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Catering to fans of short films

October 14, 2005|From the Washington Post

Debuting this month is the Journal of Short Film, a DVD-based quarterly dedicated to the art of the short.

It was founded by filmmaker and textbook editor Karl Mechem, of Columbus, Ohio, who put out the first call for submissions last spring and who modeled the ad-free compilation on literary journals.

The inaugural issue features nine films ranging in length from three minutes to a little more than 16, and running the stylistic gamut from science fiction (New Zealander Jonathan Brough's "No Ordinary Sun") to documentary (Ashkan Soltani's "Long Struggle," a look at land struggles between two Shoshone Indian sisters and the federal government).

Focusing more on the kind of short films you would see in an art gallery than at a typical film festival, the premiere issue of the "magazine" is an intriguingly open-minded roundup of everything from straight-ahead narrative (Steven Bognar's mother-and-teenage-daughter portrait, "Gravel") to the kind of thing contemporary art curators like to call "new media" ("Amelita Destruction," a segment from a set of live "improvised cinema" by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based art collective Potter-Belmar Labs, which specializes in interactive sculpture, installation, video and performance).

Annual four-issue subscriptions are available for $36 from www.thejsf.org. The first volume also can be purchased by itself for $10.

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