The top six finalists in the Liverpool International Theatre Festival (LITF) Short Cuts competition have been revealed.
The finalists represent theatre troupes from Uganda, Italy, Greece, United States and Venezuela. More than 50 presentations working under the theme of “Family” were submitted to the festival’s artistic directors Vic Mills and Neil Maidman for adjudication.
The six short films, each less than 10 minutes in length, were revealed July 4 to 14 on the LITF Facebook page.
The top six include Toofa’s Reward, coming from a troupe in Uganda; Family Pics from Civitavecchia, Italy; Tobacco Players from Maryland, U.S.; Half Full or Half Empty from Greece; Fetus from Napoli, Italy; and Extraction Without Pain from Caracas, Venezuela.
The top three will be revealed online on Facebook on August 7 and will earn prizes of $500, $250 and $100 cash.
Fans can now visit the LITF website and check out the top six submissions and vote for their favourite through an online poll. The film receiving the greatest number of votes will be named the Fan Favourite.
The Short Cuts festival was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LITF, celebrated in Liverpool every second year since 1992, was scheduled to be held in 2020. However, due to pandemic regulations, organizers decided to run a virtual event instead and open it up to the world at no cost. The next in-person LITF event, scheduled for May 12 to 15, 2022, will mark the festival’s 10th anniversary.
“Basically, we wanted people to have the opportunity to do something creative in what was a time where creatives were feeling very cut off and challenged,” Mills said in a Zoom call from his home in Porthcawl, South Wales. They did not want to take the year off and lose any momentum.
He believes the idea was a good one in a number of ways.
“I think it was a real success in terms of the response and level of interest to it. I think it exceeded my hopes,” he said. “We’ve established a lot of links through social media with companies in different parts of the world that we didn’t know about.”
Moreover, companies from different countries have been talking to each other and establishing relationships creating an even larger theatre community.
Mills said the theme “Family” was a simple one and meant to give directors, playwrights and actors a chance to use their imagination.
He and Maidman received a variety of submissions from stage plays, plays using the outdoors, monologues and puppetry.
The duo did not focus on the production or camera work, or used marking schemes to judge the submissions, but rather judged them based on their individual creative response to the theme, the quality of acting and storytelling.
“When you only have 10 minutes, you really need storytelling skills. You have to establish a world really quickly, then you have to tell a story in that world,” he said. “Then you have to effectively come out the other end, so people feel they’ve seen something complete, not an extract of something. I think these pieces did that really well.”
The top six stood out to the adjudicators, who individually chose their top pieces. They then came together and found out they had chosen the same pieces.
He expected that choosing the top three will be a much more difficult task as they offer a wide variety of efforts.
The top six includes one puppet piece, a poetic solo piece, a highly technical piece, a staged piece, an outdoor piece and a play about people meeting on Zoom.
“They are so different it makes them difficult to compare. I think we are going to start with a formal marking scheme this time around,” said Mills. “In our initial discussion it was shown that there wasn’t anything we felt stood out immediately among these six.”
According to Mills, the Short Cuts concept itself has received such support from all over the world that plans moving forward will include a biennial Short Cuts Festival.
“I think the two will feed off each other. There will be people that entered this year that will think that maybe applying to go to Liverpool would be something possible for them,” said Mills. “There may be others that are not able to come to Liverpool for logistics, financial or other reasons, but are able to make a play and enter the Short Cuts competition. I think it would be lovely to try and get that relationship moving forward.”
If this plan does move forward, the next Short Cuts Festival would be held in 2023.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin