Organisers of the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival are hoping the force will be strong when it launches on May 4 this year.
The film festival returns to the city for the third year, on what is regarded as the unofficial Star Wars Day, and will see the screening of 50 films from 28 different countries.
This year, the festival attracted more than 150 submissions from across the world which was whittled down to 50 by a panel of judges.
The chosen films will be screened in Sunniside at a venue to be announced closer to the time.
As well as enjoying the films, audiences are invited to vote for their favourite too.
Anne Tye, festival director, said: “Sunderland Shorts is fast becoming one of the undoubted highlights of Sunderland’s cultural calendar, attracting exciting young talent, daring new films and avid viewers looking for a slightly different cinematic experience.
“A short film screening is definitely a different experience; you’ll watch 6 – 8 films in different genres, taking you on an emotional journey - from dark, brooding thrillers to upbeat, heart-warming comedy; laugh out loud animation to thought-provoking dramas and documentaries, there is something for fans of all genres to enjoy.”
Sunderland City Council leader, Paul Watson, said: “Now in its third year, the quality of the films keeps on getting better year on year and many we screen win major international awards. Last year we even screened an Oscar winner.
“Making a great short film requires real skill and talent and is often a stepping stone to longer feature films. I hope the people of the city will once again show their support for Sunderland Shorts, as you really might catch a glimpse of the next Spielberg, Hitchcock or Attenborough.”
John Mowbray, chairman of Sunderland MAC Trust, one of the festival partners, said: “The festival offers the chance to see films from some of the brightest young talents in the industry and it’s taking place right here in the heart of our city.
“We hope Sunderland Shorts will inspire people to explore what they know about film because they will definitely be surprised about how much emotion, excitement and drama can be packed into 15 minutes or less. We want Sunderland to become synonymous with short film, and hopefully it will be something that will inspire our city’s creative community and be embraced by all.”
The festival was created after organisers Sunderland City Council saw the success of Washington DC’s prestigious and internationally renowned short film festival, DC Shorts.
For more information visit www.sunderlandshorts.co.uk