Daytripping Through Shorts in Albany


"Washed Away" by Dana Nachman features Bay Area artist Andres Amador.

Courtesy of Albany FilmFest

Albany FilmFest has carved out a unique, appropriately ambitious niche on the ultra-crowded Bay Area film calendar: One hopping day of short films, culled from every genre and screened in curated programs, with filmmakers in abundance and eager to schmooze. Casual, crisp, fun, and enlightening, Albany FilmFest is pitched to connoisseurs of succinct storytelling, new initiates to the distinct pleasures of the short form and aspiring filmmakers.

The seventh edition of the FilmFest, unspooling March 26 at the Albany Twin Theatre, makes a point of spotlighting Bay Area directors and/or topics of local interest. Albany’s own Sasha Flamm reveals the knack and art of finding gold in the Golden State in Lonely As Gold, while Berkeley filmmaker Courtney Quirin ventured up to British Columbia to document the struggles of fishermen (and women) in The Georgia Girl. Another local documentarian, Dana Nachman of Batkid Begins fame, screens her profile of a creator of fleeting sand mandalas, Washed Away. Up-and-coming narrative filmmaker Cameo Wood presents Real Artists, starring Tamlyn Tomita and Tiffany Hines in a work of speculative fiction based on a Ken Liu short story.

As an adjunct to the festival, the Albany Community Center hosted the Albany FilmFest Kids’ Matinee on Feb. 18. One could say that short films pair neatly with children’s shorter attention spans, but kids seem to have no trouble with Disney and Pixar features. On the contrary, adults are gravitating increasingly to shorts, as evidenced by the box-office success of the Oscars-nominated shorts. We’re realizing that lots of stories, real and imagined, can be told effectively and satisfyingly in a matter of minutes. At Albany FilmFest, prologues, digressions, subplots, and superfluous dialogue are kept to a minimum.

Albany FilmFest, March 26, Albany Twin Theatre, 1115 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-525-4531,


This report appears in the March edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.


Published online on March 20, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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