Alexa and João Rodrigues *Founders Shortcutz Amsterdam*
They have their ‘Wednesday Look’, sipping on their lemonade and beer. As usual, Alexa and João Rodrigues have spent most of the night editing the photos taken during Tuesday’s session of their weekly shorts program at the Kring: Shortcutz Amsterdam. It’s the first thing attendees look for on Facebook the morning after the session: their pictures. The international guests of Shortcutz Amsterdam usually stay at Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy, and we are showing a ‘General Audiences’ selection of winning short films on the Lloyd tv-channel in all hotel rooms.
Shortcutz Network is an initiative of Rui de Brito, who started Shortcutz Lisbon in 2010. It is now in Berlin, Porto, Lisbon and London. Alexa and João started Shortcutz Amsterdam on January 2013, after having moved here for economic reasons. ‘But it was not very well thought-out’, says Alexa, ‘we are more emotional in making our decisions. What I immediately liked was the straightforwardness of the Dutch, and the fact that people are so approachable. Within two weeks we were talking to a major film director like George Sluizer, for instance. In Portugal this would not be possible. Here all directors reply to our calls, talk to us, and treat us with respect.’
João adds ‘And people are not afraid that you will take their place. When they like your project, they want to join and make it better. So to work here is easier’.
Shortcutz receives funding from the AFK and Dutch Film Fund, and is talking to investors. This is the positive result of their popular weekly evenings at the Kring. João: ‘We are the only weekly platform, showcasing three films per week, one of which is from an already established filmmaker. It is an informal exchange between movie lovers and filmmakers. And it’s also a great networking opportunity, for example if you are looking for a crew-member. Submissions for the programme are always open. We have three rules: films need to be under 15 minutes, they have to be Dutch related either through the story or the crew, and they must have been produced in the last 12 months before the submission to Shortcutz.’
João and Alexa make the preselection each week. Then it’s up to the jury members (including top names such as Tygo Gernandt, George Sluizer and Hanna Verboom) to watch the films and vote for the Winner of the Month. Monthly winners can be screened at EYE before their feature films. They also get the chance to be bought by Shorts TV, which is present in 30 million homes worldwide. In the Netherlands it’s available on UPC, video on demand and on the internet. At the end of the year, the Best Film is given a prize worth up to €15,000 at Shortcutz Amsterdam Annual Awards ceremony.
With a weekly reach of 25.000 people through Facebook, it seems clear Shortcutz Amsterdam is a success.
João: “I think after almost two years we now know the field, the filmmakers, producers and actors well. Now we are going to focus more on the audience, the movie lovers. We are inviting more actors to our sessions, because these are more known faces and people love asking them questions and meeting them.”
Their April program looks pretty exciting. Alexa: ‘We’ll screen the Oscar nominees for Best Shorts Live Action Films, including the winner. And then we have Chris Mitchell, who just finished the Dutch horror film ‘De Poel’. Also actress Monic Hendrickx is our guest this month. She’s now starring in 'Kenau'. Then we’ll welcome director Dana Nechushtan, whose film Dunya & Desie was the Dutch submission for the Oscars in 2008. And finally actor Pierre Bokma will be there on the last Tuesday of April. We’re very excited.’