Courtesy Photo

Going to the movies is one of America’s favorite pastimes — one need only look at Hollywood’s box office haul each year as proof. And while the cinema coming out of Tinseltown has merit (some of the time), it doesn’t support the small filmmaker — the filmmaker of small (read: short) films. That’s why Santa Barbara artist/business owner Dee Elias is launching the Backyard Shorts FilmFest, a one-day event that will screen short movies made by folks living from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. “The idea came about from my own experience when I realized the amount of time, energy, finances, and teamwork involved when creating a short film,” said Elias, “[and] how disappointing it can be when the filmmaker doesn’t have an opportunity to present their film.”

Although the event doesn’t take place until Sunday, October 22, films are currently being accepted. As for ground rules, the festival is open to amateurs, professionals, and students alike; entries must be no longer than 20 minutes; and the subject matter has to fit into one of the following six categories: documentary, narrative, experimental, animated, student, or music video. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, August 15. You can upload your completed film via Secure Online Screener on The chosen shorts will be announced by Friday, September 15.

“Our mission is to benefit our local emerging filmmakers by providing a platform to showcase their original work and creative talents,” Elias said. “We celebrate and support these artists who put their heart and soul into a film.”

The Backyard Shorts FilmFest takes place Sunday, October 22, at Plaza de Oro Theatre (371 S. Hitchcock Wy.). See for more information.


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