What is Microfilm?
"Microfilm is not just a word, it is a meeting place of new ideas, formats and talent. From film to video, games to animation, microfilm provide all types of talented individuals the opportunity to craft imaginative and engaging short stories for audiences to enjoy everywhere, from cinemas and TVs to exhibition spaces and online. Microfilm is fast becoming also a meeting point for different narrative production cultures from China to the UK and Hollywood.
"The NIM is the first international Microfilm festival and proof of Nottingham’s intention to become the home for this exciting new way of thinking about short narrative formats, industry and talent."
Gianluca Sergi - Director of the Institute for Screen Industries Research, the University of Nottingham
"Microfilm is a containment of art and technology; a pursuit of expression."
Dr Yang Ming - President of Xinhua Net Future Media Convergence Institute
Microfilm is a sector within the Chinese film industry that has been rapidly developing since 2010. It can be defined as:
'A short film production which offers low risk, high output promotional opportunities for both business and personal communication and development.'
The difference to the concept of short films exists in its capacity for meeting the demands of business and audience with small scale production costs yet it's wide communication capacities. Production is short, 3-5 days on average, with no distinct training required and provides creative thinking in commercial and personal promotion. Microfilms also differ in their route to market as they do not follow the traditional box office distribution method but rather reaches its audience via grassroots delivery – online content, word of mouth publicity etc.
Advertising and technology innovation is assisting the rise in popularity of microfilms, with its development and popularisation boosting the growing microfilm industry. Microfilms also use a grassroots development style, encapsulating a form of talent development with a capacity for promotion. This means that microfilms are low risk for business investment and has increased their popularity for business promotions, especially for commercial advertisements through brand placement and development. However, they also provide a dynamic platform for personal reflections to be captured and expressed, providing an type of archiving of life. This makes microfilms a popular tool for individuals, companies and government agencies alike.
Due to the rise in interest and popularity, the Chinese government, through the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT), have developed new policies for entertainment and advertising in China and thus further supporting its growth and market.
Covering all kinds of styles of filmmaking, from storytelling to entertainment to documentary, microfilms can compartmentalise scripts into short excepts and can be used to reach people in increasingly innovative ways. For example, microfilms are being used in training programmes where rewards are given for the achievement of certain elements of the series. In this way microfilms reach a growing audience, providing a fertile training ground for filmmaking talent with plenty of businesses investment heading their way, investing their money and time into the development of this industry and the talent it is birthing.
Faith Blakemore, Director of NIM Festival