'In 2010 there was a 40 minute film made by young men based on their dissatisfaction for China in the 1980s called Old Boys. It got 80 million views,' says Philip Dodd, chairman of Made in China, a cultural agency that works between China and Europe. He's talking on the Today programme about the craze for microfilms that has been sweeping China since 2010.
Typically made on low budgets and produced within 3–5 days, microfilms encompass everything from storytelling to music videos to adverts to documentary, and can range anywhere from 90 seconds to 40 minutes in length. Eschewing the traditional box office distribution channel, they reach their audience online and by word of mouth.
'We want to explore [microfilms] as a conversation. Looking at what micro films are and how we engage and bring them to the UK,' says Faith Blackmore, director of Nottingham's first International Microfilm Festival, which launches on 15 October.
Hoping to raise the profile of microfilms and showcase their application outside of China, where around 40 million people search for videos on the internet on a daily basis, the festival's organisers believe the sector provides a low-cost, high-value springboard for filmmakers and businesses alike. 'Micro films are about using creative expression and acting, which connects to business, connecting to public consumption,' says Blackmore. 'Technology is developing and so should our films.'
Dodd, who believes that microfilms on mobile phones are the future, adds, 'The point is that these films are made to watch whenever, wherever. They are entertaining young China.'
Running in venues across Nottingham, the programme of events includes category screenings, master classes, talks and panel discussions from leading industry professionals, and a production market event designed to support, promote and encourage an understanding of and access to the screen industries.