The 24fps International Short Film Festival is bringing global perspectives to the Paramount.
On Nov 6-7, 31 short films will be shown at the Paramount Theatre. Single program tickets are $10, and a festival pass is $20. Tickets can be purchased online at paramount-abilene.org or at the venue.
“The festival is geared toward independent film with submissions coming from students, undergrad programs and independent film companies all over the world,” festival director Barry Smoot said.
The festival first began under the name WESTfest in 1999 but underwent a name change in 2001 when its submission field was expanded to include international entries. The festival received over 6,000 submissions and will showcase films from 31 countries.
“It’s really unique programming that you don’t usually have an opportunity to see in this region of Texas,” Smoot said. “It’d be a fascinating weekend for anybody who wants to do anything different.”
For some of the short films it will be the first time they will be shown in front of audiences, but some have been in festivals like Sundance, Smoot said. Oh Lucy!, The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul and World of Tomorrow were all winners at the 2015 Sundance film festival and will be screened this weekend.
The festival, while a place where filmmakers can showcase their talent, is also a competition that gives cash prizes to the winners of six film categories. Two juries, one local and one comprised of individuals from Spain, California, Texas and New York, view the official selections for the festival and vote on their picks for the categories.
Dr. Nil Santana, associate professor of art and design, is the chair of the local jury and said what he looks for when he views the festival’s selections is a good story.
“I’m mostly drawn by story-telling and how the narrative is presented to the viewer,” Santana said. “The things that we, the jury, kind of try and pay attention to is how the use of film as a medium works out for the message the director is trying to convey,” Santana said.
Santana has been on the local jury for over ten years but wishes more residents would participate in the international festival.
“It’s been great to be part of this; not only the program has grown, but also the quality of the films,” Santana said. “At some point it is sad to see that the program could have had greater attendance, but it’s been changing over the years.”
Santana also commends the work Smoot does when choosing the films to be selected for the screenings.
“One of the greatest things about the festival is the diversity of the genres that they have,” Santana said. “Barry does a very good job curating and balancing between documentaries, comedies, dramas, sci-fi and everything else.”
Abilene may not be a hub for international short films but nonetheless, Smoot says, the impact festivals like 24fps have on the public can be eye opening.
“Because this is an international festival it gives you the opportunity to see people’s viewpoints from across the world, not just politically, but in the way that people treat each other and what their world view is,” Smoot said. “It’s just cool to see a global perspective of the world, which is not easy to do.”