January 21st, 2022

McMinnville Short Film Festival 2022 is Back and Better Than Ever

Two men sit on a bench in front of a chain link fence with industrial looking lights strung across it.
From the short film, Feeling Through, by Doug Roland. Image courtesy of McMinnville Short Film Festival.

You may have heard that we’re in a ‘golden age’ of short films, and it’s true. Thanks to streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, the choices are seemingly infinite. But as you’ve surely noticed, there’s a lot of mediocre (and worse) work there.

For the good stuff, you need curation. For the really good stuff, you need a big screen and an audience to share the experience with. 

The McMinnville Short Film Festival has you covered on both counts with this year’s 11th annual event, which offers nearly 130 films in every major genre from across the country and around the world.

This year’s 3-day festival kicks off Feb. 10, and in more than one respect, you’re looking at a best-of-the-best scenario.

Co-founded by Dan and Nancy Morrow, the MSFF is back in McMinnville Cinema 10 this year after going virtual in 2021, and this time, they’ve got a clever hybrid model planned. 

For the big-screen experience, in-person viewing will be in Cinema 10’s largest, 209-seat auditorium, and chances are reasonably good you’ll be able to spread out. Proof of vaccination is required and masks must be worn for all in-person events.  

But there are also virtual-only film blocks to stream at home. And after the awards dinner Sunday evening at The Bindery downtown, all the films will be available to stream for one more week. 

Even better: The winners of last year’s event, including the electrifying Tutu Grande, The Chris Mosier Project and the delightful animated film Chocolate Cake & Ice Cream, are back for the big-screen encore they deserve.

A panel of filmmakers line up across a stage.
McMinnville Short Film Festival, February 21-23, 2020. Photo courtesy of McMinnville Short Film Festival.

The MSFF is one of Oregon’s fastest-growing and most popular film festivals, evidenced in part by the broad participation by filmmakers themselves: Organizers expect at about half the films to be represented by their directors and/or other artists for post-screening talk-backs. 

On-screen (and behind-the-camera) representation is broad this year: LGBTQ, women, people of color, indigenous and people with disabilities. 

There are wonderful films in every category, including the shot-in-Oregon West Winds, the fascinating character study Dinner for Two, and the surreal Nasuka. And I dare say that even if you see dozens of feature-length films in 2022, the breathtakingly beautiful Feeling Through – the first film to feature a blind-deaf actor in a lead role – will rank among your favorites.

So, time to get busy! There are screening blocks to scope out, trailers to watch and much more information at the MSFF website. Any one block is $7 at the door, but your best deal really is the $75 all-access pass, which gets you more than 22 hours of movies, a chance to meet many of the artists, plus the awards dinner. See you at the movies!

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.