The Wexner Center for the Arts will be hosting its 23rd annual Ohio Shorts film festival, showcasing the best short films from all over the state, handpicked by a panel of Wexner Center staff and outside judges.
All films shown at the festival were produced in Ohio, but span across all genres, including short documentaries, animated films, drama, comedy and more.
“It’s absolutely everything, and that’s what’s so interesting about it because it creates sort of a challenge to judge the films,” said Jennifer Lange, the Curator of the Film/Video Studio Program at the Wexner Center who is also the curator for Ohio Shorts. “We might even get shorts in the form of music videos, as well. Basically, anything that’s moving image.”
The festival received almost double the submissions as it did the previous year with about 250 total films sent, according to the Wexner Center.
Two hundred of these films were in the adult division, meant for audiences aged 19 and older. These films can be no longer than 20 minutes, while submissions in the youth division, meant for students 18 and younger, can only be up to five minutes long.
Ryan Wise, an Ohio native currently enrolled at New York University for film, has had films he produced featured at the Ohio Shorts festival two years in a row now, including this year.
“It’s almost validating somewhat,” he said. “This time last year, I was pretty nervous because it was the first time I had submitted a film to Ohio Shorts, but this year it’s not as nerve-wracking.”
Wise’s short film was just one of the 25 films that will be presented at the festival, but he had a lot more competition this year.
With more entries than the festival has ever had, the films that make the final showing are considered to be some of the best works within the submissions, Lange said.
“With so many entries, I just wanted a second pair of eyes,” she said.
Lange enlisted the help of Ambrose Dupree, an Ohio State graduate with a bachelor’s in film studies and strategic communication, and together, they sat down and decided which films would be best for the festival.
“We went through and made a list of the films, and immediate strong yeses were the films we decided to go with and of course we had some back and forths with four or five works, but for the most part Ambrose and I almost entirely agreed on everything,” Lange said.
With the films selected, the last part of the festival is the event itself and the screening of the shorts.
Wise – knowing what it’s like to make it onto Ohio Shorts – unfortunately won’t be able to make it to the event.
“With school, I’m not gonna be able to make it, which sucks ‘cause I would’ve loved to have seen some of the other films as well as my own in that environment, just to see how others react,” he said.
“Getting to see what artists are doing in Ohio, meeting filmmakers at an early stage in their career and getting the chance to educate myself on what’s going on with film are what makes this event special for me,” Lange said.
Lange said it is a new audience for the films. She noted that the event typically sells out a 300 seat audience. She said it is a great experience not just for Ohio State, but for Ohio’s film community.
“It’s a different experience than when you watch it yourself, or with friends, or even as you’re editing and working on it in your own studio,” Lange said. “It becomes different in context with other works and their might even be moments in your film that you didn’t anticipate at first.”
Filmmakers will receive a $50 screening reward, with the audience award winner receiving $300 and the jury prize winner receiving $500.
Ohio Shorts will be held at 7 p.m. on April 27 in the Film/Video Theater at the Wexner Center. Admission is $5.