Mini Movies in Demand

By: Brian Rooney
By: Brian Rooney

These days it seems everything in entertainment is getting bigger: a quarter-billion dollar budget for Spider-Man 3 and sales of gynormous flat-screen TV's soaring. There are some moviemakers working on a very small scale though and their films are coming to a tiny screen near you.

Film maker Maria Maggenti recently made a movie about her dog. It's a small dog, also a small movie. Just a few minutes long and made to be watched on the two-inch screen of a cellular telephone.

"I think the main challenge is what kind of story makes sense that tiny," Maggenti said.

In Brooklyn, New York, Cory McAbee was also thinking small when he starred in his little movie called "Reno."

"It was going to be played in 215 countries on phones, so it couldn't be dependent on dialogue. It also couldn't be offensive to anybody, and it had to be three to five minutes," McAbee said.

Maggenti and McAbee are pioneers in what may become the next big thing in entertainment. Mini movies made for people on the go. It already has a nickname, Cellywood .

It's short attention-span theater for people commuting to work or waiting for an airplane, and the phone companies think there might be some big box office from the tiny screen.

"Today it's only about four percent of subscribers in the United States tell that they watch some kind of video on their mobile phones, but video's pervasive in our society," said Charles Golvin of Forrester Research. "People like to watch video."

Evem the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine" made a short clip full of music, big images and no talking. These mini movies are made for what's been called video snacking.

"And that's kind of exciting for filmmakers because we rarely get a chance to do short films that aren't commercials," Maggenti said.

It is an art form in the making.

"What are the possibilities? I think they're endless. I mean people, there 's more small screens in the world right now than there are big screens," McAbee said.

Somewhere out there may be a director with small plans to become the Spielberg of the cellphone.

For more information on these short films, finding some of your own to download and information on how to make your own movies, visit

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