Dream Job: Cinema, To Go
Simon Goodrich wants you to get your filmic fix anytime, anywhere, and anyhow. That was the goal when the Melbourne, Australia-based community media pro and his friend, cross-media producer Andrew Apostola, launched the Portable Film Festival (PFF) in 2006: to create a festival experience that would transcend the festival format itself, with features and shorts made available online or for download to any portable device.
Indeed, PFF does not even have an official festival event unveiling films on the big screen in one physical location. There is a screening day, but this is merely a date when PFF supports others across the globe in presenting the festival fare through private showcases; whether those occur on a mobile phone or with a projector at a party is completely up to the host. The narratives, music videos, animation, and other festival content can also be viewed or downloaded online thereafter. In addition to the festival programming, PFF releases one new film a day through its online channel.
"We like to say that the Portable Film Festival is democratizing storytelling," says Goodrich, who serves as managing director of PFF. "We are providing storytelling opportunities for a wide audience in a whole new environment."
While good storytelling remains the focus, Goodrich says PFF filmmakers are increasingly producing for smaller screens. "I do think the production qualities have become more micro," he says. "People are considering that someone could be watching this on a 2in. screen or a 20ft. screen. They are thinking about how their narrative can adapt to these environments."
Goodrich says many of the films are made with HD cameras and full setups, but the festival also spotlights experimental pieces created with more lo-fi technology, such as cell phones and surveillance cams. Last year marked the first time PFF brought feature-length films into its mix, and Goodrich says the organization is hoping to add more in 2009. The call for submissions is currently ongoing, and the organization will release the festival works this August.
Through symposiums and workshops, PFF also brings people who have had success in online initiatives to Australia to speak and work one-on-one with local filmmakers and content producers. Goodrich says the organization plans to conduct more such events this year.