We’ve been keeping up with Simple Machine, the independent film curation tool for festival and art house programmers, since running across their booth at South By Southwest last year. Founder Nandan Rao has a passion for film and a vision of what 21st century cinema can be: an experience that can happen anywhere, much like live music performances.
Now Rao and Simple Machine are putting their money where their heart is, looking to spark a wave of micro-festivals by offering up $1000 grants each quarter.
“How can we push the film-festival concept into smaller, more intimate nooks and crannies in our societal fabric?” Rao asks in the press release announcing the grants. “What new terms are needed to describe the formats of communal movie watching that resonate with us today? These are the questions we’re hoping our grant-winners will help to answer.”
Grant applicants should know there are few requirements, but two major ones stand out. First: the festival has to be brand new, existing festivals need not apply. Second: the $1000 grant needs to cover all the expenses. They are serious about the “micro” part of micro-festival.
What Simple Machine doesn’t require is that grantees use its services. That’s a bold commitment to the grander principles at hand than you might expect from a small-scale start-up, but if my conversations with Rao have proven anything to me its that he is committed to the idea of changing the way film distribution works.
The full press release is reproduced after the jump.
SIMPLE MACHINE TO AWARD MICRO-FESTIVAL GRANTS
THE FILM-PROGAMMING NETWORK WILL PRESENT FOUR $1000 GRANTS PER YEAR TO FUND INNOVATIVE MICRO-BUDGET FILM FESTIVALS.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Simple Machine launched last spring as an online film marketplace, enabling programmers to find and book quality festival films for events of all kinds. Now, the programming network continues to push the boundaries of film exhibition by offering $1000 to anyone interested in throwing a small, innovative film festival.
“How can we more fully explore the possibilities of hyper-local events designed to create an effective context for contemporary cinema?” says Simple Machine’s creator, Nandan Rao. “How can we push the film-festival concept into smaller, more intimate nooks and crannies in our societal fabric? What new terms are needed to describe the formats of communal movie watching that resonate with us today? These are the questions we’re hoping our grant-winners will help to answer.”
The grant has few application requirements. The festival must be new; existing festivals will not be considered. The event must be held in a physical site, not online. The budget of the entire event should be completely covered by the grant (i.e. should not exceed $1,000).
Beyond those restrictions, the board is wide open. Proposals are not required to incorporate Simple Machine’s films and tools, nor are they required to include a detailed budget of any kind. The applicants must simply offer reasonable evidence that they will be able to execute the proposed event for under $1000 within their proposed timeframe.
“We’re looking to be surprised,” explains Rao “Sell us on specific films or a process, on an audience or a space, on the reach or the intimacy, on the ambition or the simplicity. But be considerate; make sure it won’t take us more than 10 minutes to understand your concept.”
Simple Machine plans to bestow these micro-festival grants on a quarterly basis, with the first winner announced on April 15. All interested parties are encouraged to apply, regardless of programming experience. The competition is now open worldwide for submissions. To apply, send a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Simple Machine:
SIMPLE MACHINE is dedicated to people showing movies to people. It is a new online network that allows anyone to find and contact filmmakers, agents, and distributors about showing their work at creative local events. smplmchn.com.