OTTAWA (Reuters) – Budding Canadian film makers looking for a big break may want to think small — about 2 inches by 2 inches to be exact — organizers of Canada’s first mobile film festival said Wednesday.
Mobifest producers are looking for bite-sized films that are up to 60 seconds long and produced for viewing on cellphones and other handheld devices.
“The big picture is that there’s a billion (mobile) phones worldwide and an increasing percentage of them are playing back video,” said Duncan Kennedy, president of Nownow Corp., which is producing the contest. “It’s a new distribution channel for independent film making.”
Similar festivals, for what is dubbed “short attention span theater,” have been launched in Portugal and Asia. Industry executives recently gathered at the Sundance Film Festival to predict the future of the small screen.
Mobifest already has a few entries, including one from U.S. animator Mike Browne, whose “Brokeback Chicken” spoofs Ang Lee’s Oscar favorite “Brokeback Mountain.”
“We see a lot of these submissions being funny,” said Kennedy. “We hope people are going to share these laughs together, and why wouldn’t you want to have a joke in your pocket?”
So-called “pocket films” ideally have limited dialogue, because they are played on phones and often compete with background noise, and have lots of close shots and large text and titles, added Kennedy. His year-old, Toronto-based company produces and distributes made-for-mobile movies under sponsorship and carrier deals.
Sponsored by Palm Canada, Mobifest will accept international submissions through April 30, with winners announced May 17.
Finalists will be picked by online voters, who can view films at www.mobifest.ca. Judges will then determine winners for best Canadian mobile film, best of festival, and best film shot and edited exclusively on a Palm Treo smartphone.
Award-winning films will premiere on Movieola, The Short Film Channel, and screen on Air Canada flights this summer. The festival winner also gets a mobile movie production package worth about C$1,500 ($1,327).

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