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Two nights, two film festivals

Alt.Pictureshows and ‘Toon Town Troublemakers showcase shorts at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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A smattering of short films on topics ranging from acting to zombies will be screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla during the upcoming Alt.Pictureshows and ‘Toon Town Troublemakers events. The two nights of films mark the end of MCASD’s summer film program.

Twenty-four short films selected by film curator Neil Kendricks will be shown at Alt.Pictureshows on Aug. 28. The event will take place in five different rooms at the museum, including The Wailing Wall screen located on Miles Terrace overlooking the ocean. Attendees will be able to pick and choose which films to watch, while they are projected in different rooms simultaneously.

“If you get bored in one room you can move on to the next,” Kendricks said. “It can be harsh for some of the filmmakers who will be there, but they will get to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Kendricks selected many of the films due to their popularity on the Internet and at international film festivals. To ensure a high-quality show, he chose the films himself rather than hold an open call for submissions.

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‘Toon Town Troublemakers, which takes place Sept. 26, will include several animated short films. Although the name of the festival may suggest “Tom and Jerry” slapstick antics, the films are not Junior’s cartoons. Many include adult content and are not appropriate for children. One film, by John Jota Leanos, is called “DNN: Dead News Network.”

The screenings are intended to celebrate short films, an art form that gets far less commercial attention than feature-length films. The art form is growing with the advent of Web sites like YouTube, where filmmakers can find an audience for their work.

“There is a lot more demand for that type of content these days,” said Australian filmmaker Nash Edgerton.

One element many short films share is action-driven plots, which put less emphasis on dialogue. Many of the films are written with very little dialogue or in another language without English subtitles.

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One such film likely to glean audience reaction is Edgerton’s “Spider.” The dark comedy is built around a final twist known to make people jump out of their seats.

The film has elicited great response at film festivals around the world, earning a slew of awards including an honorable mention at the Sundance Film Festival. Edgerton attributes the film’s international success in part to it being primarily action-driven.

“Now when I go to film festivals, I don’t watch the film,” Edgerton said. “I just watch people’s faces and bodies.”

Another film, “I Love Sarah Jane”, that Edgerton worked on will also be screened at the event. Written by Edgerton’s friend Spencer Susser, the film is an unlikely story of puppy love during a zombie pandemic.

Other highlights at Alt.Pictureshows include Ken Wardrop’s light-hearted anti-smoking themed “Farewell Packets of Ten” and Chris Nelson’s “Cara,” a surrealist parody of sexuality in the entertainment world portrayed through a Hollywood casting call.

Showtimes

Alt.Pictureshows

  • MCASD La Jolla
  • 7 Aug. 28
  • Free-$5

‘Toon Town Troublemakers

  • MCASD La Jolla
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 26
  • $5 - $7

More information about both festivals:

(858) 454-3541,

www.mcasd.org