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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Rosales

Somerville Theatre hosts Boston Short Film Festival

Published for The Somerville Times July 17 2019 Issue

Click here for newspaper copy.

Locals and filmmakers gathered to celebrate the Boston Short Film Festival (BSFF) at Somerville Theatre’s Microcinema. The free event showed 54 films out of 2,000 worldwide submissions from July 8 to 12. Since 2015, BSFF focuses on showcasing unconventional and intuitive short films “with an edge.”

“The Boston Short Film Festival is not your typical film festival. It doesn’t have a red carpet. It doesn’t have separate repeat, none of that fancy after parties. It’s all about the filmmaker,” Maarten Cornelis host of the festival said.

The festival accepts local submissions for free while others submit with prices at about $10. The main goal of the festival is to give filmmakers exposure.

“We tried to make a platform for a lot of experimental filmmakers,” Cornelis said. “A lot of people want to say something, want to bring over their vision, try something new, but don’t really have a platform to bring it on.”

Microcinema only has a seating capacity of 31 people. The sold out film festival chose the intimate space so filmmakers and moviegoers can experience the films together. Tarkovski Ltd. runs BSFF as well as other festivals. The company always tries to find historic theaters, like Somerville Theatre, to host their events.

“It’s [Somerville Theatre] my favorite theater so I’m excited to be able to come to something in the neighborhood,” local film festival fan Liz Francis said.

Francis had never been to a film festival exclusively of shorts. She found the variety of animation, drama, documentary, and experimental films interesting.

“I think my favorite one was the easy funeral film Dispersion. Just because I thought it was beautiful to look at and provocative and succinct,” she said.

The eight-minute short film follows a man using an automated funeral homes company to bury his mother. Dispersion was submitted from Switzerland by filmmaker Basile Vuillemin. Other films showcased were from Belgium, Australia, India, and more.

Frances Love’s film Detached premiered for the first time in Massachusetts at the festival. The Cambridge-born filmmaker submitted a three-minute short animated film that had sketched warp and grid distorts.

“It’s really exciting to be in a festival that’s local. I can have my friends and family come and see it,” Love said.

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduate was looking forward to having her friends, family, and boyfriend see the film since most of them weren’t able to when it first premiered in California. Detached is about a mother and daughter reuniting for the daughter’s eye surgery. The film won the Best Animated Film award.

Cornelis recounted a man coming up to him during the festival to tell him “I’m actually a little nervous. I’ve never been to a film festival.” Cornelis said that the festival wants to be free so other people like this man would not be intimidated to go to film festivals that are usually expensive.

“We want to inspire more people to make movies, experiment, and do new things,” Cornelis said.

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