Judging from the finalists in this year's Filminute Festival, it's all about the twist when it comes to making a great one-minute movie. "We're looking for filmmakers who can grab you right from the beginning, compel you to keep watching, and then hit you with a powerful ending that makes you immediately want to watch it again," says festival co-founder John Ketchum.
Running through September 30, the juried contest invites viewers to vote for their favorite short-listed videos, which include a touching kids-with-kites piece from Afghanistan, a dark Colombian thriller, brooding romance from France and an Indian comedy about hallucinating apartment hunters.
Previous jurors have included ad agency heavyweights like Tor Myhren, Mark Tutssel and Prasoon Joshi, plus movie directors Richard Linklater, Paul Haggis and Neill Blomkamp, who jump-started his own career by blowing Peter Jackson away with a six-minute sci-fi short.
This year, the jury includes 2013 prize winner Khris Burton, a Martinique filmmaker whose 60-second drama Maybe Another Time delivers a gut-wrenching reversal during its final couple of seconds. Burton says "As a spectator, the most important thing for me is to be surprised. The thing I hate the most when I'm watching a movie is when I'm able to anticipate what's coming."
Burton shot Maybe Another Time in two hours, using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera, natural sunlight and a boom mike to capture performances by Gloriah Bonheur and Vincent Vermignon, pictured above. He says, "The idea was to send the audience in a certain direction, and then switch it over as fast as I could."
Burton, who recently unveiled a spooky five-minute thriller as part of his step-by-step plan to expand into features, points out the up side of small-scale movie making. "Anybody can get the money to make a one minute film. Even if you have no budget, you can figure out a way to make cinema from nothing and I think that's kind of awesome."
Check out the slide show to watch five minutes worth of shortlisted shorts including Maybe Another Time, the animated Busker and Earth's Last Hope comedy, pictured above.