Short films a highlight of Tribeca Film Festival

Liam Cunningham and Michael Fassbender star in “Pitch Black Heist,” which runs in the “Status Update” shorts program.

Narrative feature films often unfairly hog the buzz at film festivals. Scratch that — longer films in general, documentaries included, get all the love. What about all the short films that give so many movie-makers their start? At Tribeca this year, head of shorts programming Sharon Badal urges us to give that film format fashioned for brevity a fair shake. 

“The difference between shorts and features is the difference between a sit-down dinner and a cocktail party,” she explains. “At a sit-down dinner, you’re going to have an entree. At a cocktail party, you’re going to have lots of different tastes and you might not like every single one, but if you don’t like one, the next tray that comes around, you might like that one. It’s different little bites.”

Badal has assembled nine short film programs filled with some delectable morsels to enjoy. They include two documentary programs, one experimental set and six narrative  film groupings. Each program is built around a theme, which runs through each of the films featured. Finding a theme and structure to the programs is what Badal seems to enjoy most about her job.

“That’s the creative and magical part of the process — the very end when you see it come to life in the way that you program the shorts to create a specific emotional ride for the audience,” she says. “It’s about thinking, OK, let’s start with this one, and from there we’ll go to this one, and this is the one we want when the lights come up at the end of the program because we either want the audience to be laughing or crying or scared — whatever that last emotional touch is.”

Shorts programs
The following shorts programs will be screened this weekend. Check for more details.
Narrative Shorts
“Men-hattan,” Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
“Character Flaws,” Friday, 12 p.m., Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
“Status Update,” Friday, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Sunday, 5 p.m.
“Long Story Short,” Sunday, 12 p.m.
“Fallout,” Saturday, 6:45 p.m., Sunday, 4 p.m.
“Escape Clause,” Sunday, 9 p.m.
Documentary Shorts
“Help Wanted,” Friday, 9:45 p.m., Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
“Triptych,” Sunday, 2:30 p.m.

Experimental Shorts
“Journeys Across Cultural Landscapes,” Friday, 7:30 p.m.,  Saturday, 11:30 p.m.


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