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Film fest returns minus founder

The Dam Short Film Festival is back for another year in February with its familiar audience favorites even though one its founders recently stepped down.

Boulder City resident and festival co-founder Lee Lanier retired from the organization to work on other projects.

“I felt it was a good time to move on and work on other things. … It was very rewarding to gather all those amazing films from all over the world and show them to people,” he said. “It’s an amazing art form.”

Lanier and his wife, Anita, had been involved with the festival since 2003, when they co-founded the Dam Short Film Society. The first festival was held in 2005.

Lanier said one of the goals for the event was to create it without its success being dependent on any one person.

“I’ll definitely miss it,” he said. “It’s a little bittersweet. I’ll miss helping with the festival, but I know it will be great.”

Lanier is an artist and has pursued his painting career more in the past four years. He has items showing at the Perfect Darkness Fine Arts Studio, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas.

“Lee’s departure is a big loss for the organization, but we are going to try to move forward in the vein he started it, which is showing great films and taking care of filmmakers,” said John LaBonney, festival director.

For the festival this year, there will be more than 130 films shown at the Boulder Theatre, 1225 Arizona St., and LaBonney said he is not worried about Lanier’s absence with showcasing them.

“Our primary goal is to get the best festival put on this year,” he said.

More than 20 thematic film blocks are scheduled, including four for documentary films, two for Nevada filmmakers and eight for drama films as well as comedy, action, horror and music videos. There will also be a showcase from the College of Southern Nevada.

The schedule, released Tuesday, includes films featuring Hollywood stars such as Marisa Tomei, Minnie Driver and David Silverman.

“Our festival had a record number of submissions this year, just under 1,000, and we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best. Known for its past surprise celebrity appearances, such as Naomi Grossman (‘American Horror Story’) and Trevor Zhou (‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’), we’re expecting the featured shorts in all categories to sell out,” said Tsvetelina Stefanova, the festival’s director of development. “Plus, we have many shorts featuring Hollywood’s most elite actors.

Among the featured selections are “Laboratory Conditions,” which stars actresses Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver,” and “The Producer” staring David Silverman (“Stranger Things,” “The Founder,” “House of Cards”). “Five Star Foaud” features actor Dominic West “Chicago,” “Tomb Raider”) as Gary.

Additionally, the festival is returning to a paper ticket system for its presale, meaning attendees who purchase advance tickets can print them out or have them sent to their phones rather than picking them up at will call.

“It will help ease the congestion at the theater,” LaBonney said.

In 2018, the festival had its best year to date when it sold almost all of its 4,600 seats at the theater. LaBonney said he is not focusing on beating that number this year.

“The reality is I’m worried about smiles on faces,” he said. “I’m not focused on beating last year’s attendance. Our goal is to have a great festival. It will be successful if there are good movies, people enjoying them and new people introduced to Boulder City.”

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit http://damshortfilm.org/.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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Film fest returns to in-person schedule

After two years of trying to do everything online, Lee Lanier is ready to welcome live audiences back to the Dam Short Film Festival. The latest edition of the popular festival is scheduled to run Feb. 16-20 in downtown Boulder City.

Best Bets, Feb. 2-8

1 FAMILY TIME: Boulder City Library is hosting a family activity centered around “The Snowy Day” at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the boardroom. In addition to reading the story, there will be a craft activity. The library is at 701 Adams Blvd. Call 702-293-1281 for more information.

Best Bets, Jan. 26-Feb. 1

1 HISTORIC STROLL: Take a walk through the past while learning about the people and events that shaped Boulder City on a visit to the Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum. Filled with exhibits and interactive displays, the museum focuses on the early days of Boulder City and the construction of Hoover Dam. It is housed inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St. The museum is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Best Bets, Jan. 19-25

1 GOTTA HAVE HARP: Musician Sean Gaskell will perform on a West African kora (harp) during a concert at 6 p.m. Monday at the Boulder City Library, 701 Adams Blvd. His presentation also includes an educational demonstration on the ancient 21-stringed instrument, which is traditionally played by oral historians. Many songs tell stories of war, hardships and love while presenting history. Gaskell traveled to West Africa to study.

Best Bets, Jan. 12-18

1 FOLDED AGAIN: Celebrate National Dragon Appreciation Day learning how to make origami dragons. Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. The class, scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Boulder City Library, is for those 18 and older; registration is required. Call the library at 702-293-1281 for details.

Best Bets, Jan. 5-11

1 BELLS RINGING: The Las Vegas Twelfth Night Handbell Festival in Boulder City culminates with a free concert at 5 p.m. Saturday in the old gym of the city’s recreation center, 900 Arizona St. The festival, co-sponsored by the Harmony Handbells and Boulder City United Methodist Church, brings together handbell ringers from Nevada and Southern California. There is no cost to attend, but a freewill offering will be taken.

Best Bets, Dec. 29-Jan. 4

1 WELCOME 2023: Ring in the new year during a celebration at the Boulder City Brewing Co. There will be live music with Jase Wills, a champagne toast at midnight and prizes. Festivities begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. The Brewpub is at 453 Nevada Way. Call 702-243-2739 or visit www.boulderdambrewing.com for more information.

Best Bets, Dec. 22-28

1 MUSICAL SANTA: Rock N Santa, aka Robby LeBlanc, will perform classical guitar music for the holidays during brunch from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at The Patio at Chilly Jilly’z, 1672 Boulder City Parkway. In between performances, Santa will visit with children and pose for pictures. LeBlanc is an international concert guitarist and has toured the world performing; his first appearance as Santa was when he was 16 years old. For more information, visit RockNSanta.com.

Best Bets, Dec. 15-21

1 SPECIAL SALUTE: Fresh holiday wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans Saturday morning at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery as part of the nationwide Wreaths Across America observance. A short ceremony in the chapel, and instructions about how to properly place the wreaths and honor the veterans’ service, will begin at 9 a.m. The cemetery is at 1900 Veterans Memorial Drive.

Best Bets, Dec. 8-14

1 CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION: Join musical artists for a community celebration featuring holiday songs and Christmas carols at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Elaine K. Smith Building, 700 Wyoming St. There is no cost to attend, but donations of nonperishable foods for Emergency Aid of Boulder City are welcome. Boulder City United Methodist Church, Grace Community Church and St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church are co-sponsoring the concert.