Many cities host film festivals that feature films from around the world. For the second year in a row, Melbourne, Australia is the source of an unusual film festival. Luckily for those us who don’t live in Australia, this festival can be viewed anywhere with an internet connection.
The Portable Film Festival features international short film and user created content. All films are distributed online via live streaming and are available for free.
The festival aims to democratize filmmaking and viewing. Even short films used to require a sizable budget, but today, most cellphone owners can be filmmakers. The online film festival gives everyone everywhere the ability to participate in the festival both by allowing anyone to send in content and by giving viewers the the opportunity to give feedback. The festival’s website allows viewers to register and rate the films, creating direct interaction between filmmakers and their audience.
This year’s festival includes more than 150 films from countries ad diverse as Australia, the US, France, Japan, Singapore, Lebanon, Costa Rica, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Romania, Estonia, Russia, Italy, and Greece, and the festival hopes to attract 150,000 viewers.
The festival splits the films into five categories: short film, music video, look at me, first hand capture, and media achiever. The films range the gamut from traditional short film and music videos to amateur video blogs to serials and documentaries captured on mobile phones and digital cameras.
Personally, I like the concept. Not all of the films are great, but the festival definitely contains some quality material. I really enjoyed “The Little Dictator” (see above), and hopefully, by this time next year, more of us will be watching the third annual Portable Film Festival on our TV screens.