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Film fest gets new director

Updated January 17, 2020 - 1:42 pm

The Dam Short Film Festival is back in Boulder City with some changes for its 16th year including a new executive director.

For the past eight years, Tsvetelina Stefanova has been a part of the festival as a volunteer, social media manager, development director and board member, but this year she is helping to shape the direction of the program.

“To me, the best film festival is a short film one … . It’s so interesting. There’s just nothing like it,” she said. “The town is perfect for it. The Boulder Theatre is perfect … . The serendipity of it is awesome.”

The Dam Short Film Festival is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 by Lee and Anita Lanier. The first festival was held in 2005 and since grown to be the largest in Nevada and earned international recognition.

Stefanova, who lives in Boulder City, said she started volunteering when her then partner and now fiancé, James Howard Adams, introduced her to it.

“One of the great things is when you volunteer for two shifts or more you get a free festival pass,” she said.

Stefanova said she continued to volunteer and several years later was asked by Lanier and the director at that time to be the volunteer social media coordinator. She said yes and then found out the organization wanted to hire a sponsorship manager and decided to apply for the position.

“I thought I have a little bit of experience and could use some more … so I learned as I went along with it,” she said.

From there, Stefanova became director of development and served on the board until a few months ago when she stepped down to become executive director.

“You wear a lot of different hats working festivals,” she said.

In addition to hiring Stefanova, the film festival expanded its board and hired an office manager and several independent contractors to care for the website, graphic design, filmmaker relations and other organizational matters. The new six member board of directors makes the big decisions about the festival.

Stefanova said she has stayed involved with the festival because she likes the way it is organized and believes in its mission to seek out original, unusual and entertaining short films from around the world and make them available to the general public.

“We’re just constantly working on the core things we do well,” she said.

Two of those things are making sure filmmakers have the best experience possible and providing quality short films to as many people as possible.

This year’s Dam Short Film Festival is no exception with 146 films to be screened, its highest number to date. Within those are three blocks of films created by Nevada filmmakers, including a documentary category.

“I’m excited about that because we haven’t had enough films for a Nevada documentary program before,” Stefanova said.

The festival officially runs from Feb. 13-16 at Boulder Theatre, 1225 Arizona St. There will also be two programs on Monday, Feb. 17, at which all award-winning films from the festival will be screened.

Another new element to this year’s festival is a screening of a retrospective on The Residents, a band known for its avant-garde music and multimedia projects that has been active since 1965. Homer Flynn, band manager, will be at the screening and participate in a question and answer session. That showing will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 14.

There will also be two blocks of comedy films screened, one at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 14 and another at 6 p.m. Feb. 15. More comedy films will be shown during the Underground segment at 10 p.m. Feb. 15.

There will also be screenings of animated, international, drama and horror films as well as music videos and documentaries.

“Our whole program, I’m very very proud of it,” Stefanova said.

For more information about the 2019 Dam Short Film Festival or to purchase tickets, go to 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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