Elgin’s festival is just for short films
September 6, 2012 11:08AM
♦ Sept. 22
♦ Hemmens Cultural Center,
45 Symphony Way, Elgin
♦ (847) 931-5900
Updated: September 17, 2012 7:02PM
If you like movies but aren’t a fan of two-hour epic sagas, then Elgin has a film fest for you.
The fourth annual Elgin Short Film Fest will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. Each of the 30 films in the fest clocks in at 20 minutes or less from the opening frame to the closing credit, said Hemmens supervisor Butch Wilhelmi.
“It’s good for people with short attention spans,” he said.
A panel of preliminary judges pre-screen the films and chose the top five. Those five films will be shown Sept. 22. A panel of finalist judges as well as the audience determines the winners, who will be announced that evening.
“The first year we did it, it was (an idea) that came out of a Hemmens advisory board,” he said. “We got a lot of good comments about it. The first act, we show all the films, obviously. The second act, we put together a montage of all the 30-second trailers that are submitted for the festival, so that everybody gets a taste of what was seen by the preliminary judges.”
The first, second and third place winners receives a cash prize and a trophy made by the same company that makes the Oscars.
There is also a red carpet arrival, and the top five finalists get a limo ride to the theater.
The films are all family-friendly, he said.
“We’re inviting people to bring their kids, so we don’t want films with excessive violence or nudity or people dropping the F-bomb,” he said. “We want them open for everyone to see.”
The films are of all genres, he said, and come from all over the world. About 25 percent of the films are locally made.
“A lot of festivals, it’s going to be their film screened in a room with 10 or 15 people in it,” he said. “One of the comments (last year) was to actually see it screened on the big stage in front of lots of people was such a thrill for the filmmaker.”
Comedian Mike Toomey, a regular on WGN’s morning news, will again be the fest’s emcee, Wilhelmi said.
“He’s a very funny guy and very into movies and entertainment, so we thought it was a good fit for emcee,” he said.
The fest is a fun, affordable night out for families, he said.
“There are plenty of restaurants downtown, so we encourage people to come out and grab a bite to eat and make a night of it.”
— Annie Alleman