Short. Sweet. Film Fest.
Alex Theater at the Metropolitan at the 9, 2017 East 9th St.
March 3 - March 5
CLEVELAND, Ohio - It was a concert in 2011 that sparked the idea for Short. Sweet. Film Fest. Mike Suglio was at Now That's Class when a friend mentioned that nearly everyone in the audience was also part of the local music scene.
"He asked, 'Does the film community have an outlet to show the same support for each other? You should really have a festival that showcases local talent,'" recalls Suglio.
They launched the first Short. Sweet. in June 2012 in the back room of Ohio City's newly opened Market Garden Brewery by showing around 30 films. By the next year, they had expanded to take up the full basement space.
On March 3, the annual festival returns to the Alex Theater at the Metropolitan at the 9 for the second year, 2017 East 9th St. The weekend-long festival will screen 95 films. Friday's shorts, 7 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. are completely local. Saturday's, noon to 9 p.m., are mainly national with a few local films. Sunday's, noon to 8:30 p.m., are mainly international films.
The 9's eatery, Ledger Bar, will be open for cocktails, beer and food. Musicians will entertain audiences each night, including Christopher Black, Nate Jones and TriHearn.
Each film on opening night will be followed by a Q&A session by the local director to discuss their craft. More Q&As will be spread throughout the weekend.
"When we started, I felt the medium of shorts was being lost," says Suglio. "By the festival being short films, all 25 minutes or less, you can schedule a lot of films over a short period of times. You can get more people involved, more directors can get their work out there."
It's always been the mission of Short. Sweet. to give a platform to local filmmakers. In fact, the festival chose documentaries by Cleveland-based filmmakers for both the opening and closing night films. The festival begins with "Draw Hard," directed by Jon Nix of TurnStyle Films, which centers of Cleveland artist John Greiner, also known as John G., who creates imagery for Melt Bar and Grilled and comic book the Lake Erie Monster. Closing night features "Sipped" by Northeast Ohio filmmaker Freddie Connor.
"I think the Cleveland film scene is definitely growing," says Suglio. "But at the same time, I think people are becoming more aware of the that scene because there are so many more places to show your work - like the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and the Ohio Independent Film Festival instead. Plus, with the strength of the 48-Hour Film Project and films coming to the city because of the Cleveland Film Commission, there's been more jobs."
And that's good news not just for Cleveland, but the festival, which received more than 200 submissions this year.
"We have all these new opportunities to meet people and work together," says Suglio. "The art is becoming more accessible, and that means people are just making even more films."
3 to See
Local: "Make America Great Again...and again...and again" by Tony Yanick and Robert Banks Jr. This new experimental film comes from the creative mind of two Northeast Ohio filmmakers. "I love this collaboration between these very similar yet different filmmakers," says Suglio. "I'm very happy that Cleveland filmmakers are coming together to create new, original and rather timely films."
National: "Madaran" by Rayka Zehtabchi. In this award-winning film, an Iranian mother must decide whether to let her son's killer live or die. "It's one of the most emotionally compelling and draining short films we've ever shown," says Suglio. "What's interesting is that it's shot in the US, but it's so realistic you feel like it's shot in Iran."
International: "Every Time We Say Goodbye" by Kenji Qurata. This emotional tale follows a husband and wife who embark on a journey to find Tsuchinoko, a legendary Japanese snake, after the wife has been diagnoses with terminal cancer. Suglio obtained the film through a partnership with another festival in Japan, the Short Shorts Film Festival. "It's really powerful," says Suglio. "The whole film is them traveling through jungles because this is what she wanted to see before she passes."
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