonies at the Skandia Theatre, but also a wealth of networking opportunities with industry specialists.
Lauded for its fantastic selection of extremely short films, particularly by a 2009 Guardian article titled “One Hot Minute: How Long is a Piece of Film”, Filminute has been a constant presence throughout the last decade. Having featured exquisite filmmakers such as Richard Linklater and Neil Blomkamp in its jury line-up over the years, this is one of the big players in the market. There are no details as of yet regarding this year’s edition, so keep an eye out for more info.
4. One Shot International Short Film Festival – Yerevan, Armenia
The ‘One Minute One Shot’ competition, which reaches its 15th edition this year, takes place in Yerevan, Armenia, and rewards the best 1-minute films that are shot in one frame, regardless of their genre or topic. One week, one festival, one minute, one frame, one grand prize.
5. FilmOneFest – New Jersey, US
Founded in 2008, the Atlantic Highlands One-Minute International Film Festival describes itself as “a celebration of the super short film and a snap-shot of the creative image making.” Screenings take place on the waterfront of Jersey’s Sandy Hook Bay, in mid-July. Americans thus benefit from a generous 11 days to sober up from their 4th of July celebratory drinks, which is more than fair, really.
6. 25th Croatian One-Minute Film Festival – Požega, Croatia
If you’ve got a film lasting no longer than 60 seconds, do consider the picturesque town of Požega as one of your submission spots. The deadline for receiving entries is coming up soon, however, on 31 May – no pressure.
7. Gotta Minute Film Festival – Edmonton, Canada
Entries for this one have to be 1-minute long silent films, and the winners will be screened throughout Edmonton’s railway system during a whole week of fun and films! Watching a short sure beats harvesting imaginary wheat from your imaginary farm, by virtue of flicking your thumb on a screen for the umpteenth time whilst on the train to work or school!
8. 1-Minute Film Competition – Melbourne, Australia
This year’s theme for the 1-Minute Film Competition is “tomorrow”. Thankfully, the entry deadline is not tomorrow as well, but way ahead, on 28 July. Plenty of time left for this one. It’s only 60 seconds of film after all, right?
9. Norwich Film Festival – One Minute Movie Competition – Norwich, UK
This 1-minute film competition challenges “filmmakers from all over the world to make the best movie they possibly can that lasts exactly sixty seconds”. The winning project subsequently has the honour of being the opening movie at this year’s edition of the Norwich Film Festival – a wonderful recognition altogether!
10. One Minute Film Festival – Aarau, Switzerland
The 12th edition of the One Minute Film Festival took place last May in the beautiful town of Aarau, Switzerland. Unfortunately, no festival is planned for 2017, so one can only hope that it picks up again next year. The combination of quality films and Swiss scenery is simply too good a match to be discontinued.