Short-short film fest shows best at six minutes or less

Last modified: 11/14/2012 9:57:01 PM
Some of the best moments are just that: little bites of life played out in six minutes or less.

This idea of capturing those little bits and allowing them to speak for themselves is the backbone of the sixth annual Short Short Story Film Festival. The festival will be in Concord on Friday and Saturday at the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Co-presented by the NHTI Film Society with MergingArts Productions-- an organization that creates cultural programming that includes film, music, visual arts, technology and media – the festival will feature two programs – Heartstrings and Headtrips, respectively – each screening both days.

“What they look for is a film that tells a story, and it has to be under six minutes in length,” said Steve Ambra, founding member of the NHTI Film Society. “What I like about the festival is that within that short time frame, you get a great story, and it really has to be a great story to sort of catch you and tell you everything you need to know in less than five minutes.”

The festival will feature three dozen films, which include live action and animated productions from 20 countries

on six continents, said Toni Pennacchia, Creative Director of MergingArts Productions. The Heartstrings program presents films of a more emotional nature, Pennacchia said, from documentaries to bittersweet romances to tragedies. The Headtrips program, is well, the weirder stuff.

Despite their brevity, short-short films have narratives as meaningful as films running into the twenty-minute range, Pennacchia said. It can be a challenge to get a story with a beginning, middle and end into six minutes or less, but Pennacchia said the filmmakers manage to do this by creating what amounts to slice-of-life films.

In addition to the Manhattan short film festival and a high-school student festival, this is the third time the festival has been to Concord, partly because it has been able to find its audience.

“A whole world can be revealed in under five minutes,”Ambra said. “And the filmgoers in this area are so sophisticated. I think they truly appreciate seeing this kind of filmmaking from the talents that are being called upon from all over the world.”

The Heartstrings Program screens Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. The Headtrip screens Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 9 p.m. Pennacchia and festival co-organizer Paul Elsnau will be on hand to discuss the films.

Audiences at each screening will get ballots and can select their favorite three films. These votes will be combined with votes from other festival screenings to determine overall winners. The festival also awards prizes from a jury panel of alumni of “Spoiler Alert Radio,” MergingArts’ nationally syndicated filmmaker interview show. The event is open to the public, and seats are $5 or free with NHTI ID.

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