In a surprise last-minute announcement, the New York Film Festival announced the addition of a new film from The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow. Not entirely a surprise with the fact that she is a much celebrated, Oscar-winning filmmaker that has made a point now of tackling big current issues with commendable gusto. What is surprising is that Bigelow’s new film is not just a short film, but a short film at a tight 3-minute running time.
The film, Last Days, is meant to bring about awareness for elephant poaching, and by “bring about awareness” I refer to how festival director Kent Jones says the viewer feels “the horrors of elephant poaching on a global scale.” Not to mention the film deals with the “economic, moral and political issues involved” and, again, all in 3 minutes. The film has been referred to as a PSA, which it sounds to be in the best way, as Jones reiterated he was floored by this “powerfully concise piece of work.”
Bigelow’s work recent work has been notably championed for its editing, so its no unfamiliar task for the director to get a lot of information and emotion across in 3 minutes. The distinction between a PSA and a “short film” in this scenario, where one is typically sent on the immediate viral YouTube track and one is reserved more for the film community, is interesting. Whether or not Bigelow plans to release the film online or in a large format of some kind has not been revealed. This world premiere makes it seem like she would rather take the approach of presenting the film personally, maybe in hopes to get it to the right minds.
The intentions here are, of course, unknown, but what we can at least appreciate here at AudNews is the power of the short film. Seeing immensely successful filmmakers take this route, and to this length (I mean seriously, some commercials on Hulu feel at least 3 minutes long) should be inspirational to aspiring filmmakers. Less is more. There is a lot of truth to that piece of writing advice, whether you are an Oscar winner or a high school student with a camcorder.
Or whoever makes those commercials, come on guys.
If you are in the area, Kathryn Bigelow’s Last Days will make its world premiere on Saturday, September 27th at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.