Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. Her short film, “Strange People At Your Parties,” screened at the Hub Shorts Film Festival.
Last week, I wrote about the first annual Hub Shorts Film Festival at the Dallas Hub Theater. The festival was a one-day-only event that opened and closed on July 9.
Despite the downpour of summer rain, the theater was full of moviegoers and filmmakers mingling in the lobby, drinking coffee, munching on cupcakes and popcorn, and admiring the hand-blown glass on display by artist Blake Boettcher.
A new venture for the Dallas Hub Theater, both curator Lauren Guyer and owner Tim Shane were pleased with the turnout. “It was packed, and we had to add seats,” Shane said. “It was great to see such a mixture of artists and audiences connecting and getting back to what the Dallas Hub is supposed to be.”
The festival ran a contest for the Box Office Favorite, Producer’s Pick and Audience Favorite. The winners were announced this morning.
Box Office Favorite goes to UT Dallas undergraduate student Matthew A. Cowling for his horror short, “Twisted.”
“Twisted” is a psychological thriller set in present day. A young couple travels to an old house to watch over it for the weekend. After arriving, Jessica takes a solo exploration trip around the creaky house. Near the end of her journey, Jessica passes out after knocking a heavy plant onto her head. After waking up some time later, Jessica finds herself in an altered state of mind. Vivid colors and disorienting sounds toy with her mind, causing rapidly increasing confusion. At the peak of her delusion, Jessica makes a deadly error, and in doing so finds out what really happened.
“I am ecstatic to have won the Box Office award at the Hub Shorts Film Festival,” Cowling said. “It is my first award at any festival, and it makes me proud of my work. I am thankful that others are able to enjoy ‘Twisted,’ since that is the true goal of being a filmmaker.”
UT Dallas graduate Brad Sanders’ comedic animated short, “Ain’t I A Woman?” was chosen as Producer’s Pick. “Ain’t I A Woman?” follows the story of Lesley, a transgender doll, to examine the gender binary at its intersection with technology and advanced capitalism. As Lesley proceeds through her transformation, the film exposes the ambiguity inherent in our socially constructed notions of gender and the way gender has been commodified and institutionalized by our social and economic systems.
“I thought the Hub Theatre was a great venue for a film festival. There was a lot of variety in the entries, and it was an enjoyable experience,” Sanders said.
“Ain’t I A Woman?” has recently been chosen to be screened at OutTakes Dallas in August. So, if you missed seeing it at Hub Shorts, here’s another chance.
At the end of the festival, the audience was given the opportunity to vote on the film they liked the most. I’m honored and proud to say that my film, “Strange People At Your Parties” was voted as Audience Favorite.
Inspired by musician Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” and the ability of Bob Dylan to transform himself into different characters (and for other people to become Dylan à la I’m Not Here), “Strange People At Your Parties” takes ideas presented in Cohen’s book, Beautiful Losers, and political and societal ideas set forth by both artists and interprets them in a modern context. I was also inspired by the 1996 short Leonard, Light My Cigarette by J. Jacob Potashniki.
An experimental film that combines dance, text and music, “Strange People” might be perplexing, but it’s human nature to be so. If we were so easy to understand, then we wouldn’t have culture or art.
I would like to thank everyone who voted for “Strange People At Your Parties,” and to thank the actors. This is your award. I couldn’t have made the film without all of your hard work. Thank you.
With the success of the festival, Guyer says she is excited to start planning for the second Hub Shorts Film Festival next year. The sponsorship with It’s A Grind Coffee House was a success, and she is hoping to expand both the range and scope of films and sponsorships.