At 24 frames per second, filmmakers can get a lot of storytelling done in a short amount of time.
That’s at least a working theory behind the impetus to make short films—that is, films with a total running time vastly shorter than the bloated cinematic behemoths that have clogged the multiplexes in recent decades. Fortunately for local film fans, the Yountville International Short Film Festival offers an alternative.
“There is something to experiencing these films with an audience,” says Bill Hargreaves, the festival’s director and co-founder, who reminds readers that the lifecycle of short films in the general marketplace can be a “blink and you miss it” situation.
“As with most film festivals, these are films you don’t really have the opportunity to see otherwise,” says Hargreaves. “To be able to see them with like-minded folks, interact with filmmakers in Q&As and discuss them with other festival guests is something you just can’t do from your couch.”
He raises a great point. Despite the efforts of some entities to bring shorts back to the theatrical experience—a short film, for example, usually precedes Pixar features—they are rarely available from streamers and then only from A-listers. Netflix recently offered a week of Wes Anderson shorts, and David Lynch perhaps unadvisedly shared a short that featured himself and a talking monkey. Still, the shorter side of cinema is often relegated to a half-life on YouTube. Festival screenings fix that.
“The short film genre has been gaining in popularity in recent years. These films are engaging and story-driven and make impacts just as strong as feature films,” says Hargreaves. “The production value of these films is high, and you are able to experience them without giving up two hours of your day.”
This year’s selections include Neo-Dome, featuring Anna Camp, star of the NBC comedy Perfect Harmony and a cast veteran of True Blood, which follows a lone woman seeking safe passage to the titular utopia, only to learn the destination may not be what she expected.
“We are very proud of our programming and the quality of story with all of these films,” says Hargreaves. “We really do have films in every genre, so if you like documentaries, foreign films, sci-fi or comedy, there is something for everyone. There are a number of films screening that have been shortlisted for Oscar consideration as well.”
The Yountville International Short Film Festival begins at 10am, Friday, Feb. 2 and continues through Sunday, Feb. 4. There are 20 different blocks of films, multiple special events and
wine tastings, including an Opening Night celebration and an end-of-fest After-Party. For film screening times and locations and ticket packages, visit yisff.com.