Whether you call them gifs or gifs, they’re short for graphics interchange format, and better known as the looping video animations that are everywhere on mobile and social media. And at the Giffy Film Fest in New York, they’re moving from touchscreens to the big screen. I think people are just used to shorter form content in general, and I really think people will embrace this format as a type of entertainment.

Users can upload their videos and photos to sites like giffy.com. In gifs.com which they generate the gifs automatically, making them easy to share on social media. An emoji you can give a thump up or smile, but in a gif, you can give a full reaction, and I think that is what really has taken it to next level. The entries were so different. They were live action. They were illustrated. They were stop-motion, they were experimental. Some were sad, some were heartbreaking, some were romantic, some were terrifying.

But it only lasts 18 seconds or less. Can you really call it a film? For this creators, it’s beside the point. I don’t care about taking someone on a long journey. I just want to someone to remember it and oftentimes I find that it’s more effective to do that with a short piece. I love gif format because they’re super easy and they are super quick. In a day, I can create one gif and post it and share it and it’s like an addiction.

In the last six months, I’ve gone from 136,000 views to 200 millions, so it’s been a whirlwind. There are also democratizing access for aspiring filmmakers and artists. Maybe you don’t have the means to create a feature like a film right now or even the means to create a short-like film. But you could probably create a film within 18 seconds. Shoot something with your phone, shoot something with your ipad, cameras are everywhere. There is no excuse to not make a film. And in the age of diminishing attention spans, it’s timely entertainment.

Tina Trinh, VOA News, New York.






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