Arts & Culture

Olympia Short Cuts Film Festival the first of 5 mini festivals planned by OFS

An image from “The Men Behind the Wall,” an autobiographical documentary about Israeli filmmaker Ines Moldavski’s experiences dating Palestinian men on Tinder.
An image from “The Men Behind the Wall,” an autobiographical documentary about Israeli filmmaker Ines Moldavski’s experiences dating Palestinian men on Tinder. Courtesy of Olympia Film Society

This year, the Olympia Film Society is cutting its annual film festival into five mini fests, with the first — the Olympia Short Cuts Film Festival — opening Saturday.

The full-length festival, traditionally held in November, will return next spring, said Rob Patrick, the society’s program director.

Both the change of date and the addition of new smaller festivals are attempts to include more filmmakers, Patrick told The Olympian.

“More festivals throughout the year will mean more forums for discussion and more opportunities for filmmakers,” he said. “There were so many great films we had to leave on the table.

“The festival has always been creatively successful, and we’re always happy with the attendance,” he added, “but we did see that there were so many festivals lined up on similar dates that people were having to choose which festival to go to. Many people were out of town..”

The society intends to choose dates for the 2020 festival in the next few weeks, he said.

Meanwhile, locals can satiate their fresh-film cravings with snack-size festivals, including three new ones — Short Cuts, July’s Oly Doc Fest and September’s Local Film Fest — and two returning festivals, the Northwest Horrorfest in May and the Eco Film Fest in November.

Short Cuts, curated by guest programmer Andy Stark of Tacoma, showcases the breadth and quality of current short films made in the United States and abroad.

“Some of the best, most idiosyncratic cinema in the world today is being made in the short-film format,” Stark said. “Short films have the opportunity to be anything.”

“The short format is having a renaissance right now,” he told The Olympian. “More people today are making short films just for the art of it. They’re not making them as sort of calling cards for producers to get money for a feature they want to make.”

The festival, split into two programs, offers a range of styles, subjects and even lengths, with run times ranging from 5 to 28 minutes.

The 28-minute one, “The Men Behind the Wall,” is an autobiographical documentary about Israeli filmmaker Ines Moldavski’s experiences dating Palestinian men on Tinder.

“On one level, it can’t help being about the differences in experiences between Israelis and Palestinians, and on another, more personal level it really is a film about a woman trying to find a man to date,” Stark said. “Along with its specificity of this one woman’s experience, I think it has a broader resonance.”

“Men” is the final piece in program 1, which also includes “The Divine Way,” a Spanish film inspired by Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”; “Carro,” a drama about an undocumented immigrant attempting to buy a car; and “Girl Powder,” a satire about a hip millennial drug cartel.

Program 2 offers “Ada,” a comedy about a competitive walker; “Ante Mis Ojos,” a look at Colombia’s Lake Guatavita; “Bug Bite,” whose characters include a bedbug; “Allen Anders: Live at the Comedy Castle (circa 1987),” which appears to be a stand-up special but is more disturbing than funny; and “Acedia,” a sci-fi film whose title means “apathy” or “sloth.”

“When I got this position, this film was one of the first films I thought of playing,” Stark said of “Acedia.” “It tells a story through dreams, premonitions and thoughts. It’s very enigmatic, but it’s also very tactile and real.”

The festival is suitable for teenage viewers as well as adults, he said, though program 1 does include strong sexual language.

“I would encourage adventurous film-goers from the age of 14 to infinity to come out and see the festival,” he said.

Olympia Short Cuts Film Festival

  • What: The Olympia Film Society is replacing its 2019 film festival with a series of mini festivals, beginning with this weekend’s Short Cuts, a collection of short films. (The full festival will return in the spring of 2020.)
  • When: Short Cuts program 1 at 4 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; program 2 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Capitol Theater, 205 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
  • Tickets: $9 per screening, $6 per screening for film society members
  • More information: 360-754-6670,

The rest of the mini fests

  • Northwest Horrorfest, May 31
  • Oly Doc Fest, July 12-14
  • Local Film Fest, Sept. 14-15
  • Eco Film Fest, Nov. 8-10