film industry

McMinnville Short Film Festival marches on — pandemic or no

Organizers are coming up with two scenarios for February's 10th annual event, and a virtual fundraiser this weekend will showcase greatest hits from the past

Having spent most of 2020 reporting on Yamhill County events large and small that have been canceled due to COVID-19, I find it a relief to reveal an ambitious cultural project that is marching onward.

The McMinnville Short Film Festival was one of a few major events this year that managed to slide under the wire in February before the pandemic shut everything down. The festival takes over the largest auditorium at McMinnville Cinema 10 for a busy weekend, showcasing excellent films from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Audiences get to meet the filmmakers amid discussion, networking, and, of course, wine. February 2021 will mark the 10th year, and the festival will be held (Feb. 19-21), pledge founders and organizers Dan and Nancy Morrow, one way or another.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

This weekend is the festival’s mid-year fundraiser, which isn’t so much a sneak preview as a greatest hits party. And of course, it’s virtual. Starting at 3 p.m. Friday and running till 11 p.m. Sunday, a sliding-scale donation is all you need to treat yourself — at home, on your TV, tablet, phone, etc. —  to a nearly two-hour smorgasbord of award-winning short films in a variety of genres spanning the festival’s nine years. That’s the window during which you must start watching — and you can watch any number of them, in any order, at your convenience. Multiple viewings are allowed. Once you begin, you’ve got 24 hours during which the eight-film program will be available. The longest film is 20 minutes; most run 10 to 12 minutes. Most are introduced by the filmmakers. In lieu of the meet-and-greet, a 45-minute webinar featuring most of the filmmakers is also available.  

Elnaz Resaei plays Nahal, recipient of a surprise birthday party, in “We Were There,” a film by Saeed Vahidi and a 2020 award-winner at the McMinnville Short Film Festival. Photo courtesy: McMinnville Short Film Festival
Elnaz Resaei plays Nahal, recipient of a surprise birthday party, in “We Were There,” a film by Saeed Vahidi and a 2020 award-winner at the McMinnville Short Film Festival. Photo courtesy: McMinnville Short Film Festival

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