Actor Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute will commission independent filmmakers to make short films for mobile phones, Redford said on Wednesday.
While film content is already available for cell phones, six independent filmmakers will be the first commissioned to make short films especially for the medium, Redford told reporters at a news conference.
The deal was reached with telecoms industry group GSM Association, which represents 700 mobile phone operators in 215 countries, Redford said. Cellular companies hope to attract more customers by adding more features to their phones.
The pilot project would create a platform for “artists to develop and grow and opportunities for audiences and consumers to see work they might not normally see,” said Redford, who founded Sundance to encourage independent filmmakers.
Five short films, three to five minutes long, will be premiered at a cellular industry conference organized by GSM in Barcelona in February 2007, when cell phone operators can make the films available for broader distribution.
The filmmakers include Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, whose successful debut feature film “Little Miss Sunshine” is playing in cinemas across the United States.
The project would support short films, which were once regularly shown at cinemas before audiences were “shoved into theaters and shoved out like cattle,” Redford said.
“I always loved shorts and I thought they were very entertaining,” he said. “So I thought why couldn’t we bring that back?”
Redford said the shorts would suit people in transit with little time to spare.
GSM Association Chief Marketing Officer Bill Gajda said phone operators would not charge consumers extra for the films. Once the content was downloaded people would be able to transfer the films to other phones using wireless link technologies such as Bluetooth, he said.