Short. Sweet. Film Fest enlivens winter doldrums

Laura Hurst, Contributing Reporter

“Good food, good films, good beer.” A simple but inviting slogan, this weekend’s Short. Sweet. Film Fest promises to deliver two full days of spirited arts and culture. Mike Suglio, Case Western Reserve University alumnus and one of the founders of the festival, said the Fest arose out of an idea for a “soul show”—an event meant to blend arts, eats, the charming city of Cleveland and indulgence, all into a night of general merriment.

Market Garden Brewery, located on West 25th street in Ohio City, one of Cleveland’s best hubs for culture and nightlife, will host the Cleveland based film festival while keeping viewers’ palettes well-whet for great selections of brews, bites and music as well.

The festival is an ode to Cleveland’s rise in the arts and culture scene—and thanks to the diligent and dedicated work of many of CWRU’s own. The Fest’s founders, Alex Parloff and Suglio were both CWRU students. Henry Snow, the technical director and webmaster completed his undergraduate degree at CWRU and is now pursuing his master’s degree here. Katy Witkowski, coordinator of the festival’s music section, is a current senior student. She is also the arts and entertainment editor of The Observer, but was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.

The lineup will showcase a mix of local and international films with selections from Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as industry names such as Luke Wilson, Zach Braff and Sally Kirkland. The weekend will show a total of 43 films, about a quarter of which are those of Cleveland filmmakers.

Attention spans can be undeniably short. Fortunately, equally terse director Q&A’s and musical acts intersperse the brief films. The constant changes in subject and format will keep interests piqued.

Some exciting features include a film by Luke and Andrew Wilson, “Satellite Beach,” the premiere of the music video “Future Warrior” by the band Palms and a documentary on the hip-hop past of an Ohio City’s own congressman.

The Fest is only in its third year but already proving to be quite the success. This year’s musical acts will inaugurate a new component of the festival. Saturday will have only an intermission show, but after the film showings on Sunday, ticket holders can enjoy the concert following at 6 p.m.

Only two bands performed during intermissions in 2013, but Suglio said that many people came for the music, which was well-received. Additionally, he noted that “filmmakers tend to like music and musicians tend to like film.” So why not celebrate the two arts together?

Unlike the films, the musicians are mostly Clevelanders, except for Falling Hollywood hailing from Erie, Pennsylvania, but the line-up still boasts all “Lake Erie based bands,” assured the music coordinator, Katy Witkowski.

Adding to the notable CWRU presence, sibling duo Brendan and Caitlin Hearn (Brendan is an undergraduate here at CWRU and Caitlin is an alumnus) will perform at intermission Saturday. The other acts include Dolfish playing Sunday’s intermission, Meag and the Degrees of Freedom starting out the concert portion, Christopher Black and the headliner, Honeybucket.

The fest fosters Cleveland as a base to showcase its own blossoming arts and culture scene with the support and spice of some unfamiliar and other very familiar artists.

Make an afternoon escape of it or a whole weekend affair: CWRU students need only to hop on the Red Line and bring an appetite for good beer, good films and good music.

A complete, detailed lineup and more information can be found on the festival’s website. Short. Sweet. Film Festival will run from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 and from 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 then followed by musical acts from 6 to 11 p.m.

Executive Editor’s Note: Because of the festival’s strong affiliation with the CWRU community, The Observer’s business department agreed to sponsor this year’s event. No staff members affiliated with the sponsorship of Short. Sweet. Film Fest were involved in the writing or editing of this article.