Dayton filmmakers will shine during 25th anniversary of Ohio Shorts

Twenty shorts by Ohio filmmakers can be streamed for free April 17 to May 1.

Dayton talent will be on display during the Wexner Center for the Arts 25th anniversary Ohio Shorts festival.

This year, a free, in-person screening will be held at the South Drive-in Theatre, 3050 S. High St. in Columbus, on Thursday, April 15. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the program starts at 8:40 p.m.

The shorts can also be screened online for free from April 17 to May 1.

The program includes 20 works by youth and adult filmmakers selected from 122 submissions.

Prentiss Haney, an Ohio Shorts alum, curated the films to reflect the themes of 2020: isolation, connection, caring for one another and social uprising.

“Slushie” written and directed by Ben Evory, a 2019 Wright State University graduate in Motion Picture Production, is one of the films to be screened.

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The comedy, set in small town Appalachia, tells the story of a Christian pop band as they dream of a world tour while navigating bored crowds, bad recording sessions and a budding romance. The film also appeared at the 2019 Dayton LGBT Film Festival.

“It’s gratifying to know somebody watched the whole thing and said I’d like other people to watch it too,” said Evory, who has been working two years as the production office manager for Oscar-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.

In fact, Reichert and Bognar, residents of Yellow Springs, received the Oscar in the documentary feature category for “American Factory” at last year’s Academy Awards. They shared the honor with Jeff Reichert.

Eva Arnold, a student at Stivers School for the Arts, is also represented in the festival. Her film “Caregiving” looks at the daily life of a caregiver.

Ohio Shorts began in 1996 known as the Independent Film/Video Showcase. What started out as submissions on VHS tape has turned into a popular statewide event.

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Shorts, a term meaning a film short enough in running time not to be considered a feature film, is “a real quick dose of storytelling that you don’t have to invest an hour and a half of time,” Evory said. The aforementioned “Slushie” has a run time of 14:26 minutes.

“Ohio Shorts creates space for artists to be celebrated for who they are and for the important stories they need to tell,” said Haney in a release. “This year’s entries are no exception.”

The participants are eligible for a $500 Jury Award selected by Haney as well as a $300 Audience Choice Award. Viewers can cast ballots online April 15–25 at https://wexarts.org/film-video/ohio-shorts-2021.

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