Have you noticed how these days most young and new filmmakers are rolling in cash and have to actively fight off various channels who want to give them exposure to help further their career? No, neither have we, so consequently we’re very grateful to people like the Cheap Cuts team who put their time and effort into creating festivals designed for independent filmmakers trying to get their work out into an ever tougher environment.
On the weekend of April 2nd and 3rd at Hoxton’s Hundred Years Gallery in glittering east London, Cheap Cuts are holding their inaugural film festival dedicated solely to documentary filmmakers. Across the two days they are screening 21 documentary shorts – and a number of sub-4 minute films – that have been handpicked from a whopping 1400 entries. Some of the films will also be followed with Q&A’s with the filmmaker’s themselves and on the Saturday evening there’s drinks and networking.
Impressively, the whole festival has been put together by volunteers, led by Vera Hems Anderson and Natalia Garay, who both have backgrounds in filmmaking, bringing that vital filmmaker’s perspective to the festival – no gimmicks, no distracting ‘names’, just 21 strong, important films made by people who care passionately about not just their chosen subjects, but the art of filmmaking itself.
The clear, simple focus on documentaries give Cheap Cuts an edge. As Vera told us “By sticking to just short docs it means we can screen more of them, as we aren’t forced to sacrifice strong films in order to make space for other mediums. Basically, we aren’t trying to do a little bit of everything. We’re trying to do a lot of one thing and do it well.”
While the immediate goal is to put on good show for people, the festival organisers really want Cheap Cuts to help filmmakers go on to further things. To this ends they’ve set up three awards categories with prizes including free equipment, filmmaking courses and reviews and interviews with film websites (including one called Gorilla. You might have heard of them), designed to promote their current work and help produce their next piece.
‘How much is all this proper film goodness going to cost me?’ you ask, eyes squinting, hands practically bleeding you’re squeezing your pennies so tightly you goddamn miser. Incredibly the tickets are actually free, with the cost of the festival being covered by crowdfunding. So if you’re interested in this festival or the survival of independent festivals in general, then you can show you care on Cheap Cuts IndieGoGo campaign. But Cheap Cuts aren’t intending to just call it quits after one valiant effort.
“Our plan is to attempt monthly screenings, providing a consistent platform for short docs to be shown that are now out of the festival circuit.” Vera says, and they don’t intend to take any breaks, “Soon after the festival, we’ll start preparations for next year’s edition when we would like to add a day to accommodate practical workshops for filmmakers.”
With a clear focus, hard work and good eye for films, this could be the start of a beautiful thing.
Cheap Cuts is on April 2nd and 3rd at Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton. Find out more and reserve your ticket at the Cheap Cuts site.