Short & Sweet, a short film showcase that’s taken Cape Town (and the world) by storm, was founded by film enthusiasts Julia Stephenson and Devin Herd. Working in London, Julia received thousands of directors’ showreels that were given little-to-no screen time. Set on changing this, she created Short & Sweet Short Film Evenings, a vehicle to bring short-form cinema to an appreciative and loyal audience.
What was the reception like at first and how has it grown since inception? (Devin)
Our first season hosted at The Dream Factory (off Loop Str) was a resounding success. The audience loved the idea that cinema could be informal and social. We sold out every night and were taken aback by how receptive the audience was to short film. We’ve grown steadily since and now, in our fourth year, we’ve introduced additional offerings including live music, art and interactive installations.
Why do you feel it’s important to keep independent cinema alive? (Julia)
Short film has been the kickstart to many a successful filmmaker’s career. A good short film can put a young director on the map; having your film shown to an audience on a big screen is a good way to gage its success. Platforms like Short & Sweet are important in the development of young South African filmmakers, and we pride ourselves on curating only the best short film screenings.
How would you describe the film culture in Cape Town?
Since the birth of Short & Sweet South Africa, we have seen a massive growth in the acception and appreciation of short film. More and more short films are coming out of the woodworks and more and more I’m finding the standard of the short films good enough for an international audience. Storytelling is so important in today’s world – stories connect us! So yes, Cape Town is hungry for stories and S&S give them exactly that.
How do you source/curate the particular movies you screen?
This is the million dollar question. We get numerous submissions daily from around the world, but mostly I search for short films, music videos and short animations that resonate with me. I know the kind of films that work with the Short & Sweet audience, but I also like to push the boundaries.
The process of finding a film and getting the film screened is lengthy. We only screen films with the director’s permission. Each and every filmmaker whose work we feature knows about the screening, and we encourage them to send their friends to the screenings in whichever city is hosting.
What inspired the decision to launch the MVAs? (Devin)
With an unparalleled understanding of the local independent and short film industry, we’ve recognised that music video content is the most representative and prolific format currently being produced by both undiscovered and established filmmakers. To acknowledge emerging talent and bring further attention to the skilled individuals behind this world-class content, Short & Sweet has all the infrastructure in place to host an annual Music Video Awards ceremony. Unlike other award shows focusing purely on the musicians, our concept is geared to rewarding the various skilled players behind the scenes. We’re seeking out the right partners to join us and get behind this initiative to ensure its longevity.
Short & Sweet currently has screenings in London, Amsterdam and South Africa and will soon be launching in Barcelona and Slovenia. Follow them on Facebook or check in on their website for upcoming screenings.
Contact [email protected], [email protected], shortandsweet.tv