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Filmmakers attracted to Dam Short Film Festival

The 10th annual Dam Short Film Festival is taking over the Boulder Theatre Feb. 12-16, and is promising to attract more filmmakers than ever before.

This year, 38 film crews are confirmed to attend the festival, some coming from as far as Thailand to represent their screenings, festival director John LaBonney said.

However, LaBonney believes the total number of crews will top last year’s 41, for an all-time record closer to 50. A crew can consist of one or more individuals.

“People always show up that we haven’t heard from,” he said. “We haven’t heard from a lot of the Nevada filmmakers I’m expecting to be here.”

The festival, which is open to the public, has long prided itself on being a festival that is extremely attentive to filmmakers, contrasting larger, more crowded film festivals. And after 10 years, it seems word about the small festival in the friendly town is spreading within the filmmaking community.

Los Angeles-based Marielle Woods will be attending the festival for the first time. She is the director of the featured film “Mi Corazon,” which she said was filmed in Puerto Rico and is “a story about moral ambiguity and how well we really know ourselves.”

She said the festival was recommended to her by other filmmakers and “the name kept popping up in things I’ve been reading about fests not to miss.”

Woods has not yet stepped foot in Boulder City, but she said in dealing with festival staff she already feels like the festival is “very accessible,” and she has been made to feel like her film is important.

“Everybody should feel that way,” she said.

Russell Nickel, a film student from Orange County, Calif., will be returning to Boulder City this year to represent the horror/comedy “Zombielust,” which he wrote and produced.

Nickel said he attended a few festivals last year in support of a friend’s film, and the Dam Short Film Festival was his favorite.

“It was the best one by far. Everyone was so nice and the films were so good … we wanted any excuse to go back,” he said.

The festival also has received recognition from more than just filmmakers. On Feb. 12, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid issued a certificate of commendation for the “very special” occasion of the festival’s 10th anniversary.

LaBonney, who became director in 2011, credits the festival’s success to a “controlled growth” philosophy.

“It’s very important not to go over budget if you want to survive as a film fest. And that’s how a lot of the other film fests end up in trouble,” he said.

This is the first year the festival will last five days, boasting a record number of 171 short films in 26 program blocks in the genres of international, comedy, drama, horror and the festival’s most popular film block, the “Nevada filmmakers” showcase.

A five-day festival pass can be purchased for $100 at the theater box office during the festival or in advance on the festival website, www.damshortfilm.org. Box office hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 12-15, and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 16.

Single-day ticket bundles, containing tickets to all program blocks on any one day, can be purchased for $30.

Individual tickets for a program block, containing anywhere from three to 15 short films, can be purchased for $7.

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Best Bets, Sept. 16-22

1 FROM JAZZ TO COUNTRY: Spend the evening with musician Michael Perry at Cleveland’s Lounge, located downstairs at the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St. Listening to Perry is like stepping back into the days of old Las Vegas; he performs music from multiple genres including standards, oldies, classic rock, pop and country. Most recently, he was the lead singer for Journey2Boston and Mimic and performed with the southern rock band Second Helping, along with Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Roger Fisher of Heart. His performance begins at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Best Bets, Sept. 9-15

1 STARS, STRIPES AND SYRAHS: The Best Dam Wine Walk returns to the historic district downtown Saturday. Those attending are encouraged to dress in their finest patriotic attire; prizes will be awarded. Check-in is from 4-6:30 p.m. at My 4 Sons Comics Cards & Games, 1308 Wyoming St. and the festivities continue through 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 each and must be purchased in advance through eventbrite.com.

Best Bets, Sept. 2-8

1 CARS AND CARE: Chilly Jilly’z will celebrate its eighth anniversary with a benefit car show from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. There will be prizes and drawings; there is a $20 fee to enter the car show. The Patio will be open during the car show. Proceeds will aid the restaurant manager’s mother, who recently had a stroke. The eatery is at 1680 Boulder City Parkway.

Film fest accepting submissions for 2021 event

The Dam Short Film Festival, which will return for its 17th year in February, is now accepting submissions for the 2021 event.

Weekend’s Best Bets, March 19

1 BLOOMIN’ FUN: After winter rains, the desert surrounding Boulder City and throughout Lake Mead National Recreation Area is in bloom. The southern end of the park has seen the most wildflowers. As temperatures warm, the flowers will begin to bloom in the northern parts.

Weekend’s Best Bets, March 12

1 PATRIOTIC PANCAKES: Help raise funds for the local American Legion, Post 31, and veterans by joining members for breakfast Saturday. Scheduled from 7-10:30 a.m. at the post, 508 California Ave., the menu includes pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee. Cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Weekend’s Best Bets, March 5

1 ‘MALEFICENT’ MOVIE: Boulder City Library will show “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” at 6 p.m. Friday. The film tells the story of Maleficent, who travels to an old castle for the wedding of Aurora to Prince Phillip. While there she learns of a plot by Aurora’s future mother-in-law to destroy the land’s fairies and she joins a group of outcasts to stop her. Those attending are welcome to bring snacks, comfortable chairs and blankets. The Friends of the Library will have snacks and books available for a donation. The library is at 701 Adams Blvd.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Feb. 27

1 HISTORIC TALE: “Harriet,” the story of Harriet Tubman, who escaped from slavery in 1849 and then helped hundreds of others through the Underground Railroad, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the community room of the Boulder City Library, 701 Adams Blvd. Snacks and drinks, along with comfortable chairs and blankets can be brought to the screening.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Feb. 20

1 RIVER HISTORY: Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum’s Third Thursday educational lecture series resumes tonight with a presentation about the Colorado River by local resident George Rhee. A native of Geneva, Rhee has taught at UNLV in the physics and astronomy department since 1993 and also works on climate, water and energy research. The museum is inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St. Call 702-294-1988 for more information.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Feb. 13

1 MOVIE TIME: The Dam Short Film Festival returns for its 16th incarnation today, Feb. 13, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 16, at the historic Boulder Theatre, 1225 Arizona St. More than 145 films in a variety of genres will be shown. The festival also includes a meet and greet event, a mixer and an awards party. Special screenings of the award-winning films are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 17. Visit https://damshortfilm.org/ for a full schedule and more information.