An artist-run initiative of Bridge Art, Nfp, a registered Illinois 501 c 3 not for profit organization, Bridge Video works to promote and educate about its film and video art-makers year round.
This includes through our micro-streaming service at bridge-video.org, launched on Aug 28, 2023 in the member's area of our archive and publication site at bridge-chicago.org, with an annual screening of select new work from the streamer. We also seek ongoing, off-streamer and opportunities beyond the festival for screening of works, including through an ongoing partnership with Side/Lot Curatorial, which produces the annual Evanston Experimental Showcase. In addition, we also continuously seek program and presentation opportunities for our contributors through other museum, gallery, and other non-traditional art and screening spaces.
Of course, we also produce and host the annual Bridge Film & Video Festival at SITE/less Chicago (siteless.org) every October. A unique alternative art space, SITE/less is a guerilla storefront located at 1250 W. Augusta Blvd. in Chicago, an edge site with ancillary relationships to a variety of urban crossroads and infrastructures. The building abuts the stonewall of the elevated Metra line and is further enclosed by the Kennedy Expressway, a service road, a crosswalk, an overpass, and two municipal maintenance and storage facilities. SITE/less anchors the edge of a small triangular residential enclave and is situated between the West Town and Noble Square communities.
For the festival, we produce (for those able to attend), an opening reception and screening night opening program, a series of environmental video installations and potential opportunities for panel discussions & other "behind the scenes" related talks and discussions produced to accompany at least headliner materials, as well as the production of a program booklet with extended information on the films, directors, actors and artists.
Please note that acceptance to the streaming service does not mean your film or video project is automatically accepted to be screened at the festival. A separate acceptance for the SITE/less screening will be sent out to everyone accepted for the program, which will be juried by editors of the Bridge artistic collective. Everyone accepted for the screening will automatically be included in the streaming service.
Founded in 2003 with the release of the Short Film and Video Collection, Bridge Video was originally conceived as a special project release series included in Volume 2, Number 2 of the Bridge Journal. Subsequently, we have hosted numerous screenings, exhibitions, expositions and festivals over the years showcasing the work of artists such as Miranda July (we were the first to publish her fiction too!), David Cronenberg, Sterling Ruby, Tom Palazzolo, Jim Trainor, and numerous others.
Since artist's film and video work, and especially in those categories known as "video art," and "art house" currently have no good streaming options, and remain categories of film and video largely preserved by archives rather than shown, our micro-streaming service focuses on the intersection between them.
Likewise, much underground, experimental and other expanded media categories as we have listed, have similarly few options except being picked up by a private, third-party distributor who then handles the sale of the work to Netflix, Amazon, or elsewhere, usually neglecting most all of these categories. We hope to fill this void and work to continuously curate the finest selection of work in the expanded range of our focus, conceived of as "where video art meets art house."
VIEW FALL 2023 / SPRING 2024 BRIDGE FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL LINEUP HERE
VIEW FALL 2023 / SPRING 2024 BRIDGE VIDEO STREAMING SERVICE LINEUP HERE
Cover image: From the archives: still from David Cronenberg’s “Camera,” made for the 2000 Toronto International Festival and licensed for the Bridge Video DVD in 2003.
As an artist-run organization, Bridge works to provide an assortment of laurel awards (both for our micro-streamer and annual film festival) and industry-alternative opportunities for selected filmmakers. We are not a traditional node on the film festival circuit, and are not organized to offer elbow-rubbing events with industry insiders, though this is always a possibility that films may be picked up for third-party distribution through our service. Instead, as an alternative we strive to offer non-traditional opportunities, as detailed below, to showcase film and video as an artistic medium, and to offer long-term archival platforms for work that succeeds in the underrepresented categories we accept for review. These may include:
BRIDGE VIDEO STREAMING SERVICE & ANNUAL BRIDGE FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL
Upon selection by members of the Bridge collective of artists, Bridge Video artists and filmmakers are awarded offers for a hosting contract on the streaming service with a 2-year exclusive term and 5-year full term, after which point the contract may be renewed or declined.
This agreement also includes consent to screen the work as part of additional live screening events, with advance notice, and a determination as to whether or not the film was also selected for the scheduled Oct. screening at SITE/less.
A copy of the license agreement for participants in the Bridge Video micro-streaming service is available to review here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14uPqtWldIlQsnYDf9C6QZsuXXefFRUeZ/view?usp=drive_link.
STREAMING LIMITED ENGAGEMENT OPTION
We also offer a "Limited Engagement" option for presenting new work. We realize some filmmakers may wish to not have their films screen exclusively through the micro-streaming service for the full initial 2-year duration. So we also offer the opportunity for select filmmakers to present their work as part of a limited engagement presentation during which it will be featured for one month alongside programming for the weekly featured film selections from the micro-streamer, available only to subscribers, and permanently removed afterward.
BRIDGE VIDEO MICRO-STREAMER SEASONAL PROGRAMMING
Our programming at bridge-video is active annually between August and December, and February through June. Each Friday in-season, we present the trailer for a new, original film or video, exclusive to Bridge, alongside free content from partners such as Indiana University’s Art, Architecture and Design Department, Chicago PBS affiliate WTTW channel 11’s indie film program “Image Union” (both confirmed partnerships, with new work from these also premiering Aug. 28) or other future festivals, institutes or academic partners. These featured films are viewable along with all the currently available content for the year in a custom catalog member's area accessible through a $25/every 6 mos. subscription.
BRIDGE VIDEO STRATEGIC PLAN
A little more information on the benefits of the platform: the launch of Bridge Video represents the culmination of an aggressive advertising effort over the past year through our social media channels (Instagram, etc.), with a targeted editorial focus on our list of unique, often underrepresented art forms and content areas. It seems absurd, for example, that no streamers offer a category for established forms such as video art, experimental or dance film, and we seek to maintain that focus on our categories as our greatest strength.
We have an established customer base and mailing list that goes back to 1999, through which we will promote each film through our social media and advertisements on our other site homepages, and seasonally through our 14k-subscriber newsletters, etc. For data on all this, I would suggest that contributors have a look at our advertising info page and media kit at https://www.bridge-chicago.org/advertising, which is chock full of info on the current audience for the annual slate of programming that we're adding the streaming service onto, and gives you a look under the hood of each marketing area.
And that's it! Overall, our strategy is built on a 5-year cycle starting in 2023 and culminating in the end of the first license terms in 2027 to build up new audiences with each successive year's new batch of film and video content, rolled out weekly. Our goal is to develop a solid subscriber base built up with each successive year, alongside occasional stand-alone special features, our annual in-person film festival and occasional other in-person specially programmed screenings, eventually register as an award-qualifying event, etc. Our team is devoted to providing a steady focused, collaborative, artist-run effort as a not for profit invested in building up visibility for underrepresented art forms and fostering a culture that appreciates experimentation and new ideas with a programming slate both on and offline to back it up.
By submitting your work to Bridge Video, you agree to follow its rules and guidelines.
• We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
• We consider works in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
• We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
• We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
• Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
• Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
• There's no additional eligibility criteria for short films. All shorts are eligible!
• All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
• Deadlines close at 11:59 PM CST.
• We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
• We don't provide refunds for festival entries.
• Entrants can update their screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time for consideration.
• We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST have English subtitles.
HOW WE PROGRAM
• We anticipate that in general the majority of our streamer films will be under 40 minutes, with a sweet spot for the majority of films we will accept coming in at around 10-20mins. However, we accept films of all lengths.
• Each film will be watched by at least two different programmers. If you are using Vimeo stats, you can track the watches most of the time. However, we've had many cases in which watches weren't recorded correctly, including for some of the accepted films. Please note that they are not always reliable.
• If a film gets two or more recommendations after the first round of watches, it will be watched by more programmers and discussed at deliberations sessions.
• Deliberating programmers determine a Bridge Video selection through discussion and voting.
• Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no Bridge Video competition selections are made outside of this process.
• Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
• We generally don't share programming feedback with entrants.
• The Bridge Video programmers' decisions are final.
• Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up.
• Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening or being added to the streaming system for Bridge Video.
• If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival / streamer exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
• All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their Bridge Video debut. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
• If accepted for a live screening event, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
• We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses to attend live events.
• We don't cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
• We don't provide screening fees.