Drop Your Shorts: a celebration of local films

The line for tickets spilled out of the front door and into the street in front of the Athena Cinema on Sunday night. A large crowd gathered for the second annual Drop Your Shorts event.

The event gave local filmmakers a chance to display their work onto the big screen in front of a public audience.

The audience consisted of fellow filmmakers, students, faculty and community members. Most of the filmmakers were present at the screening, which allowed them to receive immediate feedback on their work.

“You can feel the energy in the room and see how it’s being received. You can see all the flaws and the great parts in your film, you can hear the laughter and you can feel the tension, so it’s a totally unique experience,” said Yang Miller.

Miller is the producer, organizer, and host of Drop Your Shorts. In addition, Miller also serves as the technical director and audience experience coordinator at the Athena Cinema.

“It’s basically a celebration of short local films that were produced around the tri-state area,” said Miller. “the goal is to just create a space for filmmakers to show their work, get it up on the big screen, and enjoy the experience with other people. And also to foster and build a local film community.”

The films ranged from around two minutes to eleven minutes in length. As a part of the rules, none of the films could exceed 12 minutes.

“Last year, everyone who submitted films got the chance to see their work on the screen. This year there was more competition, so we had to cut about 10 films,” said Miller.

This year, 22 films were played. There were a handful of music videos, one mockumentary, several dramatic narrative pieces and some experimental films.

“It was a great variety of stuff, I really enjoyed it,” said Josh Wilder, a local filmmaker. “It feels really cool to see your work being well received by a big audience, I was not expecting this many people, so that was a big surprise.”

Filmmakers and audience members were invited to go to the Union after the screening to hang out and discuss the films together.

“I thought that it captured the essence of what it means to be living in Athens and to be a filmmaker in Athens, even though there were some from out of town as well,” said Maeve Kroeger, an audience member and junior at Ohio University.

This year, the event was a friendly competition, as well as a celebration. Each audience member graded each film on a scale of one to five. Whichever film receives the highest ranking will be screened for a month, before one of the Athena’s nationally distributed, feature-length films.

Drop Your Shorts will return to the Athena Cinema next spring, allowing more filmmakers from the area to debut their work for the ever-growing Athens film community.

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