Like many great inventions of the imagination, the Tally Shorts Film Festival was born in a garage.
Conspiring alongside six other Tallahassee film visionaries, Mark Bauer wanted to increase the odds for independent filmmakers to have their work spotlighted, so as not be lost in the deluge of media prevalent in today’s market. Short films especially get the shortend of the stick, a disadvantage as it’s the place where Bauer says many filmmakers “cut their teeth.” The first year they launched the festival, it was a grassroots effort and free to attend. Six years later, Bauer says the festival continues to grow in both audience and submissions, showing short films from all over the world, and will premiere its sixth season Jan. 26 and 27 at the Challenger Learning Center.
“Last year we had Phillip Middleton visit us from Australia, and filmmakers from Finland and Iraq come and represent their films,” says Bauer, who is also proud of the local talent that is part of the festival as well. “You find that the goal of all filmmakers is to get as many people to watch a film as they can. We wanted to bring that to Tallahassee with short films and give them an avenue to show their stuff.”
Before he was a filmmaker, Bauer first honed his artistic skills in the realm of fine arts. Both of his parents were artists in their own right, and he was inclined to follow a similar path. He credits his high school art teacher, Mr. Stuber, for imparting to him the importance of composition. Those foundations are something he still carries with him when envisioning his short films.
Before earning his bachelor’s in studio art at Florida State University, Bauer found a mentor in Tallahassee Community College professor Carlos Miranda. He and Miranda still keep in close contact, as both are founding members of the Tally Shorts Film Festival. Enrolling in a video course in college first introduced Bauer to the idea of pursuing film. He remembers making his first film about a chess match but laughs as he recalls it.
“It was fun, but I’m sure if I opened it up now I would cringe,” says Bauer. “All artists go through that journey with their early work.”
Working in editing, animation, graphic design, and freelance, Bauer’s experience spans every realm of film and video production. One of the most important lessons he’s learned in the field is to not overlook pre-production.
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