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Lights On Films is a world sales company of quality cinema based in Italy. Their line up includes feature films and shorts from international emerging talents (which can be viewed by professional subscribers on T-Port). Their goal is to be a film’s first promoter – exploiting the potential of a movie until it reaches its potential audience.

We chatted with Flavio Armone, the Co-Founder and Managing Director, to find out what he is looking for in a short, how filmmakers can get in touch, and how he sees the future of short films.

Hi Flavio! Let’s start with an easy one. What about your role and organisation do you find most inspiring?

Discovering new talents

There are good films, but, in your personal opinion, what makes a great film and how do you separate the two?

An original story or an original directing style.

If you could only watch one film on a loop for the rest of time, what would it be?

The next film I will watch 🙂

What makes your organisation special?

I don’t think it’s up to me to say! What we always try to do is to involve directors/producers in the distribution process of their films.

What advice would you give for upcoming filmmakers who want to get involved? Where do they start?

Show us their films!

How would you like filmmakers to get in touch with Lights On if they would like to pitch their films to you?

They can just send us the online screener of the film by email and we will be in touch. We watch every film we receive for consideration and we answer to everyone. We can’t provide personal feedback because we really don’t have the time to do that.

We consider projects if a rough cut is available and, most of the time, we join a project only if the world premiere is still available.

I think your HALO programme would be of particular interest to the filmmakers in our audience, could you share a little more information about how people can get involved?

HALO is a mentorship program. We created it for shorts we like but we can’t follow ourselves mainly because of the lack of time. It’s a consultancy session (or various sessions) about short films’ distribution in general and particularly focused on the specific film. Filmmakers can send us an email to propose their films or to have more info!

Does your organisation recognise a particular type of filmmaker or film? If so could you describe what / who you’re looking to work with?

We like to promote shorts that we think are inspiring or challenging for the audience. We don’t have a specific type of film we are looking for and we work with first time directors and with very experienced directors.

Tell us about some of the film makers you have helped, what have they gone on to do?

We started the company in 2015 so some filmmakers we have worked with in the past for their shorts, recently debuted with their first feature film: An Pham Thien won La Caméra d’or in Cannes this year and Nelson Yeo won the Pardo d’oro for Best Feature Film (Cineasti del Presente Competition) at Locarno Film Festival 2023 with DREAMING & DYING, his first film.

We have worked with some of Nelson’s previous shorts and now we are collaborating for DREAMING & DYING. And there are many other directors we collaborated with in the past that are going to release their first feature soon!

Why are short films important?

Why is cinema important? Short films are cinema, just shorter 🙂

Where do you see the world of Short Films in 10 years, what should/needs to change?

I hope short films could reach a broader audience thanks to online releasing but this can only happen if the big streamers decide to seriously invest in short films.

What do you think is lacking in the process of distributing and promoting short films by upcoming filmmakers?

I guess they miss two key factors for the process: the knowledge of the festival scene and taking the time to reach these festivals.

What do feel young film talents lack the most today, after graduating from film school? Where are the gaps in the film industry?

I think academic education is very important but sometimes there is the risk that creativity is sacrificed.

What is your single most important piece of advice for upcoming filmmakers to follow?

Try to be original, tell a story you feel connected to.

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