A unique one-day event is coming Saturday, November 27th to Concord. Co-presented by MergingArts Productions and Red River Theatres, the fourth annual Short Short Story Film Festival will screen at Red River at 11 S. Main Street. The festival will present two distinct programs, each screening twice, with a post-screening reception to top things off. The event is open to the public, and admission is $6 for matinees and $8 for evening screenings.
Toni Pennacchia, Creative Director of MergingArts Productions, describes the festival concept. “Our idea is to present a wide variety of themes and moods within the time of a typical feature film. We focus both on succinctness and storytelling. Shorts in many festivals can be twenty minutes or longer, whereas ours are within five minutes. Despite that, our films tell genuine stories rather than being just concept pieces.”
Now in its fourth year, the festival has traveled to communities throughout the northeast since its 2007 debut in Providence, RI. Pennacchia remarks, “It’s a fun diversion for your Thanksgiving weekend. Our 2008 event at Red River was quite successful, so we’re excited to return. They have truly innovative and accessible programming - always coming up with eclectic and interactive events - we’re proud to be a small part of that.”
Filmmakers from around the world are represented, from nearly twenty countries including Australia, Colombia, Italy, and Korea. With forty films in all, the festival mixes both live action and animated films throughout both of its two programs.
Pennacchia, also a long-time radio hostess, reiterates, “It’s important to us to have a good flow in the programs - transitions between films that make sense thematically and maintain a certain mood, like a well-mixed DJ set.”
The first program in the festival is dubbed the “Heartstrings Program” and shows at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The films may be warm, tender, or humorous, and range from bittersweet love stories to touching documentaries to surprising comedies.
The second program, screening at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, is the “Headtrip Program.” This program includes dark, satirical, puzzling, or unsettling films - thrillers, black comedies, and films which defy easy categorization.
Some of this year’s films that Pennacchia considers standouts from the Heartstrings program include:
- Neon Skin, from Melbourne, Australia, about a sensual connection between a young man and his blind friend
- The First King, a lighthearted animated history of Portugal’s first king Afonso
- Frosty Man and the BMX Kid, from the mountains of New Zealand, bridging the generation gap as an old man and a young Maori boy eat ice cream and do cannonball dives or “bombs”
- Guns, Bees, and Tadpoles, an animated short from Northern Ireland recounting a summer's day in 1971 that took a turn to the extraordinary for an ordinary family
- Make Piece, from London, where a machinist tries to cope with the loss of his girlfriend by literally finding missing pieces of his life
Some Headtrip highlights include:
- Timeless Confessions, a Sicilian film on the world economic crisis capturing reflections in an intimate fashion with a dash of magic
- Familyship, a Korean black comedy about unusual approaches to dealing with family conflicts
- The Unhappy Woman, a Norwegian satire showing what happens when the filmmaking process gets too personal
- Farat, a tragic animated horror fable from Bulgaria based on the poem “The Lighthouse Keeper Loves Birds Too Much”
- Perpetuum Mobile, a Swiss role reversal film about a man rescuing a woman from doom before needing rescuing himself
Following the final screening of the day, there will be a reception with music by DJ Madame B and refreshments provided by Hermanos Cocina Mexicana in Concord and Susty’s Café in Northwood. Pennacchia and festival co-organizer Paul Elsnau will be on hand to discuss the festival and reveal the results of the audience voting from each of the two programs.
Those votes are then combined with votes from other locations the festival is playing to determine overall audience awards in each program. Additionally, the festival presents juried awards determined by judges from the world of independent filmmaking who have participated on MergingArts’ syndicated film interview show, Spoiler Alert Radio.
MergingArts Productions is an organization dedicated to cultural programming encompassing film, music, visual arts, technology and media, bringing these elements to communities both locally and globally.
Red River Theatres’ mission is to present film and the discussion of film as a way to entertain, broaden horizons and deepen appreciation of life for New Hampshire audiences of all ages. To that end, Red River offers a diverse program of first-run independent films, cult favorites, classics, local and regional film projects, foreign films and lots of discussions. Conversation and civic engagement are at the heart of what makes Red River so popular in the community and so important to the New Hampshire cultural scene.
For more information on the festival, contact Toni Pennacchia, Creative Director of MergingArts Productions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.mergingarts.org.