Sunderland Shorts Film Festival looks set for a long-term success

Sunderland Short Films Festival director Anne Tye, front centre, with her team at Sunderland Minster
Sunderland Short Films Festival director Anne Tye, front centre, with her team at Sunderland Minster
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Cameras are rolling in preparation for a second film festival in Sunderland.

The inaugural Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, which took place earlier this month, proved so successful that plans are in the pipeline to stage it again in 2016.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the turn-out to each of the screenings. It made a lot of hard work very worthwhile. Now it’s time to start planning next year’s festival.

Rebecca Burdon, festival manager

The celebration of film showcased more than 65 short films from around the world at a number of venues across the city.

Created in collaboration with the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival in Washington DC, the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival screened everything from fantasy, drama, and comedy to horror.

After organisers received submissions from all corners of the world, including Australia, Iran, Korea and the USA, a programme of selected short films was screened over four days at Independent in Holmeside, Sunderland Empire, Sunderland Software Centre, and Sunderland Minster.

Rebecca Burdon, festival manager at Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, said: “We’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported the festival and made it a great success - to the filmmakers, the venues, the volunteers, the reviewers, the jury, and most importantly the audience.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the turn-out to each of the screenings. It made a lot of hard work very worthwhile. Now it’s time to start planning next year’s festival.”

Sarah Winslett, 23, from Washington, a volunteer at the festival said: “It’s been a great experience volunteering at Sunderland Shorts, especially with how successful it has been.

“I have loved all aspects of the festival but one of the things that stood out to me the most was the addition of the international films from all over the world.

“I thought this was great and definitely added a new dimension to the festival.”

Award Winners were announced on the final day of the festival and included After Eric: Part of that World by Marcus J Richardson for Best Comedy; Stephen Caught a Star by Michiel ten Kleij won the Audience Favourite Award, whilst Best Drama went to I’m in the Corner with Bluebells directed by Ako Mitchell.

Local filmmaker, Robert Carr, was also awarded a Regional Audience Favourite for his debut short, Road.

Directors, filmmakers and actors travelled from Argentina, the USA and the south of England to attend the festival, with many of them taking part in Q+A sessions during the course of the weekend.

Santiago Sanchez Ortega, director of The Weeping Mountain, who travelled from Argentina to be at festival, said: “I have really enjoyed my time in Sunderland, it’s been a great festival and I have loved exploring the city.

“It’s also been fantastic to watch so many amazing films, and meet lots of new talented directors.

“This was the perfect opportunity for me to present my most recent film at such an exciting festival, whilst getting the chance to visit lots of new and exciting places at the same time.”

The award-winning films will now be screened at the 2015 DC Shorts Film Festival.