Ocean News

The Power of Short

18th September 2009

This week we announced the three finalists in our Seas the Day Short Film Competition. Here they are in no particular order.

Finalist No 1: Why Should They? was produced, shot and edited by Ed Watkins. It was lensed on a RED ONE in a 2hr shoot, and cost $35 to make (a pair of speedos).

There is something special about a really good advertisement. I can still remember adverts I watched as a kid. They’ve somehow stayed in my memory for several decades – now that’s what I call effective communication. Looking back at the really good adverts the thing that separates them from the humdrum (not to mention downright irritating) ads I see everyday is that they’re not just commercial messages – they’re more than that. They have meaning, they have emotion, and above all they have a story. They’re probably better defined as “short films” and each one has that special “something”. That thing that you can’t quite put your finger on but when you see it, you know it.

It’s not a new idea to harness this powerful force of the advertisement for good. Conservation organisations have long recognised the value in these. WildAid for instance has a strong focus on Celebrity Endorsed PSA’s and we at SOSF have had success in this area before too with our Rethink the Shark Ad winning a Panda at Wildscreen last year. These “shorts” can be extremely effective at raising public awareness of conservation issues, often making use of humour, compelling images, a clever idea or a combination of these to get people’s attention.

Finalist No 2: Small Steps by Gavin Saville and Julie Kingdom (Wild Indie Movies)

The difficulty however, lies in coming up with a good idea in the first place. There’s a fine line between a short that’s clever / funny / memorable and something that makes you want to, well, not watch anymore. It’s finding an idea that has that special “something”. Enter the Seas the Day Short Film Competition. The idea behind the competition was to create a platform for people to share their ideas with us. Essentially allowing us to see which ideas have potential so that we could then take these and nurture them into world-class shorts. The type that people remember for decades!

This is the first year that we’ve run the competition and we’re really happy with the submissions we got. It was a difficult choice but we eventually managed to pick three finalists that will be shown at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival at the end of September. We will also be announcing the winner at the festival so keep watching this blog to see who get’s to take the $2,500 prize home with them.

Finalist No 3: Side Dish was written and directed by Michael Masson with cinematography by Alishia Hemingway.

Besides the top 3 there were a number of other films that we really liked. We’ll be contacting the relevant filmmakers in the upcoming months to see how we can get the most out of their ideas. Thanks to everyone who took the time to take part in the competition. We really enjoyed every single entry and look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.