AFI Fest Director of Programming Robert Koehler granted indieWIRE an extensive preview of the shorts playing this year’s festival, which runs October 30 - November 7 in Hollywood, California. Explaining in great detail why he and Senior Programmer Lane Kneedler selected the nine films in the official shorts program, Koehler offered a rare insight into the thought process that goes into crafting a compelling viewing experience for festival-goers.
"We wanted to have the shorts program reflect the larger curatorial drive behind the general festival programming. It's more selective this year; there are deliberately fewer films," clarified Koehler. "The intension was to winnow down the selection to reflect an even higher quality of films across the board. It’s impossible, as anyone who knows short films [can attest], to winnow down a shorts program to the absolute best films. What we did was create a selection that reflects tendencies that can be found in short films, as well as present [work] by major filmmakers."
The History of Aviation directed by Bálint Kenyeres, Hungary/France, 2009, 15 minutes
Description: Set on the beachfront of Normandy in 1905, this highly accomplished period piece centers around the search for a missing little girl. The film won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival.
Koehler: "The second film is by a veteran short filmmaker from Hungary. There are a couple of reasons we wanted to play it ... We wanted to show that the short film is capable of a grandness. This is a really grand film - it's widescreen. It has spectacular landscapes. You could imagine this almost being a sequence within a larger feature film. It also provides a way of immediately creating a disturbance for the viewer: okay, you’re not going to be able to drift comfortably into this program. It’s going to make you realize that the short film is capable of a lot of different things."