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Tristan Barr Continuance Pictures’ Short Film Initiative

March 13, 2019
2 min read time

“Continuance Pictures was born out of the idea for a quality, low-budget production model similar to that of Blumhouse and A24,” says Tristan Barr, head producer and co-founder of Continuance Pictures. Along with his business partner, David Gim, Barr heads up a team of what he calls a collaboration of passionate producers, filmmakers, writers and financiers from all corners of the globe. The eclectic group hails from North America, Australia, South Korea and Europe.

This year, in somewhat of a celebration of Continuance’s first anniversary, the production company is extending its collaborative process with its first short film initiative program.

Barr says the concept for the initiative came to him last year after firsthand experience with the finance and distribution model for short films. As the writer and director of Australia's first one-take feature film called Watch the Sunset, Barr set his sights first on an international festival run. This opened doors to many opportunities, including representation and finance for future projects.

“I wasn't ready with the scripts for my next projects, however,” he said. “It took me a few months before I had scripted what I needed to and by that time, the interest had died significantly, particularly as I was back in Australia.” 

The experience prompted him and Gim to do further research into financing and the volatility of the film industry, leading them to form the basis for the CONTINUE Short Film Initiative.

“We found that shooting quality, proof-of-concept shorts that could play at international A-list festivals could lead to finance partnerships and opportunities for related long-form projects,” Barr says. “Essentially, giving each project the best chance of success in the marketplaces where so much is possible.”

The pair developed the criteria for the initiative with the help of Jason Blum at the Busan International Film Festival, and Barr cites inspiration from such movies as Saw, Whiplash, Bottle Rocket, Napoleon Dynamite, and Office Space. All films that first began as shorts, and then later became successful, full-length features.

“Short film initiatives stimulate new ideas, styles and talent,” he says. Which Barr is thrilled at the chance to foster with the initiative.

As for ideal candidates, Barr says it’s really for anyone and everyone who’s creative, driven and passionate about film and storytelling, with a “good” long form and short form script of the same or similar concept.

“We have had candidates with years of screenwriting experience, people who work in the industry, candidates fresh out of film school, and people who are self-taught and want to give screenwriting a shot,” he says.

When it comes to the types of scripts they’re looking for, Barr says they are open to any genre or media form; from web series and television pilots, to the big screen cinema franchises.

“We look for scripts that have carefully-calibrated structures, strong original stories, and are marketable,” he elaborates. “Originality and market viability are two key factors we look for during development.”

Barr adds, “We aim to provide opportunities to emerging filmmakers, and if the concept suits us but the script needs a little work, we may assist further with the development process.” 

Winners of the CONTINUE Short Film Initiative will be awarded a $10,000 (AUD) budget to produce their short film, along with access to Continuance Picture’s in-house team to ensure the successful completion of the film.

While this year’s initiative is closed, Barr says they have committed to an annual program for the next five years, selecting three- to five short projects for the first couple of years. Once the program gains momentum, Barr says they hope that the short initiative will become a platform that provides a practical pathway for emerging filmmakers across Australia, the US, Asia and Europe, allowing “new talent to showcase their skills and creativity through bigger channels and world-renowned film festivals.”

Ultimately, Barr says his hope for Continuance Pictures and the short film initiative is working with experienced filmmakers, producers and studios who understand the system and are passionate about helping emerging talent from all across the globe navigate it. 

“Our screens are filled with content, and yet meaning is becoming lost,” Barr states. “We want to explore bold ideas and thoroughly engaging stories by embracing innovative approaches and methods, like our short initiative, that encourages creativity and rewards originality.” 

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