Programming Sunderland Shorts

As a huge film enthusiast, amateur filmmaker and Sunderland native, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to attend and volunteer at the very first Sunderland Shorts Film Festival in 2015. It was a thoroughly entertaining weekend full of emotional and exciting short films. I was even more delighted when an opportunity arose for me to be part of the team for the 2016 festival, which I eagerly jumped at.

My main responsibility has been leading on the programming for this years festival. The festival’s team of excellent volunteer reviewers watched each of the 240 films that were submitted from all around the world, and together we whittled them down to the best 50.

Due to the high calibre of films it was very difficult (and time consuming) process deciding which ones should stay and which ones should go. But we’ve done it and are very pleased with the final selection. We can’t wait for people to see them!

I thought long and hard about how I was going to programme the festival. Fundamentally at the base of great programming is all about communication and flow. Even though we’re screening 50 films about 50 different stories, it’s about taking the audience on one journey. Creating a flow of emotions that feel natural and is easy to watch.

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival 2016 will be a four-day festival showcasing 50 short films (under 20 minutes) by filmmakers from all over the world, in venues across Sunderland.

There will be a total of 10 screenings with an average run time of around 80 minutes each. The festival will open on Thursday, June 30, and screenings will be taking place at various times through Friday, July 1; Saturday, July 2; and Sunday, July 3. Throughout these dates there will also be family-friendly screenings to ensure everyone can experience the entertainment of short film. As well as a horror/sci-fi only screening for the people who don’t mind the more scary and intense films!

In every screening there is broad mix of themes, genres and tones so that there will (hopefully) be something for everyone in the audience to tap into. There will be highs and lows, laughter and sadness, reflection and relaxation over the course of every 80 minutes. I am very excited to watch the audience react to this year’s films, and can’t wait to talk with people afterwards about their thoughts.

Kristian Foreman

Introducing Sunderland Shorts Festival Sponsor: See it Do it Sunderland

seeit-doit-cmykIf you’ve made it this far you’re probably a bit of a film buff. So there’s a pretty good chance you’ll understand exactly what the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is all about. But why a film festival in Sunderland; what’s the city all about… and what else is there to do here?  See it Do it Sunderland talk about some of Sunderland’s treats on offer to our visiting film buffs and filmmakers.

If Sunderland was a film, it’d be one of those tricky works that you couldn’t place into one genre. Where the story line grips you and reels you in, is never as you expected it, but leaves you with a feel good factor that is hard to put your finger on.

Sunderland is a city by the sea with miles of golden sands and all the traditional fun of the seaside. But it’s also on a major river, the Wear. It’s got a busy and vibrant city centre. But it’s also within minutes of rolling countryside. It’s home to new and exciting creative industries. But it’s got a phenomenal heritage ranging from early Christianity to heavy engineering.

The city’s twin resorts of Roker and Seaburn have been a favourite spot to relax and unwind, or let off steam, for generations. If you’re coming with the family then it’s a sandcastle builder’s paradise. Either way you’ll have no bother finding refreshment to suit regardless of whether ice cream or a full meal take your fancy.

Just a short stroll through the marina and onto the riverside brings you to the National Glass Centre  Sunderland has been big in glass since the 7th Century when Bede brought glass making to the Britain… and modern Christianity for that matter. As well as taking in cutting edge glass and ceramic arts, there are opportunities to get hands on in glass making demonstrations.  Right next door lies St Peter’s Church , which incorporates parts of the original 7th Century monastery created by the aforementioned Bede and Benedict Biscop. For fact fans, it’s right here where the date of Easter was set.

Even in the middle of Seaburn’s sandy beach, you’re only minutes away from the city centre where Sunderland Shorts is hosted.  Obviously you can expect a good choice of pubs, bars, restaurants and shops. On top of that there’s the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art to investigate. If you want a sneak preview of the next big thing in contemporary art then this is the place to be. Names like Sam Taylor-Wood and Adam Chodzko shot to prominence after early exhibitions here.

If history is more your thing, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens  is just around the corner. You can meet local icon Wallace the Lion, see the first Nissan car built in Sunderland or study works by LS Lowry and others. The glass rotunda of the Winter Gardens is home to over 2,000 species that can be appreciated from the ground or an elevated walkway too.

Another of Sunderland’s cultural gems is Sunderland Empire Theatre . It’s the biggest theatre in the North East and the only one capable of hosting the biggest ‘West End’ style shows like Billy Elliott, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, or The Sound of Music. Beautifully decorated in true theatre style, it’s a favoured venue for all manner of big name performers.

Or, if you’ve got time to travel slightly further afield, Penshaw Monument  is a must. Modelled on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, it was built as a memorial to the Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. In summer months the National Trust offer the chance to climb to the very top where the views across almost the whole of the North East are simply phenomenal.

That’s far from an exhaustive list of course; we haven’t even mentioned Washington Old Hall , the ancestral home of George Washington, of United States presidential fame, for example  If you’re not already convinced, we hope that the warm welcome you’ll get when you visit Sunderland Shorts will change your mind.

Sunderland Shorts FREE Taster Sessions

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If you didn’t make the festival last year, here’s a way to find out what you missed.

Are you wondering ‘just how short is a short?’  Then come along to one of our FREE Taster Sessions and see what all the fuss is about.

We want to spread the word about Sunderland Short Film Festival throughout the city and  the region and get more people coming along in July to watch our new selection of brilliant short films. Over the coming weeks we’ll be appearing at a community space near you with a selection of some of our best films from last year’s event.

We’ll even stand you a cuppa and a cake and if you do well in our quiz – Famous Lines from the Movies – you’ll win tickets to a festival screening.

Evening screenings are suitable for 16yrs+.  Each screening lasts about 1 hour and will feature a mixture of drama, comedy, animation, sci-fi and documentary.

‘Family Friendly’ screenings are about 30 minutes long and the films are specifically selected for  young people under 16yrs.

Where better to start than at Pop Recs Ltd?  Join us next Friday 18th March at 7.00 pm for some chat, films and a bit of a laugh

Oh and by the way …..it’s FREE !!!

Here’s the schedule to date, but there’s more to come:

18th March  7.00 – 9.00pm  Pop Recs Ltd , 27 Stockton Road, Sunderland  Over 16s

29th March  3.30 – 4.30 pm Back on the Map, Villette Road Hendon, Family Friendly

5th April       6.00 – 8.00 pm Back on the Map  Villette Road, Hendon, Over 16s

6th April       2.00 – 4.00 pm City Library, Fawcett Street, Sunderland   Family Friendly

7th April       5.00 – 7.00 pm City Library, Fawcett Street, Sunderland   Over 16s

5th May       7.00 – 9.00 pm Canny Space, Holy Trinity Church, Hendon,

1st June      3.45 – 4.45 pm Pallion Action Group, Eastmoor Road, Sland, Family Friendly 

Submissions have closed and it’s looking fab!

Lots of amazing films are in the bag and the 2nd edition of Sunderland Shorts is well on the way.

Our small army of volunteer reviewers is being nothing short of heroic, working diligently through the very high calibre submissions to sift out the very best films for you lovely people.

Once again, we have received films in a really wide variety of genres from all around the world, from 28 countries in fact , including South Korea, China and Nepal! Equal top though were the U.K. and the U.S.A and it’s fantastic that several of last year’s filmmakers have returned to the festival with brand new projects. Several filmmakers are keen to travel to join in the festival and do audience Q and As or workshops while they’re here.

There has also been a great response this year from regional filmmakers who have submitted work ranging from brilliant to thought provoking.

We’ll be announcing the full details in early May when we will have the final selection but we can promise we’ll be bringing you some really impressive work with the odd famous face or two to spot!

There’s so much more to tell in the weeks ahead so stay with us !!!

Introducing Jon Gann…

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With Sunderland Shorts Film Festival only a matter of weeks away, we’re fast approaching our big countdown!! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun…

So, having already introduced you to the faces behind our Sunderland-based festival team, we thought it was about time that took you on a trip over to Washington DC to introduce you to the inspiration behind our inaugural festival – Jon Gann.

Jon is a highly acclaimed DC-based filmmaker and the Programming Director of the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival. His long standing relationship with Sunderland stems from the city’s 2006 Friendship Agreement with Washington DC – which was formed with the aim of fostering and developing economic, educational and cultural relationships between the two cities.

The unique relationship has paved the way for a number of creative collaborations that have taken place since 2008, Sunderland Shorts being one of them.

Having forged strong connections with Sunderland Council representatives, Jon had always been keen to bring new cultural activities to the city, particularly a film festival that would provide an international stage for film makers from around the region and beyond.

And, with a wealth of experience in running his own internationally renowned Film Festival, he was perfectly placed to help us with Sunderland Shorts. Well, we certainly think so!

“I am really looking forward to bringing the film festival to Sunderland. Your City Council has a great focus on the arts and I think that this is really important. I have also always wanted to start a film festival somewhere outside of DC and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

“ Sunderland is a city that looks like it wants to have more arts. It also has very little going on with film right now, so if I can help create something that grows into something large and important for the region, then that’s a fabulous thing for me to do.” Jon Gann

From the offset, Jon has been integral to the development and planning of Sunderland Shorts, guiding us through the process of setting up a festival for the very first time and offering his expert advice whenever it’s needed (via Skype of course!)

We look forward to welcoming Jon back to Sunderland in July when he’ll be helping us to make sure the festival is a success (and no doubt entertaining us in the process).

Meet The Sunderland Shorts Team…

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With submissions closed for entries and the festival itself less than two months away, the Sunderland Shorts team are working really hard to make our very first festival a real success.

As we’ve quickly learnt, there’s lots to take care of! From selecting the venues, programming the films, and designing the posters, through to organising awards, acquiring the necessary technical equipment, and building a strong team of volunteers, we’ve certainly got our hands full.

We’ll have plenty of updates over the coming weeks about venues, tickets, and showings, but first we thought we’d introduce you to the team behind the festival…

Sunderland Shorts is being run by a team of film, media, design, and management professionals. Whilst we all work together to make key decisions and ensure that the festival runs smoothly, each member of the team has been allocated key responsibilities.

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Festival Director – Anne Tye

Festival Manager – Rebecca Burdon

As the titles suggest, these two ladies are responsible for leading, managing and overseeing the running of the festival as a whole. Rebecca and Anne work together to ensure that key decisions are made and vital deadlines are met; Rebecca concentrates on logistics and Anne is responsible for keeping track of the budget and ensuring that we comply with all of the necessary regulations.

It’s an important, and often stressful job but, with these two ladies in charge, we’re in capable hands!

 

Programming Team – Jerome Vyland and Aman Sharma (Northern Bear Films) and Wojtek Bozyk partner_northernbear

Jerome, Aman and Wojtek are currently hard at work making sure that all submissions are reviewed and the successful films are selected. They will then lead the team in programming the chosen films into a number of screenings.

 

Volunteer Co-ordinater – Hannah Matterson

We wouldn’t be able to run our festival without a friendly bunch of volunteers, and it’s Hannah’s job to manage the recruitment, allocation and supervision of the helpful team.

 

Graphic Design – Matthew Tye & Beth Dowd (Bureau) 

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It’s thanks to Matthew & Beth that our website, posters, and branding all look so good! From designing our logo, creating adverts, and making all of our documents look great, to creating our website, arranging ticket sales, and setting up our online submissions page, we can always rely on Bureau to ensure that we’re looking and performing at our very best.

 

PR – Amy Armstrong and Marie Donnelly (M.A.D Communications) partner_mad

Amy and Marie handle our social media accounts, make sure that people are talking about the festival, and take care of most of our copywriting. They also deal with the press and will be generating lots of stories in the lead up to the events – keep your eyes peeled for them!

 

Final Call For Submissions

With submissions from as far as Australia, Korea, Iran and Taiwan, news of the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is spreading around the world and, with submissions set to close on April 30, there’s still time to submit your film or volunteer to be part of the inaugural festival.

Set to take place in July 2015, the festival will provide a valued platform for short filmmakers of every level, from across the globe, to showcase their work to international audiences.

Created in collaboration with the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival, Sunderland Shorts will be held at various creative venues across Sunderland between July 2 and July 5 – selected films will then be shown at the next DC Shorts later in the year.

Rebecca Burdon, Festival Manager, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, said: “We’ve had submissions from over 26 countries so far and it’s been great to see that so many talented filmmakers want to be part of our festival – especially since we’re in our first year.

“With submissions set to close later this month, we’re still on the look out for more great shorts – particularly from around the region as we’re really hoping to have a strong North East presence at the festival.”

 

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Born out of a long standing relationship between Sunderland and Washington DC, Sunderland Shorts will put the spotlight on talented independent short filmmakers, giving them the opportunity to gain exposure to international audiences in the UK, Washington DC, and beyond.

Having been reviewed by a panel of volunteers, around 60 films will be hand selected by the Festival’s Programming Team to be screened during the course of the event. Awards will also be presented to winners of various categories, including Audience Choice, Critics Choice and several Best in Category Awards.

Jerome Vyland, Programming Team, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, said: “It’s been great to see so many people coming forward to review films for the festival. From those who are technically savvy through to those who are simply passionate about film, we’ve been astounded by the level of support we have received.

“We’ve also had a great response in terms of people coming forward to volunteer for other roles in the festival. We’ve still got plenty of roles to fill, so if you’re interested in getting involved, get in touch.”

With the aim of bringing together filmmakers from across the globe to celebrate the very best in short films of every genre, the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival will also give filmmakers the opportunity to network with peers and other influential industry figures.

There will be a number of screenings taking place across the city during the weekend in July – full details of venues, tickets and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks.

Final submissions will close on 30th April, with an extended deadline entry fee of $38 USD. For further information about the festival, submitting your film, or volunteering to take part, please visit www.sunderlandshorts.co.uk.