Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival
Film Festival In Sunnyside QueensSunnyside / Updated September 7, 2009. The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival is a one night event scheduled in Sunnyside Gardens Park in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens. In this report we provide a preview of some of the films which were candidates for the festival as well as a very brief history of the festival itself. Sherry Gamlin and Teresa Ward, are the producers of the festival. I had the opportunity to interview them and sit with them on one of their film screening days to watch the process. Here's a sneak preview of some of the films reviewed.
Film Festival In Sunnyside NY
The screening committee had a lot of parameters to consider in making their selections, one of which is film length [size does matter], because the festival night runs approximately two hours, so any film that spans the maximum allowed time of some twenty minutes must be particularly good. Many of the films run from five to ten minutes.
The festival received about fifty submissions and they will likely show somewhere between ten and twenty of them. Many were made by local film makers or star local actors / actresses, which lends a sort of neighborhood connectedness to the festival. By local I mean the borough of Queens, not just Sunnyside. That said probably more than half came from around the country and in some cases from around the globe [the internet makes these things possible]. Some of the submissions are shown above.
Sunnyside Shorts – Film Screening Committee
So into the screening room I went to observe the first segment of the screening. Therein sat the four judges, all from the Sunnyside neighborhood, to review the films. The screening room was the living room of one of the judges, Sherry Gamlin, who was joined by Teresa Ward – the two committee chairpersons. This year they were joined by two additional judges – Scott Parrish and Chad Gilkison, both of whom also write scripts professionally for film. In the photo to your left is Teresa Ward, Chad Gilkerson and Sherry Gamlin [front to back].
Film Previews - SS Shorts
So let’s take a look at a few of the films I saw, only a few of which may actually make it into the festival. The first film was about two guys who meet randomly in a park. One of them is about to go on a job interview and he seeks advice from the stranger who advises him to ‘be yourself’ [I believe the film title]. What happens after that you 1) may find out at the festival … or 2) may never know as I don’t know if it will make the final cut. You can see a clip of this film and the back of Sherry's head by scrolling to the second photo down on your right.
Film Festival Judges - In Queens
So after watching the movie the screening committee members started talking about the film production quality, the story line, the acting, and how the film fits into the general mix of the entire evening. After discussing the first film, onto the second film they went, and I followed. In the photo to your right is Sherry watching the first film that was screened which was about a chance meeting in the park. To the right is Scott Parrish who is a member of the screening committee.
Sunnyside Film Festival - !@#$!&@#^^*#!!!
The next film I won’t name because I believe it was nixed due to a continual flow of !@#$!&@#^^*#!!! profanity. A few years ago they tried to edit out this sort of thing to ensure the festival was suitable for for family audiences. They found this to be a great deal of additional effort and hence began asking film submissions to be edited for PG and PG13 audiences. I’m not sure this is final, but I think they decided that the first half of the festival would be PG rated and the second half would be PG 13. It’s worth noting that of the films I watched, there wasn’t any sex or violence - only verbal references to sex or a bit of profanity. I think these days it’s called suitable for prime time TV audiences.
Weeki Watchee Girls - Indie Film
Then came the Weeki Watchee Girls. This movie is a sensitive story about teen relationships and a couple of girls who are sexually coming of age. This was one of the longer films and was both interesting and well done and may well have made the cut. As just mentioned, there wasn’t any nudity only conversation about becoming aware of their sexuality in the 21st century. A clip of this film is shown to your left.
This film was followed by a film entitled Picnic Songs. A clip from the Picnic Songs film is shown below to your right.
Picnic Songs - Indie Film
The next film was about a young woman who kind of embarrasses herself in front of a guy co-worker she likes, while he’s with what appears to be his girlfriend. I felt drawn in by this one and enjoyed the ending which I won’t give away in the event it’s included in the festival.
Which Way Did We Go - Music Video
This was followed by a music video entitled ‘Which Way Did We Go’ which included home movie clippings from the fifties and sixties and sort of begged the question – what’s become of us today. This was also well done with some interesting film footage.
Framed - Didn't Get The Picture
Another one entitled ‘Framed’ didn’t hit me right, possibly because I just don’t get some things. This was about a woman who finds a frame in the woods and carries it with her for the rest of the movie. I’m sure there was some significance to it all, but unfortunately it was lost on me. Perhaps if they show it at the festival someone can enlighten me after the show.
Wellington Dreams – Animated Video
This was a puff piece. While it didn’t do much for me, I could see that it might be of interest to kids. It’s short, and was of high production quality, and if I recall correctly [this was a week ago] I think it had some good music, so it could make the cut.
Maine Story Features One Time Queens Resident
The Maine Story is about a guy who returns to his home town in Maine where his father owns a company that his ex-girlfriend works at. It’s an interesting exploration of a complicated relationship. It stars a woman who used to live in Queens. The committee seemed to like this one so I think it’s going to make the cut. The one time Queens resident and current actress is shown in the photo to your left.
Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival – September 12th 2009
Location - Sunnyside Gardens Park or Community Service Center
Weather Will Decide
The weather will decide this one. The rain date backup plan is to use the Sunnyside Community Service Center if it rains. Otherwise it’s scheduled to be held in the beautiful outdoors in Sunnyside Gardens Park off 39th Avenue and 49th Street in Sunnyside. Just in case the Sunnyside Community Service Center is just off Queens Blvd at 39th Street on the north side of the street in the middle of the block.
Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival – Date & Times
The event begins at 7.30 pm with music. Refreshments will also be served including fresh popcorn. The first half begins at 8 pm with PG rated movies so the kids of any age can participate. There will be a brief 15 minute intermission after the first act so you can use the bathroom or stock up on more popcorn and exit the kids if you wish. The second half begins at 9 or 9.15 pm and includes the PG 13 rated stuff. What gives it this rating is a couple of swear words and possibly the themes of the movies the likes of which have been discussed above. If your kids watch much television these days, there’s likely nothing in this festival that would strike them as being much different. Sunnyside Gardens, the fair weather location is shown to your left.
Movies In Sunnyside Queens
The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival looks to be a great little night out with or without the kids. It’s local, it looks to be interesting, it’s located in a great venue [Sunnyside Gardens Park] and it’s priced right. Entrance to the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival movies costs $10 which is the price of a single movie today. So you’ll be getting 10 – 20 times more movies for the same price. The festival begins at 7.30 pm, includes a brief 10 – 15 minute intermission and ends around 10 pm.
Special thanks to Sherry Gamlin and Teresa Ward for continuing to bring this festival to the Sunnyside Community, and to Scott Parrish and Chad Gilkison for helping them screen the films.
Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival History
The 7th annual Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival is scheduled to begin on Saturday, September 12th. The festival was first founded in 2001 by a former Sunnyside resident, Shinichi Murota, who left Sunnyside in 2004 to return to his native Japan. The event went on hiatus for three years between 2004 and 2006, but in 2007 two of the original contributors / collaborators, Sherry Gamlin and Teresa Ward, picked up the torch and have been running with the event ever since [shown at spring fundraiser in photo to your right]. I had the occasion to meet with Sherry and Teresa to discuss the upcoming event as well as to obtain a few sneak previews into some of the upcoming films.
Film Festival In Sunnyside NY
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