Thursday, May 30, 2024

Short films get their due at inaugural Tiny Film Fest in Long Beach

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The idea behind Tiny Film Fest is simple: 61 films that are five minutes or less, shown in three programs of roughly an hour-and-a-half. Choose your segment and you’ll get a variety of nearly every aspect of cinematic visual storytelling, from documentaries and animation to international shorts and straight-forward narratives.

And it all premieres in Long Beach on Saturday, April 27, at Retro Row’s Art Theatre.

How Tiny Film Fest was destined to premiere in Long Beach from the get-go

Tiny Film Fest founder and organizer Heather Coates is from Long Beach—and it’s where her heart belongs.

“I used to work at Art du Vin,” Coates said, noting the long-running, much-loved wine bar that has been attached to the Art Theatre since its massive renovation in 2008. “And I’ve always envisioned this being in Long Beach. It’s just its own place but also close enough to know what is going on in and be connected to Hollywood. I also want to showcase Long Beach for those that may not have been to it because I am proud of what we’ve achieved as a city.”

As a high schooler, Retro Row was her ultimo hang-out sesh, strolling and perusing shops post-class—and to have the festival premiere at the very theatre her and her friends would pass by is both an honor and humbling.

“Of course, I had no idea back then I would be hosting a film festival there,” Coates said.

And that is because, like many young people, the future wasn’t so cemented as it is now for her. But when she joined the team of her stepmother’s talent firm, Rogue Artists—which has repped department heads for projects ranging from “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “Lady Bird” to “Atlanta” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”—her bourgeoning love of the filming industry sparked.

The spirit of the Tiny Film Fest lies in showcasing as many artists as possible in the most efficient form possible

Not all art showings or art festivals are created equal: Some artists are given disproportionate showing times, better viewing spaces, or just outright more advertisement. And when Coates would visit cinephile staples like Sundance or South by Southwest, she would find herself gravitating toward the shorter side of things.

“I always love doing the short film programs at these festivals because it is the only way you can see these emerging filmmakers in such a short span of time. I mean, at these festivals, it is a true scramble to get to everything—and short films kind of alleviate that scramble if what you’re looking to do is discover as many artists as possible.”

After expressing her love of short films, a friend suggested she take up the task of doing what she thought was, well, a shit ton of work: Creating her own festival. And at first she felt overwhelmed but then she checked herself, noting that she is always on the lookout for emerging artists—and with her team, began creating a database of filmmakers on the rise by visiting those very festivals and using distinctly unique short platforms like NoBudge to discover talent and pitch them to participate.

“We had some 1,500 filmmakers that were emerging,” Coates said. “I come from a background in sales and I firmly believe in reaching out to people and gently following up, seeing who will respond—so that was a lot of the leg work from the past year to make the festival happen.”

250 submissions ended up coming in, totaling some 13 hours that were viewed by a selection committee to choose which films would be chosen followed by a separate jury which dictated the best of the best among those chosen films. That jury panel who decided which films will be honored with awards—to be handed out after the final program of the festival on April 27—consists of:

▪ Katja Blichfeld, Co-Creator of High Maintenance ( HBO) & Emmy-Award winning casting director
▪ Ari Costa, SVP of Production at the Russo Brother’s AGBO studios
▪ Howie Kremer, Writer/Producer for Judd Apatow Productions
▪ Pilar Newton, Animator/Owner of PilarToons, formerly of Courage the Cowardly Dog, MTV’s Daria ▪ Jamie Coates – Owner/Agent at Rouge Artists Talent Agency
▪ Susan Cartsonis, Producer at Resonate Entertainment
▪ Drake Woodson, Photographer, Owner of RELICS Film Lab, Long BeachJoin us at Tiny Film Fest for a unique cinematic experience.

So what, exactly, are the overall, I-just-need-to-know-what’s-going-on details of the Tiny Film Fest?

Here you go: from a trailer to program times to events times, here is the full schedule for the inaugural Tiny Film Fest, brought to you Long Beach by Culture Connection and Rouge Artists Agency.

  • Tiny Film Fest is designed to be a choose-your-own-adventure festival. Each program block runs an average of 80 minutes and with 20 films total per block. Each block will features six to seven films from each category: Narrative, Non-Fiction, and Animation. You can watch one block or all three; entirely up to you.
  • When: April 27, 2024
    ▪ Programs (at The Art Theatre): Program A, 10AM (with free Coffee by Stereoscope); Program B: Noon; Program C: 2PM
    ▪ Award Winners Showcase & Q&A (at The Art Theatre): 4PM
    ▪ Reception & Awards Party (at Alder & Sage): 5PM to 9PM (a way to mingle and network with the filmmakers!)
  • Tickets: $25 per Program Block, $35 for Reception & Day-time Lounge Access, $75 for VIP All-Access Pass. For program schedule and tickets, click here.
  • Virtual Programming: Enjoy all of the films you weren’t able to see, plus additional “Cut for Time” films anytime from April 27-May 5, 2024 on Vimeo.

Tiny Film Fest will take place on Saturday, April 27, at The Art Theatre, located at 2025 E. 4th St.

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Enter this code for Longbeachize readers for 15% off all tickets: TFFLBIZE15

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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