The film festival celebrates short films from up and coming filmmakers locally, nationally, and internationally
In its 11th year of bringing the film community together, the Short. Sweet. Film Fest. will present over 150 short films in a five-day period. The films, ranging from 5 to 40 minutes, will include a wide variety of genres to fit the interests of audience members. Each day of the festival will include distinct events and screenings so that attendees can pick according to their taste.
The festival will take place in the Alex Theatre at The 9, a luxury hotel in downtown Cleveland. The opening night of the festival will be on Feb. 23 and will highlight both local and international films.
A student filmmaker’s event, set for Feb 24, might be where Cleveland State University students feel the most connection to the festival. CSU film students who create a variety of films as part of their coursework are encouraged by faculty members to showcase their work at festivals.
“By having films submitted to film fests, it helps the student’s work be seen as more credited by the community,” stated Michael Suglio, Executive Director of the Short. Sweet. Film Fest.
“Networking is definitely a big aspect. Students attend from other schools, like Tri-C and Kent, so students are ultimately meeting the people who they are going to be working alongside in this career field.”
Beyond his work on the festival, Suglio works with students at the CSU film school, where he has taught since 2015. Originally from Mentor, Suglio attended Case Western and got involved with the Cleveland film scene in 2008.
Besides the Student Filmmaker event, Short. Sweet Film Fest. offers their “Short. Sweet. +” and “Short. Sweet. =” programs. The former is a series of LGBTQ+ themed films and discussions, taking place on Feb 26. The latter, happening on Feb 24, is an evening of reduced sensory films, with lower volume and adjusted lighting. Alongside virtual streaming options, all are given equal opportunities to enjoy the films.
On Feb 26, there will even be the opportunity for your canine friends to enjoy themselves at the Metropolitan at The 9’s onsite dog park while you enjoy animal-themed flicks as part of a fundraiser for local animal shelters.
New this year, the final evening of the festival will include a film competition. The challenge, to create a film in 30 days according to a prompt, has 20 teams competing.
“We wanted to try something new. How are we going to become better if we don’t try anything?” said Suglio.
Going into the 11th annual fest, the evolution of Short. Sweet. Film Fest. is notable. It has created a hub for the northeast Ohio film community: a space to sit, enjoy, talk and share work, resulting in lasting connections and friendships within the industry.
Suglio also shared the value that film can have for viewers, “It is a communal activity. Since our early roots of entertainment in performance, it is an experience that is meant to be a shared artform; to laugh together, cry together, applaud together.”
Those interested in attending any of the events can purchase tickets on the Short. Sweet. Film Fest. webpage, here.