Future Shorts is an established international short film festival with screenings in over 150 cities and 60 countries around the world. It is the only pop-up film festival of its kind, showcasing innovative short films from the international film making community. Based in Platoon Kunsthalle, in Gangnam, has decided to hold a competition for film makers in Korea, turning the spotlight on local talent. The film contest offers the chance for budding and established film makers to get funding for a short film project and to have their film screened at the next Seoul Future Shorts festival.

The competition is the second of its kind at Future Shorts Seoul. As the Seoul events are strictly not for profit, the film contest initially started when the Future Shorts team were looking for a way to put the profits back into the local creative community. Pete McGowan, head co-ordinator of Future Shorts Seoul was on hand at the festival on Saturday to talk a little bit about the competition. “At the first two events, people kept telling us how many film makers they’d met in Seoul and asking us, ‘Are we going to see local people’s films here?’” he explained. “And it gave us the idea. We want to show local film makers, but to make it even better, let’s give them money to make an even better movie.” Judging by the film made by John Weeke, the winner of the first competition, Pete said that Han Rock is “the evidence itself” that the competition was worthwhile. “We ended up with such an incredible movie,” he said.

Talking about the first competition, Pete remarked, “The volume of submissions we had was actually amazing. One of the big things about Future Shorts is that it brings together so many fields of artists.”

So amongst all those submissions, what was it about Han Rock that made it stand out as the winner? Pete thought about this for a moment. “It was the fact that we had not just an incredible filmmaker [Weeke], but one who had recognized such a creative and fantastic person: the owner of Suzie Q. We at Future Shorts love this country so much and Weeke was showing some of the great parts of what Seoul, South Korea has to offer. It was a great representation of the people and the country, and it showed a lot of passion to us.”

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The amount of funding available to the winner of the second competition will be 1 million won. One of the requirements for entry is a budget list for how the money will be spent. For those who may not know what to include, Pete explained, “We’re just looking to see how the money will be used. For example, the winning person or team might want to put the money towards sourcing film makers in Korea to work for them, maybe hire actors, pay to use locations or use a bit of money for the equipment itself.” The team mainly wants to see that the money will be used for “The right purposes.” In order to enter the competition, entrants will also be required to submit a script or a detailed synopsis of their proposed film. The film can be any genre. The main things that are important to the team are “creativity and originality.”

The success of Han Rock shows the potential of this competition. “Han Rock has done very well and I believe Weeke is now looking to enter it into other film festivals,” stated Pete. The Future Shorts team are clearly passionate about film and eager to nurture talent in the creative community in Korea. In addition to the film contest, they’re continuously looking for ways to expand and improve the festival. “We feel that the film competition’s a great idea, but Future Shorts will be constantly expanding” says Pete. “We’re thinking that in the future we might have a 24 hour or 48 hour competition. So beforehand, we’ll be giving some strict rules and restrictions, and then we’ll pick the best top 5 or 10 to screen at Future Shorts. The best film will win a cash prize to make an even bigger film for the Future Shorts after that.”

Following the success of the last competition, it will be interesting to see what results from Korea’s film making community this time around. Regardless of what happens, Pete and the rest of the team at Platoon Kunsthalle are looking forward to it. “What’s better than us showing fantastic short films, other than to be able to show people from Seoul their fantastic short films? Future Shorts brings so many creative people together. It’s important for us to keep it going.”

Interested parties should submit their script or detailed synopsis, along with their budget lists and any questions to by December 1st. Examples of previous film work is also welcome to support your application. The winner will be announced on December 8th.

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Photographs by Trevor Nault and Emma Sparkes

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