Vimeo Staff Picks is the linchpin of the online short film community. If your short gets "staff picked" and featured across the site, you can expect Vimeo to deliver tens of thousands of views on the day of the film's online premiere (and many more thereafter).
Today, Vimeo bolsters its short film real estate by launching Vimeo Staff Pick Premieres, a year-long online film festival building upon the Staff Picks model. The standard 1,000 Vimeo Staff Picks laurels will continue to be awarded annually, but a select few will be elevated to a multiple award-winning "Best of Month" and, ultimately, "Best of the Year," with 120 films selected per year in the categories combined.
In addition, Vimeo will host one online premiere of a pre-selected Staff Pick per week via the Staff Pick Premiere festival. These films will receive on and off-site promotion, including editorial coverage and marketing support.
When No Film School spoke to Vimeo's Lead Curator Sam Morrill the day before the launch, he mentioned that one of the of the most exciting elements of the new platform is its open submissions process. Whereas Vimeo's curation team has scoured the web and festival circuit for short film Staff Picks since 2008, "for the first time ever, filmmakers are going to be able to submit their films for consideration," Morrill said.
"For the first time ever, filmmakers are going to be able to submit their films for consideration."
Morrill believes the Staff Pick Premieres initiative reflects a widespread acceptance of the online short film premiere. "Over the years curating for Vimeo, one of the big stories I've seen unfold has been the gradual embrace of the internet for quality short films," he said. "Years ago, there had been a stigma where short filmmakers didn't feel comfortable with their films online. It was just seen as beneath the festival circuit and the other traditional outlets for distribution. That's changed."
Vimeo's first Staff Pick Premiere is Danny DeVito's Curmudgeons, a choice which, according to Morrill, speaks to Vimeo's attempt to "to aim even higher and bring on higher-profile films to the platform." (We interviewed DeVito at Tribeca this year about the short.)
"So many of these films have fascinating stories behind them," said Morrill. "With Curmudgeons, for example, we did an interview Danny DeVito, who gave us an inside look into what it was like to make a film with his son and his daughter. We're finally going to start doing editorial around these films, so writing reviews, doing interviews, as well as more robust marketing."
Vimeo's content curation will remain consistent with its editorial voice, which Morrill describes as "unique and infinitely relatable."
"One of the great films that we curated on Vimeo Staff Picks recently was Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year," he said. "It's impossible not to relate to the story. It's this awkward but heartwarming mix of comedy and drama, and you don't really know what direction it's going in, but at the end of it, you love this character so much. It's unlike any other short we've seen. If every film that we premiered on Vimeo met those two standards—unique and relatable—we'd be really psyched."
"If every film that we premiered on Vimeo met those two standards—unique and relatable—we'd be really psyched."
Vimeo employs four full-time curators on the curation team. To select Vimeo Staff Picks, the curators peruse their Vimeo feeds every morning, on which they "follow thousands of creators that we know and like," said Morrill. "But we also have other methods to find videos from creators that we're not necessarily familiar with. The Vimeo Trending Feed, for example, we use a lot. People send us messages via the Vimeo messaging system. Personally, I use Twitter a lot. We also go to a lot of film festivals."
The short film is the ultimate calling card for the aspiring director. Vimeo's Staff Pick Premieres launch indicates that the company recognizes—and feels responsible for—its power to catapult shorts to success. "With Vimeo Staff Picks, we have the opportunity to showcase the work to an enormous audience," said Morrill. "When you consider the fact that even the best short films, during the course of their festival run, maybe play in front of 5,000 people at these film festivals total, the fact that we regularly deliver audiences that are 10 times that big is really exciting."
To submit your film for consideration to Vimeo Staff Pick Premieres, email Vimeo today.
Top photo credit: 'Memory Box,' directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, a Vimeo Staff Pick this week.