When we founded Daazo.com, a short film sharing website, we wanted to create an entirely international project – we believed that the Internet didn’t know any boundaries. And it was as true then as it is true now.
In order to be successful worldwide, however, you need to find your local identity. And if you are lucky, you have a few different ones. For instance, at first we defined ourselves as European, as it’s stated in our name: The European Short Film Centre.
Then, slowly but surely, we found our Central European identity too. As the Nordic countries make up Scandinavia – which is now an extremely vivid and successful cultural and economical alliance – we thought ’why shouldn’t we do something similar here, in the very heart of Europe?’ -. We already have a flagship, the Visegrad Group – comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
There is still a lot to dream about, but last autumn we really felt the need to do something about this idea, and made our first step towards creating a cultural alliance in the region. We had to stay on our field, so we aimed to foster the collaboration of cinema and culture. That is why we launched our project Visegrád Shorts on Tour – with the help of the Visegrad Fund and the MEDIA Programme of the EU (being both European and Visegradian, by definition.)
Visegrad Shorts on Tour is a travelling short film festival, introducing the most innovative short films from the region, made by young people under 35. The festival aims to help emerging young filmmakers in showcasing their work to a wider audience, and getting feedback and networking opportunities. On the other hand, it helps the audience too, in finding and discovering a new way of entertainment: short films. The number of applications we received for the first Visegrad Shorts on Tour project – over 120 films have been sent in – proves to us that there is a demand for these kind of initiatives. From the 120 works, our jury has chosen six, which are now travelling around the four countries between 12th and 17th of April, together with their directors. One of them will be the winner of the Visegrad Short Film Award – and can take home the 1000 euro prize.
We teamed up with the Krakow Film Foundation, Kino Praha, Ishorts and OZ Publikum.sk to organise local events in the four cities: Krakow, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. An occasion like this is definitely a wonderful opportunity for the selected filmmakers to get to know each other, which is the first step on the way to fruitful collaboration. To take the second step too, we are organising a conference in Budapest to get the thoughts and ideas of industry professionals about how to co-produce, co-promote films in the region. It’s no secret that we would love to see an organisation of young Visegrad filmmakers – let’s talk about further details in Budapest!
At the end of the tour, everybody goes home – Daazo.com too. It’s not as sad as it sounds, because the home of Daazo is the Internet, which means that all Visegrad Shorts films screened at the event can be watched online, along with the 120 films submitted to the project, competing for the audience award of Visegrad Shorts on Tour.
We hope that this Shorts on Tour will be the first edition of an annual series – and a symbolic cornerstone for a new Visegrad (Short) Film Culture.
Text: Dániel Deák
Illustration: Alvaro Lope Morales Quevedo