Edinburgh Shorts at Hidden Door 2017

We’re back at Hidden Door for the 2017 events and this year’s abandoned building of choice is the Leith Theatre!

Our first night there was on Saturday 27th May when we and we also held a night of black comedy on Tuesday night. As usual, the Hidden Door team have undertaken a huge and awe-inspiring job of work on the building which was last occupied in 1989.

Luckily for us, Alexandra Person was on hand to take some stills of the proceedings and we are delighted to be able to present them here!

We’re back at Hidden Door for our final night of on Saturday June 3rd  and we’ll have another report from the artistic front-line shortly, we’re also piecing together a short film detailing some of the highlights at this year’s events..

In the meantime, here’s some of Alexandra’s fantastic stills capturing some of the atmosphere!

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Edinburgh Shorts Interviewed by Tokyo’s Short Shorts Film Festival


We’re very honoured to have been interviewed recently by our 2016/2017 partners, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, the biggest short film event in Asia! We’re curating 4 nights of short films at the 2017 Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia events in June.

We’ll be publishing some images and a news report about the festival nearer the time – our very lucky press co-ordinator, Alice Shone is going all the way there to represent the ESFF at the event and with a bit of luck she’ll be able to send us some stills!


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Edinburgh Shorts Regular Submission Deadline Looms!

The Regular submission deadline for the 2017 Edinburgh Short Film Festival is Monday 15th May!

Last chance to submit at the regular submission fee rate!

Entrants will be eligible for one of our 3 awards for 2017:

  • Best Director
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • Rising Star Award

and will be eligible for inclusion on our Global Tour for 2017/2018:

  • MECAL – Barcelona International Short Film & AnimationFestival
  • DC Shorts in Washington DC
  • Sardinia Film Festival
  • Hidden Door Arts Festival
  • Short Shorts Film Festival (Tokyo)

But time is running out on our regular deadline which ends on 15th May..so much to do..so little time, just don’t blame the intern if you miss it!



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Edinburgh Short Film Festival 2017 Global Tour – Programming Festivals Worldwide!


The Edinburgh Short Film Festival always been very active about creating partnerships with film festivals across the world and we’re delighted at just how much our festival partnership projects have expanded in recent years!

Part of our ethos is to work as hard as we can to promote the excellent short films that we screen every year at the ESFF and the hugely creative film-makers behind them. We spend a lot of our time creating partnerships and screening opportunities to show off the best short films to our partner festivals across the globe.

Great news for travel-bug short films this year then, as we have at least 5 partnerships and a whole host of extra events lined up for this year’s best shorts..


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ESFF Programme for Japan’s Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017


ESFF Programme for Japan’s Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017
Our programme and dates for the Edinburgh Short Film Festival Programme at Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017 have now been finalised and we’re excited to be able to reveal the programme!

The festival was founded by actor Tetsuya Bessho and the first festival was held in Tokyo in 1999, screening 6 short films made by George Lucas, when he was a student and has grown to become Japan’s (and one of Asia’s biggest) short film events. So we are very honoured to have been asked to curate a programme for this year’s

The 2017 edition runs from 1 June (Thu) through 25 June (Sun) and we’re delighted that the organisers have scheduled the ESFF programme for four nights during the festival run!

Weds 7th June we’ll be at the Festival’s unique dedicated short film cinema, the Brillia Short Shorts Theater
in Yokohama,

On Thursday 15th June, we’re screening at the iTSCOM Studio in Tokyo

Friday 16th June and Saturday 24th June, we’ll be back at the Brillia Short Shorts Theater in Yokohama!

We’ll have more details in the run up to the event so watch this space!



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ESFF Programming for the 2017 Fastnet Film Festival

We’re very pleased to have been asked to prepare a programme for the Fastnet Film Festival for their 2017 edition and looking forward to working with them and their ‘Light From the Land’ project!

The Fastnet Film Festival has been running in Schull, County Cork in Ireland since 2009 and the patrons include Sir David Puttnam, Steve Coogan and Jim Sheridan, so they have obviously made quite an impact!

We’ll be announcing the programme for Fastnet in the coming weeks – the screening is scheduled to take place on Thursday 25th May, there is no cinema in Schull so the festival organisers effectively use the whole village of Schull as the cinema! Quite a unique idea and there’s also workshops, visiting film-makers, and some outstanding shorts!

We’ll be publishing more about the Fastnet Film Festival and ‘Light from the Land’ as well as announcing the programme in a wee while so watch this space!



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Talking Dead Cats with Ivan Barge director of ‘Madam Black’

Ivan Barge directed the multi-award winning, Madam Black, a deliciously dark comedy with novel use for a dead cat.

On the way home from work,Marcus runs over a cat. He meets its young owner, Tilly and tells her that Madam Black has gone on a round-the-world trip. When Tilly asks for evidence, Marcus promises to bring Madame Black’s postcards to her. Madame Black won the Director’s Choice award at Rhode Island International Film Festival, and the Prix de Public at the Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival prior to it’s screening at the 2016 Edinburgh Short Film Festival.
Heres a link to the trailer to gave you a taste of the film..
 Hilariously funny and also charming, despite the slightly edgy use of a dead feline, Madam Black was a favourite with Edinburgh audiences this year, what was the inspiration behind the film?
 Matthew Harris wrote the script and he was inspired by a couple of things. An unfortunate accident he had with a kitten that he stood on in the middle of night while nursing his crying baby, it was touch and go for a while but fortunately the kitten came through, however it never really purred the same again. As well as a story recounted by Dora Diamant, the lover of author Franz Kafka.
According to Diamant, she and Kafka met a little girl in a park who was crying because she had lost her doll. Kafka told her not to worry since the doll was away on a trip and would be sending correspondence.
How much of a challenge was it to obtain a lifelike cat corpse? Co-incidentally, someone I know is making a film that features roadkill, any advice?
 It was really hard, we were two weeks out from shooting with no cat, which given the story was problematic. But my art director managed to find one at the eleventh hour, which meant all the postcards in the film had to be composited, as the stills shoot with the cat had to happen after the film as there just wasn’t enough time. I would suggest trying vets, we had a few options, but they weren’t quite right, ‘Madam Tortoiseshell’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Has the cat loving community in New Zealand taken to the film, or do you get hate mail from cat fanciers?
There has been no hate mail thus far, in fact we won the Audience Award at the New Zealand International Film Festival and I’m sure there were a few cat lovers in the audience. It’s not like we put a hit out on a cat, although that would have been tempting given how close to the shoot we were when we finally managed to source one.
Thankfully when we got her ‘Madam Black’ had already passed into the afterlife, although there seems to be some truth in the proverb ‘A cat has nine lives’. She’s been immortalised onscreen and has had a festival run which doesn’t seem to want to end, we are 21 months in.
We especially loved the ending, where Madam Black marries another cat and settles down in Scotland (apparantly inside Eilean Donan castle!) Was that always in the script or were you just trying to impress us? A lazy director might have got them married in Paris for example!
I had to go back to the script to answer that, as it’s been so long, Matt is a very visual writer and so he scripted most of the destinations such as Pisa, as wells as the forced perspective in that shot, and the Taj Mahal. However there was a bit of leeway with Scotland, Ginger Tom is scripted as wearing a kilt and they are both standing beside a wedding car.
I treated the postcards and the backdrops as a whole, I wanted the audience to think that perhaps the character ‘Marcus’ had bought them somewhere as a job lot, I wanted them to feel if as if they were part of the same world. I came up with some reference in terms
of tone and photos of places that were shot as close to the angle we needed, so we had the right perspective.
Local illustrator, James Stewart, nailed it and it’s a testament to collaborating with talented people, he took what I gave him and made something much better than I could ever have imagined.
From there we had a lot of fun introducing foreground elements, such as props and wardrobe, to bring his 2d images to live. In the wedding scene, we didn’t have money for a cat tuxedo and there are not to many available at the hire shops. So that’s a piece of MDF with a suit painted on to it, with the
cats head and paws poking out.
As a child I spent a lot of time in the Highlands, my father lived in Inverness, it’s such a magical place that it seemed the perfect location for a cat wedding. It probably could have been any number of castles in that part of the world, but I found an image of Eilean Donan that felt like a great fit.
What changes to the film did the challenges of shooting it lead to?
We wen’t into the shoot after a lot of read throughs, both between myself and the writer and the cast. As well as a storyboard for every frame, not that you have to be that rigid, but it meant we went into the shoot with a blueprint, which helped immensely.
They say there is the film you imagined, the film you shot and the one you edited. That certainly was the case with ‘Madam Black’, particular the ending which was not working in the edit. The film finished at the party scene which felt abrupt and so a year after the shoot we did a pick up. We shot an album of the postcards over the shoulder of Pearl Everard, who plays ‘Tilly’, we had to as kids grow up so quickly. It’s the final shot in the film, it add’s a comic beat but more importantly it gave us a full stop.

What are you planning next and will it still be a comedy?

I’ve got a couple of feature projects at the early stages, I suspect there will be a few laughs in both, but like ‘Madam Black’ they are are a mixture of comedy and pathos, ‘make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait’. I like stories that mirror life, in our saddest moments there is often laughter and vice versa. It’s how we cope.

Matt is writing a script and I will be excited to read that as they are alway a joy. He creates wonderfully original narratives, he understands structure and writes fantastic dialogue. On top of that, I just love working with him, as he’s a great collaborator.
Also I have an adaptation of Laurence Fearnley’s novel ‘Edwin & Matilda (An Unlikely Love Story)’ in development with the New Zealand Film Commission. Martha Hardy-Ward, who wrote ‘Ellen is Leaving’ which won Jury Awards at SXSW and San Francisco a few years ago, is working on the second draft which I should get back at the end of April. With film you never know what’s going to stick, what’s going to get made and so you just have to keep plugging away.
Ivan Barge Headshot
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