A Film to Tweet About

Director makes a unique debut feature film inspired by social networking sites

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140 people in 140 locations around the world, shoot 140 seconds of what connects them to their home. The result? A feature length documentary of poignant moments captured around the world at the same time. 

This 80 minute piece is the Irish debut feature film, appropriately titled 140, from director Frank Kelly (pictured) and will showcase eight Aussies in its final cut.

The idea originated from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter which pressure people to communicate in brief sentences, often without correct grammar or sentence structure.

Kelly's idea was to take the restriction of Twitter, which only allows users to send messages containing 140 characters, and enlist filmmakers around the world to tell their creative story in 140 seconds on June 21, 2009. "The thing about Twitter is immediacy, conciseness and the ability to connect with people. Those three elements gave me the idea for the film," Kelly says.

The aim behind the project was to challenge those who criticise new media, and prove that there is merit in sites such as Facebook and Twitter. "It was a chance to prove nay-sayers wrong," explains Kelly. "A chance to show that something good could come from nothing, just an idea, with limited resources. Things like Twitter and Facebook are not just useless distractions, they are a resource for independent filmmakers."

 

The film's main draw is the fact that all the clips, the moments, which are so completely different and diverse, all happened simultaneously. "There's something of a hypnotic effect that happens; it's quite relaxing to watch as you become absorbed in the visual aspect of the piece," Kelly reflects.  

For Kelly, 140 has a specific purpose and relevance to modern filmmaking, explaining that the piece is about more than pure entertainment. "I wanted to capture a time on earth and preserve it in film. Amidst war, poverty and depression to realise that there is still beauty and it's worth holding on to."

For aspiring filmmakers, Kelly has some words of wisdom to impart: "Digital technology and the internet has opened the floodgates and taken cinema out of the hands of the rich and privileged. There is a popular snobbery that you encounter when trying to get a film off the ground; you meet a lot of people who tell you it can't be done. One of the skills a young filmmaker needs to learn is how to ignore those people and do it anyway."

 

140 will premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California at the end of April. Kelly is currently under negotiation for releasing the film in Australia this year. Watch the trailer here.  

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