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Film fest ready for 20th year

For the last 19 years, the Dam Short Film Festival has entertained tens of thousands of moviegoers, while showcasing some of the best films in its genre the industry has to offer.

Now in its 20th year, Nevada’s largest film festival plans to continue that tradition Feb. 14-19. An extra day has been added as nearly 150 short films will be shown at the Elaine K. Smith Building in Boulder City.

“We’re about a month out and we’re almost 100% buttoned up when it comes to events, activities and sponsors,” said Hava Brown, the festival’s director of events and activities. “Films have been selected and tickets are now on sale. Everything is almost done.”

A press release from the festival states that with two decades of successfully entertaining audiences, the festival will showcase 29 carefully-selected thematic 60- to 90-minute program blocks with categories including animation, comedy, documentary, drama, horror, international, sci-fi, Nevada, love and romance, and underground.

“The quality of films this year is incredible,” said Brown, who previously served as a film screener. “We have some A-list filmmakers and actors whose films we have selected to be in the festival this year. It was hard cutting down the films. We had a total of 955 submissions and we’re showing 147 films.”

This year’s festival features films, which must be less than 40 minutes in length, from a wide variety of countries like Ireland, China, Mexico, Japan, Israel, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and many more. As a bonus, the festival will screen the award-winning films in two special programs on Monday the 19th.

“To present the short film festival for the 20th year is an amazing accomplishment, proving that audiences continue to support and love the arts,” said Ken Cioe, director of operations. “We are so proud to give filmmakers a platform to share their passion and remain Southern Nevada’s favorite film festival.”

Amy Vandermark, who will be handling social media for the event, said there are more than 12,000 film festivals worldwide. The Dam Short Film Festival is ranked in the top 100 by Film Freeway, which is voted upon by the filmmakers themselves.

“That’s a testament to how the film festival is received not only by the filmmakers but also the community,” Vandermark said.

In addition to the screenings and filmmakers Q&A during each category block, the festival will feature a filmmaker meet-n-greet, coffee with filmmakers, and mixer. The Sunday night in-person awards presentation will also be live-streamed so everyone can tune in to find out which films win the various audience-determined awards. There will also be a drawing for the original poster artwork, by local artist and Dam Short Film Festival co-founder Lee Lanier.

Throughout its 20 years, Dam Short Film Festival has screened more than 2,500 films – giving local, state, national, and international filmmakers a platform to showcase their films, and audiences the access to these unique and original stories.

Brown wanted to thank not only the filmmakers and sponsors of the festivals but the dozens of volunteers who donate their time.

“We couldn’t do this without them,” she said, noting that they are still seeking volunteers and will do so until Feb. 9. “We love our local volunteers. And the filmmakers comment on it as well about how great our volunteers are.”

Boulder City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Rowland Lagan said the public needs to thank Lee and Anita Lanier for creating the festival 20 years ago because of the positive impact it’s had on the town.

“It has gained so much attention over the years and has truly added to tourism in Q1 (first quarter) annually,” she said. “Celebrating the theatrical arts is an amazing thing and betters our businesses while providing an excellent draw for guests all while enhancing our quality of life as residents.”

For the full schedule of selected films, sponsors, to volunteer and ticket information, visit damshortfilm.org.

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