MOVIES ON THE BRAIN: The Montreal 60 Second Film Festival turns 5
In a town awash with film festivals, it can be hard to stand out. But only one fest has no admission fee, no jury, and a strict length requirement of one minute. The Montreal 60 Second Film Festival (M60), currently celebrating its fifth year of existence, is throwing a party tonight, Thursday July 18, at which prospective filmmakers can sign up to participate, and are given one month to create their minute- long masterwork.
Sean Michaels, perhaps best known for the Said the Gramophone music blog, has been part of the festival’s seven-member organizing committee since its inception. “It came together five years ago in a very casual, around-the-table, shooting-the-shit sort of conversation,” he recalls. “It was a winter’s night and we were having a chat at Sala Rossa, how we should get together and make a movie. Someone had the bright idea that we should make short movies. Like a lot of good ideas, it started in one direction and then we were reeling off in another direction. Suddenly we were starting to think about the whole community getting involved.”
In a move that evokes an old-school Montreal spirit, the project is very much about creativity, not competition. “We’re people who love watching movies and love short films but have no authority whatsoever,” declares Michaels. “It’s a bunch of amateurs who are busy setting up a platform for other amateurs—and any professionals who want to get involved,” he adds, noting that “John S. Weldon, who’s actually an Oscar-winning filmmaker, does a kind of grotesque, wonderful animation every year.”
Why a minute? “Because there’s no jury, no judges, you risk having some pieces of shit beside the masterpieces, so one minute is the perfect time,” says Michaels candidly. “If something’s really good, it leaves you desperately wanting to see more. And no matter how bad a movie is, one minute doesn’t give you the chance to get bored or to ruminate on its hideousness.” ■
The M60 fifth anniversary and registration party goes down tonight, Thursday July 19, at Casa del popolo (4873 St. Laurent), free, with entertainment courtesy of Tom Mennier, Confabulation and Cat Kidd. See the M60 website or Facebook event for more info.