For the third year, Nitehawk Senior Film Programmer Caryn Coleman has given us a great gift: the Nitehawk Shorts Festival.
Why is a short film festival so awesome, you ask? Simple. Because, like any truly great gift, it will surprise you; it will surprise you in the way that something surprises you because it—the short film—isn’t something you think very much about, before realizing that it could be so, so good. And with this festival, Nitehawk and Coleman have not only brought together a collection of some of the best new shorts, but also their makers, so that you may ask them questions about how they did it, and then drink with them afterwards. And it will surprise you because, like the coolest kid in school—the deep, down, for real cool ones—Nitehawk makes all of this look like it’s no big deal at all.
Tonight is the festival’s official opening, a presentation of documentary and narrative short films (ranging between only four and seventeen minutes), followed by a Q&A with filmmakers and a big drinking party with everyone involved at L0-Res, the bar downstairs, immediately afterward. Tickets are sold out but—secret—Coleman says Nitehawk will reserve a few open seats each night for anyone who puts in the extra effort, shows up in person, and asks to purchase them. That person could be you. And regardless, you can still party with everyone at the Reyka Vodka sponsored party after the show, whether you went or not.
Last night Coleman gave us the gift of a pre-opening night lineup of short art films, Art Seen, and those films’ makers. Remember the best art movie ever made, Cutie And the Boxer? Its director, Zachary Heinzerling was at Nitehawk last night to show his latest film, Hugh The Hunter (2014), an unorthodox, short, inventive portrait of artist Hugh Hayden that reimagines Hayden as a game bird, who camouflages himself into the Scottish countryside. And you know that guy Marcel Dzama, one of the best working contemporary artists in New York, who made one of the best music videos ever for Department of Eagles’ No One Does It Like You? He was there, too, for a screening of his utterly horrifying short film Une Danse Des Bouffons, which initially played on loop at David Zwirner Gallery in 2013. In the Q&A afterward, Dzama revealed his next exciting project: a ballet based on a Hans Christian Andersen Fairytale that he will make look like a combination of his traditional ballistic dancers and, he told me, a Bauhaus aesthetic. Magical.
Tickets are still available (except for tonight—but, remember, you can show up and try!) for the rest of the festival, which runs through Sunday, November 15 and the entire program can be found here. Coleman tells me she is especially excited for the MIDNITE screenings, made of short films “most appropriately viewed after the clock strikes midnight,” and, once again, a filmmaker Q&A.
So, please, do as Dale Cooper says and give yourself a present, this time in the form of an evening of short film. Only, do plan it. It won’t just happen. But it will definitely be worth it because hanging out with people who make amazing art is so much fun. Another night at Nitehawk is, most definitely, not just another night at the movies.