A Day in the Life of a Short Film Programmer

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Today on the EIFF blog we're continuing our FIlm Festival Team series, A Day in the Life! Here's are a few words from Lydia Beilby, the Short Film Programmer at the Festival, on how she and her team select the best short-form filmmaking to screen each June.

The short film section of EIFF cuts across fiction, documentary, animation and experimental content.

I head up the team putting together the programmes of short fiction and documentary, and work alongside a team of three fabulous short film viewers.

The process begins for us in December, when the first festival submissions start filtering through our doors. Eagerly awaiting their arrival, the viewing team and I get a jump start on viewing all the cinematic treasures that come our way. This is always an exciting time!

What I find thrilling about a short film is the journey that they inevitably encapsulate, the sense that an atmosphere or story or even a rather complex narrative can be fully realised and explored within this compact time-frame.

What we are always searching for when we’re putting together the section for EIFF are brilliant examples of short-form filmmaking. Of course there’s not a formula that a filmmaker can follow to make a festival- standard film, but generally we look for a balance of form and aesthetic and a narrative, atmosphere or sensibility that grabs the viewer’s attention and fires up the imagination.

Through our selection we aim to harness the most exciting, vital, and vibrant short-form material from across the globe to showcase to the EIFF audience.

Like the wider EIFF programme, we are looking for innovative work and new voices; for films that make us think and feel differently about the world around us, and that offer different perspectives and new ways of seeing.

Searching out these films is both a pleasure and a privilege. Now that the gargantuan number of submissions having been watched and re-watched, meticulously reviewed and considered and the programmes carefully assembled, I can confidently say that there’s an amazing abundance of exciting short films that I can’t wait to share on the big screen in June!

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