Catch groundbreaking short films created by Las Vegas creatives
By Josh Bell
For the second year now, the Nevada Women’s Film Festival will be screening its selections online, along with live-streamed panel discussions and Q&A sessions. The virtual format has allowed Las Vegas film festivals to reach audiences around the country and the world, bringing local filmmaking to a wider audience.
This year’s NWFFest includes multiple locally produced short films, a local feature film that has achieved national attention, and tributes to Las Vegas women who are succeeding in the film industry. Films are available to stream at any point during the festival. For those who feel comfortable venturing out, the virtual program is augmented by an in-person mixer at Downtown’s Art Houz Theaters on June 26 at 7 p.m. Here’s a look at some of the Vegas-focused programming worth checking out.
“Oh, the Guilt”
Local filmmaker Shahab Zargari cast his daughter Mahtab as a teenager who’s traumatized by the death of her friend in a car crash. Zargari’s short film evokes the alt-rock culture of the ’90s time period while telling a story about a young woman dealing with grief and survivor’s guilt. Sean Astin co-stars. Live-stream Q&A June 24, 6 p.m.
“Take Out Girl”
Actress Hedy Wong co-wrote this feature-length crime drama inspired in part by her own life. She plays a college student who operates a side business delivering drugs out of her family’s Chinese restaurant. Set in LA but shot almost entirely in Las Vegas, “Take Out Girl” was directed by local filmmaker Hisonni Johnson and produced by UNLV alum Melissa Del Rosario. It’s played at more than 40 film festivals and was recently released nationally on VOD. Live-stream Q&A June 25, 7 p.m.
Nevada Women Filmmakers of the Year
This year’s top festival honorees are sisters Constanza and Domenica Castro, both graduates of UNLV’s film school and veteran producers of films, music videos and ad campaigns in Las Vegas and beyond. The Castros are now based in LA, but they made a major impact on the local film scene during their time in Vegas. Heather Addison of the UNLV film department will host a discussion with the sisters. June 26, 2 p.m.
“The Day the Lights Went Out”
A group of UNLV film students collaborated remotely on this short film about the pandemic lockdown in Vegas. Via interviews and testimonials, they created a portrait of the local response to a global catastrophe. UNLV professor and veteran actor Clarence Gilyard (“Die Hard,” “Walker, Texas Ranger”) provides narration to tie the film together. Live-stream Q&A June 27, 5 p.m.
Nevada Women’s Film Festival. June 21-27, $7.50 per program, $30 passes. nwffest.com