Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Backstage West
HollyShorts to Showcase New Filmmakers, Brolin
August 06, 2008
By Robert C. Nicolais
In four years, Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont have seen the HollyShorts Film Festival they co-founded grow from a one-day screening to a four-day film festival attended by some of Hollywood's top stars. Now they hope to give a similar boost to the directors, producers, and actors who will showcase their work at the fest Aug. 7-10, at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre and Nacional nightclub, as well as Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatres in West Hollywood.

"The festival is a great platform for indie filmmakers to get their work out there and advance their careers," said Dumont, producer of the event that features some of the best films under 30 minutes from around the globe. "These are up-and-comers, and we want to give them the exposure they deserve. Los Angeles is the hub of the acting and filmmaking world, so why not have a short-film festival out here? We can bring in local people, and they can network and work together afterwards. That was our goal from the start." HollyShorts will also help educate new filmmakers with panels Aug. 9 and 10 that will explore the creative and business aspects of filmmaking.

However, not all the actor-filmmakers participating in HollyShorts are unknowns. SAG Award winner Josh Brolin will premiere his directorial debut, X, on the fest's opening night. Brolin's film will screen alongside Hole in the Paper Sky, directed by Bill Purple and starring Jessica Biel, and Nosebleed, directed by Jeff Vespa and starring David Arquette.

"With shorts, more than anything you want to see what people can do with 20 minutes," Brolin said. "It says a lot about them. I'm looking forward to all the films. I'm nervous about mine, but I'm excited for the festival."

Like many of us, Brolin scours sites such as YouTube and FunnyOrDie, which have made short films more popular than ever. "You find a lot of filmmakers online that you usually wouldn't come across," he said. "It makes it a lot easier to put together a story and not have to spend a lot of money. I think it's positive because people get a chance to manifest something creative."

Dumont believes that the Web gives filmmakers the opportunity to be creative and possibly make a career out of online shorts. "The Internet allows filmmakers and actors to build a fan base, audience, and network for free," he said. "Blogs and websites help aid actor's résumés, add a revenue stream, and build a platform for a feature film. You can put a movie online, come up with a marketing campaign for it, and eventually make a living off of it. Sites like YouTube have created all of those opportunities for filmmakers and actors."

Paying Homage

HollyShorts will also honor two iconic directors on its opening night: Writer-director Paul Haggis will receive the HollyShorts Outstanding Achievement in Film Award, and David Lynch will be awarded the HollyShorts Visionary Award. The fest will introduce a new award titled the HollyShorts David Lynch Foundation Student Short Film Award next year.

Another awards ceremony for the participating filmmakers will close the festival Aug. 10. "Last year we gave out awards for best actor and actress along with awards recognizing achievements in editing, direction, and cinematography," said fest director Sol. "We expect to give out even more awards this time around."

Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatres are located at 8000 Sunset Blvd.,West Hollywood, Calif. The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Calif. Passes for the fourth annual HollyShorts Film Festival are $20-$40. Tickets for individual short-film program — including opening night — are $10. To purchase tickets or for more information visit

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