A Few years ago, local film aficionado Michael Suglio was watching a few bands play at Now That's Class when he realized that hosting a film festival in an informal, club-like atmosphere was a good idea.
In 2012, he successfully launched his Short.Sweet.Film Fest at Ohio City's Market Garden Brewery. This weekend, Suglio brings an expanded festival to the Alex Theater at the 9. He'll screen 64 shorts over the three-day period (you can find a complete schedule at shortsweetfilmfest.com). Bands will perform once the screenings end. And once again, many of the directors will be on hand to answer questions during short sessions that will be held after their films screen.
"We had a great three years at Market Garden, but we needed a bigger place," says Suglio who sought out different venues before bumping into a friend who's the house manager at the 9. "He told me about the brand-new Alex Theater and I met with him and checked out the space and it's great." The theater has hosted everything from concerts to burlesque shows.
"One of the nice things is that I can incorporate more music and I have it for the entire weekend and there's no time restraint," says Suglio. "We have music on Friday night and music on Saturday night."
Of the 64 films on the docket, Suglio estimates that a third of them are local. "What's crazy this year is that half of them have a director, actor or producer doing a Q&A session after the screening," he says.
Seven different local bands will perform. Rob Duskey will perform with his new band Forest City on Friday and acclaimed singer-songwriter Nate Jones is slated to play on Saturday. Other acts are slated to play as well.
Suglio is particularly excited to screen Hidden in Plain Sight, a short that recently screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival. "It's about the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and it's a very good documentary about what gardens are all about," he says. The movie shows at 7 p.m. on Friday, joining a slew of movies from all over the world.
The film "Butterfly Dreams" is even coming all the way from Iran.
"It's one of the best animated films I've seen in years," says Suglio. "It was hard for the director to get the film past the government."
Films start screening at 6 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $15 to $40 for a three-day pass.