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Sunnyside Shorts International Film Festival Returns as in-Person Event Saturday

Attendees at the Sunnyside Shorts International Film in 2019 (Photo provided by Sherry Gamlin)

Attendees at the Sunnyside Shorts International Film in 2019 (Photo provided by Sherry Gamlin)

Sept. 20, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

The ever-popular Sunnyside Shorts International Film Festival is returning to the neighborhood this weekend.

The one-day film festival will take place Saturday at the Sunnyside Reformed Church, located at 48-03 Skillman Ave., where 23 films will be screened throughout the afternoon and evening.

The festival, now in its 16th year, is coming back as a solely in-person event after organizers were forced to host last year’s version online due to restrictions associated with the pandemic. None of the movies this year will be offered online.

The festival of shorts will show movies produced by independent filmmakers from New York City and around the world including countries such as Iran, India, China, Australia, Pakistan, and Uganda.

“The festival will bring cultures together through the art of filmmaking,” festival director Sherry Gamlin said.

Gamlin said that there will be a wide range of movie genres on offer including comedy, dance, documentaries and shorts about LGBTQ and race issues.

The film festival’s judges and volunteers screened through more than 100 films before selecting the ones for viewing.

Each film will be displayed on a 12-foot wide by 7-foot high big-screen inside the church with movies typically ranging in length from three minutes to 20 minutes.

However, an exception is being made this year for Indian filmmaker Faraz Ansari whose LGBTQ-themed movie “Sheer Qorma” runs for around 30 minutes, Gamlin said.

Organizers will show the movie since a previous short made by Ansari was screened at the festival two years ago and proved a big hit with attendees.

Sheer Qorma tells the story of how a Pakistani-Canadian woman travels with her lover to India to meet her partner’s parents. Her lover’s mother finds it difficult to come to terms with their relationship.

“It is a beautiful story,” Gamlin said.

Other movies include an Australian-made drama called “IDOL” which is about a young Chinese celebrity who has to deal with one of his fans committing suicide.

There is also a US-made documentary titled “Becoming Black Lawyers” detailing the stories of five black lawyers who share their experiences attending predominantly white law schools in America.

Gamlin said the festival will host a number of premieres including an LGBTQ-themed drama called “And Just Two More” about an Iranian man who lives with a male mannequin which he considers his lover and a comedy about a frightened woman who is alarmed by a late-night bang on her door titled “Knock, Knock.”

Another premiere includes a story about an actor who obsesses over an audition tape titled “Method” which is directed by Tommy Espina, who is from the Bronx.

Posters for some of the short movies which will be shown at the Sunnyside Shorts International Film Festival, from left to right, "Becoming Black Lawyers," "Sheer Qorma," "And Just Two More" and "Method" (Posters provided by Sherry Gamlin)

Posters for some of the short movies that will be shown at the Sunnyside Shorts International Film Festival, from left to right, “Becoming Black Lawyers,” “Sheer Qorma,” “And Just Two More” and “Method” (Posters provided by Sherry Gamlin)

Attendees will also get a chance to vote on their favorite film after the event and the winning filmmaker will receive an award, Gamlin said.

The festival will consist of two screening sessions. The afternoon session begins at 2 p.m. and an evening session follows kicking off at 7 p.m.

Tickets for each session are priced at $10 each with tickets to both sessions priced at $15. Tickets to the festival can be purchased by clicking here.

The proceeds from ticket sales will go toward covering the cost of the festival.

Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the event and wear a mask at all times.

The festival is being sponsored DentCare Dental Center, located at 47-01 Queens Blvd. 

Sunnyside Shorts 2021 poster

Sunnyside Shorts 2021 poster (Provided by Sherry Gamlin)

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