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Film festivals have been around for almost as long as films themselves. The first biggie was held in Venice in 1932, Cannes kicked off in 1946, while the longest continually running festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival started a year later. But times they are a changing and with new technology, new gatherings of film devotees and filmmakers are springing up all the time. One new genre making waves is mobile movies. Here’s five festivals celebrating this brave new world.

Tribeca Festival – New York, USA, 17-28th April

A new category on Tribeca’s award circuit celebrates narratives created by talented transmedia artists. The remit? To reward ‘creators who employ an innovative, interactive, web-based or multi-platform approach to story creation.’ Two years ago The Tribeca Film Institute and Ford Foundation’s JustFilms set up a fund of $750,000 to support non-traditional filmmaking, such as micro-blogging and short films. Robert di Niro helped found the institute – so it has quite a pedigree.

New Media Film Festival -LA, USA, 11-12th June

More buzz than a bucketful of bees, New Media is a dynamic and fun festival begun by the very personable Susan Johnston. She talks about the platform for film as a ‘creative sandbox.’  There is also a specific category for ‘Mobile/Tablet’ entries– audiovisual works made on a mobile phone, which can be as short as 30 seconds. They even offer distribution to some of the films that are not accepted into the festival.

Oska Bright Film Festival – Brighton, UK, 17-19th November

Filmmaking, the joy of expression and creativity, is for everyone.   Nowhere is this more evident than at Oska Bright. Dedicated to anyone with a learning disability and now accepting entries worldwide– it celebrates the art of the short film and encourages five minute masterpieces. They even raised money to take screenings ‘on the road’ and encourage  entrants to use art, videos and mobile technology to mix and match to perfection.

Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival, 17-20th April

This one is as specific as it sounds. When it began in 2011, the festival received 470 films, all created on smartphones. Many were from teenagers. This year they have divided the competition into three sections – teens, local and international entries. Eleven prizes award ingenuity and excellence.  Festival Director Lee Jun-ik says ‘The message that we want to spread with this festival is to have a dream.’

The Bridport Prize’s flash film competition – Sixty second stories, 10-14th April

A competition that challenges filmmakers to adapt existing stories to the screen, in a minute or less. The only stipulation is that the source must be literary and all entrants are under 25. Joe Dunthorne, the author of Submarine, which was adapted into a film of the same name, is curating – ‘I’ve always been into film as much as books so I’m happy for the opportunity to weld my interests together.’


The days of filmmaking being for the rich or the well-connected, now seem archaic. The only connections you need are a fully charged ‘phone and a brain sparking ideas. If this sound like you, why not enter our Nokia Music Short Film Competition? Launched in association with Sundance London, the brief is simple: To showcase the amazing, the unusual and the unknown music happening underground around the world.

A fantastic festival of film fun


Filmmakers need to simply upload a short 15 to 60 secs video trailer by March 21st visualizing the underground music scene in their chosen city. Think of this trailer as an audition, which showcases your concept. If your idea is chosen, you’ll receive two Nokia Lumia 920s and a $5,000 budget to shoot your film. What’s more, both films are guaranteed a special screening at the Sundance London Film & Music Festival (2013) in April, and one lucky grand prizewinner will walk away with $5,000 and a Nokia Lumia 920.

Think you’ve got what it takes to make your mark in mobile movies? Then get filming!

Image credit: Phillip Pessar