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

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Image: Ghost Beats

Film festivals are so plentiful these days that the question from an audience perspective is less about access and more about quality control. Sunderland Shorts is one of the best short-form film content festivals to emerge on the scene in recent years. From Wednesday 2nd until Saturday 5th May, the festival returns for its third edition, clad with award-winning and exciting content from as far afield as Lebanon, Canada and Norway, alongside fine local talent in genres ranging from student work to experimental, drama and more.

The programme is well organised across multiple venues and strands, with highlights amongst every section. Screenings are split by genre, enabling lovers of specific themes the chance to see a wide variety of work in one place.

Stand outs amongst the programme is the Documentary strand at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens on Friday 4th, which includes amongst its showings Faye Carr-Wilson’s excellent Venus – an official selection for both Leeds International and Sheffield Doc Fest as well as a BFI Future Film Festival Award Winner, and also Aimie Vallat and Guido Ronge’s immigrant tale Little Rebel, whose filmmaker won the festival’s Special Jury Award in 2016 as well as an Emmy nomination for her previous work. Also worth a look is the Drama #1 programme at The Fire Station on Thursday 3rd which includes striking works Tidal Wave; a hand-drawn animated memoir by Christi Bertelsen and Lucy Rose’s The Sycamore Gap – a locally made period drama crewed and starring local talent. Fans of comedy should also head to The Fire Station on Thursday 3rd, where a plethora of silliness – from films about potatoes to community wrestling – will be screened. More comedy is on offer at The Looking Glass on Saturday 5th too. See more drama at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens on Friday 4th, where those unafraid of a night of scary stories should also head for the Sci-Fi/Horror strand from 10pm.

With a focus on the professional exhibition of new work and the stimulation of interest in creative and cultural growth, the festival is a shining light in the city’s arts calendar

The Young & Emerging showcase is the place to check out new talent Wednesday 2nd at The Peacock, with highlights which include the locally filmed Out, exploring challenges faced when emerging into the LGBT community. Saturday 5th welcomes a variety of Art/Experimental shorts to The Looking Glass, including energetic dance film Business Is Brutal and Ghost Beats, a ghost story about exclusion and acceptance. Saturday evening is reserved for the 2018 awards ceremony at The Looking Glass, where winners in their categories will be presented with prizes.

What sets Sunderland Shorts apart from other emerging film festivals is its organisation and delivery – a reflection of the changing and progressive creative sector in the city. With a focus on the professional exhibition of new work and the stimulation of interest in creative and cultural growth, the festival is a shining light in the city’s arts calendar. Managed by Sunderland Council and building upon the 2006 Friendship Agreement with Washington DC, Sunderland Shorts develops relationships between artists and creators from both sides of the pond – an ambition that is present in the diversity of the filmmakers across the programme. With films exhibited from more than two dozen countries that have won awards and gained exhibition across the globe, Sunderland Shorts is growing into an international event, and with another strong and exciting programme, it’s must-see cinema.

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