January 26th, 2021

McMinnville Short Film Festival celebrates 10th year virtually

Here’s a scenario you’re probably familiar with: You sit down at your computer for a specific task. Before you know it, you’ve burned half an hour watching videos on YouTube.

Stifle the shame. Like millions of Americans, you enjoy watching short films. That’s okay! It’s a legitimate art form. A well-made ones can pack as much punch as a 2-hour movie. So you should know that the McMinnville Short Film Festival draws near. They’ve gone virtual this year for their 10th anniversary. Starting Feb. 18 for ten days, you’ll have a virtual smorgasbord of 127 films to choose from.

The McMinnville Short Film Festival features films from around the world, including
Australia’s A Field Guide to Being a Twelve-Year-Old Girl.

It’s inexpensive: $10 for a screening block that includes anywhere from half a dozen to as many as 15 films, and two categories (Just for Kids and Locals) are free! It’s never been easier to curate a family-friendly evening of streaming local.

Here are a few highlights:

JUST FOR KIDS – The half dozen films in this bunch include some wonderful work, including Portland Steve Cowden’s Chocolate Cake & Ice Cream (pictured below), a love affair between a dog and a cat that’s guaranteed to make you smile. The Pig on the Hill is another delightful feature, narrated by Pierce Brosnan.

DOCUMENTARY – The Australian nominee for Best Documentary is A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl, and it’s a must-see. It’s unconventional, funny and inspiring.

ANIMATION – Includes all the children’s films, plus more adult fare. One likely to have broad appeal is The Extinction of Up, an amusing take on the lure of cell phones.

LOCALS: Check out what Oregon filmmakers are up to. McMinnville’s Galen Flinn narrates a  whimsical tale about the inner life of a book in The Last Read. Kevin Clark of Florence presents a beautifully-shot tribute to Samuel Boardman, The Father of Oregon State Parks

NATIVE AMERICAN: Sponsored by the Confederate Tribes of Grand Ronde, these eleven films look at tribal life in the Pacific Northwest and around the country. One of my favorites: She Carries On, by McMinnville’s Isaac Fowler and Tim Morris, looks at how a Cherokee tribe in North Carolina triumphantly brought women into a traditionally male sport: stickball. 

ENVIRONMENTAL – Incorporate some quality ecologically-themed content with your home-school or remote learning program at home. Ten films total. Must-sees include The Bee Farmers and Way to Go!, which explores an unlikely topic: The state-of-the-art (and, apparently, very popular) composting toilet for hikers halfway up Mount Shasta. Sponsored by Zero Waste McMinnville

Give YouTube a break and make plans for (at least one) a McMinnville Short Film Festival night! Feb. 18-28. Visit the website for a complete list of titles and the schedule, which also will include live panel discussions with filmmakers.

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