PICK: James River Short Film Showcase on Friday, Jan. 28

The oldest juried film competition in the state, the James River Short Film Showcase will be streaming rather than in person this year due to a change in COVID protocols at the VMFA. Co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Office, the competition held by the James River Film Society features nine finalists with $2,000 in prize money awarded. Most of this year’s finalists (see list below) are from Virginia or California, though there is one entry from Italy.

The live virtual broadcast event, available via the JRFS website, will be held on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. but it will remain streaming until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. You can tune in for free, but if you do watch the showcase, remember to vote for the People’s Choice winner and also that donations can be made through the website and are “most appreciated” by the organizers.

If by some crazy, offhand chance you are unfamiliar with the James River Film Society, this volunteer-run group has been a valuable resource for local filmmakers as well as supporting the finest in independent and experimental filmmaking for over a quarter century now; in fact, you can read an oral history of the group and it’s festivals in this 2018 cover story by Style Weekly’s Editor Brent Baldwin, who was a volunteer with the larger James River Film Fest in its inaugural year (1994) and has guest judged the short film competition in the past.

This year’s short film judge is Kevin Downs, who has a long history in film education and production, including as an advisory board member of the internationally distributed journal Creative Screenwriting. He is also a former recipient of a filmmaking grant from the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

See you at the computer screen.

Note: The larger 28th annual James River Film Festival is also scheduled for March 30-April 3 at the VMFA, Byrd Theatre and VCU’s Grace St.Theater, if all goes well. But who knows where we’ll be by then. Stay tuned for details.

Here are this year’s finalists for the short film showcase:

“Beyond the Shadows” – Steven J. York & Jacob Dodd (California)

“Miles & Kilometers – Sonali Gulati (Virginia)

“Rogue: The Western” – Carly Miller (California)

“Your Time is Up!” – Leon Truong (Virginia)

“Peaches” – Benjamin Hunt (Virginia/California)

“Pedigree” – Brittney Harris & Russ Fulmore (Virginia)

“Snow Angel” – Evie Metz (Virginia)

“Pottero” – Lindsey Martin (Ohio)

“Gas Station” – Olga Torrico (Italy)

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