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Image: Still from Dark-net, by Adam Woodhall

Now in its second year, the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival returns over the course of four days with an eclectic mix of local and international screenings. After the success of the inaugural event, the lovely folks behind this year’s outing have promised that it will return bigger and better.

The event will run from Thursday 30th June until Sunday 3rd July and will showcase over 50 short films. With each one coming in under the required 20 minute mark, there’s more than enough time to digest as many original cinematic creations as you can cram in.

Various venues across Sunderland will host the screenings, offering a different ambience at each. Independent, Sunderland Minster, Elephant Tea Rooms, Gatsby and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art among others will offer host the films.

Through a mix of great drama, thought-provoking documentaries, beautiful animation, laugh out loud comedy, sci-fi and horror, the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival promises to bring the region bang up to date with the latest unseen cinematic achievements. Particular highlights of the event include a screening of Middlesbrough filmmaker Adam Woodhall’s Dark-net, a comedic drama starring Johnny Vegas; Kasper Synnevåg’s comedy short House of Odin, which showcases a Game of Thrones alumni in a starring role; Mark Chapman’s Camrex, which highlights the haunting reality those of the infamous Sunderland hostel faced during its 40 years; a chilling horror entitled Eyes, created by a University of Sunderland lecturer; plus social issues documentary maker Amie Vallatt, whose emotional film Present Moment stars her own father as he copes with Parkinson’s Disease.

With each one coming in under the required 20 minute mark, there’s more than enough time to digest as many original cinematic creations as you can cram in

The festival’s opening night will see a free drinks reception on arrival at Sunderland Minster. Audiences will be treated to a selection of drama, documentary and animation screenings after an initial opening address. There’s a musical element to the night too, as Sunderland favourites Hyde & Beast will perform their psychedelic chamber pop.

Friday 1st July sees the debut of two more screenings, one of which is the less family-friendly ‘Dark Themes’ interlaced with horror and dark drama that will begin at 10pm at the St Thomas Street Offices. Saturday 2nd is the perfect day for touring the venues taking part, with NGCA and Elephant Tea Rooms offering intimate surroundings for their screenings. The final day of the festival will introduce categorised screenings, where viewers can spend their day at Sunderland Software Centre to celebrate Young People’s Films, followed by the festival’s 2016 Award Winners and finally concluding with DC Shorts 2015 Award Winner special screening.

The festival in Sunderland has strong links with the prestigious Washington DC Shorts film festival over the pond, which has paved the way for this year’s closing film. Last year’s DC Shorts Festival Winner of the Audience Award and Oscar Winner for Best Short Film 2016, Stutterer, will be an unmissable close to the show on Sunday evening.

For a full rundown of the screenings, and any last minute changes or additions, visit their website for comprehensive information.

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival takes place at various venues in Sunderland from Thursday 30th June until Sunday 3rd July.

 

dark_net Trailer from Duke Out Films on Vimeo.

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