Portable Film Festival

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Portable Film Festival
LocationMelbourne, Australia
No. of films160

The Portable Film Festival is an online channel and film festival offering audiences the chance to download an entire curated international film and video program for free to a portable device, such as an iPod, Sony PSP, 3G capable mobile phone or laptop.[1] The festival works to liberate the filmmaking and film viewing process, making story accessible to everyone regardless of their experience, location, or technical proficiency.[2] As a cultural movement, the festival represents the growing democratization of filmmaking and viewing processes across the world.

In 2009 the festival has moved into a channel format, presenting new work as well as film and video culture on a daily basis. As of September 2009, the festival have tripled in size. It now has over 15,000 registered members and 50,000 unique visitors per month.

The festival channel features new work as well as film and video culture each day of the year. Each August, the Portable Film Festival hosts it annual competition, which features a curated selection of film and video culture. An international call for entries is open annually between March and June for both professional and amateur filmmakers.


Based in Melbourne, Australia, the first Portable Film Festival was launched online in September, 2006. It featured 67 pieces of content from over 250 submissions. Melbournians Andrew Apostola, 30, and Simon Goodrich, 28, founded the festival to explore the art of portable filmmaking and viewing. Apostola and Goodrich were already at the time directors of Portable, a digital studio that is interested in creating projects that merge digital and real world experiences.[3]

One of the films featured in the 2006 festival included Hungarian director's Geza M Geza and Eva M Toth's short, Maestro, that went on to garner a nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 79th Academy Awards.

The second festival commenced on 1 August 2007, and included 150 international entries in five categories in 2007. Samuel Tourneux's entry, Even Pigeons Go To Heaven, went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 80th Academy Awards. Singapore director Craig Rosenthal's entry The Trainee, premiered at the festival, picking up the "Grand Hopper" for best short film, subsequently going on to be showcased internationally at the New York City Shorts Festival, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, the Cape Town World Cinema Festival and Cinemanila.

In its third year the 2008 Portable Film Festival showcased over 160 films from 39 different countries, chosen from nearly 550 submissions. Now, with the addition of the Feature Film category, the festivals drawing power expanded.

In 2009 the festival featured over 180 films.

Some notable inclusions were:

  • Fog, chosen for International Critic’s Week at Cannes. Also screened at New Zealand International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, and Stockholm International Film Festival
  • Kodiak, Nomination for Best Emerging Director, Vancouver International Film Festival.
  • My Name is Lisa, Best Short Film, YouTube Awards 2008, Carte Blanche Selection, Short Film Corner and Cannes
  • Amnesty International – David Hicks, Marc Fumie received the Young Director’s Award at Cannes
  • It Could Happen To You, An outcome of the talent camp at this year’s Berlin Film Festival
  • My Brown Friend, Programmed at London International Film Festival
  • Death by Scrabble, Programmed at over 25 international film festivals, winning a runner up award at the Royal Television Awards (UK)

The Music Video program includes content from major indie acts such as: TV on the Radio, J Dilla, Gnarls Barkley, Goldfrapp, Modest Mouse, Okkervil River, Deerhoof, Yeasayer, Jamie Lidell, Bomb the Bass, The New Pornographers and Kimya Dawson


Content is currently divided into six categories;

  • Short Film
  • Music Video
  • Get Animated
  • Look At Me (online webisodes/video blogging),
  • First Hand Capture (captured footage from mobile phones and digital cameras)
  • Feature Film

New in 2008 was the inclusion of feature films in the program [4]


All Portable Film Festival awards are decided by user ratings. Major prizes are supplied by Adobe and Apple. There are seven major prizes for the 2009 Portable Film Festival, including prizes for each of the six categories, decided by audience voting, as well as an overall festival winner, decided by Portable Film Festival themselves.

Each August, the Portable Film Festival hosts its annual competition which features a cross section of film and video culture from around the world. An international call for entries is open between January and May for both professional and amateur filmmakers.

The 2009 Portable Film Festival competition program is available at portablefilmfestival.com from 1 August, with films being available for anyone to download and watch anywhere, anytime. Users can take a tour through the submission categories, or pick and choose their own specially tailored program of films from what’s on offer. They have complete control to create a tailored festival experience.

Festival winners[edit]

2007 winners[edit]

Award Title Director
Look At Me Lo Fi St. Louis Bill Streeter (USA)
Music Video Young Girls Hearts Wess Von Hooton (Australia)
Media Achiever Amnesty International UK
First Hand Capture India Railway Tour Sherwin Akbarzadeh (Australia)
1985 Award T.O.M. Tom Brown (UK)
Grand Hopper The Trainee Craig Rosenthal (Singapore)

2008 winners[edit]

Award Title Director
Short Film To Fly or Fall Kathi Prosser (Canada)
Get Animated The Butcher and the Wolf Diego Mauricio Alvarez (Colombia)
Music Video What Colour? - The Crowd Joshua Sokolowski (Australia)
Look at Me Imaginary Bitches, Episode 1 Andrew Miller (USA)
First Hand Capture The Coast Marty O'Hare (Australia)
Feature Emperor Juliane Block (Malaysia)
Portable Choice Award Kodiak Andrew MacLeod (Canada)


2009 Festival[edit]

Now in its fourth year, the 2009 Portable Film Festival is showcasing over 170 films from 46 different countries, chosen from nearly 800 submissions. The program will be launched on 1 August 2009 and the voting will close at midnight on 31 August. Categories this year are Music Video, Look at Me, Get Animated, First Hand Capture and Feature Film.

Notable inclusions[edit]

  • I Have Seen the Future- Cam Christansen: previously featured at Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals, winner of the Jury Award for best Animated Film at Los Angeles International Film Festival as well as in the Top 10.
  • The Water- Kevin Drew: A Broken Social Scene, starring Cillian Murphy and Feist, which explores the complex and intimate dynamic between loved ones and loss.
  • The Archive- Sean Dunne: A touching documentary portrait of a blind man with the world’s biggest record collection, straight from Sundance this year.
  • 296 Smith St- John Evagora: One of the most acclaimed Australian short films of recent times, and the winner of major awards at Sydney and Melbourne International Film Festivals.
  • Renowned cult animator and Oscar nominee Bill Plympton’s madcap Hot Dog.
  • Voodoo"- Joaquin Baldwin: the winner of Cannes Short Film Corner 2009.

Portable will also feature innovative music videos from the likes of Deerhoof, Royksopp, NASA, REM, Death Cab for Cutie, Animal Collective, Daedelus, Of Montreal, and many others.

Related events[edit]


The Portable Symposium Series brings ground-breaking international cross media practitioners to the Australian and Asia Pacific creative communities. In an intimate and open conversation, these events promote innovation, risk taking and dialogue between creative communities throughout the region. Touring all major cities of Australia, as well as Singapore and New Zealand, the Portable Symposium Series attracts an audience of technology minded professionals, filmmakers and creative industry practitioners interested in trends and innovation in online video and content.[5] The festival has toured a range of notable speakers including Miles Beckett, creator of lonelygirl15 and Ezra Cooperstein, VP of user-Generated Content from Al Gore’s Current TV network. The next series coincides with the launch of the festival program in August and will feature Andrew Baron, creator and producer of Rocketboom.[5]

Inspired media[edit]

Presented by Adobe and the Portable Film Festival, Inspired Media is a monthly industry event held in Melbourne, Australia that showcases the most prolific and innovative professionals working in the creative industries. Featuring speakers from film, advertising, online and mobile industries, Inspired Media provides a space for discussion, collaboration and networking.[6]

Portable Screen Academy[edit]

The Portable Screen Academy is a rare opportunity for emerging filmmakers to work alongside recognised industry professionals in an intensive ideas-inspired lab environment. Throughout a tailored two-day workshop, filmmakers, writers and producers have the chance to create an original online video serial that is distributed through the Portable Film Festival and its broadcast partners around the world.[7]

Portable Screening Day[edit]

The Portable Screening day brings together audiences across Australia and around the world in a series of personal screening parties. Held in August every year to celebrate the launch of the annual Portable Film Festival competition, select users of portablefilmfestival.com from all around the world are provided by the Festival with a pack of materials to create their own portable party. In 2007, 20 parties were held by portable users around the world in locations as diverse as Mongolia, Colorado, London, the Northern Territory, Melbourne and Double Bay. In 2008, over 100 parties are planned in locations all over the world.[8]

Wide World Encounters[edit]

Partnering up with Lonely Planet, the Portable Film Festival accepted entries from far and wide about places even further and wider! A call for entries was made for films that captured the personality of a place and showed why the film-makers had a special connection for them. Journey as Destination by Dave Achtemichuk took out the grand prize of US$1000 and $100 worth of Lonely Planet books.

Film the Future[edit]

As a part of the Victoria State of Design Festival 2009, Portable Film Festival held a film the future competition. Budding film makers were challenged to make films that delve deep into the filmmaking crystal ball, past the retro futurist calculator watches, digital speedometers and inevitable Tron remakes to the pure illustrative essence of future times, as a part of the Festival's theme, Sampling the Future.

Finalist's films were shown in Federation Square, Melbourne, during 15 – 25 July, on rotation on the big screen several times each day. A regional screening at LaTrobe University Visual Arts Centre, Bendigo, was also held, featuring selected highlights from the program.

The judges for the competition were Ewan McEoin, Artistic Director of the State of Design Festival, and respected Melbourne designer Jeremy Wortsman. They awarded the grand prize to Apoptosis by Takafumi Tsuchiya.

Apoptosis will also feature through on the hugely influential Cool Hunting design and culture blog, which attracts 250,000 readers on its daily feed.

Festival partners[edit]







External links[edit]