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Global Mobile Film Festival to debut at Mobile World Congress

The Global System for Mobile Communications Association and Mofilm have announced the first-ever Global Mobile Film Festival.

The festival will take place at the Mobile World Congress, February 16-19, 2009, in Barcelona, Spain. The GSMA, the global trade group for the mobile industry, and Mofilm, a self-proclaimed pioneer of short films for mobile and on-line distribution, have issued an official "call for films" to international filmmakers.

"This unique film festival will celebrate amateur and professional film-making for movies of five minutes or less in length, which would be ideal for viewing and sharing on mobile phones," said Mark Smith, communications director of the GSMA, London. "The objective of the film festival is to reach new audiences for short films using the ubiquity of the mobile medium.

"If you consider that there are already more than 3.3 billion mobile devices/screens in the hands of users globally, and that these devices are evolving rapidly in terms of sophistication, you can see that there is tremendous potential for bite-size film to reach a mass audience in a direct and dramatic new way," he said.

The Global Mobile Festival follows the success of the GSMA's previous collaborations with the Sundance Film Festival to create the Global Short Film Project, which debuted at the Mobile World Congress in 2007.

This year, Mofilm will showcase the work of short film directors representing the Cannes, Locarno, Shanghai and Sundance Festivals.

The Global Mobile Film Festival will be supported by the actor, director and filmmaker Robert Redford and the actress, writer and director Isabella Rossellini.

"The Congress has become a focal point for the convergence of the mobile and entertainment industries in recent years, attracting leading film makers and artists, including Robert Redford, Isabella Rosselini and the Oscar-nominated Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Little Miss Sunshine, among others in recent years," Mr. Smith said.

"They have attended the event to support, explore and contribute to the discussions surrounding short films via the mobile platform," he said.

The GSMA and Mofilm are seeking films up to five minutes in length, made both using traditional filmmaking techniques by established and upcoming film directors, as well as films made using mobile devices themselves.

Submission forms and films can be uploaded on-line at the Mofilm Web site at http://www.mofilm.com until the deadline of November 28, 2008.

Films will be judged by an international jury of film, festival and mobile content experts, with the best films showcased at the GSMA's Mobile World Congress.

The GSMA claims that it is the world's largest communications industry event and that it attracts more than 55,000 visitors from the mobile, entertainment and many other industry sectors to Barcelona each February.

Mofilm will present awards for the best films at the Congress, selected by a special jury of film directors and film festival executives.

"It is one of the GSMA's goals to catalyze the mobile medium as a venue for compelling entertainment, bringing together film makers and festivals with mobile operators and others that can drive interest, reach and uptake in the market." Mr. Smith said.

The GSMA recently launched the Green Power for Mobile program (see story).

The GSM Association is the global trade association representing more than 750 GSM carriers across 218 countries and territories of the world.

The association's members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections, more than 86 percent of the world's mobile phone connections.

In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for carriers and their suppliers.

Mofilm provides content for mobile and online services, working with the mobile industry and filmmakers.

Based in Britain, Mofilm has worked previously with the GSMA and leading film festivals. It specializes in creating in-show experiences, content distribution and consulting services.

Mofilm celebrates the intersection of art, commerce and technology in the fast-evolving sector of mobile entertainment and has considerable technology expertise in terms of showcasing and optimizing films for mobile devices.

"Mofilm does not sell the content, and its role is not to monetize the films, but rather it aims to bring together filmmakers, festivals and mobile operators to showcase content on the mobile medium," Mr. Smith said. "It is up to operators themselves to negotiate rights and distribution with the film makers or content owners directly.

"There are three basic models that operators can use to monetize content: ad-supported, premium download and subscription-based models," he said. "But as mentioned, it is down to operators to determine which model might be best suited to their markets in respect of mobile content."