Laurence Asseraf has been curating short films for a number of years. She began the Tribeca Underground Festival 6 years ago until Robert De Niro, feeling the pressure, used his lawyers to force her to change the name. Mr. De Niro is nominal head of the Tribeca Film Festival; now a juggernaut of a festival. Why they are afraid of little Laurence Asseraf is beyond me – it's the whole “Bambi meets Godzilla” scenario. So she was forced to change the name to the BeFilm Underground Festival.
I go to a lot of festivals with my short films and uniformly I'm ignored or shunted to the margin and left to beg for any kind of publicity or distribution. That's why its so refreshing to have a festival like the BeFilm Festival, which celebrates short film, both live action and animation. Her and her festival partner, Dmitri, are able to attract great audiences for little jewels of films.
I'm always pissed off when people say that its impossible to make money on short films. Its a cliché that shorts are only to get 3 picture deals in Hollywood. No way! Short films are a great art form. You can say beautiful, powerful, meaningful stories with short films. And besides that, I make most my money on my shorts. I love short film as an art form and as a money maker. So its so wonderful that there's a BeFilm Underground Festival to spotlight short films from around the world.