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Filmmakers tout festival; awards presented

The Dam Short Film Festival wrapped Sunday night with an awards gala at the Boulder Theatre recognizing the talents of emerging filmmakers and signaling 10 years of success for the annual, home-grown festival.

The event began with a red carpet filmmaker arrival, a short performance by local musician James Adams and a proclamation to the festival from the city, read by Boulder City Councilman Cam Walker.

The gala was hosted by former Councilman Mike Pacini, who, with the help of Miss Dam Short Film Festival Sarah Dey, presented awards to 14 films in seven genres, as well as an overall Best of the Festival audience award.

An audience award determined by vote, as well as a jury award chosen by festival staff, were awarded in the student, documentary, animation, sci-fi/horror, drama, comedy and Nevada filmmaker categories.

The Best of the Festival award was given to the 20-minute action film “Croft” in which a woman fights off dozens of armed bad guys around a mountainous hideout to save a little girl.

Director Trevor Addie, who works as a stuntman in Vancouver, British Columbia, said “Croft” was the “first real film” he directed. Although he said he was naturally pleased with the encouraging award, he was more enthusiastic about the opportunity to have his film seen.

“I absolutely love this (festival),” he said after the gala. “We have an audience that is excited to see the movie.”

Vancouver-based stuntwoman Irma Leong, who worked with Addie on “Croft,” shared his sentiment.

“I think I’m just happy the people in Nevada, or Boulder City, appreciate our film,” she said.

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Peter Dowd, who edits others’ films for a living, won the best documentary audience award for his 18-minute film “The King of Size.” Dowd said it took 12 years to make the film, which follows a former champion bodybuilder.

“It’s a real privilege after all this time and all this work to have it shown here,” Dowd said as he accepted his award.

Afterward, Dowd said he was surprised to win the audience award.

“I don’t think of this film at all as a crowd pleaser,” he said. “You have a real awesome audience, which is in tune with short films.”

New York-based filmmaker Pablo Bonelli, who works as a bartender, won the audience award in the science fiction category for his 20-minute, post-apocalyptic thriller “Gasmask.”

Bonelli said he had never attended a film festival but came to the Dam Short Film Festival for the networking opportunities, and was glad he did.

“This has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” he said.

Las Vegas-based filmmaker Adam Zielinski won the audience award in the Nevada filmmaker category for the 17-minute film “Firecracker,” which he directed, about a child who gets revenge after someone beats up his dad.

Zielinski, whose films have screened at the festival for five years, said the walkability of Boulder City and the attention paid to filmmakers by festival staff make for a good event.

“They take care of you in a way a lot of festivals don’t,” Zielinski said.

The festival, which screened 171 short films during a five-day period at the theater, counted 2,835 seats occupied throughout the festival, organizers said.

The attendance did not increase from last year, and with a fifth day added this year, operating costs were up, festival director John LaBonney said. However, the business side of the festival “doesn’t matter as much, as long as the filmmakers are happy.”

LaBonney said the festival will likely return to its four-day format next year.

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Film fest accepting submissions for 2021 event

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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.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Feb. 6

1 STORY ON THE GO: Learn what happens “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” as you stroll through the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum as part of Storywalk, a joint project with Boulder City Library. There is no cost to participate and all children who complete an activity sheet and turn it in at the library, 701 Adams Blvd., will get a prize. The museum is inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St., and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Jan. 30

1 HEAVENLY GAZING: Rangers from Lake Mead National Recreation Area are joining with members of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for a star party Saturday at the amphitheater at Boulder Beach. A program to learn about the night sky, as well as how to protect and view it, at 5:30 p.m. will begin the event. A telescope will be available from 6-8 p.m. to view constellations and planets. Those attending should bring water and a flashlight, preferably with a red filter. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 702-293-8990.

Weekend’s Best Bets, Jan. 23

1 FULL STEAM AHEAD: Immerse yourself in a large-scale, outdoor model railroad that you can ride on. The trains, powered by live steam engines or diesel-electric locomotive replicas, run along a 7.5-inch gauge line near the depot at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 601 Yucca St. The steamers run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Rides are free and no tickets are required. The trains are owned and operated by volunteer members of the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2R01Vq9.