Zachary Quinto isn't just a pretty face (with respectable acting chops and an impressive reservoir of business savvy) -- now that the untitled "Star Trek" sequel, in which Quinto reprises his role of Vulcan officer Spock, has concluded filming, he's had time for a few extracurricular activities. Our favorite involves ShortList, the online film festival hosted by The Wrap, in conjunction with NextMovie.com and Film.com.
We spoke to Quinto this week about his position on the festival's jury, his take on short-form content -- and which short turned him on to the medium.
You're in excellent company on the ShortList jury. Did that encourage you to sign on?
Excellent. And people that I know well; I mean Cassian Elwes was pretty instrumental in putting "Margin Call" together and helping us in our early pursuits as a young production company. Lynette Howell, I know pretty well, and have a lot of respect for her as a producer. I didn't know that all this when I agreed to do it -- it was a pleasant surprise when I saw the list of everybody together and realized I already had connections to a number of them.
Short films seem to fly under the general public's radar. What are they missing?
I really enjoy them. We just produced a short that I starred in, that a good friend of mine called Sian Heder wrote and directed. It was a great experience -- it's great for a lot of reasons, from a production end. It's a great opportunity for creative exploration, and there's not as much pressure associated with a short film, externally, from a studio or a business standpoint. So it can be a real creative playground, which is what I've always been drawn to as an audience member, because you can go to a program of short films at a film festival, which I've done a number of times. Invariably, you're going to have a very diverse experience, seeing different styles of filmmaking, different tones and modes of storytelling, different perspectives and points of view. I think it's a great medium in that way, and people may not be as aware of it, or it might not be as accessible to the mainstream.
Is that changing, with access to the internet and OnDemand?
Yes, they're now accesible in so many ways: on computers, on all the devices we carry around with us. The reach, now, is much more than it was, even five or ten years ago, and that's really exciting for filmmakers. It's also easier to make stuff. It's cheaper and easier to make films -- people can now make a movie for well sub-$1 million, and I'm talking about a feature film at this point, and go on to affect a lot of people and have a significant impact and generate sizaable revenue. In the pursuit of the convergence of creative and commercial, it's a more interesting time, with such immediate technology.
Short films can predict the full-length features of the future. Is that compelling to you, as a producer?
I think it's a great tool. I love to watch short films; oftentimes, they're from a first-time director. People do a collection of short films and you can stumble on a very unique aesthetic or style or perspective. I think that's really vital for inspiring and moving things forward, creatively, on a personal and professional level.
Do you have a favorite?
[One] actually changed my idea of short films. I was at the Palm Springs Film Festival ... I went to the market and watched a program of short films. This film, "Bugcrash," directed by Carter Smith, freaked me out. I was so inexorably riveted, just drawn in like a laser to what was happening on the TV screen. It was so well done that it really stuck with me and informed by appetite for that kind of content. It was a pretty significant moment. I didn't know what an affinity I had for the medium.