The 2017 Provincetown Intl. Film Festival provides as diverse a showcase for short films as it does for narrative features and documentaries. No fewer than four short film programs are featured this year, including queer shorts by male and female directors and a New England series devoted to, as artistic director Lisa Viola says, “films that are regionally made, both in terms of subject and where the filmmakers live.” The expansive spotlight is due to the festival’s belief that short films can be a calling card for developing filmmakers.
“As a filmmaker, I know how important a short film can be to your career,” says executive director Christine Walker, whose credits as producer include “American Splendor” and “Howl.” She’s seen first-hand how festivals like PIFF can forge opportunities for filmmakers: Lisanne Skyler, who screened her documentary short “Brillo Box (3 ¢ off)” at PIFF 2016 made a connection at the festival that led to her next project. “She’s said to me several times that because of the festival, [she] got this new gig,” says Walker. Her short “A Few Things About Robert Irwin” will run June 15 and 16.
For filmmakers, the short-film format also allows for greater freedom than in feature-length projects. “I think it’s fun as a director to work in the short form, because there’s more room for experimentation, and less pressure,” says actor Chloe Sevigny, whose 2016 short, “Kitty,” will screen at this year’s festival, as well as “Beatriz at Dinner,” the Trump-era drama in which she appears alongside Salma Hayek, Jay Duplass, John Lithgow, Amy Landecker and Connie Britton. Sevigny adds that short films can serve as test runs for future long-form projects. “I hate to say [that they are] experiments, but I learned how I feel working with different directors of photography, and what makes me feel confident, so that when I get around to directing a feature I’ll have enough under my belt to make decisions as to what will help me along.”
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Included in this year’s short film programs are “Love the Sinner,” Geeta Gandbhir and Jessica Devany’s look at the connection between Christianity and homophobia after the Pulse nightclub shooting; Adam Roffman’s “The Collection,” about two friends’ discovery of rare movie memorabilia; and Amy DePaola’s “Amydee.”