From Shorts to Features - Part One

Not your usual drop shadow BGFor some writer/directors, making a short film is indeed a stepping stone towards a career in the feature film realm, although sometimes a short’s success doesn’t guarantee an immediate film deal.

When Sean Ellis’s Cashback was nominated for an Oscar in 2005, the director managed to develop the short into a feature film, using most of the existing footage for his upgraded narrative. Cashback, the feature (Canada: Altlantis/Remstar, U.S.A.: Magnolia), was later followed by The Broken (2008) and though both films are very flawed (see reviews), Ellis’ short did succeed in giving the director a career jump; this was admittedly helped by Uncle Oscar, who perhaps gave 2005’s Oscar Winner, Martin McDonagh, an even bigger boost when his short, Six Shooter, led to In Bruges (2008).

For comparison, there’s Brain Hecker’s 1998 debut Family Attraction (Vanguard), which the writer/director made while at the AFI. The film went on to become one of the organization’s most successful shorts, and yet it took Hecker a bit longer to develop and produce his first feature, 2008’s Bart Got a Room (Anchor Bay/Starz). Granted, Hecker had to start from scratch (and draw from his youth years to create a tale of prom angst), but the success in moving from short to feature is very much a crap shoot, determined by factors other than mere luck, timing, or accolades.

Just uploaded are reviews for Cashback, as well as Magnolia’s short film anthology, A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films, which contains the original version Cashback, as well as Six Shooter and several other notable shorts.

Coming shortly: Brain Hecker’s efforts, including Bart Got a Room and Family Matters.



Copyright © mondomark