Burundi, East Africa was a country torn apart by 12 years of ethnic based civil war.
Approximately half of the population are aged 14 or less, with many households being headed by these youngsters.
The Burundi Film Centre (BFC) is a non-profit media development organization based in Bujumbura the capital of Burundi. In June 2007 co-founder Christopher Redmond initiated a pilot scheme aimed at training youth between the ages of 18-25 the basics in film theory and production. It allows young people to be children again, being creative and working as part of a team, sharing responsibilities and the joy of their achievements.
The youngsters have made several amazing films under sometimes, bizarre circumstances deserving of worldwide recognition, but could not afford to submit the films into competitions. After being contacted by the BFC and hearing their story organisers of the 2008 Super Shorts International Film Festival came to the unanimous decision to allow the five films created by the kids of Bujumbura to be submitted free of charge, acknowledging the importance of the project and understanding what it means to all involved.
“This festival was created for film makers, by film makers. We don’t care about your budget; it’s what you do with it. These kids have been given a great opportunity by the BFC and we wanted to show our support of that”
This year’s festival will screen 30 of the best short films submitted by talented producers & directors from 27 countries including Japan, Israel, Germany, France and the U.S. The children of Bujumbura are up against thousands of hopefuls for the ‘Short Film’ award, the centrepiece of the Super Shorts festival. Other competitions new to 2008 are the ‘Short Script’ and ‘Online Music Video.’ The Online Music Video award, sponsored by YouTube rivals Daily motion will be chosen by public vote. Short listed films will be judged by the Festival Jury consisting of the industries most respected experts in their respective fields of producing, directing and writing as well as top agencies such as Satusfaction, an agency for editors making that transition from television to the big screen.
Super Shorts have awarded filmmakers with £10’s of thousands in cash and valuable prizes, The BFC
project stand to win £1,000 (2,300,133 Burundian Francs). Main sponsors, Portobello post are joined alongside the world leader of video editing tools Avid and the Odeon cinema chain giving away cash prizes, and thousands of pounds worth of Avid Software.
“Our competitions are all aimed at championing the art of short films and the talent of short filmmakers for 2008 we created two new competitions to encompass producers and directors not only of film but of music videos as well as writers, without them these amazing stories would never exist”
MD Luti Fagbenle, Portobello Post
Trials and tribulations are nothing new to filmmakers all across the world, although no comparison can be made between the hardships of producers and those faced by the children of Burundi daily, filmmakers do face many obstacles when trying to establish themselves within the industry. Organisers of this year’s Portobello Post Super Shorts film festival brings together writers, actors, producers and directors with Q&A sessions, networking events, and the main award show, offering short filmmakers the opportunity to pick the brains of industry heavy weights such as Oscar nominee Marshall Herskovitz, producer of Blood Diamond.
Film lovers are welcome to join international guests to the free screening events taking place at the Odeon Covent garden and the VMI in Soho London. All events are free admission. For information on screening dates and times visit www.supershorts.org.uk.