Asbury Shorts, New York City’s longest running, non-competitive short film exhibition and travel show, will present its acclaimed 35th Anniversary Short Film Concert – a high-energy, eclectic screening of world-renowned shorts – for the first time ever at Flushing Town Hall on Friday, October 21, 2016.
Asbury USA “concerts” feature the best in short film comedy, drama and animation, without promoting competition General admission tickets to the event are an affordable $12 ( $10 for members and students) and can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org.
Founder and Director Doug LeClaire is an award winning Line Producer of national television commercials and major cable network promos. He has produced advertising and promotional television campaigns for Lifetime TV Networks; WE-TV; Comedy Central; MTV; Spike, Oxygen as well as the NBC and ABC TV Networks.
We spoke with Doug and asked him what’s in tap for the event.
Tell us what audiences can expect at the concert?
A fast-paced and highly entertaining eclectic mix of award winning short films from the past and present, specially selected from some of the world’s top film festivals.
An Asbury Short Film Concert is not produced as a traditional film festival. No long speeches, no awards, no panel discussions and we’d rather have malaria than do a Q & A! A program of Oscar Nominees, international film festival honorees and “Best of Show” winners from U.S. film festivals all in one sitting presented by a guest host who briefly points out a few notes about each of the films, which really speak for themselves. Comedy, dramatic and animated shorts presented in two acts over the course of the evening.
How did it originate 35 years ago?
A group of Communication Arts graduates from the New York Institute of Technology in Long Island, NY banded together in 1981 to create a once a year screening of local area college student films so those fledgling filmmakers could present their work to audiences outside of their respective campuses. A non-competitive evening (almost party like) casual screening of student award winners presented to the general public.
Over the ensuing years the organizers of Asbury Shorts decided to ramp up the annual “festival” as it was called at that time in the mid 1980’s, and reach out to international film festival honorees bringing those films to the New York metro area. Asbury Shorts officially moved into Manhattan in 1988 and began a 8-year run at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Haft Auditorium where celebrity Guest Hosts such as Matthew Modine, Edie Falco, Harvey Keitel, John Avildsen and Dylan McDermott joined in to show their support for independent short filmmaking.
Over the decades since that time Asbury Shorts USA became New York City’s longest running non-competitive short film exhibition and ultimately a touring showcase of the world’s best short films with shows produced from Berlin to Los Angeles and presented annually at historic and amazing venues in cities in between. Now in its 35th anniversary year, the presentation is officially known as The Asbury Short Film Concert.
How did you get involved?
I’m one of the founders who came up with the original idea circa 1979. At that time outlets for filmmakers to screen their independently produced short films were quite limited as shorts were being phased out of mainstream theatrical opportunities.
We felt there was a need for a public screenings of these films outside of the minimal amount of established film festivals in the world, giving these filmmakers a chance to showcase their talents and stories on a real cinema screen. This was all before The Tribeca Film Festival, The SOHO International Film Fest, The Hamptons International Film Festival, South by Southwest and, yes, even The Sundance Film Festival.
What films will be shown this October at Flushing Town Hall?
See we have this rule at Asbury Shorts where we don’t like to reveal the entire line-up planned for upcoming shows so potential attendees see what will be in the programs and then immediately go to You Tube or Vimeo or some such digital independent film site and see the films ahead of time.
I can tell you we will be featuring an amazing mix of past festival award-winning shorts in the 10-film line-up, including Oscar Nominee “ASAD” from world-renowned filmmaker Bryan Buckley about a young Somali boy who has to grow up very quickly and decide to become an ocean pirate or a fisherman; “Rust” a short documentary about a Canadian sculptor who uses found metal materials for his work and lets them rust in order to use nature as a co creator of his pieces from Los Angeles filmmaker Ben Proudfoot; “The Girl in the Gondola” from UK director Abbe Robinson, whose wonderful story about a young Venetian girl yearning to grow up to become a Gondolier breaking centuries of male dominated tradition; and, one of our all-time Asbury Shorts “Hall of Fame” inductees: “Legends of Doo Wop,” about two famous 1950’s studio musicians who worked with some of the biggest names in Rock n’ Roll.
The Asbury Shorts Concert on October 21st is guaranteed to be huge fun and educational at the same time!
What are some of the topics addressed in the films?
A hamster who is smitten with a new acquaintance and chases his would-be love interest halfway around the world to introduce himself; an elderly couple at an assisted living facility who literally fall in love every 24 hours; a sanitation worker who runs into a former grammar school buddy who he hasn’t seen in over 30 years opening old wounds about his past; and, an office clerk who finds love on the internet through a blind date site and now must learn how to tango in two weeks in order to impress this woman. I revealed a bit more in the previous question.
Who are the filmmakers?
The purpose of The Asbury Short Film Concert is to bring international award winners to the city, venue or borough where audiences have never seen these films on a real cinema screen before.