Gina Dellabarca talks Show Me Shorts

Posted Tuesday 02 Nov 2010

The fifth Show Me Shorts Festival opens in Auckland on 04 November before moving to Wellington later in the month. WIFT intern Ruth Dunphy interviewed Festival Director Gina Dellabarca earlier.

Q:   Congratulations on the festival's imminent fifth birthday.  How has the festival grown since its inception?

Show Me Shorts has swelled every year, as we add new locations, awards and workshops in response to public demand for these components. There are now ten locations to see the films up and down New Zealand from Matakana to Arrowtown. There are also opportunities to meet filmmakers and find out more about the process of making short films. For filmmakers that means many more people getting to see their work every year, and opportunities to participate in events that will hone their storytelling skills.

Q:  This year had the highest number of entries yet. Why do you think that is?

People have heard of Show Me Shorts now, and we have street cred... filmmakers know they can trust us to deliver a festival and not just sit around playing with action figures and complaining about why we can't see more short films in this country. OK, sometimes we play with action figures too.

Q:    What is the selection process when deciding the films that make it into your line up and do you have specific criteria that must be met?

Show Me Shorts has the privilege of receiving hundreds of entries every year, so we start watching the short films as soon as they start arriving. As the Festival Director and programmer I watch every single film entered as well as ones featured in as many other short film festivals as I can get to. Over several months, with the help of the whole team, I whittle the list down to the best 40. Our experience tells us the best short films usually focus on one interesting idea, character or unexpected twist. Films with high production values and new films that have not previously been shown in NZ get bonus points.

Q:   Why is the festival divided into six themed sessions?

40 short films fit neatly into six sessions of about 80 minutes. We thought arranging them into interesting themes like 'Noir Motive' and 'Kissing Games' was more fun than just by genre. This way the themes are different each year and determined by the films that we select rather than the other way around.

Q:   What is the approximate ratio of male to female applicants? Any ideas why this is so?

We estimate about a quarter of the entries for Show Me Shorts are driven by women as the key creatives. I am told that correlates pretty much spot-on with short films in general.

Q:    In your experience do you think female film makers are well represented in short film?

I'd like to see more films entered by all under-represented groups. There is a growing demand from the public for stories told with different voices that we don't usually hear from.

Q:   Why enter the festival?

Films need audiences. Audiences love films. We provide the connection.

Q:  Do you have a targeted audience, is the festival predominantly for film fanatics or is there something for everyone?

The idea for Show Me Shorts sparked because we wanted to see more short films ourselves, and we knew there were more people like us hungry for short films too. The festival aims to cater for that demand, which luckily for us makes it a pretty easy sell. Our audience is a diverse bunch and I wouldn't like to put too many labels on them. They're probably a bit more clued up about films than your average punter. Fine sense of humour usually. Good looking too.

Q: The short film seminars have proved very popular in the past, why do you think that is?

People love movies so they want to know more about them, how they work - where does the magic come from? We always try and respond to demands from our audience, and this was a part of the festival that lots of people were asking for.

Q:  Where and when can the public view the festival?

Show Me Shorts starts on the 4th of November at the Academy Cinemas in Auckland where it plays for ten days. Other Auckland locations include The Victoria in Devonport, Waiheke Island Community Cinema and Matakana Cinemas. Further down country we are at the Paramount in Wellington from the 11th of November, as well as the Rialto Cinemas in Christchurch and Dunedin. The full line-up is available at

Q:  Is there anything else you would like to mention about Show me Shorts?

We believe we have one of our best ever line-ups this year, and encourage you to pick up a Show Me Shorts brochure to check it out. For filmmakers this is a great opportunity to research the top echelon of short filmmaking craft in New Zealand and Australia. Films like the sexy Australian comedy 'Four' show off top level production design, while local clay-mation mockumentary 'The North Pole Deception' shows what you can do with a great idea and the investment of a lot of time. Come along and be inspired!


And if you'd like to hear more from Gina, Arts on Sunday's Simon Morris also did an interview, which you can check out here. (Scroll down to the interview link.)