Celebrating 10 Years of Filmmaking, The Three-Minute Picture Show's Simple Mission Continues to Inspire Amateur Filmmakers to Create Mini Cinematic Masterpieces

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The Three-Minute Picture Show kicks off its 2011 season and celebrates a decade of creativity-inducing, community-based filmmaking. Screenings in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, offer kids and adults the chance to see their work on the big screen in front of a live audience.

Photo by Gregory Cowley for The Three-Minute Picture Show

Live From the Red Carpet at the Portland Twinkling To-Do Film Screening

We are often asked if The Three-Minute Picture Show is still relevant now that anyone can make a short film and put it on Youtube. Simply attend one of our screenings and you will know the answer is a resounding yes!

Back in 2001, The Three-Minute Picture Show was born in Oakland, CA, when Chris Baty, creator of National Novel Writing Month, issued a seemingly simple challenge: Dedicate 30 days to uncritical creativity and produce a 3-minute film. The reward? Seeing the film projected in front of a live audience at the "Black Tie" Gala & Film Screening. The VHS tapes poured in, people gathered at a warehouse in their finest thrift store black-tie attire and the results were as varied as they were inspiring.

When asked what motivated him to create the event, Baty put it this way, "Through National Novel Writing Month, I had witnessed the miraculous creative feats that a deadline can inspire. I wanted to see if the same thirty-day deadline could motivate me and my friends to make movies as well. And it did! Watching everyone's three-minute films on the night of the first festival was one of the best, most moving experiences of my life. They were tiny movies, but the process of making them helped all of us see we were capable of bigger things."

Fast forward to 2011: The Three-Minute Picture Show is now a fiscally sponsored organization that offers screenings in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. In 2010 the family-friendly Twinkling To-Do Film Screening was added for films made by 6-17-year-old kids. Although the screenings now take place in actual movie theaters, and technology has changed dramatically, the core values remain the same.

By providing a goal, encouragement and a deadline, The Three-Minute Picture Show acts as a catalyst for creative innovation. As Program Director Camille Verboort explains, "We are often asked if The Three-Minute Picture Show is still relevant now that anyone can make a short film and put it on YouTube. Simply attend one of our screenings and you will know the answer is a resounding yes! Not only does The Three-Minute Picture Show offer a gathering place to watch your film on the big screen with like-minded individuals who offer immediate feedback, we provide you with a deadline and a month of encouraging emails to keep you focused on your project. Every year people tell me "I never would have made a film if it was not for The Three-Minute Picture Show." That keeps us going. All we want to do is a light a creative spark under the seat of your pants and celebrate the results with you!"

To learn more and sign up for The Three-Minute Picture Show, visit http://www.threeminutepictureshow.com. Filmmaking begins July 1. The 2011 Black-Tie Gala & Film Screening and family-friendly Twinkling To-Do take place in Portland, OR, on August 20 at the Clinton St. Theater and in San Francisco, CA, on August 27 at the Victoria Theatre.

The Three-Minute Picture Show is fiscally sponsored through Fractured Atlas. For more information visit http://www.fracturedatlas.org.

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