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Sunnyside Film Festival Gains International Attention

Aug. 1, 2010 Staff Report

About six weeks from now the reels will be rolling at the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival.

This year’s festival, which will take place on Saturday, September 25th, will be the fourth run by Sherry Gamlin, Teresa Ward and Susan Walsh.

The genesis of the film festival goes back to 2001 when Shinichi Murota, a Japanese student studying at Hunter College, decided to create a local film festival under the Humanist Center of Cultures. This event took place for three years—before lying dormant when Murota went back to Japan. Then in 2007, Gamlin and Ward, both Sunnyside residents, re-established the defunct festival as a fundraiser for Sunnyside Gardens Park.

“In the early days [2007] we got a lot of YouTube-type films,” Gamlin said. However, “the quality of films we now receive has really improved.”

“The first year [2007], we judged films that included animation, documentaries, narrative films and experiential films.” People learned of the festival via Craigslist, flyers and word of mouth. There were 17 films shown.

However, as the festival has developed, higher quality and more-lengthy submissions have been made.  This year, Gamlin said that the organization accepted films that were 25 minutes in length or less.

The two-hour program will feature many international and local movies and include a 15 minute intermission.

With the submission date over, the festival staff is busy screening more than 40 films.  They are also trying to raise money to help fund and promote the event.

Since the film festival’s founding, it has received submissions from Argentina, Russia, Romania, Colombia, France, Japan, England and though out the US.

The event is run on a shoe-string budget as the organization has to pay for rent, screens, technicians and advertising, Gamlin said. In June the group had a get-together at Claret, which raised more than $300 toward the event.

The film festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m.

Location: Sunnyside Community Center, 43-31 39th St. Sunnyside, NY 11104.

Suggested price of admission is $10.

Results are announced one or two days after the event.

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