DSFF highlights Nevada's homegrown filmmaking talent
Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City has been a vital showcase for Nevada filmmakers. The festival’s local programs are always among its most popular offerings, and the selection of Nevada films in the festival has expanded in recent years. As the main festival gears up for its return to the Boulder Theatre in February 2022, organizers have put together an online program of some of DSFF’s best Nevada short films from recent years.
Like the 2021 festival itself, the Nevada Filmmaker Retrospective is a virtual event, available to watch for the entire month of November.
“We saw such success with the virtual format for our 17th annual festival last February and recognized the potential to keep reaching new audiences, giving them a preview of what our festival, Boulder City, and our Nevada film community has to offer,” says Tsvetelina Stefanova, DSFF’s executive director. The festival’s programming team has chosen 11 films that previously played in the festival from 2018-2021, representing a range of genres and styles.
That includes work from veteran Las Vegas filmmakers like brother duos Jerry and Mike Thompson and Ryan and Cody LeBoeuf. The Thompsons’ short “Sword Of!” is a brief goof featuring a pair of characters arguing about the nature of the universe, while the LeBoeufs’ short “Steve and Cruz Have a Talk” is a slightly more grounded absurdist piece about two characters having a ridiculous conversation.
Other program highlights include director Danny Chandia’s gorgeous music video for local musicianSonia Barcelona’s song “Violent Water” and filmmaker/actor Roberto Raad’s turn as an unhinged therapist in “Alternative Therapy.” On the more serious side, there are documentaries about desert bird conservation (“Fowl Claims”), Native American traditional dance competitions (“Sweetheart Dancers”) and a struggling Reno charter school (“Rainshadow”). And, full disclosure, there’s the film noir parody “Rick Thunder in … Look Back Tomorrow,” which I co-wrote with fellow Off the Strip contributor Jason Harris (who directed).
As local film festivals make their sporadic returns to in-person venues, DSFF offers an ideal opportunity to catch up with some of its most memorable selections from home. According to festival organizers, more than 6,300 people tuned in for the 2021 virtual festival. That’s a pretty impressive potential audience for Nevada’s homegrown filmmaking talent.
Dam Short Film Festival Nevada Filmmaker Retrospective. Through November 30, $10. https://damshortfilm.org/