By Mark Hallum
While the Asbury Shorts Concerts, which is billed as “USA’s Premier Short Film Showcase,” has been screening short films (20 minutes or less) to audiences around the country since 1980, it makes its Flushing Town Hall debut Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The non-competitive traveling exhibition will be hosted by the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. Showcasing a number of filmmakers both well-known and otherwise, their 35th Anniversary Short Film Concert, is a 2-hour program that will feature filmmakers from countries around the globe, offering viewers what Asbury Shorts calls “a rare opportunity for the public to see elite films on a real cinema screen.”
Among the films on the program are three that illustrate its quality and diversity.
Director Yang Wang will be screening her film, “The Little Violinist.” It tells the story of Loawang, a trash picker in Chinatown who has a secret that he hides from his violin-playing daughter—one that he chooses to reveal after a performance. Originally from China, Wang attended the Master’s Directing Program at the School of Visual Arts. “The Little Violinist” took home the Best Directing Award at the Women’s Independent Film Festival and won the prize for Best Director at the Asians on Film Festival.
Belgian director Dirk Belien will be represented by his comedy short “Fait d’Hiver,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2003. The film follows the experience of a man who discovers his wife’s infidelity through a conversation with his daughter.
Nova Scotia is the setting for Canadian director Ben Proudfoot’s film, “Rust,” about Gordon Kennedy, an artist who creates new works from scrap metal that is scavenged and allowed to rust—making nature his “co-artist.” The short was awarded with Best Short Film at the 2015 Shelburne Internaitonal Film Expo in the director’s home country.
According to Asbury Shorts, Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Thank You for Smoking”) called the short film series “the best short film show I’ve ever seen!”Asbury Shorts has been shown at the Director’s Guild Theater in Manhattan, Summer Stage in Central Park, and has made national appearances as well as stops at the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Leminske Theater in Berlin. However, this will be the first time it has been featured at any theater in Queens.
The Flushing Council on Culture and Arts is a non-profit organization and National Endowment for the Arts recipient which has sought to bring entertainment from around the world to cater to the international communities of Queens since 1979.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall