Friday, December 26, 2008


HOllyShorts call for entries now open. thanks Dave Branin for the artwork!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

new holly banner by Dave Brannin.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Following the most successful HollyShorts Film Festival to date, in which David Lynch and Paul Haggis were honored and shorts from Josh Brolin, Jessica Biel, and David Arquette were showcased, we are now accepting entries for the 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival. Ranked by Moviemaker Magazine as “one of the top film festivals worth the entry fee,” the 5th Annual HSFF takes place August 6-9, 2009 in Hollywood and will feature an opening night event, screenings at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatres, panels, receptions, and our awards ceremony. Last year, we gave over $30,000 dollars worth of prizes to our winners. Submissions can be completed online by visiting or via Withoutabox at

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Calling all filmmakers, HollyShorts is now accepting submissions for the 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival which takes place August 6-9, 2009.You can submit by clicking on our Withoutabox icon below!

The fest takes place in Hollywood with screenings at Laemmle's Sunset 5 and a major opening night premiere scheduled on Thursday, August 6.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holly Friday

HollyShorts monthly screening takes place this Friday at the Echo Park Film Center 7:30pm! Free Drinks, Q&A with the filmmakers and raffle.

Monday, September 29, 2008

HollyShorts Monthly Screening October 3rd @ Echo Park Film Center

April 20th, 2008

Festival's Acclaimed Short Film Showcase Returns This Week

On the heels of the successful star-studded 4th annual HollyShorts Film Festival, which took place this past August, HollyShorts is back with a new installment of the festival's acclaimed monthly screening series this Friday, October 3rd at the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles. Join us as we prepare for the January 2009 Call For Entries for the 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival. This Friday, we are celebrating 5 top notch short films with the directors/producers and talent on hand to discuss their projects and the state of the industry in the October installment of the monthly screening series.
Tickets are $10 and available at the door. Doors open at 7:30 pm, screening begins at 8pm, event ends at 11pm. Q&A session, raffle, and reception to follow screening. Free Wine, Beer---soda courtesy of our sponsor Dry Soda co. and tequila from our sponsor Pura Casta. The Echo Park Film Center is located at 1200 N. Alvarado Street (@ Sunset Blvd) Los Angeles, CA 90026.

Also, we will be raffling off tickets to the ELEVATE Film Festival which takes place Oct. 5th!

Friday's lineup includes the following shorts:


"BEATS PER MINUTE" Directed by Andrea Ball ( Through very lovable and entertaining choreography, an incredibly talented French street dancer leaves Europe with a one-way ticket to Hollywood to show the world a style of dance they've never seen before. But in order to reach his dreams of becoming a professional break-dancer he must first confront his past and learn to control his fate.


"Pigeonhole" Directed by Nicole Tanzabel ( An elderly man lives alone in a high-rise council flat - boxed in and detached from the world below. Nobody visits him; he has only his TV for company. He never leaves his flat; he never needs to due to his unique system of self-sufficiency: using a booby-trapped birdhouse placed on his window sill he catches pigeons, roasts and eats them. Until one day he captures a dove...


"SLEEPER" Directed by Philippe Casseus (
(Final Cut) Simeon wakes up in a coma with no idea how long he's been sleeping. The sound of Noelle's voice reaches him, urging him to wake. But Simeon's ego has other plans for his id.


"THE STAIN ON THE SIDEWALK" Directed by Adam Schlachter ( Andy, a high school freshman, secretly longs for Vanessa, the beautiful girlfriend of the neighborhood bully. In a fumbling, yet poetic exercise, he searches for the right words to declare his love for her, hoping she notices him. But ultimately, Andy discovers that actions may speak much louder than words.


"VAMONOS" Directed by Maurice Compte, written by Marina Valle ( Marisol and Manny are weary travellers looking for a quick bite to eat. Little do they know how their pit stop will change their lives.


That's right, the 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival will take place August 6-9, 2009 in Hollywood. A great portion of the screenings program will once again take place at Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre! Stay tuned for details on the opening night extravaganza, which will take place on Thursday, August 6, 2009. Details on the January Call For Entries are also forthcoming.

The 4th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival drew over $1.8 million worth of media impressions with national broadcast and print press coverage in outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Variety, US Weekly, Life and Style, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E! News, Reelzchannel and much more. Check out the coverage by visiting


Come experience the world's fastest growing global filmmaking competition
and awards show of its kind, ELEVATE, at the 7100 seat Nokia Theatre L.A.
Live on October 5th celebrating this year's theme "All Tribes Unite"! The
first ever filmmaking competition that challenges the international film
community to create works of social and global importance will premiere in
one star-studded event with judges including producers Michel Shane, A.
Kitman Ho and Martha De Laurentiis. With music videos from Black Eyed Peas' Apl and Grammy Award winning Keb Mo.
ELEVATE will bring together twenty professional filmmakers from around the
globe who will compete in the categories of documentary, music video,
narrative and commercial. The catch? They only have 7 days to complete the
mission! ELEVATE Film Festival is a night of cutting-edge cinema devoted to
stimulating positive change-a show so priceless it's FREE! Free general
admission tickets available the day of the show on a first come-first save
basis. Premium tickets can be purchased through ticketmaster for $35.
For more information please visit:

About HollyShorts

HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) is an annual film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe. HollyShorts is devoted to the advancement filmmakers through screenings, Q&A sessions and networking events. The HollyShorts Film Festival showcases the top short films produced 30-minutes or less. For sponsorship queries, please email us at

To submit to our Monthly Screenings (Rolling Submissions for $10), email:

Filmmaker behind the scenes news at:
About EchoParkFilmCenter

Echo Park Film Center is a volunteer-run, non-profit media arts organization located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. We provide equal and affordable access to film/video education and resources via:

a community microcinema and meeting space
free and nominal cost media arts education programs
a comprehensive small format film equipment and service department
a touring film festival showcasing local established and student filmmakers
For more information, visit:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Short Film Starring HERO THE GREAT Producer Tracy Perez to screen at LA Int'l Latino Film Fest

St. Paul will screen at the LA Int'l Latino Film Festival on Monday Sept. 15th at 5:30pm at the Egyptian.

Paul Ramirez, a senior in college wears his atheism on his sleeve like an intellectual badge of courage. In fact, he preaches the word of doubt to all that will listen. He has had a particularly cogent influence on his girlfriend Samantha. When Samantha's mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer she is, as one would expect, devastated. Paul desperately searches for something, anything that will make her feel even just a little bit better, but to his horror he quickly realizes that her conversion to atheism has stripped her of the ability to comfort herself through a belief in the afterlife. Soon after, Paul begins wrestling with the growing suspicion that maybe, just maybe, God is punishing him for his sins.

To watch trailer:

Sunday, September 14, 2008


HollyShorts Filmmaker Shawna Baca picked up the Latina Entrepreneur Award at the
Latina Symposium last week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A selection of HollyShorts Short films will play at the upcoming AZA Digital Cinema Festival in Greece.
In addition to HollyShorts films, check out the other fests represented:
basque cinema
romanian cinema
shorts by: polanski, kieslowski, zanussi
britfilms & coffeeshorts from u.k.
special experimental/video art (poland,brazil,france)
pocket films from Forum des Images, france

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

HollyShorts Opening Night Photos

4th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival opening night. Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

LOS ANGELES TIMES: HollyShorts Festival: At the Egyptian, every minute counts.

Los Angeles Times

Screening Room
HollyShorts Festival: At the Egyptian, every minute counts.
By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 7, 2008
The 4th Annual Holly- Shorts Festival kicks off this evening at the Egyptian Theatre with Josh Brolin's "X"; Bill Purple's "Hole in the Paper Sky" starring Jessica Biel; Jeff Vespa's "Nosebleed" starring David Arquette; and Alex Ferrari's "Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence." Friday features a music video celebration at the Nacional in Hollywood. It all then moves to the Laemmle Sunset 5 on Saturday and Sunday where 50 short films will be screened.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences examines the sound and the music of animated films with "The Sound Behind the Image II: Now Hear This!" presentation Friday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Sound designer and rerecording mixer Mark Mangini hosts the exploration of sound and the role it plays in animation.

Sunday at the academy's Linwood Dunn Theater, Oscar-nominated composer Michael Giacchino ("Ratatouille") hosts "Normand Roger and the Animation Soundtrack." Roger has scored 13 animated shorts, including six Oscar winners. Also taking part will be Oscar-winning animator Frédéric Back in conjunction with the opening night of the exhibition "Frédéric Back: A Life's Drawings" in the Linwood Dunn lobby.

During the 1950s and early '60s, director Richard Quine made a series of sharp comedies, films noir and dramas at Columbia -- several with his then-girlfriend Kim Novak. And the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosts a retrospective that kicks off Friday with 1954's gritty "Pushover," with Fred MacMurray and Novak in her film debut, and "Drive a Crooked Road," penned by Blake Edwards and starring Mickey Rooney. On tap for Saturday is the evocative 1960 melodrama "Strangers When We Meet" with Novak and Kirk Douglas as illicit lovers, and the 1956 comedy "The Solid Gold Cadillac" with Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas.

The American Cinematheque presents the U.S. premiere Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre of the new animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." A benefit for the Cinematheque, director Dave Filoni and producer Catherine Winder will attend.

Tuesday, the Cinematheque honors the late composer Peter Ivers and the release of his biography with a restored print of David Lynch's seminal 1977 "Eraserhead," for which Ivers wrote the song "In Heaven." A discussion with Josh Frank, author of "In Heaven Everything Is Fine," will follow. www.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Angeleno Magazine
The Long and Short of It
The HollyShorts Film Festival started in a tiny, hole-in-the wall theatre in Hollywood four years ago with just 23 films on the roster, but this month, it moves to the Egyptian with more than 70 domestic and international entries. Founded by industry insiders Daniel sol and Theo Dumont (who work, respectively, in distribution at Lionsgate and public relations at MGM), the festival is now gunning to be L.A.’s own Sundance with big names and big independent spirit. Josh Brolin is making his directorial debut with X, a film starring his daughter, eden. David Arquette also stars in an opening-night film, and even Jessica Biel gets in on the action, as both star and producer for a flick called Hole in the Paper Sky. The founding duo---who were basketball teammates while attending high school in Miami---additionally host monthly screenings at the echo Park Film Center, where “higher-ranked entries that don’t make the cut for the festival have the option of screening,” says Dumont. That means the HollyShorts community is a year-round platform and not just a one-off summer celebration. August 7-10. Fri-Sun., times vary. Tickets $10. At the Egyptian theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood and the Laemmle Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd. , West Hollywood. ---Alexis Johnson



LOS ANGELES August 7, 2008--- The organizers of HollyShorts announced today three special awards that will be presented at the 4th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival opening night celebration, which takes place on Thursday, August 7. Creative mastermind David Lynch (Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive) will be honored with the 2008 HollyShorts Visionary Award. Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis (Crash, In the Valley of Elah) will be honored with the 2008 HollyShorts Outstanding Achievement in Film Award and actress Paula Garces (Harold and Kumar, “Knight Rider”) will be honored with the 2008 HollyShorts Future Star Award.

The awards will be presented during the festivals special opening night celebration which takes place at Egyptian theatre in Hollywood in conjunction with the American Cinematheque. The HollyShorts Film Festival opening night celebration begins at 8pm and will be hosted by Jill Simonian, correspondent “Dailies” for ReelzChannel. The event will feature a number of high profile short film projects including "Hole in the Paper Sky," produced by and starring Jessica Biel and directed by Bill Purple, "Nosebleed," starring David Arquette and directed by Jeff Vespa, as well as the Hollywood premiere of actor Josh Brolin's short film "X." HollyShorts opening night will also feature “Verboten” by Martin Keegan, “The Outlaw Emmett Deemus” by Stephan S. Fleet and “ Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence” by Dan Cregan.

In addition to Lynch’s Visionary Award for his dedication to craft and the art of filmmaking, HollyShorts is partnering with The David Lynch Foundation to launch The HollyShorts David Lynch Foundation Student Short film competition. The contest, which launches in January will call for high school and college short film short films 15 minutes and under, which will be selected and screened during the 2009 HollyShorts Film Festival. A portion of the proceeds will go to The David Lynch Foundation. In the past year, the Foundation has provided millions of dollars for thousands of students, teachers, and parents to learn to meditate. The Foundation also provides funds for independent research institutions to assess the effects of the program on creativity, intelligence, brain functioning, academic performance, ADHD and other learning disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Paul Haggis is the recipient of the 2008 HollyShorts Outstanding Achievement in Film Award for transcending a dream into one of the most compelling and successful careers in Hollywood. Paula Garces is a fast rising actress in Hollywood. With starring roles in the Harold and Kumar franchise, she will next make her appearance on NBC’s upcoming series “Knight Rider.” She will be presented the 2008 Future Star Award by the late legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer’s wife Karen Sharpe-Kramer and her daughter actress Katharine "Kat" Kramer.

HollyShorts has several events taking place in the Hollywood area during the 4th Annual Festival. On Friday, August 8 there will be 11 music videos in competiation during the festival’s inaugural music video celebration at Nacional in Hollywood. August 9-10 will feature 50 short films in competition during special screenings at Laemmle's Sunset 5 theatres 10:15am-7:30pm

Tickets for the HollyShorts opening night celebration are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting Fandango at or the American Cinematheque website at

About HollyShorts
HollyShorts is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The HollyShorts Film festival showcases the top short films produced 30- minutes or less. For more information, please visit

Get Your Tickets now to HollyShorts

The regular HollyShorts website is experiencing technical issues due to the high volume of viewership. You can purchase tickets for the Saturday and Sunday screenings at Laemmle's Sunset 5 by clicking on the following:


Backstage West
HollyShorts to Showcase New Filmmakers, Brolin
August 06, 2008
By Robert C. Nicolais
In four years, Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont have seen the HollyShorts Film Festival they co-founded grow from a one-day screening to a four-day film festival attended by some of Hollywood's top stars. Now they hope to give a similar boost to the directors, producers, and actors who will showcase their work at the fest Aug. 7-10, at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre and Nacional nightclub, as well as Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatres in West Hollywood.

"The festival is a great platform for indie filmmakers to get their work out there and advance their careers," said Dumont, producer of the event that features some of the best films under 30 minutes from around the globe. "These are up-and-comers, and we want to give them the exposure they deserve. Los Angeles is the hub of the acting and filmmaking world, so why not have a short-film festival out here? We can bring in local people, and they can network and work together afterwards. That was our goal from the start." HollyShorts will also help educate new filmmakers with panels Aug. 9 and 10 that will explore the creative and business aspects of filmmaking.

However, not all the actor-filmmakers participating in HollyShorts are unknowns. SAG Award winner Josh Brolin will premiere his directorial debut, X, on the fest's opening night. Brolin's film will screen alongside Hole in the Paper Sky, directed by Bill Purple and starring Jessica Biel, and Nosebleed, directed by Jeff Vespa and starring David Arquette.

"With shorts, more than anything you want to see what people can do with 20 minutes," Brolin said. "It says a lot about them. I'm looking forward to all the films. I'm nervous about mine, but I'm excited for the festival."

Like many of us, Brolin scours sites such as YouTube and FunnyOrDie, which have made short films more popular than ever. "You find a lot of filmmakers online that you usually wouldn't come across," he said. "It makes it a lot easier to put together a story and not have to spend a lot of money. I think it's positive because people get a chance to manifest something creative."

Dumont believes that the Web gives filmmakers the opportunity to be creative and possibly make a career out of online shorts. "The Internet allows filmmakers and actors to build a fan base, audience, and network for free," he said. "Blogs and websites help aid actor's résumés, add a revenue stream, and build a platform for a feature film. You can put a movie online, come up with a marketing campaign for it, and eventually make a living off of it. Sites like YouTube have created all of those opportunities for filmmakers and actors."

Paying Homage

HollyShorts will also honor two iconic directors on its opening night: Writer-director Paul Haggis will receive the HollyShorts Outstanding Achievement in Film Award, and David Lynch will be awarded the HollyShorts Visionary Award. The fest will introduce a new award titled the HollyShorts David Lynch Foundation Student Short Film Award next year.

Another awards ceremony for the participating filmmakers will close the festival Aug. 10. "Last year we gave out awards for best actor and actress along with awards recognizing achievements in editing, direction, and cinematography," said fest director Sol. "We expect to give out even more awards this time around."

Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatres are located at 8000 Sunset Blvd.,West Hollywood, Calif. The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Calif. Passes for the fourth annual HollyShorts Film Festival are $20-$40. Tickets for individual short-film program — including opening night — are $10. To purchase tickets or for more information visit

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


El Siglo De Torreon (Mexico)

The entire world is on the verge of knowing the film talent of four young talented men.

Anwar "Duck" Safa, Rodrigo Oviedo, Federico Gutiérrez Schott and Adolfo Franco creators of the project Terregal Films, are busy with the short films that carried out in 2007 which will be exhibited in various festivals on a worldwide basis. Their hard work, combined with the dedication that they put forward with their respective works is already giving fruits to their labor. This also stands with a grand achievement for the Region of Lagunera and the state of Coahuila.
With the idea for the State to be recognized inside the National film industry and International culture, Terregal Films in conjunction with Governor Humberto Moreira, had the opportunity to write the short film Verano 79, En Pos De Dios, Vroom! Vroom! and La Gordiranfla which have had the honor to be selected to be a part of diverse festivals in the states and abroad. The tour started the fifth of this month. The films participated in the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Shorts Film Corner.
This month of July, En Pos De Dios, of Adolfo Franco, and La Gordiranfla, of "Duck" Safa, will be seen in the most important event of short films, of Latin America, and the third in the planet, Expresión en Corto (Expression in a Short) This will take place from the 18th to the 27th in San Miguel of Allende and in city of Guanajuato.
In turn Vroom! Vroom! of Federico Gutiérrez Schott, Summer 79 of Rodrigo Oviedo and La Gordiranfla will form part of the Latin American Festival that will hosted by HBO in New York City.
In the interim, from the 7th to 10th of August they will be in Hollywood, California with their films Verano 79 and La Gordiranfla participating in The HollyShorts Film Festival.
They will also be participating in The International Festival of Movies of Monterrey to be carried out in North Sultana from the 15th to 23rd of August. After a difficult selection process from more than 650 films from the five continents, En Pos De Dios and La Gordiranfla were selected to be included in DC Shorts Films in the city of Washington, the second week of September, emphasizing on very good criticisms toward the work of these four talented men.
Safa, Oviedo, Gutiérrez Schott and Franco do not plan on sleeping on their triumphs, on the contrary, they will continue to work hard so that their films continue to be highlighted in festivals of the Mexican Republic and other countries.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


July 22, 2008 Hollywood, CA- Jill Simonian from "Dailies" on ReelzChannel®
the only cable/satellite network and website dedicated to "Everything About Movies, 24/7™," will host the 4th annual HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) opening night celebration which takes place on Thursday, August 7, 2008 at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood in conjunction with the American Cinematheque. The announcement was made today by Daniel Sol, Festival Director, HollyShorts Film Festival.

The HollyShorts Film Festival opening night celebration will feature a number of high profile short film projects including "Hole in the Paper Sky," produced by and starring Jessica Biel and directed by Bill Purple, "Nosebleed," starring David Arquette and directed by Jeff Vespa, as well as the Hollywood premiere of actor Josh Brolin's short film "X." Tickets for the HollyShorts opening night celebration are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting Fandango at or the American Cinematheque website at

A former Miss Hollywood (Miss America Organization), Simonian is known for her movie coverage on "Dailies," ReelzChannel's® signature daily movie news and information program. Simonian has conducted a number of insightful interviews with today's biggest stars in Hollywood including Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Meyers, Cameron Diaz, Steve Carell, and Nicole Kidman.

ReelzChannel® features entertaining original programs that offer a fresh perspective on the movies, from behind-the-scenes to what to see tonight. The network covers movies wherever they are playing - in theaters, on DVD, VOD, and premium channels. In addition to cable carriage in markets across the country, ReelzChannel® is carried via
satellite on DIRECTV (Channel 238) and DISH Network (Channel 299), and is currently reaching more than 35 million homes nationwide. ReelzChannel® also operates the website, which offers deeper coverage of the movies, and information on all the latest movies available at home and in theaters.

In addition, the HollyShorts opening night celebration will also feature "Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence" Directed by Dan Cregan, Written and Produced by Alex Ferrari with voice by Paula Garces ("Harold & Kumar"), "The Outlaw Emmett Deemus" Directed by Stephan S. Fleet, Written by and starring Larry Hankin ("Friends," "Seinfeld") and Director Martin Keegan's Award-winning short film "Verboten."

2008 HollyShorts Film Festival Schedule

* HollyShorts Film Festival Opening Night Celebration, Thursday, August 7, 2008 Egyptian Theatre in conjunction with The American Cinematheque 8-11pm

* Inaugural HollyShorts Music Video Celebration and Competition Friday, August 8, 2008 Nacional in Hollywood 8-11pm

* HollyShorts Film Festival Screenings August 9-10, 2008 Screenings take place at Laemmle's Sunset 5 theatres 10:15am-7:30pm

About Jill Simonian
Since joining ReelzChannel® in January 2007, Simonian has interviewed hundreds of industry legends, A-listers and newcomers alike. In addition to covering red carpets and one-on-one interviews, her personality-driven feature stories have included learning what it takes to become a 'believable' movie cowboy, discovering the secrets underneath Sony Pictures' famous Stage 15, and exploring the reasons as to why there is a shortage of female action stars on the big screen. A cum laude graduate of UCLA's Communication Studies program, Jill began working in television in 2005 with KTLA's The Audition, a live, month-long nationwide contest to find the station's next Weathercaster. She became the Viewer's Choice winner (garnering over 11,000 online votes) yet finished as the 1st Runner-up. The following year she served as a Feature Reporter for KTLA's Morning Show. Previous noteworthies include singing the National Anthem at LA Lakers and Dodgers games, winning a UCLA Carol Burnett Musical Theatre Award and motivational speaking for Southern California high schools (for's national program 'Making It Count'). She is a former Miss Hollywood and Miss Southland, and was once 2nd Runner-Up to Miss California (Miss America Pageant). Simonian is based in Los Angeles.

Tickets for the August 9-10 HollyShorts programs at Laemmle Sunset 5 are now available and can be purchased by visiting or Complete schedule with the official selections, details on the selected films and special festival passes available on


About HollyShorts

HollyShorts is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The HollyShorts Film festival showcases the top short films produced 30- minutes or less. For more information, please visit

Thursday, July 17, 2008

HollyShorts '06 Official Selection Producer Perrin Chiles Nominated for an Emmy!

Congratulations to Perrin Chiles, Producer of HollyShorts 2006 official selection The Locrian Mode. Chiles' gripping documentary "Autism: The Musical," has been nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

Autism: The Musical • HBO • Bunim-Murray Productions and In Effect Films in association with HBO Documentary Films
Jonathan Murray, Executive Producer
Janet Grillo, Executive Producer
Kristen Stills, Executive Producer
Nancy Abraham, Senior Producer
Perrin Chiles, Producer
Tricia Regan, Producer
Sasha Alpert, Producer

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


HollyShorts Unveils Lineup for 2008 Film Festival
Event Takes Place August 7-10 in Hollywood, CA

July 11, 2008 Hollywood, CA—The 4th annual HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) kicks off on Thursday, August 7, 2008 with a marquee opening night celebration featuring a number of high profile short film projects. The opening night event, which takes place at the Egyptian Theatre in conjunction with the American Cinematheque, will feature director Bill Purple’s short film “Hole in the Paper Sky,” which stars Jessica Biel (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”), and Gary Marshall (“The Other Sister”); Wireimage co-founder Jeff Vespa’s short “Nosebleed,” which stars David Arquette (“Scream”) and director Alex Ferrari’s short film “Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence” voiced by Paula Garces (“Harold & Kumar”). The event will also showcase the Hollywood premiere of actor Josh Brolin’s (“No Country For Old Men,” “American Gangster) short film “X.”

The HollyShorts opening night celebration will also feature the Hollywood premiere of actor Larry Hankin’s (“Friends”) short film “The Outlaw Emmett Deemus” and director/radio personality Marty Keegan’s Award-winning short film “Verboten.”

Friday, August 8, will mark the festival’s inaugural HollyShorts Music Video celebration, showcasing clips from some of the world’s fastest rising new music video directors at Nacional in Hollywood.

The film festival core screenings and industry panels take place at Laemmle Sunset 5 theatres Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10.

“We are stepping up our Hollywood presence in a major way this year with a marquee opening night celebration in conjunction with the American Cinematheque, a new music video category and an official a lineup of high profile short films,” said HollyShorts Film Festival director and co-founder Daniel Sol. “With networking events, super-panels and after-parties accompanying our strong lineup, we look forward to providing filmmakers, movie enthusiasts and industry executives a platform to unite, do business and have a great time!”

Recently Ranked as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 25 Film Festivals worth the entry fee, HollyShorts received over 650 submission from 25 countries for the 2008 edition of the HollyShorts Film Festival, a festival record. Along with a strong domestic presence, the 4th annual HollyShorts Film Festival will feature a slew of shorts from the international community, with 11 countries represented.

Vying for the Best Student Short Film Award, HollyShorts has selected student projects from: Cal State Northridge, UCLA, USC, Chapman Film School, Savannah College of Art and Design, Binghamton State University of New York, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, New York Film Academy, AFI, and Temple. The Best Student Short Film Award will win a 5-day HVX-200, HD Camera rental package from festival sponsor Martini Crew Booking.

Tickets for the August 7, 2008 HollyShorts opening night celebration on go on sale on July 21 and can be purchased on or through the American Cinematheque at Tickets for the August 9-10 HollyShorts programs at Laemmle Sunset 5 are now available and can be purchased by visiting or Complete schedule with the official selections, details on the selected films and special festival passes available on

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Canadian short film wins Cannes prize
Canwest News Service

CANNES, France - Next Floor, an 11-minute Canadian film about gluttony, has won the grand prize for short movies at the Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Next Floor was filmed in an abandoned Montreal factory that was being demolished, and shows a group of diners eating piles of food - everything from rhinoceros to deer - before crashing through to the floor below.

Villeneuve (Maelstrom) shot the movie while taking a break from editing his new feature Polytechnique, about the 1989 Montreal massacre.

The Cannes award is given by the French TV network Canal+, which acquires the right to broadcast Next Floor. Villeneuve wins 6,000 Euros (about $9,000) to shoot his next project.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Tribeca has announced their short film winners...

Best Narrative Short: New Boy, directed by Steph Green.

Best Documentary Short: Mandatory Service, directed by Jessica Habie.

Student Visionary Award: Elephant Garden, directed by Sasie Sealy.


HOLLYSHORTS Film Festival will be hosting a major networking event in May, stay tuned for details. This event will take place before the next installment of the Monthly Screening Series, free drinks, free food!


The Cannes Film fest kicks off in a couple of weeks. Check out the short films in competition...


EL DESEO (The Desire)by Marie BENITO


411-Z by Dániel ERDÉLYI



BUEN VIAJE(Good Trip)by Javier PALLEIRO, Guillermo



Thursday, May 01, 2008


Check out the Holly WAB spotlight...tell everyone you know and submit now!

Hollywood, California - USA
August 7 to 10, 2008

Dear Distributionlab,

In the Spotlight this week is the 4th Annual HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL. Recently selected by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the "25 film festivals worth the entry fee," HollyShorts presents exceptional short films from around the globe for audiences full of industry influencers and executives in the heart of Hollywood.

Boasting star-studded events, industry attendance, and a history of excellent programming, HollyShorts is ripe with opportunity. Attending filmmakers can walk away with agency meetings, distribution deals, over $40,000 in cash as well as in-kind prizes from industry sponsors, and press coverage from major outlets. Selected films will even be invited to tour to destinations around the world including New York, Greece, and the United Kingdom.

HollyShorts 2008 will kick off with the Hollywood premiere of X, by Actor/Director Josh Brolin of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, at the famed Egyptian Theatre (in conjunction with the American Cinematheque), with weekend screenings at the Laemmle Sunset 5. The Festival is packed with parties, panels, and networking opps, and concludes with the HollyShorts Awards ceremony, where winning filmmakers receive top honors.

May 16, 2008 - Late Deadline
Upgraded projects save $5 off this deadline.

HollyShorts Film Festival is an annual short film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films of 30 minutes or less from around the globe.

Recent HollyShorts alumni include "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier, who screened his short film EUTHENASIA at the 2007 Festival; Michael Attardi (ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE) was shortlisted for the Academy Awards, and is now working on a feature film; Rob Meyer (AQUARIUM) has gone on to receive an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; and David Alcalde (Y QUE CUMPLAS MUCHOS MAS) is in pre-production on a thriller starring Diego Luna. Many other HollyShorts filmmakers have received representation and distribution offers.

Director Alex Ferrari (BROKEN) sums it all up well: "HollyShorts is one of the best filmmaker-friendly festivals I've ever been to. They treat the filmmaker like a star and give your film one hell of an LA audience." Be there; submit your short to HollyShorts Film Festival today!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Easy Rider
Marcus Ashley on Music, Movies and Modern Masculinity
Interview by Hara Finnegan

As I sit down for my very first interview with actor and musician Marcus Ashley, something dawns on me. There is a way a person is perceived and the way a person really is. Sitting down with someone for a few hours is surely not going to let me know who a person really is, but I did in fact gain some insight into the dark recesses of Mr. Ashley’s mind. And there was light to be found. To be more specific, provocation.

Sitting in a dirty wicker chair, he puts his boots up along the edge of a wall, tucked a bit uncomfortably. He is tall, clearing a decent 6 foot 3, and he resembles a young Peter Fonda. Within the first few minutes, I notice what would be the theme of our interview. “A man out of place in the modern world.”

At once guarded about his privacy, yet very genial, we sit across from each other chain smoking and drinking burnt coffee.

He lets me know that he is a bit uncomfortable about being interviewed, mentioning a previous interview he had to give while shooting a “Lifetime” movie, something you can’t quite imagine that he would do. The movie, not the interview. “It was embarrassing. In fact, I was so embarrassed all I could do was smile, like a goon. I don’t even remember what I said, but I remember thinking how stupid I must have looked just smiling like that. Embarrassed like that.”

I get the feeling he’d like to forget the past and focus more on the man he has developed into. I also get the feeling that he’d like to be quoted and assessed accurately. I will do my best.

We talk movies. We talk music. We talk politics and what he calls, “the over feminization of the concept of masculinity that is perpetuated by the media and advertising.” I am clearly dealing with someone who has read voraciously, in fact probably lives surrounded by piles of books.

Yet, Marcus Ashley uses words like “Radical” and “Yeah Man” with such adoptable easiness that it makes you want to use them in your own daily vernacular. As we talk and I scribble (I left my tape recorder at home, in hopes of avoiding a more prohibitive type of interview) my feeling is that an interview in of itself is kind of an invasion of privacy, though necessary in our PR-fueled world. Left only to my own powers of observation, one particular thing I do start to notice is that this guy is really cool and really smart. Forget what he looks like. For years we have swooned over movie idols, projecting our wildest and most romantic or heroic fantasies onto them. It makes sense that we would want to project onto Mr. Ashley in black and white or glorious Technicolor. He is soulful. He reminds me of characters long gone from the screen. He reminds me of Hud. He reminds me of Bullitt. He reminds me of Dirty Harry. A cowboy incapable of intimacy, a cop in silent turmoil, and well... Dirty Harry, who’s just downright bad ass.

For sure, Mr. Ashley seems interestingly out of place. None of it is put on, though secretly, like a private detective, I insist on finding his Achilles heel, since his complexity somewhat eludes me. In his work to date, he’s displayed the gangly physical comedy of Nicolas Cage in “Raising Arizona” and the cool, reserved, cocky, self-possession of Paul Newman in “The Hustler.” Carrying both of these personas both at once and both with equal seriousness can only be pulled off by an actor in a Paul Thomas Anderson film.

As he sits there chatting about movies and acting and his ideas about men crying in movies, I start to daydream. I’m a bad interviewer; all I can think of is Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Boogie nights” crying in a Corvette, juxtaposed with images of Marcus Ashley. And I can’t help but stare at his face and his amazing hair. I interrupt him for a moment to ask him where he gets it cut. “It’s not the cut,” he says, “A stylist on a photo shoot put some gunk in it earlier today.” I have to say, that is some amazing hair gunk. He’d prefer I didn’t mention his looks, though he modestly recognizes them. “I don’t really wanna talk about it", he says. He’d rather talk about art and music and cognitive dissonance. Marcus Ashley is not even a narcissist. Great, what am I gonna do now? I so imagined him as a bad guy. Or wait, maybe I was just projecting. Projection is something a lot of people do when they first meet Mr. Ashley. In fact, I am so instinctually sure of this, I decide to probe deeper and ask, “So, what do you think people’s first impressions of you are?”

“People assume because of the way I dress, the way I look, that I’m an asshole. Mostly women,” he says. “Fuck stick,” I say. He nods and laughs. He says that sometimes people mistake his shyness for “not being very nice, or bright. People just make assumptions, ya know?”

I nod, but I don’t do much talking. Instead, I notice how unbound he is in his own skin, and his speech pattern, which is relaxed, direct, self-assured and without a hint of neuroticism. This is counter to my own fixed neurosis, yet sitting with him is somewhat relaxing, in a “sitting on the front porch, drinking lemonade and watching the tumbleweed skirt by” kinda way. It reminds me that there can be a deep, mutually respective relationship between the sexes. A very relaxing idea for a woman and the stuff chick flicks are made of, or should be made of.

I'm excited to next barrage him with questions about his new ‘self-titled’ album release, “American Weapon,” and his recent work as an actor, when he is interrupted by a call (as I am later told) from his mother. He steps away from the table, excusing himself. Moments later when he returns, he explains that he is having his mom ship an old guitar to him that he left at home years ago, and that he had to explain to her how to loosen the strings in order to ship it properly. It could have been a call from his agent or publicist or even a girlfriend perhaps, but no, it was his mother, and somehow that makes me like him even more.

When he sits back down, we talk about his career path and where he is with things at this very moment. “I find that people tend to talk more than they think and that unless you blow your own horn in this town, it takes a little longer to get noticed. That was me.”

I'm not sure how this could be. To me he stands out like a sore thumb, or more appropriately, a diamond in the rough. We talk about music and his musical influences, mainly producers and below the line guys, with the exception of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Portoise Head, and The Cowboy Junkies to name a few, and notably Daniel Lanois and Jandek. I can tell from his speech pattern when talking about these two musical geniuses that he is very very inspired.

He even starts to remind me of Kurt Cobain from some old interview footage from the early 90’s I had been recently researching. “We are a very conflicted race and there is a tremendous amount of growing to do. We have biologically hardwired behavior that results in a lot of pain towards other people. It also hurts to not have definitive answers. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, we are in a painful predicament." He makes loneliness and self reflection sound absolutely glamorous, but more importantly, he makes the internal contemplation of this existential journey seem quite refreshing and stimulating.

His frankness about the subject of insecurity erases any kind of shame or stigma about it. "It’s not easy, looking at your own life and exploring it in your art.” As depressing as some of that matter can be, he holds himself with a bit of nobility when he speaks about it. When I look at his body of work, I see an actor whose looks never dominate a performance, though up until this point in his career his looks have quite confined him. “People see you a certain way,” he says. He plays the drunken, whiskey-swilling, distraught loner type well, but somehow I glean from our conversation that there is a well of chameleon-like performances that have yet to be had. This is an actor on the brink…of falling… out of recognizability, yet fully into a character’s skin. I believe that’s how stars are made.

Distracted once again, I start to hear Cobain’s “Oh Me” playing in my head.
“Would you like to hear my voiceSprinkled with emotionInvented at your birth?I can't see the end of meMy whole expanse I cannot seeformulate affinityStored deep inside me”

I ask him his likes and dislikes, what discourages him and what excites him. He says beauty excites him, emotional, intellectual, sonic, great film performances; any kind of craftsmanship below or above the line. And hope excites him. I tell him my middle name is Hope. His reply, “Well, then I guess you excite me.”

I ask him about his dislikes, “carrot cake and any cake with fruit or vegetables for that matter.” He makes light of it. His modesty comes back as I sense that he senses that we’re on an episode of “Inside the Actors Studio.”

“So what made you want to become an actor?”

“I would watch movies and I’d want to be part of that story. Stories had a huge impact on my life and my imagination. And I was shy, and I wasn’t happy being so shy, and I discovered that being out in the world in this way wasn’t personally painful. A character has a choice to decide to do something or not do something, and it will serve the story to tell that truth as accurately as possible.”

I can tell accuracy is very important to him.

I ask him about ‘Masculinity’ and what he thinks of it and if it impacts him as a man and as an actor playing a male character.

“We are, for the most part, somewhat insulated from survival issues these days. There’s a conflict inherent in modern man, dealing with traditional gender roles while as a society we are a bit removed from circumstances that created those roles. There are traditional ideas of strength.” He pauses to gather his thoughts. "But in the same breath we are told that men need to be more evolved, more emotionally sensitive. Being strong and responsible... there is something biologically inherent in that, I don’t think that’s wrong. But along with that there should be concepts of chivalry and honor that seem... a little lost these days. And in the media milieu, we’re told that being more sensitive is a positive improvement upon traditional precepts, but in reality, the propaganda is a mixed bag: half the time, emotions are okay and half the time, not okay. There is a legitimatization of male vulnerability, but it isn’t always legitimate. People look at men and say, ‘Aww, look, he’s growing, isn’t that cute?’ But I don't know if deep down a lot of men really want to be 'cute', or view that as a positive. And I think there's an underlying uneasiness... a feeling that masculinity is somewhat threatening. So it's a period of upheaval... confusion. You see it on TV. Ads featuring beer drinking troglodytes sandwiched between ads for male moisturizer. Or better yet, beer drinking troglodytes using moisturizer.” He grins, though with uneasiness.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, I have a feeling he wants to kick a curb, but instead swiftly steers the conversation towards his music and “American Weapon.” I believe his music is possibly a way for him to get out his angst and frustration about the matter.

I ask him what his music is about, a deceptively simple question, met with a complex answer about his auspicious beginnings.

“I started my recording career at Prince's Paisley Park Studio in Minnesota . I had signed with this label, and I just felt like, they didn’t get what I was trying to do, sonically or texturally. It all felt so wrongly produced, so I left, bought some recording equipment, and sat in my house for the next 8 years writing and recording music and so this is some of it.”

His music sounds like that of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley combined. He says, "I like the idea of music being transportive; sonically…it has to take you somewhere." As I listen to it, I can only describe it as musical opium addiction. A deeply emotional experience skating on razor blades of placidity. As music, it fits into an indefinable complex category, yet is utterly contagious.

We get on the topic of acting again and the thing he’d like to talk about is the concept of the ‘Underdog.’ “The humble contender, the unbelievable contender… it’s that step right after sitting on the bench to pummeling out of the gates.” Like “Smarty Jones,” I think to myself. It’s the moment of transition, of growth into manhood, which most excites him, as that moment can happen at any moment, and at many moments, in a man’s life and mythic journey.

And as I listen to him and nod in agreement, I can’t help but think to myself, that to truly risk, we must advance with brave disregard for the scrapes and scratches that we will incur as a result. One cannot always walk with bold confidence, not if one chooses to be an artist, as that is a world internalized, externalized, stretched, torn and pulled in every direction. A life well worn, a life well examined perhaps.

We talk about ‘paying dues,’ a term frequently heard in this town. In a sense we are all paying our dues, but isn’t that what even the greatest artists still do? Isn’t that what we all do anyway, pay dues? We are the judge and jury of our own merit and the journey has plenty of places to be lost and found. Isn’t that why and how actors cloak ourselves in a character, in the seams of their skin, to pay their dues?

For all of his intelligence and seriousness, I find myself laughing hysterically at Mr. Ashley; his stories, his audition nightmares, his episode of “Days of Our Lives” when he first migrated out to LA. I say my goodbyes to him and toss away my half empty cup of burnt coffee. He leans over graciously to give me a hug. I walk to my car thinking, all in all, this guy is really funny and smart and sensitive and good-looking and sweet and engaging on so many levels, so much so that I realize I was just sitting across from a pile of dreamy Stardust.

His ambition cannot escape him. This is an actor who has his best work still ahead of him. One to watch, one to listen to and certainly one to project our wildest depth-provoking fantasies onto.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

HollyShorts Film Festival 2008 to Open with Josh Brolin Short film "X"

Brolin Film to Open HollyShorts Festival
March 22nd, 2008


Backstage West
Brolin Film to Open HollyShorts Festival
March 21, 2008
By Nicole Kristal
The Josh Brolin-directed short film X will have its Hollywood premiere Aug. 7 as the opening film of the fourth annual HollyShorts Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Festival co-organizers and directors Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont are thrilled to include the film. “We are delighted to kick off this year’s HollyShorts with the Hollywood premiere of Josh Brolin’s short film X, in conjunction with the American Cinematheque,” Sol said in a statement. Hollyshorts is scheduled to run Aug. 7-10.

X follows an inmate who escapes from prison to reunite with his daughter and search for her murdered mother’s body in order to give her a proper burial. The film stars Brolin’s two daughters — Eden Brolin and stepdaughter Eleanor Lambert — alongside Vincent Riverside as the inmate, Jack.

Brolin, who won a 2008 Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the No Country for Old Men ensemble and was nominated as part of the American Gangster ensemble, said in a statement, “I’m honored that HollyShorts has chosen my directorial debut film, X, to open their fourth annual festival. I’m proud of the stark nature of this film, how it explores the parent-child relationship, and appreciate the support of those willing to embrace my journey into filmmaking. We’re excited to show the film and be a part of this event.”

HollyShorts’ opening night will also feature other acclaimed short films from around the world, to be announced in late June. The complete festival lineup will be unveiled in the first week of July. The festival also features networking forums, receptions, and entertainment-industry panels.

Sol said the festival is designed to help filmmakers at all stages of their careers and he’s excited to expand the festival to four days: “We look forward to presenting a great slate of high-quality short-form content and continue creating platforms for filmmakers to advance their careers to the next level.”

For more information about HollyShorts, visit

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Short Film Series 'Green Porno' to Premiere on

Isabella Rossellini's eight-part short film series about the sex life of insects and various creatures "Green Porno," will premiere on and on HELIO's mobile service on May 5, 2008. The series will be available on Sundance Channel VOD in June, 2008 and will air on Sundance Channel in July, 2008. A selection of Rossellini's "Green Porno" shorts premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the 2008 Berlin international Film Festival. The series will be available beginning May 5th, 2008 at; for more information on HELIO go to


''Evening of World's Best Short Films'' comes to The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Features Short Films of Jason Reitman, Director “JUNO” and “Thank You for Smoking”. Guest Host: Sara Edwards, Producer and Co-host “Backstage with Barry Nolan”.

Asbury Shorts New York, in conjunction with The Chris Britt Foundation, will present its acclaimed program, “An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films” in Remis Auditorium at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on Saturday March 22nd @ 8:00pm. Asbury Shorts New York is a 27 year touring exhibition of award winning short films. Doors open at 7:15pm when OTIS GROVE, a popular Boston jazz band will perform. Tickets are $ 10 for members and $12 for non -members. For info and on-line ticket purchasing go to:

Featured in the 2-hour presentation will be 3 award winning shorts directed by Jason Reitman, currently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for the surprise feature film hit “JUNO.” The short films “Gulp,” “In God We Trust,” and most recently, “Consent,” have been instrumental in shaping Mr. Reitman’s Hollywood career. Producer and Entertainment Reporter Sara Edwards will serve as Special Guest Host of the program, which includes some of the elite, international award winning shorts from the past 10 years such as 3-time “Best of Show” & “Audience Favorite” honoree “SPIN” from Denver filmmaker Jamin Winans, 2001 Oscar nominee “Fait d’Hiver” by director Dirk Belien of Belgium, the hilarious Matthew Ehlers classic: “LUNCH,” and 2004 Student Academy Award Winner “Perpetua Motion” from animator Kimberly Minor, to mention just a few of the evening’s highlights.

The Emmy Award Winning Sara Edwards is familiar not only to the Boston area but across the country. In her 20 years of entertainment reporting, Sara has graced the red carpet at the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and other huge Hollywood events. For nearly a decade, she was the entertainment reporter and film critic at over 200 NBC TV affiliates across the country. She was also the arts & entertainment reporter for WHDH-TV in Boston. At CNB, Sara is a reporter, co-host and producer for “Backstage with Barry Nolan,” CN8’s national entertainment program. OTIS GROVE, a Boston based organ trio, will open the evening’s festivities with a set beginning at 7:15pm Their music has been described as a melting of jazz, hip-hop and rock into a fresh sounding, high energy funk machine.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is located at 465 Huntington Avenue. Information for this show can be obtained by calling 617-369-3907. The Box office number is: 617-369.3306.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

HollyShorts Monthly Screening, MARCH 14th at the Echo Park Film Center

March 14th HollyShorts Monthly Screening short film lineup
The Chameleon Directed by Elliott Owen (8 min.)
Signerz Directed by Roman Cortez (15 min.)
Parallel Cut Directed by Edgar Metro (22 min.)
Ghandi at the Bat Directed by Stephanie Argy/Alec Boehm (11 min.)
68 & Clear Directed by Dawn Westlake (12 min.)

Tickets to the screening are $10. Free Wine and Beer. Event hours 7pm-11pm. Filmmaker Q and A to follow screening. For more,


HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) is an annual film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe. HollyShorts is devoted to the advancement filmmakers through screenings, Q&A sessions and networking events. The HollyShorts Film Festival showcases the top short films produced 30-minutes or less. The 2007 festival took place August 12-13 at Cinespace: Digital Supperclub in Hollywood, CA.
For more information, please visit:
Call for entries for the 2008 HollyShorts runs from January 15th - June 5th.
For sponsorship queries, please email us at
To submit to our Monthly Screenings (Rolling Submissions for $10), email:
Filmmaker behind the scenes news at:

HollyShorts Film Festival History
The inaugural HollyShorts Film Festival took place at The Space Theatre in Hollywood August 2005 and featured 23 short films from the U.S., UK, Poland, Canada and Thailand. The 2nd annual HollyShorts Film Festival took place at Cinespace in Hollywood, CA and featured 53 of the best short films from around the world. 13 different countries were represented. The third annual HollyShorts Film Festival took place August 10-12, 2007, drawing over $26,000 in prizes awarded. The festival featured three screening venues. Best Short film honors went to "Songbird" Directed by John Thompson. Thompson was awarded a one week audio rental package courtesy of Action Audio and Visual, featuring sound and communications equipment rentals to utilize for his next film project. The festival featured Actor Adrian Grenier's short film "Euthanasia," a DJ performance from the legendary hip hop DJ Biz Markie and 57 short films in competition; three days of screenings, parties, insightful panels along with a slew of networking platforms for HollyShorts participants. The 2007 HollyShorts Film Festival included the following partners:, h Magazine, Showbiz Software Stores, Action Audio and Visual,, Stash DVD Magazine, UCLA Extension Department of Entertainment Studies, Dreamhouse Ensemble, LA One Stop, LBN E lert, Indiepix, Choice Hospitality, Film Radar, Shortend Magazine, Sand Jewelry by Therese and Vice Hollywood. For more information, visit

About HollyShorts
HollyShorts is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The HollyShorts Film festival showcases the top short films produced 30- minutes or less. For more information, please visit Filmmaker news available at

Friday, February 22, 2008



Hilarious Production Marks First Play of LA-Based Theatre Group’s 2008 Season

Los Angeles February 20, 2008---Get ready for murder, mayhem and laughter, as the Dreamhouse Ensemble unleashes their first production of the 2008 season with THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 by John Bishop at The Space Theatre in Hollywood. The story reveals a German maid, a NY policeman, an Irish tenor, an eccentric millionaire, and a group of overzealous show people inside of a mansion full of comedy and mystery.

THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 opens on March 7th and will run through April 20th. Advanced tickets can be purchased online today by visiting THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 is directed by Dreamhouse Ensemble Chairman Alex Sol. Sol recently directed the critically acclaimed and LA Weekly Theatre Award nominated play “Galatea.”

In making the announcement Director, Producer and Space Theatre owner Alex Sol said “We are delighted to bring audiences one of the most hysterical and dynamic experiences on stage THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940. We’ve picked a group of the most talented actors in the community and we truly look forward to our first production of the season.”

THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 is set in ritzy Westchester County, New York and stages a wacky whodunit mystery for all ages. When ten theatre types gather together to audition for a new Broadway musical, a blizzard traps them in a luxurious mansion. The one hitch? There is a killer on the loose in the house just waiting to put a little twist in the limelight! With sliding panels, secret passages, and a German maid who apparently has more lives than one, accusing fingers point in all directions in this drop dead comedy!

The play is a brain teaser: Who killed who? What's going to happen next?
Reviewers and press: RSVP your seat by contacting HS Public Relations at
The hilarious performance can be seen at The Space Theatre when The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 opens March 7 and runs through April 20th. Friday and Saturday, Curtain time is 8PM, Sunday, 7PM. Tickets are on sale now at Tickets are $15 online, $20 at the door.
About The Dreamhouse Ensemble
The Dreamhouse Ensemble is a Non Profit, independent theatre company that performs at THE SPACE THEATRE, located in Hollywood, California at 665 N. Heliotrope, between Normandie and Vermont Ave.

For ticket reservations, visit or call (323) 661-2585. Press and critics, or call 818-760-9897.

Monday, February 18, 2008



Official Selections to Be Screened at 4th Annual
HollyShorts Film Festival
August 8-10, 2008

Contest Winner Gets Meeting With Top Music Video
Director Agent at Partizan

February 19, 2008 HOLLYWOOD, CA--- HollyShorts
announced today a call for submissions for the
festival’s inaugural music video competition.
Finalists will be screened during the 4th annual
HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF), which takes place
August 7-10, 2008 in Hollywood and the winner of the
contest will get a meeting with a top music video
director agent at Partizan. The chosen music videos
will be screened in competition alongside the official
short film selections of the festival.

In making the announcement, festival director and
HollyShorts co-founder Daniel Sol stated: “As we enter
the 4th year of HollyShorts, we are quickly reaching
our goal to be the premiere destination and platform
for artists worldwide to showcase their projects in
front of the right audience in the heart of the
industry. We look forward to screening the best and
brightest music videos from around the globe and thank
our friends at Partizan for helping make this contest
and new category into a reality.”

Submission forms can be completed directly online by
visiting or by submitting on
Withoutabox directly at

All submissions must be 7 minutes or less. Deadlines
to submit U.S. and International music videos for the
2008 HollyShorts Film Festival are:

Music Video category
Regular: $20 (at office by 4/11/08)
Late: $30 (at office by 5/16/08)

Complete information and eligibility requirements are
available on
The submission link and complete information regarding
eligibility and entry rules for the 2008 HollyShorts
Film Festival are available on the HollyShorts Film
Festival website at Information
is also available through the HollyShorts hotline at
818-760-9897, by email to For
sponsorship information, please email with your query.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oscar Shorts Review

Hollywood Reporter deems Suzie Templeton "Peter & the Wolf" "Most Successful" amongst animation nominees.

PBS will feature the short on March 26 on its GREAT PERFORMANCES series. (check local listings)

Sergei Prokofiev's fanciful musical tale, Peter and the Wolf, is given new life in this innovative animated interpretation. Conceived and directed by award-winning animator Suzie Templeton, this modern-day "Peter & the Wolf" uses stop-frame model animation, puppets and digital photography to re-tell the enduring classic, and features the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Mark Stephenson performing Prokofiev's beloved score. Check out the GREAT PERFORMANCES promo from PBS...

By Sheri Linden
LOS ANGELES For a third consecutive year, the 10 Oscar-nominated shorts hit the theatrical circuit thanks to Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International.

They're nearly all films whose craftsmanship and detail fill the big screen, and to varying degrees their stories compel. The shorts arrive in about 50 cities Friday, with the Rain Network providing digital distribution.

Among the five live-action nominees, three deal in some aspect with the everyday world of work. Italy's "The Substitute," by Andrea Jublin, is a spirited 17-minute collision between a typically self-absorbed group of teens and the strangely confrontational man who's subbing as their teacher -- and who has a hidden agenda that's as much about his own needs as theirs. For all its energy, the film is more concerned with an idea than characters and leaves the least impression of the bunch.

But the office drones in the Belgian film "Tanghi argentini" are vividly drawn. Before his date with a woman he met online, nebbishy Andre (Dirk van Dijck) enlists the help of an aloof colleague (Koen van Impe) for tango lessons. Elegantly lensed and crisply edited, the 14-minute tale unfolds with wit as the unlikely duo perfect terpsichorean flourishes amid the filing cabinets. The film by Guido Thys provides a nice twist.

For the hapless protagonists of "The Mozart of Pickpockets," the workday involves city streets and acts of petty crime. French writer-director Philippe Pollet-Villard co-stars with Richard Morgieve, and their terrific sad-sack chemistry as these clownish thieves gives the half-hour its punch. Their luck changes after a homeless deaf boy latches on to them, but it's a less-than-convincing narrative element.

The two most affecting live-action entries are the spare Western "The Tonto Woman" (U.K.) and the heartrending hospital-set drama "At Night" (Denmark). The former, based on a story by Elmore Leonard, centers on a high-plains Hester Prynne (Charlotte Asprey), a woman physically marked by her Mojave captors and ostracized by her community after her release. She finds unexpected human connection in the form of a Mexican drifter (Francesco Quinn). The half-hour film by Daniel Barber uses archetypal widescreen desert vistas to strong effect.

In a far different setting, three young women have formed a community within the coolly lit rooms of a cancer ward in "At Night." The 43-minute film by Christian E. Christiansen is direct and intimate but never maudlin. Restrained performances by Julie Olgaard, Laura Christensen and Neel Ronholt -- and Henrik Prip as one girl's father -- have a devastating emotional power.

The animated contenders deliver an array of imaginative narrative filmmaking. "I Met the Walrus" (Canada) is the exception in the sense that it's a documentary snippet. Josh Raskin uses audiotape of John Lennon, recorded in 1969 when 14-year-old Jerry Levitan snuck into the Beatle's Toronto hotel room and coaxed an interview out of him. In its brief five minutes, the film free-associates line drawings and other playful 2-D visuals to Lennon's down-to-earth intelligence and subversive humor.

Offering its own brand of playful subversion is France's "Even Pigeons Go to Heaven," by Samuel Tourneux. A wily priest-cum-huckster, brandishing a list of his would-be customer's sins, urges an old man to buy a contraption built of "celestial titanium" that's guaranteed to transport him to heaven.

A mood of dark mystery pervades another Canadian entry, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski's "Madame Tutli-Putli." The silent claymation fantasy unfolds on a night train, where a woman in cloche and pearls, surrounded by her precariously stacked belongings, faces her fears. The imagery is rich with texture and atmosphere.

Four-time Oscar nominee Alexander Petrov (who won for "The Old Man and the Sea") takes a classical approach in "My Love," a fever dream set in 19th century Russia, where a pampered 16-year-old boy is attracted to his glamorous neighbor and his family's good-natured servant. At 25 minutes, the piece feels a bit long, and its melodrama is not always absorbing, but with their watercolor shimmer and nightmare depths, the impressionistic visuals are fluent.

Most successful is "Peter & the Wolf" (U.K.-Poland), by Suzie Templeton, which fills its affecting half-hour with a delightfully rendered array of human and animal characters. Precisely choreographed and edited to Prokofiev's music, the piece is a ballet both comical and poignant and a triumph of CG personality.

Suzie Templeton bio
BAFTA-winning director Suzie Templeton burst onto the international animation scene with her multi-award winning film Stanley, a surreal and darkly comic story of a man who falls in love with a cabbage. She followed this with the phenomenally successful Dog, a heart-breaking and chilling film about a boy coming to terms with the death of his mother. This film has won many of the animation world’s top prizes, including a British Animation Award and a BAFTA. In collaboration with BreakThru films, Suzie is now developing on a new half-hour adaptation of Prokofiev’s classic Peter and the Wolf, for cinemas and television.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


February 13th, 2008

Thanks Times Online UK for this cool story,:

Marilyn Milgrom, script consultant

This is a short article in which to deal with a big subject: how to write a good script for a short film. Rule number one: there are no hard and fast rules.

But, if your aim is to get your film funded, there are definitely some guiding principles that will help to ensure that your project is taken seriously.
short film book.jpg
Why Am I Making this Film?

No-one makes a living out of writing or directing short films. Most people see short films as a tool for learning and testing ideas, or a way of demonstrating that they have the talent to do something else. Generally that ‘something else’ is to make features.

Whether you are working alone or as part of a team make sure that the project you are developing plays to your strengths and is achievable within your budget. Don’t make an intense character study if you’re scared of actors or develop an action story that will require stunts, car chases and special effects if you know you will only have £5K to make it.

What is a short film?

The most important thing to say is that a short isn’t a feature film and that it is generally a bad idea to try to squeeze a story you are developing (or have written) as a feature into a short.

Most festivals will accept as a short anything that is under 30 minutes, but many programmers and curators also say that they find it difficult to place longer short films (ones over 20 minutes). If your film is over 20 minutes long it may well need and be able to cope with more characters and a secondary story strand. The majority of funding in the UK is aimed at films that are around the 10 minute mark.

If your film is basically going to function like a joke then keep it short (2-3 minutes max) and make sure the audience won’t see the punch-line coming a mile off. Films like this will make far more of an impression if they not only make us laugh but also manage to allude to something that gives us pause for thought.

Finding the Story

Any kind of dramatic story requires 3 basic elements:

A world

A character

A problem

Short films are no different; you just have less time to establish and develop each element. Most successful short films focus on ONE moment or event in the life of ONE main character. Because of that it is unusual for a short film to take place over a long period of time – it’s usually just looking at the immediate build up to and/or consequences of that one event. A lot of the best short films play out more or less in ‘real’ time, and a story that spreads over more than a few days is unlikely to work well as a short film.

The World

Because of the need to establish an instantly recognisable world in order to get on with exploring a character’s problem, it can be useful to set your film around a familiar event or ritual: a wedding, a birthday party, the first day at school, tea with stuffy relatives, Christmas Day etc. With a setting of this sort you can take for granted the audience’s familiarity with the situation and you have immediately placed your characters into a story world full of barely suppressed emotions, which is always useful for generating dramatic tension and story events. The other advantage to choosing a setting of this sort is that it gives the story a finite time frame.

Another popular setting for the short film is the journey. Most short films focus on a pivotal, significant event in the life of the main character so that the story inevitably takes the character on a metaphorical emotional journey and it can work well to use a literal journey as its setting.

The Character & the Problem

The most important questions to ask yourself when you begin to develop your story are:

Who is the main character?

What is their problem?

How will the audience recognise the problem?

Are the stakes high enough?

Am I telling the story from the best point of view?

The audience must be clear from the outset who the film is about and they won’t be if you aren’t. Your main character is the one who has the problem and if there isn’t a character in the story with a problem then you don’t have a film, or at least not one that will work as a dramatic narrative.

What is driving your main character through the story must be one of the following:

a want

a need

an obligation

And in all cases it must be clear to the audience, even if it isn’t to the character, what this is. But what must also be present in the story - and apparent to the audience - is something that is making it hard for the character to pursue their want, need or obligation. The fact that something is making it hard is what turns it into a problem and, like we said before, no problem, no film.

Making Problems Manifest to the Audience

The way in which you turn a character’s inner problem into the heart of your film and make sure that the audience can SEE it is one of the most important ways that you can demonstrate your skill as a filmmaker and not just as a story-teller. When we’re reading books we can be inside a character’s head but when we’re watching films we need to see characters DOING things that show us what they are thinking and feeling.

Are the Stakes High Enough?

Ensuring that there is something at stake in the story means that the audience can understand what the character stands to lose if they do not solve their problem. If the story hinges around a life or death situation then it is clear what is at stake but if it is simply that the car breaks down think about how you set the film up so that the audience knows why it really matters that the character completes this particular journey.

Am I Telling the Story from the Best Point of View?

Think about the story of Cinderella and imagine if you told it with one of the ugly sisters as the main character. You could still make a good story but it would not have a happy ending (in one of the earliest versions of the story the sisters have their eyes pecked out by blackbirds at the end!) and therefore would have a very different meaning – it would function more as a cautionary tale than as a feel-good fairy story.

What Does My Story Mean?

You probably don’t set out to write a film with a moral or even with a conscious awareness of what your story means but every story communicates some meaning to the audience. Once you are sure how the story begins and ends then you have a clear indication of its meaning and this will help you make important choices as you refine and develop your script particularly in relation to…

The Tone of the Film

Tone is intimately connected to genre and though genre is less of an issue in shorts than in features it is still important to think about what kind of film you are writing in broad terms.

To summarise so far

A good short film needs a story in which something happens that has a discernible effect on the main character. All successful short films focus on one moment/event. That moment is likely to be:

one of universal significance

a moment that is of significance to the protagonist (whether s/he knows it at the time)

one that produces a situation in which the stakes are high for the protagonist

This is an edited extract from Get Your Short Film Funded, Made and Seen, the Shooting People Shorts Directory. To buy this book, go to

Thursday, January 31, 2008


January 31st, 2008

Rob Meyer, who’s short film won the HollyShorts Best Narrative Award in 2007 picked up an Honorable Mention in Short Filmmaking for his short film “Aquarium” at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The awards were announced at the Festival’s closing Awards Ceremony hosted by William H. Macy in Park City, Utah.

The 2008 Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking was awarded to two films: MY OLYMPIC SUMMER, directed by Daniel Robin, and SIKUMI (On the Ice), directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean. The jury also presented the International Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking to SOFT, directed by Simon Ellis. Aside from Meyer’s short, Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking were also presented to: August 15th, directed by Xuan Jiang; La Corona (The Crown), directed by Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega; Oiran Lyrics, directed by Ryosuke Ogawa; Spider, directed by Nash Edgerton; Suspension, directed by Nicolas Provost, and W. , directed by The Vikings. The 2008 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Awards were presented by Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Here’s a feature interview with Rob Meyer from The at Sundance:

Sundance Features
January 25, 2008
Rob Meyer, Aquarium
“I sort of started from scratch in terms of learning how to write a screenplay or cast. I learned by doing.”

THE REELER: I saw Aquarium last year at Woodstock, but I’d like you to take a second to describe it for readers in your own words

ROB MEYER: It’s based largely on my life — with a few important exceptions — as a nerdy, kind of off-beat teenager growing up in the Boston suburbs. I used to be a member of the Boston Aquarium Society and would enjoy going to the fish meetings and enjoy talking about breeding fish and going on fish collecting trips; I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was in high school. I always thought it would be a great world and ripe for film in terms of the visual and elemental metaphors of water and aquatic exploration. So the kernel of the film started with the idea of aquarium fish breeding, and also there’s sort of inherent comedy in that world. The rest of the story came as I developed it as a graduate student at NYU, and it dealt with more serious themes I’m always interested in exploring: coming to realize our own mortality, losing pets and kind of a coming-of-age film that deals with serious issues. But hopefully it’s also light-hearted and heartwarming as well.

R: What was some of your filmmaking background at NYU and beyond before making Aquarium?

RM: This is the fourth short film I’ve made, and they were basically all done within the context of NYU’s graduate film program. This is by far the most ambitious short I’d done. Prior to NYU I worked in documentary film; I produced films for WGBH in Boston — for Nova — so I have a lot of experience putting together shoots and working with crews, traveling the world with these documentary films. But I always wanted to do more of the writing and directing and working with actors, which is why I went to NYU. I really arrived there with very little experience; I sort of started from scratch in terms of learning how to write a screenplay or cast. I learned by doing.

R: You’ve mentioned you want to expand Aquarium as a feature, or at least direct something inspired by it.

RM: I’ve written a feature called Labrador Duck with a classmate of mine named Luke Metheny. It’s not an expansion of Aquarium, but it’s the same characters, the same tone — a lot of the same themes, but it’s a bigger story. It’s a road-trip movie, kind of like Stand By Me in terms of it being a quest that these kids go on. So I thought there was more to explore with these characters and the comedy of these subcultures I enjoy. In this case it’s bird watching instead of aquarium fish breeding: It’s about these teen birdwatchers who think they’ve discovered an extinct duck and go on a road trip to find it and prove to the world it exists. It’s the Labrador duck — the first bird to go extinct in North America. These things occasionally do happen, and I’m interested in science and discovery and the little guy making a big discovery.

R: Are Sundance and Labrador Duck the end of Aquarium’s festival run?

RM: It is the tail end of the festival circuit for me. The plan is to keep showing it to industry people who may not make it to festivals and might not see it there — people who could fund the feature or hire me to write or direct something get a chance to see it.

R: What kind of apprehensions or expectations do have for Aquarium at Sundance?

RM: I’m really curious to see how it plays. The film is a strange mix of melancholy and humor; it depends on the crowd. I’ve been at screenings where I wasn’t sure if people were getting the sense of humor and wanted to sneak out the back; I’ve been to other screenings where people responded to stuff much more strongly and positively than I expected them to. Hopefully the latter will be the case. I have a bunch of friends coming, so at least I know I’ll have a few fans in the audience

Monday, January 28, 2008

Leah Meyerhoff Update

"Since playing HollyShorts 2007, TWITCH has gone on to screen at over 200 film festivals worldwide, garnering a Student Academy Award nomination, a Slamdance Grand Jury prize, and over a dozen other international awards. TWITCH was picked up for televised distribution by IFC, Reelport and Skandinavia TV. TWITCH is also being distributed online by B-Side, Dovetail and OurStage. Propelled by the success of her short, director Leah Meyerhoff was able to raise over half the budget for her first feature UNICORNS which is set to go into production late this spring. For more information, please visit"

Leah OurStage Interview at HollyShorts

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

3 More Festivals and Distribution for "Honey, I'm Home"

The year has started off on a great note for David Branin's "Honey, I'm Home." Last year's HollyShorts Audience Award Winner has been accepted into three more festivals. Making it 14 Official Selections for a film that was made for less than $100. Recent selections include Bursa International Silk Road Film Festival, the Rome Independent Film Festival and the Lake County Film Festival. It also screened at the Festivus Film Festival on January 12th, 2008.

If you can't make it to one of the upcoming screenings, you can now find the film available for purchase through the independent distribution site, Since being posted there on December 12th, 2007, "Honey, I'm Home" has amassed more than 9000 hits. Cruxy specializes in secure and easy purchases through paypal, google checkout, or your credit card. Here is the direct link if you would like to purchase and download "Honey, I'm Home" today.
"Honey, I'm Home" tackles the topic of being unfaithful and having to confess the truth to one's companion. Never before has infidelity been explored in the way Branin does in this five minute tale. "Honey I'm Home" is written & directed by David Branin (Shoot-Out, Untitled David Branin Feature Film Project) while being shot and edited by Vincent Martinez (Comic Noir, Harlem Sunset, Too Late For Tears). It stars Jacob Magnuson and Karen Worden with original music done by composer Rudy Mangual.

HollyShorts ‘07 Filmmakers Get Tribute At Psarokokalo Festival in Greece

Select members from the 2007 HollyShorts Film Festival have been chosen to have their short films screened during a special HollyShorts tribute at the upcoming 2nd Annual Psarokokalo International Short Film Festival in Athens which runs February 1-10 at the Nixon screening Hall in Greece.

The selected short films include:

Director: Rob Meyer
fiction / 17 min

Der Ostwind
Director: Kohl Glass
fiction / 10 min

Joseph Henry
Director: Phil Allocco
fiction / 12 min

Sam and Piccolo
Director: Adam Walker
animation / 15 min

Director: John Thompson
fiction / 6 min

Director: Jason Roberts
fiction / 13 min

The festival aims at presenting to the public new productions of audiovisual work that seek new approaches on matters of picture, rhythm and narration by using new and older technologies.

The program includes screenings from Greek and international filmmakers, tributes to Rumanian cinema,the cinema of the Basque Country, short films from the famous Swedish director, Roy Andersson, special projections from the Salford film festival and the Hollyshorts film festival, as well as audiovisual performances, a major art exhibition, parties and lots of networking. For more information, visit

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Short End Magazine gives 2007 HollyShorts great review!

The short film is a medium tangential to the customary clockwork of the film industry. For decades now, the format in which it was born has been relegated to students, experimental artists and grunt-level industryites out to prove they can direct. The entries I’ve seen at short film fests usually break down into two opposite groups: a handful of bold, narrative science-fair projects versus a broad swath of films that look, sound and feel exactly like anything you’d pay twelve dollars to see at the Arclight and bitch about on the drive home. Except shorter.

As every media company in the world figures out how to make money with Internet video though, the short film is suddenly back as belle of the ball. Online distributors are hungry for content, but by all indications have no faith in the audience’s ability to watch anything on a computer that’s longer than seven minutes—or that is remotely dramatic. It’s sort of a gold rush back to the industry’s roots; not since the first experiments in film a hundred years ago has short content garnered so much attention or appeared so lucrative. This also makes short film festivals ground zero for discussion and dissection of the format as an art and a re-envisioned business.

A lot of us who write for SM are filmmakers ourselves, something I note here as it’s the perspective from which I speak. I arrived at the opening night event for the third annual HollyShorts Film Festival a little late. I own one suit, and it lives in my car with most of my other laundry. Digging for the tie while negotiating Southbound 101 traffic was problematic but eventually effective. Thirty seconds in line outside Nacional on Wilcox was all it took to remind me why I hate Hollywood and why just about everything that has to do with moviemaking actually takes place as far away from that seethy boulevard as possible. I preferred to make conversation with a homeless man who offered to be my assistant in exchange for liquor rather than the kid in line behind me who insisted his film was too avant garde to be accepted at this festival. Fortunately, the line moved swiftly.

Once inside, and through to the end of the festival, the whole event was executed flawlessly much to the credit of its ever-present, friendly and knowledgeable organizers. The program also achieved an impressive balance of running times, genres, tones, narrative styles, budgets and production values--though none low enough to jeopardize the HollyShorts stamp of quality that seemed to pronounce itself as the screenings progressed.

The weekend-long festival opened with Euthanasia directed by Entourage’s Adrian Grenier. It was kind of a mediocre crowd-pleaser about two high school girls who accidentally run over their cat. He’s a celebrity…guess you gotta have one of those at your opening night. It was all in focus.

Both the Saturday and Sunday sessions were populated with gems. Julien West’s Small Jeans has many groan-inspiring short film staples: a predilection to voiceover, montage, non-linear structure and the abrupt onset of fatal disease. But West’s is the perfect example of a film that gets all these right--absolutely nails them. Main character Zoe’s dry but vaguely whimsical philosophical musings narrate her quest to offload a pair of bought-but-never-worn, too-small jeans on friends, co-workers and a neighborhood heroine whore. The film has an expertly-honed marriage of humor and drama, better-than-Hollywood cinematography, production design, performance and a running time that leaves you wanting more.

Joel Davenport’s The Drill, a ground-level portrait of duck-n-cover kids in the 1950s, achieves praise-worthy performances from its elementary school cast. The film becomes an understated but taught exercise in tension when the air-raid drill runs long, and the students begin to suspect it's the real thing. Other well-received entries included Timothy Cahill’s The Oates’ Valor (HollyShorts Best Drama Winner), Tony West’s Dartsville (Best Cinematography) and John Thompson’s Songbird (Best Short Film).

The festival was also host to a slew of animated entries. Michael Attardi’s Once Upon a Christmas Village features the voices of Jim Belushi and Tim Curry as well as several sequences animated via motion capture technology. Michelle Meeker’s When I Grow Up is a beautiful collage of short animations by different artists from all over the world. Each was given an audio excerpt from an interview with a child and complete freedom to form their own moving images. The show-stealer, however, was Adam Walker’s Sam and Piccolo. I can only describe it as a Pixar film directed by Hayo Miazaki. It had a grasp of animation that only the Japanese have these days--that they can be dark, not in a cackling-wicked-witch sort of way, but in a questioning-your-own-capacity-for-greed kind of way. It starts out whimsical but ends biblical.

There were also parties, food and alcohol, and though these are all superfluous to the art, organizers were thoughtful and savvy in their selection of location and menu. The screenings and panels ran at Cinespace on Hollywood - a bar/club/restaurant with a main screening room and video feeds snaking into every other corner of the establishment. The main room was mostly booths and tables on successively elevated flooring stretching away from the screen. It was a great setup, as servers could hit their tables and not really distract from the films. As previously mentioned, Nacional hosted the opening night, with the closing event unfolding at Vice, and DJed by hip-hop legend Biz Markie. It occurred to me at some point that I should have somehow smuggled out some of the discounted alcohol my media badge afforded me to enlist my homeless assistant but ultimately decided that digging for a tie myself is the cost of not enabling destructive behavior. I’m sure I’ll see him next year, as Hollyshorts is a festival I hope to return to.