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From the Editor: Camera? Who needs a camera?

By Tom Inglesby

Today’s cine cameras can fit in a shirt pocket and produce digital output at the highest resolution the delivery systems can reproduce. And in keeping with the “smaller, smaller, smallest” trend in everything electronic, the ubiquitous cell phone has become a cine camera.

Which brings us to the concept of the mobile film festival. They are popping up all over the world, it seems. Let’s focus on the celebration of cell phone cinema right here in the USA: the International Mobil Film Festival being held next April in San Diego. The driving force behind the festival is Susan Botello of S. Botello Productions, who explains, “The purpose of our film festival is not only to create interest and spark creativity in people of all ages with limited income or resources, but to actually inspire creative filmmakers to live up to their potential and realize the opportunity to fulfill their dream.”

The 2015 event will be the fourth and expects to entertain a record number of entries. According to Botello, “Our mobile media film festival will take place in San Diego, where we’ll have a live event venue in which we feature the films competing, film festival partners from around the globe, our global Community Stories program and much more. And all the films will have been shot on mobile phones!”

The festival isn’t the only place for artistic release using a cell phone. Botello also launched Mobile Film Television (MFTV), an online mobile film distribution network back in 2013. The mobile television channel, while still in its infancy, is a venue for mobile filmmakers to distribute their mobile phone films via a channel that will play their short films on just about any device or screen with Web access.

“This new medium is ready for filmmakers,” Botello says. “Films will be available around the world from filmmakers around the world. The films can be displayed on screens of any size. We’ll be showcasing them at the International Mobil Film Festival on big screens as well.”

Films for MFTV do not have to be submitted to the film festival and the length of the films differ. As with any distribution company, a filmmaker will need to enter into a distribution contract and release their films for distribution by MFTV. There is no limit to how many films a filmmaker can submit for distribution or how many films a particular filmmaker or production company may submit or be distributed.

“The criteria for films is simple: it is strictly for films shot with mobile phones,” says Botello. “We are not seeking just films that are traditionally cinematic. We hope to include quality experimental films from mobile filmmakers. Throughout both the festival and the MFTV channel, production values are important. We want these to be quality films, just shot on mobile phones.”

More information is available online, of course, at www.mobilfilmfestival.com. See you — and your cell phone film — in San Diego April 25 and 26, 2015.

October 29, 2014