INTERVIEW: Sunderland Shorts Film Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is gearing up for its ninth edition, taking place from Wednesday 8th -Sunday 12th May. Festival director Chris J. Allan talks about the journey of the festival so far and how it’s grown. “The festival started back in 2015 as part of Sunderland’s partnership with Washington DC and has since grown into an event that every year has strived to bring the best new short films to our audiences here in the North East. As part of that journey, we are proud to have become a BIFA Qualifying Film Festival. We’re passionate about showcasing the best films from across the country and around the world, whilst also shining the spotlight on local filmmaking talent.”

The festival consists of five days of cinematic celebration across Sunderland city centre. Chris outlines what to expect across the week. “Our opening night takes place at The Fire Station where we have a fantastic showcase of shorts including star performances from Mark Rylance and Joanna Lumley, as well as local BAFTA nominated comedy Where It Ends. On Thursday we’re at the historic 17Nineteen, with a live gig from Amateur Ornithologist followed by a screening of music videos. For the rest of the week we head to The Royalty Theatre, with a great range of workshops and screenings, mostly split by genre and spanning horror, animation, sci-fi, documentary, comedy (including live stand-up from Felt Nowt) and more. We close out on Sunday with our final event which is our North East Showcase championing work from local creatives.”

It’s so rewarding being part of the ever-growing film and television community here in the North East

The programme features a host of films produced in the North East by local talent. Chris explains why it’s so valuable to support regional filmmaking. “As well as our North East Showcase event, we’ve got regional talent represented in pretty much all categories and in all genres across the week. It’s so rewarding being part of the ever-growing film and television community here in the North East – particularly with the developments happening within Sunderland right now. Having this opportunity to champion local filmmakers on the big screen is more important than ever, especially in addition to Q&As, masterclasses, workshops and networking opportunities for those looking to get into and develop in the industry.”

All submissions for the festival go through a reviewing process, resulting in an exciting and varied selection of films for festival audiences to enjoy. Chris elaborates on what the Sunderland Shorts team look for in a submission. “Every film we show at the festival goes through a reviewing process where our team judge all submissions on criteria including direction, writing, cinematography, originality and creativity. Even though we enjoy sharing films with recognisable stars and industry accolades, we’re equally keen on showing first time and low budget filmmaking too. A good story from a creative voice is always the driving factor for us.”

Explore the full, diverse line-up on the Sunderland Shorts website. “There really is something for all film fans and those curious to learn more.” Says Chris. “If you haven’t been to a short film festival before I’d recommend picking a screening of a favourite genre of yours and giving it a go, you might just discover some new favourites!”

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival takes place at various venues in Sunderland from Wednesday 8th -Sunday 12th May.

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