After seeing its live screenings cancelled last year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Boston Short Film Festival was pleased to welcome back guests in person for a special double edition last week. Screening both last year's selection of 46 shorts (take a look back at the 2020 award winners on the website: www.bostonshortfilmfestival.org/2020), and another fresh new batch of 43 short films for 2021, the event proved to be a week packed full of cinematic gems.
This year also saw a move to an exciting new venue for the festival, the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. Since opening its doors in September 1995, it has become one of Landmark Theatres' most successful venues. It also ranks among the most beloved and architecturally intriguing homes for independent film, foreign language cinema, restored classics and documentaries in the nation. The Kendall Square Cinema has been host to many special events, including local premieres, benefit screenings and film festivals. Additionally, the theatre complex has won numerous awards, making it one of Boston's cultural epicenters.
Festival Manager Maarten Cornelis looks back at the event: ““I am finally back inside a theatre,” is what we heard from so many people. The smell of the popcorn put a smile on everyone's face as they were finally able to enjoy a live event again. We are so happy to make Landmark Theatres our new home for the Boston Short Film Festival. We needed a bigger space this year because of social distancing, but once these restrictions were lifted, we were left with great attendance to the festival and for 3 days, almost sold out! We laughed and cried together. Some nights, after the lights went on in the theatre, it would be dead silent and no one moved - what more can you ask for! Our selection was very well received and in many cases, created a lot of food for thought. I can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring as we grow one of the best Short Film Festivals in North America!”
With the jury members having cast their votes, the Boston Short Film Festival is pleased to announce to you today the following films as its award winners for 2021:
Best Narrative Short Film: Ala Kachuu - Take and Run (Switzerland) by Maria Brendle. “A young Kyrgyz woman is kidnapped and forced to marry. A drama about the desire for freedom in the clutches of a tradition.” Jury members found Brendle’s film to be spectacular and beautifully filmed, praising its well written screenplay, great acting and outstanding photography.
Best Documentary Short Film: Sing Me a Lullaby (Canada) by Tiffany Hsiung. “Captured over 14 years across two continents. Sing Me a Lullaby is a story about a daughter's search for her mother's birth parents and the complex tensions between love and sacrifice.” One of this year’s jury members tells us Hsiung’s film brought them to tears several times. They loved its story arch and admired the director’s commitment for sticking to the project throughout the years.
Best Experimental Short Film: Spirits and Rocks: an Azorean Myth (Switzerland, Portugal) by Aylin Gökmen. “On a volcanic island, inhabitants are caught in an unending cycle: the threat of impending eruptions and earthquakes, and the burden of past traumas loom over them. Some draw upon myth and religious beliefs to interpret their precarious situation, while others demonstrate resilience, rebuilding their villages from the volcanic rocks. Mirroring the ethereal atmosphere of the island's landscapes, the film gradually takes on the appearance of the stories it recounts.”
Best Animated Short Film: Not a Robot (U.K.) by George Summers. “A robot tries to break into a human facility, and is asked a security question…”
Best Underground Short Film: Behind the Wall (U.S.) by Danilo Parra. “A little girl notices a crack in her bedroom wall where a corpse watches her. But who is watching who?”
Best Boston Short Film: When Making Sujebi (U.S.) by Candace Kang. A young woman living in the U.S. considers what it means to make food for herself. While making Sujebi (Korean hand-pulled noodles) in her kitchen, she reflects on both the cultural and immediate implications cooking has in her own life, particularly as it relates to her identity as a Korean-American woman and the daughter of immigrants.
Congratulations to all!
Today, a new Call for Entries has been launched on FilmFreeway for the next edition, which will take place July 11-15th 2022 (https://filmfreeway.com/BostonShortFilmFestival).
About BSFF The Boston Short Film Festival believes in short films! Recognizing the important role shorts have in cinema, storytelling, and culture, BSFF wants to help empower the next generation of artists. The Boston Short Film Festival is an annual event showcasing shorts films with an edge. BSFF focuses on the unconventional, the unusual, the underground, the intuitive, the innovative, the minimalistic and the true artists of our time.