Introducing Jon Gann…


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).

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