Burlington County hosts first juried short film festival

The Burlington County Parks Division organized the festival with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Special to The Sun: Burlington County will host its first juried short film festival at the county library on May 12 and May 13. Twenty-seven short films will be screened, including the mystery “Chatsworth,” about a disappearance in the Pine Barrens.

The first-annual Burlington County Juried Short Film Festival will be held on May 12 and May 13 and will feature a fantastic line up of imaginative movies and documentaries.

A total of 27 short films will be screened during the two-day festival at the Burlington County Library. Screenings will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a mix of narrative, documentary and animation films.

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“Burlington County is blessed with incredible natural beauty, history and culture and we’re excited to hold our very first short film festival to further cultivate the arts and filmmaking here,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the Board’s liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “There’s an incredible mix of films, including narrative comedies, heart-warming documentaries and dramatic mysteries and adventure tales. The next Stephen Spielberg or Alfred Hitchcock could be here in Burlington County, so we want to encourage film lovers of all ages to come out and see these amazing short films.”

Among the films that will screen is the uplifting tale “Dan the Man”, a documentary about a young man who doesn’t let Down Syndrome impede his huge passion for sports; the fantasy film “Prince and the Zs”, about a pair of friends attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse; and “Stand Off”, an imaginative and funny look at two children who imagine themselves to be fighting an Old West showdown.

Some of the other films scheduled to be screened include: “Who Says”, a documentary about a New Jersey program for developmentally disabled teens and young adults; “Midnight Paper” about a student’s frantic attempt to meet a deadline; “Chatsworth”, about a mysterious disappearance in the Pine Barrens; “We are Suns”, a documentary about a college student’s quest to meet his biological father; and the animated film, “Dams: Pros and Cons.”

The movies were created by filmmakers with different backgrounds, including students from Moorestown High School and a Burlington Township Media TV class. Submissions also came from hobbyists and professional filmmakers. All films are 30 minutes or less and were deemed family-friendly, though some movies shown on the second night feature more mature themes.

Admission to the festival is free and both nights will conclude at around 8 p.m. following a discussion period with the participating filmmakers.

In addition to screening each of the films, the parks division will announce 11 award winners for best animated film, best documentary, best narrative and best “Parks” film, a special category for films about nature or the Burlington County Parks. Movies filmed in Burlington County parks were also eligible for this category. Several other submissions were awarded special Judges Choice honors.

A panel of three professional filmmakers and educators judged the films. The Burlington County Parks Division organized the new festival with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

“With more than 1,000 acres of developed parkland and 50-miles plus of interconnecting hiking, biking and running trails and several fantastic museums and galleries, our Burlington County Parks System is clearly one of the best in the entire state and region, but what also sets us apart is the incredible events and programs our Parks staff help organize and run,” Eckel said. “Events like this film festival help enlighten and entertain residents of all ages and are a big part of why our county is such a great destination. You don’t want to miss it.”

For more information on all of the films, visit https://www.co.burlington.nj.us.

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