Neil Kendricks: 7th Annual Up&Coming Juror Statement

The late filmmaker and Cal Arts professor Alexander MacKendrick wrote “students films come in three sizes: too long, much too long, and very much too long.” MacKendrick’s no-nonsense statement is among the many insightful observations gleaned from his writings on film published posthumously in the book On Filmmaking, and he is spot on when pointing out the pitfalls and challenges of creating a powerful film in the short-film format.

The most compelling short films never wear out their welcome. And they best express themselves by embracing the age-old adage that “less is more.” High-quality short films catch the viewer’s attention by communicating their narratives and ideas visually rather than relying on dialogue or exposition to make their points. They let moving pictures speak for them and the viewer is engaged with the work on its own terms.

In many respects, creating short films can be just as challenging as envisioning a feature-length film. Great short films “show and don’t tell” and the best student films in the selection of finalists for ArtPower’s Up&Coming Student Film Festival emphasize visual storytelling to convey their eclectic content. The most promising, young filmmakers rise to the occasion, delivering pint-sized, cinematic visions that resonate with stories and images from the heart. What more can you ask for?