[unironic press release]

COLUMBUS, OH – October 18, 2005
“Filmmaking is the new writing. The short film is the new short story.”
--publisher, The Journal of Short Film

Short film is quickly becoming the most talked about art form that no one ever sees. Such films are rarely screened outside of obscure festivals. This lack of a venue led Karl Mechem—an unknown filmmaker and textbook editor by trade—to publish the first film quarterly on DVD. Modeling The Journal of Short Film on a literary journal, he announced the call for submissions in the spring of 2005. Volume 1 was released on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

It is the JSF’s intention to be short film’s new venue, to introduce masses of independent filmmakers to the world, and to popularize short film. It is also interested in diversity: almost half of Volume 1’s filmmakers are women, and a wide range of film is represented, including narrative, documentary, and experimental work.

While filmmaking is being revolutionized by digital technology, film distribution is not. “I can’t understand what distributors are missing—shortening attention spans, the DVD-buying craze, and the popularity of d.i.y. work all point to short film taking off,” Mechem says. He notes recent film phenomena like the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival’s short film contest on Amazon.com, New York City’s first Gotham City Short Film Festival, the Current TV network’s broadcasts of independently-produced short documentaries, and podcasts that are quickly becoming video-casts.

Mechem had a film-related epiphany in West Africa in 2004. While shooting documentary footage in Mali with his cheap digital camcorder, he bumped into an American woman with a cheap camera doing the same thing. He realized digital technology had changed everything. “The digital camera has brought the Gutenberg revolution to filmmaking. Johannes, not Steve. It will be the most democratic thing ever to happen to film.”

But it’s not just art that Mechem wants to democratize; politics is next. The JSF’s first spin-off publication will be The Journal of Political Film, coming this winter. Its purpose will not be one of the Left or Right, but will focus on exploring political communication.

The JSF’s publisher and editors are acutely aware of the economics of film distribution. Like many of the films in the Journal, it is produced with volunteer help and Apple software. Its office is an apartment in central Ohio.

The JSF is ad-free and is committed to keeping the cost of subscriptions low. ($10/vol., $36/subscription for 4 volumes, at www.theJSF.org)

[see also  http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/cotown/la-et-shortfilm14oct14,1,4774152.story?coll=la-headlines-business-enter]