The Burlington County Juried Short Film Festival is returning this month and will feature more films, two new venues, a music video category and a special screening of a Burlington County-produced film about a scandal surrounding historic Smithville and its wealthy founder, Hezekiah Smith.
Now in its second year, a total of 40 films will be screened during the two-day festival scheduled Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29. The County received over 1,000 submissions from local filmmakers as well as others from across the nation and more than 70 different countries around the globe.
“Burlington County has long been known as a premier place to live and work and we’re quickly becoming a go-to destination for filmmakers and other artists,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Events like this help grow the arts here and send a message that Burlington County embraces filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and celebrates their unique ideas and visions.”
The festival’s first night of screenings will be held at the Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts at 432 High Street in Burlington City, beginning at 7 PM.
The second night screenings will be at the Burlington County Institute of Technology, 695 Woodlane Road and will follow a red-carpet reception at 6 PM. The premier of A Scandal at Smithville, a historical drama made by the Burlington County Parks System will also be featured.
The 11-minute movie was filmed almost entirely at Historic Smithville Park during last year’s Arts After Dark festival to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at a real-life movie shoot. It depicts H.B. Smith, the wealthy 1800s industrialist and inventor who purchased the tiny village of Shreveville on the Rancocas Creek and transformed it into Smithville, one of South Jersey’s leading industrial villages.
The movie centers around a scandal about Smith after he was elected to Congress in 1878, and before he took office.
The film stars Kevin C. Carr and Mariel Rosati, professional working actors from the area who were excited and challenged to bring the history of Smithville to life. Also lending their performance skills to the production were Rikki Vetter and Eleanor Dunker from the Friends of Smithville Mansion, Burlington County historian Eric Orange, Burlington County Parks System Event Coordinator Nate Wood, various actors from the Bridge Players Theatre Company and others who were in attendance for filming during the festival.
Orange and Wood also penned the film’s script, then turned the production over to Catalogue Company, a film production company that won awards at last year’s film festival. Joseph Junod directed, Brad Wyllner was the director of photography, and Jesse Cornaglia was film editor.
Among the other films that will screen is Good Cop, Bad Cop, a film from Moorestown student Victoria DeNittis about an undercover police officer and a high-stakes poker game with a twist, and Caricature Carl, from Bordentown director Ross Stern about a caricature artist working in a public park and the arrival of an abstract artist rival.
Some of the other films scheduled to be screened include:
- The Treacherous Tuition, a documentary from Moorestown students about the cost of college and its impacts on students;
- Drown the Name, a narrative film about a woman who awakens in her subconscious;
- Buildings, an animated film about the way our society is changing;
- Plus, a Ukrainian short film about a Ukrainian soldier on the frontlines of the defense forces texting his friend from work;
- Fishlike, an animated French film about the life of a mackerel;
- If Only, a short film about the afterlife of a whale;
- Foo Fighters: Chasing Birds, an animated music video following the Foo Fighters journey through a colorful desert.
All films are 30 minutes or less and are deemed family-friendly, though some films scheduled to be screened on the second night feature more mature themes that may require some parental guidance.
In addition to screening each of the films, the Parks Division will announce award winners for best animated film, best documentary, best narrative, best experimental and best music video. The festival also features a special parks category for films about nature or parks.
This year marks the first time music videos are being judged separately from other films. Awards will also be presented for runner-up films and special Judges Choice honors. A panel of professional filmmakers and educators judged the films.
The Burlington County Parks Division organized the festival with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
“The Burlington County Short Film Festival is only in its second year but it’s already attracting talented filmmakers from across New Jersey and around the globe. This year’s festival has an outstanding lineup of films that will entertain, enlighten, and spark conversations,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “This great event has had rapid growth that is a credit to our Parks staff and their dedication to the arts and environment in Burlington County.”
The following films will be screened during the festival:
Fishlike. A French animated film tracing the life of a mackerel from its life in the ocean to its packaging in a supermarket. Filmmakers: Adrien Blanchard, Théophile Farant, Matéo Grossi, Pablo Jegado
The Sprayer. An Iranian film about the discovery of a plant seed buried deep in the dust. Filmmaker: Farnoosh Abedi
You Don’t Recognize Faces. An animated film about a former child actor and his struggle to connect with his peers. Filmmaker: Daniel Oliver Lee
Astray. A film set in a post-apocalyptic world about an 8-year-old girl and her exploration of an abandoned amusement park. Filmmaker: Loren Fink
Big Guy. A film about a young man forced to care for his brother following a tragedy of war. Filmmakers: Hicham and Samir Harrag
Boxes. After the death of his grandfather, Hopper tries to find the meaning of his life through the use of “Hour Boxes,” and ancient form of time travel. Filmmakers: Joseph Stevens, Caleb Stevens
Buildings. A film featuring inanimate objects coming to life. Filmmakers: Sean Newman, Jesse VandenBergh
4th Passenger. A documentary film about the survivor of a life-altering car crash. Filmmaker: Hector Ballner
County Squire. An animated music video for Grammy-nominated artist Tyler Childers, featuring bright colors and lifelike 3D animation. Filmmaker: Colonel Tony Moore
Dream that I Had. A documentary film about the rise of multiple Grammy award-winning music producer, Dave Sardy. Filmmaker: Evelyn Lee
Flowers. An experimental film about how a secret ruins a man’s relationship and how he begins to heal over time. Filmmaker: Sam O'Donnell
Emma Zunz. The third part of an anthology film inspired by the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges. It tells the story of a young woman’s quest for revenge for the death of her father. Filmmaker: Joan Grossman
To Be Alive. An experimental film about the beautiful things in life. Filmmaker: Camila Andrea Gutierrez
Action! A music video centered on a clapper and his clapper board. Filmmaker: Arne Körner
Foo Fighters: Chasing Birds. A animated hybrid music video that follows the Foo Fighters on a fantastical voyage through a colorful desert, filled with dreamy and surreal visuals. Filmmakers: Emlyn Davies, Josh Hicks
From NY, I Love You. An anthology series for the social media generation that features interconnected stories set in different famous cities. Filmmaker: Joshua Miller
Good Cop, Bad Cop. A short film noir film about a police officer posing undercover to exploit a bad colleague. Over a game of poker, she is exposed. Filmmaker: Victoria DeNittis
If Only. A short film about the afterlife of a whale. Filmmaker: Shreyans Zaveri
Keyboard. The film tells the story of computer gamer, his missing lucky soccer jersey and a fantastic prize. Filmmaker: Conrad Senn
Lover: A music video from Mexico. Filmmaker: Ian Martin
New Shoes. The film tells the tale of Clayton, a man with shoes that are falling apart. On the eve of an important job interview, he must move on from his beloved only pair of shoes. Filmmakers: Lucien Formichella, Walter Monteil
Old Hag & The Crow. A short fantasy film about an old hag who drinks a portion that turns her into a young girl again. Filmmaker: María Lucía Bayardo
Outgrowing My Shoes. A film featuring a series of vignettes that explore the coming of age of a young woman from Philadelphia. Filmmakers: Grace Conley, Kaya Trefz
Paint a Picture. A documentary film about the funding of the arts in public schools. Filmmakers: Leah Dougherty, Chris Adams, Alex Rahn
Plus. A Ukrainian short film about the how an ordinary Ukrainian man is compelled to join the defense forces on the frontline of the Russian War and a friend who anxiously follows his journey as war rages around him. Filmmaker: Bohdan Romanko
Run. A short film about a man who can’t stop running and the different emotions he experiences. Filmmaker: Young Chan Jeon
Shadowman. A one-minute micro movie about a lurking figure in a a room with unsuspecting ghost hunters. Filmmaker: Victoria DeNittis, Anne Coutinho, Chris Panzera, Nate Underwood, Ben Matsko
Spectacular. A music video featuring the 1953 Tour de France won by Louison Bobet. It combines animation with original footage from the race. Filmmaker: Pau Albà
The Dream. Part of an anthology film inspired by the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges, the film depicts a writer obsessed with the image of a coin and his story of a woodcutter driven to madness. Filmmaker: Jay Stern
The Infinite Library. Part of an anthology film inspired by the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges, the film is about a young man obsessed with finding the knowledge of the world by copying the words of other writers. Filmmaker: Alan McIntyre Smith
The King of Clubs. A short film noir film about a detective interrogating a suspect. Filmmakers: Ben Matsko, Anne Coutinho, Chris Panzera, Nate Underwood
Abducted Anonymous. A film about a fugitive on the run who seeks to hide at an A.A. meeting. Filmmaker: Ben Schwartz
Drown the Name. A film about a woman who awakens in the middle of her subconscious but does not recognize it. Filmmakers: Florencia Silva, Verónica Albornoz, Muriel Sago
There’s a Hole in the Ground. The narrative film tells the story of a woman who uncovers a hole in the ground and is then forced to navigate its ever-looming presence. Filmmaker: Aidan Cronin
Treacherous Tuition. A documentary about the costs of college and the impacts on high school and college graduates. Filmmakers: Angelo Ventresca, Phil Kizee, Christian Hall
Two Monkeys. A short film featuring a porcelain vase with a picture of a peach tree and two monkeys sitting beneath the tree. Filmmaker: Wei Li
What I Want From You. A film depicting the probable impacts of climate change. Filmmaker: Jolie Ruelle
Why I Lived. A documentary about the filmmaker’s journey to find reasons to live after attempting suicide. Filmmaker: Luka Galle
Caricature Carl. A film about how a caricature artist’s world is upended when an abstract artist rival starts working in the same park. Filmmaker: Ross Stern
A Scandal at Smithville. A short drama film produced by the Burlington County Parks Division about Hezekiah B. Smith, the wealthy industrialist who created Smithville, and the scandal that dogged him following his election to Congress. Filmmakers: Joseph Junod, Matt Hacker, Brad Wyllner, and Jesse Cornaglia.