The 17th Annual Dam Short Film Festival Goes Virtual

Annual film festival in Boulder City adapts to the pandemic times

By Josh Bell

The Deets

What: An annual short film festival in Boulder City

Who’s Behind It: Founded by Lee and Anita Lanier

Fun Fact: Before the pandemic, the festival took place at the Boulder Theatre. Actor/musician Desi Arnaz Jr. and his wife, Amy, bought the theater in 1999.

When: Feb. 11-15, 2021


The Dam Short Film Festival usually takes place in Boulder City as a showcase for both the charming small town and the under-appreciated art of the short film. But like so many things in these pandemic times, the 17th edition of the festival has gone virtual.

That means you won’t be able to stroll the streets of Boulder City and chat with filmmakers in the festival lounge, but you can still watch all the festival selections, along with livestreamed Q&A sessions, from the comfort of your couch.

DSFF always offers a spotlight to Nevada filmmakers, and the best way to support local filmmaking is to check out the Nevada films at the festival.

Nevada Filmmakers Showcase a Variety of Stories

In the Nevada A: Home-Grown Documentaries block, there are films about local DJs (“RRxAR: The Mini Documentary”), video gamers (“Gamers Rise”), homeless pet owners (“Biggest Little Street Companions”) and a disabled jiu-jitsu fighter (“Hold On”).

There are, not surprisingly, documentaries that deal with the pandemic, including “CoronaVegas,” with a tour of the empty streets of Las Vegas in March 2020, and “Vultures, Hawks and COVID-19,” a personal meditation on the state of the world from filmmaker Jacob Langsner.

Langsner also has a film in the Drama F: Avant-Garde program, a sort of romantic fantasy titled “Starcrossed,” about an astronaut visiting Paris as if it’s another world. Langsner is joined in the Avant-Garde program by filmmaker, choreographer and UNR professor Rosie Trump, whose “People in Cities” is an experimental blend of movement and imagery.

“People in Cities”

The Underground A: Out of Place program includes local filmmaker Kristina McHale’s “Oyasumi,” about a woman who takes drastic action against her cheating boyfriend.

Nevada Filmmakers Storytelling Goes Abroad

The Nevada B: Silver State Drama & Comedy program features a number of returning DSFF filmmakers led by unofficial festival standard-bearer Eric West with the comedy “The Bathroom Wall.” DSFF veterans Mike and Jerry Thompson bring comedy “Sword Of!” and they serve as the crew for rom-com “So Close and Still …” from writer/director/star (and OTS contributor) Jason Harris.

Las Vegas filmmaker Kris Krainock traveled to Rome and Paris to shoot his existential drama “Bizzarro e Fantastico,” and director Isabella Hicks delivers more existential musings, these in Spanish, in “Loteria!” Drama “Once More With Coffee” comes from the team of screenwriter Jay Hoffman and director Isabel Peinado.

“Bizaarro e Fantastico”

From the festival newcomers to the DSFF lifers, the locals are out in full force at this year’s virtual festival, and, as always, they represent an impressive snapshot of the state of filmmaking in Nevada.


Dam Short Film Festival: Through Feb. 15, $12 per program, $100 per festival pass,


This year, the Dam Short Film Festival will be virtual, which extends access to the festival beyond its home in Boulder City at the Boulder Theatre. The festival aims to showcase “original, unusual and entertaining short films” every year.

Purchasing the Household Pass offers audience members access to more than 160 short films, diverse programming, filmmaker Q&As and more.

For more information, visit and follow Dam Short Film Festival on Instagram.

Read: Must-See Rom-Coms with Las Vegas Vibes

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