While much hype and praise is regularly extended to those who produce memorable, feature length films, the sub-genre of short films serves as a treasure chest of silver screen riches that often goes undiscovered. Of course that’s not to say that one can’t have access to these films, it usually just takes a bit of digging. Luckily, in the case of the Asbury Shorts Film Concert which comes to Stockton’s Dante Hall Theater Oct. 10, the dirty work has been done for you already. The event — now in its 38th year — will feature 10 short films from the past and present.
“When we started no one was really screening short films publically,” says Doug LeCaire, founder of Asbury Shorts. “Over time it became an annual presentation in Manhattan and about 16 years ago it became a touring show. We do the show about 24 times a year across the US including at one of our favorites, Dante Hall.”
Lest anyone assume that this film festival has Jersey roots, the “Asbury” in the name has no relation to the ever popular hipster mecca of Asbury Park. LeClaire is happy to clear up the mystery. “We have done the show there multiple times, but the show is named after a street where our office was in Long Island coincidentally. It has nothing to do with Asbury Park or Bruce or Miami Steve Van Zandt or anything like that. But Miami Steve was in the audience at one of our shows,” he laughs.
A short film festival offers attendees an interesting experience, particularly for folks who are more accustomed to full length films. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of genres all in one sitting. But making these films takes more skill than one might assume.
“The filmmakers have an extreme challenge. They have to get their story across- whether it’s a narrative, a documentary or another genre- in 10 or 12 minutes, whereas a feature film director has 90 minutes or two hours or more. They can go off on tangents within a story, but with a short film you have to make the audience believe in this story in a very short amount of time. It’s very challenging.”
The man responsible for making the evening flow smoothly is Scott Cronick, director of entertainment publications for The Press of Atlantic City who will serve as host for the evening.
“Scott is a terrific host because he gets what we do,” LeClaire says. “He is a real pro and knows how to run an event.”
Cronick is not only the host of Asbury Shorts, but is also a fan. “If you’re a film buff, this is the event for you, Cronick promises. “The films, from directors you may have heard of but mostly from those who you have not heard of — but should have — are themed together for a night that will definitely bring a smile to your face and maybe a tear to your eyes. It’s amazing how many great filmmakers are out there that we never get to see — especially because many of these films are in short formats — so this is a great opportunity to discover those.”