It’s been a dead year for film festivals globally but South African film makers can have 1 minute of fame on the big screen when the first 2020 international 1-minute film festival is presented at a red-carpet gala event in Istanbul on the 15th October.

‘’After 7 global festivals in 2019, I had every hope and intention of delivering a ‘festival a month’ globally in 2020, but we at 1 Minute Film Festival could not pull the pieces together in this current climate, so we went with an online festival,” said dynamic owner and Entrepreneur Thaamir Moerat.

“Our slogan is anyone can be on the big screen. Looking at social media trends now, everything is under 1 minute. And that’s why it’s not the two-minute or three-minute festival. The world is moving towards one minute,” he said.

Many film festivals have moved towards an online format due to COVID and Moerat said he’s excited for the challenge and to be back in cinemas in Istanbul this month.

“At a film festival, people come to watch because they are interested in cinema. It’s not like watching a premiere show or being in any cinema, where you are not with like-minded people.”

Being an actor and film maker himself, Thaamir says that it takes a massive budget to make an hour-and-a-half movie but anyone can make a 1-minute movie if they have a creative idea and a camera.

“It’s phenomenal what people are doing in one minute,” said Moerat.

Entrants are from across the globe and range from aspiring film makers to seasoned professionals with years of experience.

The film festival competition accepts entries across a range of categories such as horror and comedy to action and animation. The entries will be judged and the top films in each of the 11 categories as well as the top three overall films, will be shown nationwide in Ster Kinekor Nouveau cinemas before the main features.

The festival is hosted six times a year in three local and three international cities Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are regular hosts and three new international cities are selected each year.

Moerat plans on hosting another 2 festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town in November and December respectively.

His aim is to showcase South African talent around the world and 50 local South African movies will screen in Istanbul. They will be up against 50 international entries ranging from USA to Iran and France to Hong Kong.

“The one-minute festival is a point of entry for them to make it onto the big screen. With this festival, you can bring your friends and family and they can see your film on the big screen.”

2 Years ago, Sipho Nuse, who is from the Nyanga East in Cape Town, won the young filmmakers award.

“I want to make an example of this guy who won the young filmmakers award. The movie is called Jabu. It was screened at my Cape Town festival [last year]. He’s literally a guy from the township that made an exceptional one-minute movie. To get him on the big screen was such a pleasure.”

Moerat enjoyed a successful acting and modelling career in his early 20s and decided to return to the field. He recently starred in an Afrikaans Corona Lockdown movie called Noodsaak.

“About a year ago I decided to get back into acting and modelling. I went back to my agency Elysian Management and they said I had been out of the business for 15 years and nobody would remember me.”

“The agency advised me to create some one-minute clips of my acting skills to showcase what I could do. I shot a few 1-minute movies showing myself crying, being dramatic, a love scene and so on,” he said.

The one-minute festival idea was born out of that advice.

“As a businessman and entrepreneur I thought how to get my clips out there and came up with the idea of a one-minute film festival.”

The first festival was held in October 2018 and following its huge success, the event was also held in Johannesburg. The next logical step was to take the festival international.

The next two festivals were held in the cities of Sofia and Burgas in Bulgaria followed by Durban and now Istanbul.

“As the world starts to normalize again, we will start planning towards next year to make the event even bigger and better, but for now all roads lead to Istanbul.” Moerat said.

The gala event will be held at Sinema Majestik in Istanbul’s vibrant Istiklal street, Taksim and can be viewed on globally online on the 15th of October at 8pm.