Short Takes on Film: All-Ages Animations, VT Shorts on PBS.org, Plattsburgh Film Fest
It's never too early to show your kids there's a world of cool film animation beyond Planes or even Pixar. This Thursday, the Burlington Film Society and Vermont International Film Foundation assist in that endeavor by presenting a special program of all-ages shorts from the New York International Children's Film Festival. The brief animations — in English or wordless — hail from locations as far flung as Sweden and New Zealand. The 60-minute program includes plenty of appealing animals and fantastical dreamscapes; one film — "How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?" from the UK — is even based on an Italo Calvino story.
Two Vermont-made short films — both referencing the state's history — count among the 25 selected for the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival, a national showcase of talent. Rob Koier of Burlington created "North Star," a recreation of a slave's escape to New England that appears in Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie. Daniel Houghton, who teaches at Middlebury College, contributed "Mad River Rising," an animation evoking the Great Flood of 1927 through an elderly farmer's eyes. You can see both shorts — and vote for your favorite — at pbs.org/filmfestival.
Calling all filmmakers: There's a new fest across the lake. Organizers of the first annual Lake Champlain International Film Festival, a project of the Plattsburgh Renewal Project and the Strand Center for the Arts, have issued a call for entries. They're seeking shorts, features and student films in any genre. Submissions are due on August 31 (or September 15 for late consideration); the fest will take place on November 15 and 16 at Plattsburgh's revitalized Strand Theatre. Find more info at lcifilmfest.org.