Globalisation and the internet are shrinking the world so rapidly that film festivals can occur more or less simultaneously all over the planet, giving movie buffs near-identical movie experiences be they in Perth, Scotland or Perth, WA.
At the frontline of this new internationalisation of movie-watching is Future Shorts, a British-based organisation established in 2003 dedicated to disseminating and promoting short films and the culture around the medium.
At the heart of its project is Future Shorts ONE, a monthly global film festival in which a selection of the best shorts submitted from around the world are screened roughly at the same time in more than 90 cities in 15 countries.
In Australia, the charge is being led by the enterprising, energetic Amy Broadfoot who, with the assistance of ScreenWest, has over the past year established Future Shorts ONE as a key fixture of the local screening calendar, with events routinely selling out.
Among the treats on offer at this month's Future Shorts ONE are Heartland Transport, a powerful plea for gay rights, the artfully abstract video clip of Charlotte Gainsbourg's Heaven Can Wait (featuring Beck and a dinosaur in a wig) and Kitchen, Alice Winocour's moving, funny tale of a young Frenchwoman trying to prepare and kill a lobster American-style.
One of the most positive innovations of Future Shorts ONE is the inclusion on the program of a short from the host city, allowing for the placement of a local work in the context of international cinema.
This month, Broadfoot has chosen Roderick Mackay and Dave Stephens' Trigger that has screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner, Tehran International Film Festival and CinefestOZ.
An elegant, evocative beautifully crafted tale of a dreamy boy in a small Italian town who unwittingly becomes caught up in a Mafia hit, this cleverly layered Godfather-inspired story about the loss of innocence and the mind's secret garden is shot in Perth but Mackay and Stephens manage to recreate a very believable southern Italian setting circa 1970, delivering a powerful parable on memory.
Mackay says he was aware of the risks of making a gangster movie, replete with American accents and florid gunplay, because the film could come across as "placeless" and too obviously made to capture an international market.
While he and Stephens are pleased with their film's global appeal, it was creative and not box-office concerns that guided their choices.
"The real intention of the film was to tap into the American/Italian gangster mythology but to tell the story in a more understated European style. It's a bit of a homage to classic films like Le Samourai by Jean-Pierre Melville and Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore. We were intentionally trying to reference that mythology because we thought it would be fun and present us with interesting creative challenges. Dave and I are mostly influenced by American and European films so it was natural," Mackay explains.
Making Trigger revealed to Mackay how much talent and technical competency there are "sitting below the surface" in Perth.
"The tools for high production value filmmaking are becoming more financially accessible due to unprecedented technology shifts within the industry. It certainly gives me faith in Perth's ability to mature into a sustainable feature-film industry."
Future Shorts ONE is screening at the Velvet Lounge of the Flying Scotsman in Mt Lawley tomorrow and Thursday at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets $10 on the door or via oztix.com.au + bf.
Future Shorts ONE screens one local WA film per month. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your film to be considered. For details, go to www.futureshorts.com .