Aug. 16, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival is back after a 5 year hiatus, and this time will be boasting 23 films from 10 different countries.
The festival will be held on October 7 and 8 in the Sunnyside Reformed Church, and is free and open to the public, exhibiting films from the United States (including some from Queens), the United Kingdom, Egypt, France, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Iran, and Greece.
The lineup will include films of all genres and lengths, according to organizer Sherry Gamlin.
Gamlin said that the films range between one and 20 minutes, and from comedic to serious, including narratives, documentaries, and animations. This year will also feature a children’s film category.
Gamlin and a panel of five other judges sifted through 1255 submissions, narrowing it down to 23 final films to show at the festival.
“I was shocked we received so many films, and it was very difficult to narrow them down,” Gamlin explained.
The Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival first began in 2001, when Shinichi Murota, a Japanese exchange student who was studying at Hunter College, put it on as a class project.
Gamlin volunteered to help at the first festival, and recalled how they projected the films on to a sheet strung between two trees in Doughboy Plaza. During the screening the portable power unit that Murota had bought for the screening blew out, and they had to put the event on hold while he went and bought another one.
Since that first year, the festival has gone through several iterations. Murota ran it for three years, before returning to Japan. The festival lay dormant for several years after that, until Gamlin resurrected it as a fundraiser for Sunnyside Gardens Park. After that it ran until 2011 but stopped again when Gamlin moved to Florida to deal with family issues. She said that she is back and is excited to start it up again.
This year she has partnered with Bryan Brinkman, a local animator, and his wife Ashley Brinkman, a package designer, to put on the festival.
Gamlin said that Bryan brings a deep understanding of animation and the film industry, while Ashley runs marketing for the festival, designing flyers, programs and postcards for the event.
Gamlin said that the huge influx of film submissions was largely due to advertising the festival on filmfreeway.com, a website specifically designed to help independent filmmakers submit their work to festivals. The site also allowed for the huge international reach of the event.
The upcoming event will mark the 12th Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival, and Gamlin was clear that she plans to continue the tradition, already looking ahead to next year.