Easton’s micro film festival makes an international splash
Who says you need a feature-length runtime to tell a compelling story through film? Certainly not Jason Daniels, the founder and coordinator of the 100-Second Film Festival. Though it’s based out of Easton, the festival attracts filmmakers from 30 countries around the world. Daniels, a Canton, Massachusetts, native, cultivated his passion for video and digital art during his formative college years at Rutgers. It was also there that he realized the importance of alternative media, specifically that of public access TV. Today, Daniels works as the executive director of Easton Community Access Television.
We asked how this unique festival found its roots, and what we should particularly look forward to.
How did you get involved with the festival?
In 2003 I was able to help produce a One Minute Video Festival in Lowell, Mass. From there, my own interest expanded into a 100-Second Film Festival. One hundred seemed like a nice round number. In 2005, we launched the 100-Second Film Festival through LTC (Lowell Telecommunications Corporation) at the community media center in Lowell and the Revolving Museum, also in Lowell at the time.
We were fortunate to be able to produce films through LTC, with workshops and outreach. At the same time we were able to collect films from around the country through email list servers. The festival has grown over the years and has also become an international showcase for super short films. I have carried this project with me as I have worked at other community media centers in the Bay State. It was exhibited in Medfield in 2007 and now in Easton in 2013, 2016, 2017, and now in 2018.
In 2015, I was informed of an International 100-Second Film Festival in Iran, which was actually founded in 2002. We were fortunate to engage in a cultural exchange of short films between the two festival in 2015.
What is it about these hyper-short films that interests you?
I am amazed by the variety of films—the differences in style from ephemeral video art to compact and dense short stories. I am grateful that so many people participate in a project that has no formal prizes and see it as a chance to be part of something bigger than themselves. It’s really fun to watch these films and talk about them. There is a real spirit of independence with hyper-short films.
Why should we get excited about this year’s exhibition?
I’d say that the caliber of films this year is the best we have ever had. You will laugh, you will cry, you’ll feel exhilarated and hopefully connected to humanity through a diverse program that is just over two hours. A number of films are making their North American premiere at the festival. There are dramas, comedies, documentaries, animations, and experimental work. Another exciting element is that we will exhibit a number of local films produced through Easton Community Access Television. This is a chance for people to cheer on local and aspiring artists.
What advice would you give an aspiring filmmaker?
Start small. Sixty seconds or 100 seconds is a great format to develop your craft. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and be willing to learn from experience. Check out other film festivals and independent work on platforms like Vimeo and Short of the Week.
Have there been any films that you wish could be expanded on?
There are a few that leave you curious for more, but many of the best films are just right at the length they are.
THE 100-SECOND FILM FESTIVAL. 10.27. OAKES AMES MEMORIAL HALL, 3 BARROWS ST., EASTON. 7-9:30 PM. TICKETS AVAILABLE ON EVENTBRITE FOR $5-10. CHECK OUT EASTONCAT.ORG/100SECONDS FOR MORE INFO.