Entries soar for online Babelgum fest


ROME -- Babelgum, the online short film festival first unveiled last year in Venice, has tripled the number of registrations over the last 10 days and has more than 500 films uploaded for consideration in one of the event's seven competitive categories.

Festival organizers also said that the deadline for uploading films has been pushed back two weeks to March 1, with the judging -- ultimately courtesy of director Spike Lee -- to begin two days later.

So far, some 1,500 short film directors have registered on the site, with all but 500 of those registrations coming in a flurry of activity over the last 10 days.

The last day directors can register is Feb. 15, though they will have an additional two weeks from that date to refine their film entry and upload it.

The festival, backed by the online television company of the same name, allows up-and-coming directors to upload short films to the site, with the initial voting done by the public, which will select 10 top films in seven categories. A panel will then select the top three in each category and Lee will pick the winner.

The festival screens the entries to assure they are made with high production quality and contain no "questionable" content -- though organizers said that, of the more than 500 films submitted so far, none have been removed for reasons associated with production quality or content.