We pinch pennies, then use those pennies to make our films. Wouldn't it be great if we actually got paid pennies to shoot the shorts we're so hellbent on making?
That's exactly what the Bureau of Creative Works
wants to do. Their goal: increase the value of short films as an art form and pay artists to make them. How? The first half of their model is to give 12 filmmakers $1500-$3000 each to make a short film. The second half is to house a subscription-based platform for filmmakers & film lovers to watch the shorts as they come out over the course of 12 months.
Founded by bonafide independent-filmmaker-duo Erica Hampton and Mike Ambs, the Bureau has a grant submission
for this year's two remaining filmmaker spots, and a Kickstarter campaign
for subscriptions. If you subscribe on Kickstarter, the Bureau waives the submission fee of the grant, and you get all twelve films to boot.
Beyond just getting funds to make your short, the appeal of a platform like the Bureau is the prospect of growing a more viable short film community. Writing for No Film School, I see how many talented and thoughtful filmmakers are out there making amazing short films on a daily basis, without being able to make it a career. From Mike Ambs and Erica Hampton about the Bureau's hopes to change that:
Filmmakers spend $10k,$ 20k, $80k of our own money, that we don't have, to produce our work. We spend thousands submitting to festivals, we spend thousands just to hand over our work to distributors who often don't take the time or energy to promote what we've worked so hard to create. The BUREAU is the opposite of the this system, in every sense - and we hope that filmmakers will become a part of the community, to help it grow it, to help guide it, and to help make a unified statement that *this* is how things should work. We shouldn't settle for a system that constantly scrapes off the top. We hope that people will respond to what we're doing - we think it can have a real impact, not just in terms of opportunity for the 12 filmmakers each year, but a real impact on the audiences perception of films and their value.
What's the Bureau looking for in a film grant applicaiton? Capable filmmakers with a strong voice, who will use the opportunity to experiment. A big part of the decision process will come from looking at your past work. And while the Bureau is just getting started this year, they have big plans for the future. From Mike and Erica:
We have such big plans for The BUREAU! We are working hard to grow our audience, our partners and resources for participating filmmakers, and to continue to provide small production budgets for 12 films each year. Depending on how we grow, possibly more per year! We will steadfastly stand by our goal of providing a low pressure environment where filmmakers are free to experiment and create work that might otherwise never be made.
What do you think about the short film community today? As a filmmaker, what would you want to see from a platform like the Bureau?