A few weeks ago, I was asked to emcee an event at the Garde Arts Center in New London. It was the Asbury Shorts of New York, a traveling festival of short films – many former award winners.
I hate doing things on weekends – especially when I know I’ll be going with Helaine or Steffie. That would be the case tonight. As it turns out, the shame was that I didn’t bring them! The show was excellent.
First, a bit about the Garde. Many cities and towns have venues like this. It’s an older theater – in this case a former vaudeville theater built in 1926. It has been lovingly restored to its former beauty and is now run as a non-profit; featuring plays, performance and what are commonly known as cultural events (though those two words will never help them sell a ticket).
The theater’s walls, whitewashed over the years, have been restored to their original beauty. The stage and screen are large, and there’s a good sized balcony.
Asbury’s stock in trade are short films. They’re the kind of thing you hear about at the Oscar’s, when an award is given out, but never hear of again. Unlike a ‘real’ film festival, these shorts have been chosen over time. They represent a mix much less eclectic and more mainstream than what you’d see at a ‘standalone’ festival featuring all new work.
My guess is the films reflect the taste of Doug Le Claire, the director. They are often funny, always quirky, with loads of surprise endings and plot twists.
Though short, the films are well shot with excellent production values. The scripts were good. In many ways a movie benefits from not being two hours long!
I think the audience enjoyed the show. I certainly did.