The pandemic becoming endemic, the virus increasing inequality, the desire to start over. Technology instilling fear, remote work being like a horror movie, human contact being increasingly difficult. The planet in full blown environmental alarm mode, global warming, greenwashing. Plus, gender and body issues: ableism, catcalling, body shaming, fluidity as a matter of fact and not as a "problem".
MAX3MIN official selection is a formidable mirror of the times we live in. A precious eye on how each national culture perceives and re-elaborates the issues that are reshaping society. And on how new generations are looking for a personal storytelling, that breaks the conventional rules of the language of images.
All this in just 3 minutes, or less. This is the uniqueness of MAX3MIN: there is no distinction of genre or format, but each film cannot last more than 3 minutes. Thus, the micro-short film becomes a real-time photograph of the world as it changes, faster than classic cinema which requires more time and a more imposing structure, but also more authentic and unpredictable than the conventions of streaming platforms.
The product is a super-short film festival, an explosion of ideas, contaminations, stimuli: animation, advertising, digital art, meditative and action cinema, documentary and mockumentary, vertical cinema from TikTok and Instagram Stories, youtuber-style self-narration. And, of course, the more classic forms of fiction, whether comic or dramatic, reaching new horizons thanks to the limits imposed by brevity.
The MAX3MIN 2022 official selection consists of 100 short films from 30 countries from all continents. Of these 100 short films, 70 will compete for the main competition awards while the other 30 will compete in the NEXT GEN Award, a new award dedicated to the best short films from film schools around the world.
The geographical composition of the competition has been one of the main focuses of the selection committee: MAX3MIN opens windows on unconventional stories, far away from the Western-centered narratives of mainstream media and streaming platforms.
In Maybe Tomorrow we will go through the direct experience of being a woman, alone, in an Iranian taxi, in The Birth we will live the anxious thrill of being healthcare operators in India during the pandemic, in Window we will go inside people’s houses during the lockdown in Singapore. In Moth we will immerse ourselves in the Hong Kong protests against censorship.
In Automedic a pyrotechnic long take will lead us through the terrible every-day pandemic life in Kenya, in Malvão the animation will show the otherwise unshowable horror of the guerrilla warfare in the Dominican Republic, in Translation - in just 40 seconds - we will experience first-hand the extent to which linguistic diversity can be lethal in a critical situation such as that of Kurdistan, in Dollar or Egyptian Pound? we will witness a sale negotiation from atop a cruise ship, an allegory of economic inequality.
The talents of the new cinema in the Western world are also asking for a different account of their condition: Autumn's homeless emerge from the invisibility of a cruel Paris, the teenager in To the Closet recalls the nationalist and retrograde cruelty of the French protests against mariage pour tous, while Another One for Daddy denounces the cruelty of the “daddy stitch”, a terrible practice of reconstructing the vagina of a woman who gave birth to ensure male pleasure, a procedure still practiced even in Europe.
Of course, the eye on the world also gives us access to less dramatic and more reflective stories, with a privileged observation on otherwise forgotten characters and situations: The French Cowboy shows, in just 3 minutes, the daily life of herdsmen, a profession destined to disappear; The Pulse of the Spirit uses biting irony to show a manager's performance obsession; Work From Home turns the remote working boom into a ghastly digital horror.
There is a strong need, especially among younger directors, to listen to the issues related to the body, gender identity, and moving beyond patriarchal and male-centric clichés on sexuality, through new and contemporary forms.
Shot by a young Filipino animator with disabilities, Ghost Beer is the funny and ferocious story of a revenge against an able dominant society. PMS: Premenstrual Superhearing sublimates the relationship between men and women during the menstrual cycle with scathing humor. Pink grants us access to the verbal and physical autobiography of a young Chinese woman, capturing a rare point of view to be chronicled. Hail Mary relies on the vertigo of experimentation with digital art to draw a thread between female sexuality and the religious fanaticism of Latin America.
Kellys, by Goya Prize winner director Javier Fesser (We just have to win, Historias Lamentables) translates into comedy an important reflection on the sense of shame of illness and on the daily neglect we have grown accustomed to.
Bodies pleading for a voice, body fragments broken, isolated, and fearlessly explored. Also in Italy: as in A Body by animator Milena Tipaldo, who explores the basic impulses of corporeality without renouncing visual poetry, or Don't let your guard down ... Hit it! by Lorenzo Clemente, punk and incorrect, perhaps the first gastro-intestinal film you will ever see.
There are also stories that escape any classification of genre, topic, or format. Unique stories that can come to light thanks to the freedom of micro-short films.
In There is Exactly Enough Time a couple in life and in art completes the film started by their 12-year-old son, who tragically died in an accident. The result is an unprecedented film that uses the power of visual imagination to write an alternative ending to a sadly painful story.
In Talking Heads, we are lucky enough to witness a hilarious feast between the masks of science fiction and horror cinema history, from ET to Hannibal Lecter to the monkeys of Planet of the Apes.
Marriage, even more surreal, takes us right at the heart of a wedding, 3600 meters above sea level, in the salt desert in Bolivia.
But perhaps the most unique of all the stories is the one in The Éveillé, the 40-year-long story of a family in which the daughter is also the mother and the sister...
A short circuit of the likes of Benjamin Button, although this is 3 minutes instead of 3 hours long.
Finally, one of the most surprising aspects of the MAX3MIN competition is the young age of the participants. The 3-minute limit of the micro-short film makes it possible to create work without needing large budgets or resource-consuming crews; at the same time, the generations born with YouTube, TikTok and Instagram reels as the dominant language adopt brevity and speed as the main form of communication.
The majority of the directors selected for the MAX3MIN 2022 competition are between 20 and 25 years of age, another good percentage is between 25 and 30 years old, and there are also many directors under 20, some of whom are still students.
The NEXT GEN Award was instituted specifically for them, a parallel competition dedicated to young directors who are still attending film schools and academies. The aim of the competition is to encourage the study of motion pictures by providing aspiring directors with an actual opportunity to compete in an international competition: the NEXT GEN Award short films, in fact, are fully part of the MAX3MIN selection and will be screened together with the main competition.
Among these, special mention goes to the incredible talent of 16-year-old Texan director Emilio Vazquez Reyes, author of Honeybee.
The focus on young talents is coupled with an ever closer relationship with motion picture training. After the success of the pilot episode in 2021, the MAX3MIN official competition has received entries from all the major film schools around the world. Among those whose authors have been selected for the competition, we would like to mention: New York Film Academy, Université de Montreal, Lodz Film School, Famu, University for the Creative Arts - Farnham, Tokyo University of Arts, UCA (University for the creative arts - Farnham), Poznan University of the Arts, Aardman Academy, HuBei University, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Kenya Film School, Bahcesehir University, University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, Universidad del Desarrollo - Concepcion.