River Phoenix on the road in My Own Private Idaho

The Road

“There’s not another road anywhere that looks like this road, exactly like this road. It’s one kind of place. One of a kind… “

We’ve been a bit quiet recently, sorry about that. We’ve been looking for the right road and we think we’ve found it.

It’s been a long and dusty journey for everyone in the industry since March 2020. Had we already launched we’d have been in a very different place. We now know that we made the right decision to postpone the launch and that we will be able to deliver a physical festival, in some form, this year. We have found a new direction. And we are very excited!

So what is that direction?

We believe short films are the future, and we also believe in creative collaboration, so we are forming a partnership with a cinema in the heart of Ipswich that puts the audience first and understands the importance of championing short films. Ipswich Film Theatre (IFT), established in 1975, is one of more than 200 independent cinemas across England that were supported with £16 million in grants from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

We were so relieved that the cinema received £31,544 in 2020 to ensure its survival. The team at IFT put their all into trying to get audiences back in that short window of opportunity between lockdowns and we were impressed. They immediately developed their online platform – IFT at Home  Check it out, they do all the hard work for you by curating their weekly offering and they find real gems. We are really happy to be working together to host Suffolk Shorts 20/21 both online and in real life on October 8/9/10th. 

Image of webpage from Ipswich Film Theatre's at home selection
IFT at Home

Dan Champion, director at IFT says

It is an honour to have Ipswich Film Theatre be selected as the host venue for Suffolk Shorts.

Dan has long supported the diversity and creativity of independent filmmakers and he says he finds it incredibly exciting to be supporting many of these gifted and hard-working people in delivering a safe environment and a steadfast partner for Suffolk Shorts at the start of this inspiring journey.

Ipswich Film Theatre auditorium showing seats with house lights on
The cinema’s largest auditorium, IFT1, was opened in September 1975.

The New Hybrid

During the pandemic’s first waves, established festivals were forced to accelerate plans to eventually have an online platform so that they could deliver their programmes during lockdown, and it worked. Yes, there were some technical glitches and not all of us actually enjoy watching 100’s of short films from our laptops, on our own at home. We’d much rather be sharing the experience with like minded people and talking about the films afterwards, in a bar. But there were huge positives.

We watched, and we discussed, and we realised that, whilst it’s never our intention to become an online festival, our future audience will expect both options and we want to deliver a hybrid festival that reaches as wide an audience as possible. The physical audience will also expect to feel confident that all the necessary measures are taken to keep them safe in the real world as we follow the Government’s roadmap.

Creative collaboration is crucial for filmmakers.

Claire Whittenbury, co-founder – Suffolk Shorts

Collaboration is also the key to bringing new audiences and short filmmakers together in Suffolk in 2021. We are so pleased to be partnering with Ipswich Film Theatre, who share our mission, together we want to bring International short films to the screen in Suffolk and support our home grown talent.

“This road never ends. It probably goes all around the world.” Mike Waters (River Phoenix)

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