Juneau group behind new TV series of short films

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanks to the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society, or JUMP, local filmmakers have had a venue to bring their films to a wider audience since 2002.

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Now, that stage is expanding.

The crew behind JUMP is developing a half-hour television series of short films from Alaska filmmakers, "The Alaska Short Forum," for broadcast on 360 North, KTOO's new all-Alaska channel.

They're looking for short-film submissions from Alaska filmmakers around the state.

"There are a lot of filmmakers in Alaska, and they're all really spread out," said Pat Race of the Short Forum. "Right now, we're in the process of trying to get the word out to the remote area."

The program will be similar to past JUMP festivals. But it also will include short interviews and tutorials with experienced Alaska filmmakers, such as Dave Hunsaker or Joel Bennett, both of Juneau.

Know and go

What: "The Alaska Short Forum," a new television program dedicated to Alaska films and filmmakers.

On: 360 North, the new station on GCI Channel 18.

Debuts: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5.

For more information and submission guidelines: shortforum.com or ktoo.org.

"We're going to try and aim it at the filmmakers themselves and an audience of people that want to sit down and enjoy these short films," Race said. "We want to use it as a community tool to improve our craft."

"The Alaska Short Forum" is just one of many Alaska-focused series and projects planned for 360 North, KTOO's new 24-hour-a-day television channel on GCI cable Channel 18.

The channel has carried "Gavel to Gavel" legislative coverage for years and will continue to do so when a session is in progress.

360 North has been on its "dry run" this month during the special session. Its full schedule of programming starts Dec. 1.

The lineup includes "The Alaska Film Archives Television Series," 7-8 p.m. Fridays; "Science For Alaska"; "Safety At Sea"; long-format public affairs programs; Alaska Permanent Fund board meetings; Juneau World Affairs Council lectures; special holiday programming; and a slew of state documentaries.

When the next legislative session begins in February, "Gavel to Gavel" will air as usual. But the prime time and overnight schedule will be filled with the new Alaska-based programming, rather than "Gavel" reruns.

The half-hour pilot episode of "The Alaska Short Forum" is slated to debut at 8 p.m. Dec. 5. It will then air at midnight, several times on Dec. 6, and a few times during that weekend.

360 North manager Tim Olson, a longtime Alaska television producer, was a fan of the JUMP festivals. He approached Lucid Reverie, an Emporium Mall-based production company, with the idea of the new show.

"Those guys have had great success in the past, so it seems like a natural expansion to put together something for a wider audience," Olson said. "We're hoping that submissions will come from people throughout the state."

Race, Aaron Suring and Lou Logan will create the programs at Lucid Reverie. Tentative plans call for a new show every two weeks. The episodes also will be podcast on the Internet.

"It's really hard to get people excited about something that's in a conceptual stage," Race said. "We need to make this pilot episode to show them something, to tell them."

The first few episodes may include films that were previously screened in JUMP festivals.

The Short Forum will accept submissions from people who have strong ties to Alaska, or are making a film about Alaska, or who are living in Alaska.

Films can be submitted as DV-quality digital files or Mini-DV tape. All submissions must be 15 minutes or less. Filmmakers will retain the rights to their film.

"I really think it's something that has the potential to get a pretty good audience around the state," Race said. "Hopefully we can use this as a little more glue to adhere the film community in Alaska."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at 523-2268 or korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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