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Kevin Spacey Shines a Spotlight on Mobile Short Films

  • Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2009
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Mobile Content

By Jason Ankeny

Calling mobile technology "an opportunity for emerging filmmakers to have a platform," two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey headlined today's Mobile Backstage event at Mobile World Congress 2009 in Barcelona, adding that wireless handsets not only represent a channel to launch the careers of aspiring directors, actors and writers outside of the Hollywood mainstream, but also promise to connect the world's emerging markets with the global creative culture. "The short film genre works brilliantly on mobile," Spacey said. "The idea that someone anywhere in the world can now make a film, cut it and upload it is remarkable. It means we're connected."

According to Spacey, mobile filmmaking is still in its infancy, and the cinematic language of the format has yet to be defined. "It's still too early to know what kinds of [mobile] films will become classics--it's wide open in terms of ideas," the actor and director said. And while the screen may be small, the potential impact of mobile film is vast: As Spacey points out, "In developing markets, the first film a person has ever seen could be a mobile short." He added that digital platforms also herald new distribution channels for content in danger of slipping through the cracks: "This medium is an opportunity for people to see films they might not otherwise see if they don't become big blockbusters," Spacey said.

Nurturing new talent is more than just lip service for Spacey: In 2002, he and producer Dana Brunetti co-founded TriggerStreet.com, an interactive website established to discover and showcase emerging filmmaking and writing talent. "The notion [of TriggerStreet] started when I was told by agents that I could longer look at scripts that weren't given to me directly by the studios," Spacey said. "I felt like I was being punished for doing well--they wanted to cut me off from emerging talents.

But I would not have a career if not for first-time directors, writers and producers." He said it is essential for artists with commercial and creative stature to reach out to young people, recalling that at age 13, he attended an actor's workshop led by one of his idols, Jack Lemmon, who encouraged him to pursue his passion for the stage.

"If you've been fortunate to live out your dream and get to the top of your profession, then you have an obligation to send the elevator back down," Spacey said. "Our job is to make sure the floors we live on are not so high that we no longer hear the voices of the young people asking for an opportunity and a chance."

But while Spacey trumpets the possibilities of mobile entertainment, he admits the mobile user experience leaves him frustrated, adding that he is notorious among friends for breaking new devices within a day of acquiring them. "I'm hoping the technology will eventually get to the point where even a stupid guy like me can figure it out," he cracked. [FierceMobileContent]

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