By Bailey Neal
The Paramount Theatre will present a collection of 21 films, each less than 20 minutes, as part of the 11th annual 24fps International Short Film Festival on Friday and Saturday.
In a little more than a decade, the short film festival has grown from a local competition used to celebrate Halloween to a large-scale operation, said Barry Smoot, artistic director for the Paramount. He says in its early years, the competition received few entries, and those were from only Abilene and the surrounding Texas communities.
The selection process for entries was the same this year, but the selections from which to choose were not.
“We take the field of submissions and narrow them down to 20 to compete and be screened for the public,” Smoot said. “We ended up this year with 21, we had such a hard time cutting them down.”
24fps is open to any student or independent filmmaker worldwide, according to the 2009 24fpsÂ rules and guidelines. This year, the film competition did not receive any submissions from ACU students but received a total of 437 film entries from all over the world.
“There’s a film in the competition from Slovenia; I mean, I had to look up where Slovenia was,” Smoot said. “The entries start coming in from Texas and go all the way across the U.S., to Canada, to Mexico – then places like Iran and Japan.”
Smoot said the first 11 films will be shown Friday night, and the remaining 10 on Saturday night. Awards will be given after the last short film. Three cash prizes are given to the top three films, and another cash prize is given to the film that receives the Horizon Award, which is granted to the most promising student film.
A free screening of four films by teenage artists will take place at the Paramount Theatre as part of ArtWalk on Thursday, and 24fps is presenting a Young Filmmaker Showcase on Friday.
Tickets to the film screenings are $6 each night. Those interested can find more information about 24fps at www.paramount-abilene.org/24fps.