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Cover Story

8th Annual Dam Short Film Festival

by the Dam Short Film Society

What makes a film a short film? According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a short film is any film that runs 40 minutes or less. The film may be in any style and cover any subject. For example, short films are often dramas, animations, documentaries, student works, comedies, science-fiction tales and horror pieces. A short film has the distinct requirement that the story it tells be told very efficiently and succinctly. At the same time, the short format allows filmmakers to take chances – to develop new techniques and approaches. This is particularly true with today’s digital technology. For a few hundred dollars, almost anybody can make a short film.

Despite the relative ease with which one can create a short film (at least compared to a full-length feature), short films are rarely played in public these days. Hence, the thousands of short films made each year by professionals, hobbyists and students go unseen or have a limited audience. The Internet does provide an outlet for these works through such websites as YouTube or Vimeo, but it can be hard for viewers to sift through the content and find something high-quality. Thus, short film festivals offer a great means to sample short films. The Dam Short Film Festival was founded for just this reason.

Co-founded in 2004 by Lee and Anita Lanier, the Dam Short Film Festival is entering its 8th year. Lee worked in Hollywood for a number of years, first in film production and then in digital visual effects and feature animation. He started making animated short films in the late-90s and had a chance to travel to film festivals all over the world. Anita traveled to many of these events, developing an equal love for the art form.

The 8th annual Dam Short Film Festival will run February 9-11, 2012 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and will feature 108 unique films from all over the world. The films are grouped into thematic programs running a total of 60 to 75 minutes. Individual short films range in length from 2 minutes to 30 minutes. The subjects and styles of the films are extremely varied. For example, programs include sets of international dramas from such countries as Australia, Cuba, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Other programs feature comedies, science-fiction, horror, crime dramas, romance, and kid stories. Traditionally, many of the people who made the films travel to the festival. In fact, almost every program will include a Q&A with the directors, producers, and/or actors. As a bonus, a press conference will be held the evening of February 9th and a filmmaker panel is scheduled for afternoon of February 11th; pass and ticket holders are invited to attend.

The festival is possible due to the hard work of our volunteers. In addition, the generous cash and in-kind donations of our sponsors is a critical piece of the puzzle. If you’d like to volunteer during the festival or become a festival sponsor (we have many different sponsor levels), please contact us or (702) 509-4326. The festival is organized by the Dam Short Film Society, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit Nevada corporation. While Lee serves as the society’s executive director, John LaBonney serves as the director and oversees the day-to-day-operations. Other society board members include Leslie Paige, Art Lynch, and Michelle LaBonney.

Once again, the festival returns to the beautiful Boulder Dam Theatre with additional events at the Boulder Dam Hotel and nearby businesses. For those who have never had a chance to see a movie in the old Boulder Dam Theatre, this Dam Film Festival provides the unique opportunity.

Tickets are $6 per program and may be purchased at the door during the event. You can also buy a 3-Day Pass for $50, which is good for all programs and special events. For a detailed schedule, please visit or look for our tri-fold schedule brochures at the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses.

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