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Film lovers rejoice! The first-annual Burlington County Juried Short Film Festival will be held next week and features a fantastic line up of imaginative movies and documentaries.
A total of 27 short films will be screened during the two-day festival on Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13, at the Burlington County Library, 5 Pioneer Boulevard, Westampton. Screenings will begin at 5 PM and include a mix of narrative, documentary and animation films.
“Burlington County is blessed with incredible natural beauty, history and culture and we’re excited to hold our very first short film festival to further cultivate the arts and filmmaking here,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the Board’s liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “There’s an incredible mix of films, including narrative comedies, heart-warming documentaries and dramatic mysteries and adventure tales. The next Stephen Spielberg or Alfred Hitchcock could be here in Burlington County, so we want to encourage film lovers of all ages to come out and see these amazing short films.”
Among the films that will screen is the uplifting tale “Dan the Man”, a documentary about a young man who doesn’t let Down Syndrome impede his huge passion for sports; the fantasy film “Prince and the Zs”, about a pair of friends attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse; and “Stand Off”, an imaginative and funny look at two children who imagine themselves to be fighting an Old West showdown.
Some of the other films scheduled to be screened include: “Who Says”, a documentary about a New Jersey program for developmentally disabled teens and young adults; “Midnight Paper” about a student’s frantic attempt to meet a deadline; “Chatsworth”, about a mysterious disappearance in the Pine Barrens; “We are Suns”, a documentary about a college student’s quest to meet his biological father; and the animated film, “Dams: Pros and Cons.”
The movies were created by filmmakers with different backgrounds, including students from Moorestown High School and a Burlington Township Media TV class. Submissions also came from hobbyists and professional filmmakers. All films are 30 minutes or less and were deemed family-friendly, though some movies scheduled to be screened on the second night feature more mature themes.
Admission to the festival is free and both nights will conclude at around 8 PM following a discussion period with the participating filmmakers.
In addition to screening each of the films, the Parks Division will announce 11 award winners for best animated film, best documentary, best narrative and best “Parks” film, a special category for films about nature or the Burlington County Parks. Movies filmed in Burlington County parks were also eligible for this category. Several other submissions will also be awarded special Judges Choice honors.
A panel of three professional filmmakers and educators judged the films.
The Burlington County Parks Division organized the new festival with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
“With more than 1,000 acres of developed parkland and 50-miles plus of interconnecting hiking, biking and running trails and several fantastic museums and galleries, our Burlington County Parks System is clearly one of the best in the entire state and region, but what also sets us apart is the incredible events and programs our Parks staff help organize and run,” Eckel said. “Events like this film festival help enlighten and entertain residents of all ages and are a big part of why our county is such a great destination. You don’t want to miss it.”
The following films will be screened during the festival:
Films scheduled to be screened on Thursday, May 12th
DAN THE MAN DAN THE MAN is a short Documentary Film that highlights the life of Dan, a young man with Down Syndrome, and his love and passion for sports. Filmmaker: Drew Rosania
Who Says Kate's Place Program wants everyone to know that even though our program is made up of people with Developmental Disabilities, we enjoy things all people do. Filmmaker: JoAnn McNamee
Kate’s Place: Cool Kates Place Summer Video shows. The program produces a movie each summer because it is a fun activity for the entire group. Filmmaker: JoAnn McNamee
Better Half A young girl who is struggling with her self-image wishes to be popular and like the girls that she sees around her. Her wish comes true, but not in the way she might have imagined. Filmmaker: Claire Delany
Princess and the Zs The duo of Princess and Jio are trying their best to survive the zombie apocalypse while being threatened by a new threat, the mad scientist Dr. Dynamite. They must overcome their crumbling friendship if they wish to survive. Filmmaker: Javier Cortez
STAND OFF! Two kids imagine themselves in the Old West as outlaw and bounty hunter. In the midst of their incredibly tense standoff, they keep getting interrupted by their busy house and the breaking of their characters. While both are itching to win the fateful duel, they also have chores to do. Filmmaker: Gabriel Pascual
The Chain Mail Newton has a great fear of pink erasers. When his friend, Roberta, pulls out a pink eraser, she gets kicked out by Newton. After this incident, Newton receives a chain mail threat saying if he doesn't send the email to 15 other people he will be haunted. However, Newton ignores this message and the pink eraser haunts him. Filmmaker: Kong Chen
Bully’s This film shows how in life youth are experiencing the emotions of growth and how to prevent anti-bullying by having a support team. Filmmaker: Daja Joseph
Midnight Paper After playing a game with his friend for a little too long, Harrison realizes that his paper is due in one hour. Filmmaker: Benjamin Matsko
Anything for Sergio Sergio and Lucia, a teenage couple, are in school reminiscing about their latest trip to Paris. While in school Sergio catches a glance at someone familiar--his waitress from Paris, Alessandra. He has a memory about Alessandra and their secret time together in Paris. Lucia notices Sergio staring at this girl, but when asked about it, Sergio brushes it off like it's nothing. A few days later, Sergio is walking down a hallway carrying a flower. At the other end of the hallway, Lucia and Alessandra are waiting eagerly. Filmmaker: Victoria DeNittis
A Green Dream Tired of the struggle of a push lawnmower, a team of rebellious adolescents assemble in an effort to steal a rideable mower. What he doesn’t realize is that crime comes with struggles of its own. Filmmaker: Colin Llewellyn
Solomon Grundy This crankie is based on an 19th century British nursery rhyme, with my own tweaks and an original addition of a second half. It narrates the living and dying of Solomon Grundy, whose health grows worse as the weather turns nice. While he is one of those rhymes intended to familiarize children with the days of the week, his story offers an opportunity to collectively honor the process of death, grief, and memory. Filmmaker: Maisie O’Brien
Dams: Pros and Cons Dams are a perfect example of humans altering their environment and the unexpected consequences. Filmmaker: Ava Barton
Can Trees Communicate? The film explains what mycorrhizal networks are, what they do, and discusses how they could be utilized to improve global food security. Filmmaker: Ava Barton
The Rancocas Creek:
What I love The Rancocas Creek is loved for many different reasons by the residents of Burlington County. From the quiet and scenic Pine Barrens, through downtowns, under highways and past our lovely public parks it flows to the Delaware River. Whether you are a paddler, boater, angler, wildlife enthusiast or just enjoy the peace of sitting by the water the Rancocas Creek continues to be a treasured resource today as it was in the past when utilized as a navigable waterway for shipping goods into Burlington County towns and villages. Filmmaker: Heidi Winzinger
Fallingwater A music video for a cover of Maggie Rogers' song "Fallingwater" by Tommy Zieger. Filmmaker: Daniel Marcus
From Shift Work
To Paradigm Shift This film is researched, written, directed, and edited by a team of young filmmakers: Bryce Bibelheimer, Maggie Bibelheimer, Marcy Fiorentino, and Lily Walker. The group researched the history of child labor and discovered that Burlington County played a big role in ending oppressive child labor.
Films scheduled to be screened on Friday, May 13th
A True Gettysburg The unusual and true story of a Civil War Veteran's surreal experience while visiting Gettysburg on Memorial Day after the war. Filmmaker: Joseph Wilson
Civil War Story
Civil War Prisons:
During the Civil War, both sides neglected the plight of their captured soldiers and that led directly to the deaths of 56,000 prisoners. Abandoned soldiers died from disease, exposure, and starvation in vile prison camps while waiting for help from their respected governments that never materialized. Ideology took precedent over humanity in one of the saddest and least covered chapters of the war. Filmmaker: Joseph Wilson
Ernest Kaufman: World War II
Hero Holocaust Survivor This is an interview by the Armed Forces Heritage Museum (AFHM), a non-profit military history organization that features Burlington County veteran Ernest Kaufman, a holocaust survivor and WWII hero. Among his heroics is his intervention with an occupying German army to save a German town of 30,000+ residents from being killed and injured without a shot being fired! A truly remarkable and brave effort that is one of many as captured in his book, "From Flight to Fight to Farm", written in his post war days while self employed as a poultry egg farmer in New Egypt, NJ for 30+ years. Sadly, Ernest passed away at age 100 in 2020, but his legacy lives on. Filmmaker: Roy Plummer
Michael Ryan Lawrence:
Filmmaker A deep dive into the career and lifestyle of independent filmmaker, Michael Ryan Lawrence, based in Philadelphia to better understand what it means to be successful. Filmmaker: Colin Llewellyn
Marooned A castaway is marooned in a location he does not understand nor is he familiar with. Reality is fundamentally different here; what's actually happening and who is causing it to happen is up in the air. Filmmaker: Alec Sutherland
All In You A college student attempts to finish an essay but is being antagonized by a mysterious demon, and it's up to him whether he falls to its temptation or uses it as his motivation. Filmmaker: Javier Cortez
Strawberry Shakes Layla and Nora meet and begin to fall in love, but as the relationship develops Nora begins to question her sexuality and their relationship. Filmmaker: Ava Barton
We Are Suns Sam Spencer was a college student when he set out across country to meet his biological Dad. With his best friend traveling with him, Spencer’s “We Are Suns” is part road-movie, part psychological drama that builds to a resolution that is both stirring and unexpected. Filmmaker: Sam Spencer
Stacy Stacy tells the story of a woman’s 45-year search for her biological family and family connections. Filmmaker: Philip Garrison
Chatsworth In 2004, a New Jersey park ranger trying to cope with the recent disappearance of his wife, searches for a co-worker deep within the Pine Barrens after he fails to routinely check in at the end of his shift. Filmmakers: Jesse Cornaglia & Joseph Junod
Photo: A total of 27 short films will be screened during the two-day festival on May 12 and May 13 at the Burlington County Library, 5 Pioneer Boulevard, Westampton, including the mystery Chatsworth about a disappearance in the Pine Barrens.