The 14th Annual Dam Short Film Festival took center stage in Boulder City this past month and was the most successful so far!  According to Director John LaBonney almost 5,000 seat at the Boulder Theatre were sold with 10 times more presale at this year’s festival. LaBonney attributes those crowds, which included a completely sold-out screening for Saturday’s comedy block, to the “incredible and aggressive” promotional effo


rts to Tanya VDSC03038ece, media manager for the festival. I have known Tanya for many years and last year Tanya invited me down and it was well worth the trip!


The event last year included a special music video block which included incredible music videos by local musicians and directors (including Mark Stoermer of The Killers!) that I really enjoyed. The Dam Short Film Festival is the biggest film festival in Nevada that features 120-plus films over four days. The Festival is run by the Dam Short Film Society, a non-profit Nevada Corportation founded by Lee and Anita Lanier. I actually caught up with Executive Director Lee Lanier for a few words last year:

Sally: “How is your film festival different than others?”

Lee: “We have a single screen and concentrate on just short films. We look for films that are good that we can share with our audience. Sometimes they are beginners sometimes they are hobbyists, sometimes they are professionals doing films on the side. So we have an outlet for them. Short films play on short film festivals and it is a way for them to show the films to a live audience. Some do end up getting limited distribution”.

Sally: “What advice can you give aspiring film makers?”

Lee: “A short film is a great way to do it and you can make the film yourself on a limited budget to learn your technique. A feature costs much more money and the risk is so much lower to do a short film. Learn your basic techniques and do a short film first. And then submit to us on our website!”

The festival wrapped up with the awards dinner and I had a chance to speak to Director Emily Skyle who won the Leslie Page Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking. Her movie “Dear George” was my favorite. She told me she is on her way to Cannes so best of luck to her!


The 2018 Winners Were:

Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking: “Pop”
Best Animation: “Wishing Box”
Best Music Video: “What I Want”
Best Drama: “Hero”
Best Comedy: “To Do List”
Best Student: “Pickle”
Best Nevada Filmmaker: “Halt the Salt”
Best Documentary: “Mr. Connolly Has ALS”
Best Sci-Fi/Horror: “Sputnik”
Final Draft Best Screenplay: “House of the Lonesome Human Beings”
Audience Favorite (Best of the Fest): “The Matchmaker”

The 2017 Winners Were:

Best Animation – Bingo!
Best Comedy – Mime Games
Best Documentary – Billsville
Best Drama – Minh Tâm
Best Nevada – Barriers
Best Student – Angeltown
Best Sci-Fi/Horror – Brentwood Strangler
Audience Favorite / Best of the Fest – Soul of a Tree
Final Draft Best Screenplay – Like Totally Hot Couple Seeking Same
Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking – Dear George

Thank you again to Tanya Vece for inviting me and Vegas Rocks! Magazine to cover the Dam Short Film Festival. I look forward to going again next year!

Sally Steele


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