November 25, 2010


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Shorts on Screen
Not that it isn’t so in the United States, but abroad the short film genre is seen as more of an art form. Viewers at Red River Theatres this weekend will get a look at 40 short films, most of which originate outside U.S. borders.

“I think a big part of it is, often, especially in Ireland and Spain, the short film forum is essentially an art, like dance...,” said Toni Pennacchia, of MergingArts Productions (, which is putting on the festival. “I do think other countries take it more seriously as an art form.”

Most of the films in the Short Short Story Film Festival are about five minutes long, some as short as two minutes. The festival will take place Saturday, Nov. 27, at Red River Theatres, 11 South Main St. in Concord. The festival will feature films of different forms and genres, including live action, documentary and animation. Just three films originate from the U.S.

Pennacchia, who hails from Providence, R.I., brought the festival to Concord two years ago.

“It really came from seeing a lot of films from around the world,” Pennacchia said.

Pennacchia and her partner, Paul Elsnau, who host the radio film show Spoiler Alert Radio (, broke the festival into two approximately 90-minute programs: Heartstrings and Headtrips. The Heartstrings films tend to be more romantic or traditional comedies. In one film, two people are shouting their feelings for each other.

“We wanted programs to have a distinctive feel,” Pennacchia said.

The Headtrips are thrillers, black comedies and “films that defy easy categorization,” Pennacchia said. “These are tougher films. They aren’t graphic per se, but they say a lot on the darker side of things.” In one Headtrip film, a woman is living through domestic violence and compares herself to Little Red Riding Hood. In another, filmmakers reverse the roles of a hunter and its prey.

Heartstrings will air at 1 and 6 p.m. and Headtrips will air at 3 and 8 p.m.

Viewers get to vote on their favorite films.

“These are top-notch films,” Pennacchia said.

The festival, which is not geared for children, has made stops over the years in Providence; Brattleboro and Burlington, Vt., and recently Easthampton, Mass. Pennacchia said when the festival was first held at Red River, it was sort of at the beginning of the theater’s birth.

“It’s a good capturing of New England and bringing something new to New England,” Pennacchia said. “And Concord is a great little town for that.” —J.M.