By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Short film festival returns to the theater

The McMinnville Short Film Festival will feature more this year: more ways to watch, more venues and more films than ever from more places around the world.

Filmmakers and fans are more eager to attend, as well, especially since there were no in-person showings last year because of the pandemic, festival founders Nancy and Dan Morrow said.

This year, they'll be able to see some of the films in a theater, attend classes and receptions, and congratulate winners at an awards dinner from Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 10 to 13.

In addition, all the films will be available online for another week following the in-person screenings, Feb. 14 to 20.

"With a hybrid festival, people who can't get out yet can attend, too," Dan said.

Some of the 2022 festival highlights will include a keynote address by Kelley Baker, a longtime Portland filmmaker who also does a podcast and has written books. Baker works in sound design, as well, and performed that duty for the remake of "Psycho," "Good Will Hunting" and other films by director Gus Van Sant.

[See also: Local actor’s film up for award]

Baker also will teach a workshop filmmakers as the festival renews its role as an educational event, as well as a celebration of short films.

McMinnville Short Film Festival hosted workshops in its first few years, the Morrows said. "Now we have a chance to get back to education and training," they said.

Short films remain the heart of the festival, though.

A call for films went out in April 2021, and entries began trickling in. "Initially, we thought the numbers would be down, like they've been across the board at other festivals," Dan said.

As the November deadline neared, though, "we had a surge of entries," he said. "More films than ever, and quality better than ever."

Several judges returned from previous years, along with a couple of new judges. "They all said 'wow, we're amazed at the quality,'" said Nancy, who started the festival with her husband 11 years ago.

"These short films are getting stronger and stronger," she said.

Entries came in from Yamhill County, Oregon, the Northwest, and throughout the U.S. In addition, films were submitted by directors from Serbia, Finland, Spain, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Slovenia, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Belgium and France.

The Morrows said they weren't sure until mid-January that they'd be able to have in-person screenings and other events during the McMinnville Short Film Festival.

They kept an eye on COVID statistics and restrictions. Finally, they felt they could say yes to the live events.

Filmmakers and others were thrilled, they said. "People want to get out and do things," Dan said.

Within hours after the live event was announced, they said, they received 50 RSVPs. In addition, they received more than two dozen registrations for the workshops by Feb. 1.

Film screenings will be held in the McMinnville Cinema. Viewers will be socially distanced in the largest auditorium, the Morrows said, and masks and proof of vaccination will be required, as at all the events.

Workshops will be held at Alt Coworking in downtown McMinnville. Bakers' workshop and dinner will start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday; reservations are required.

Receptions are planned at Laurelwood Winery near Carlton and another at Ten Oaks Gallery, the Morrows' art gallery in McMinnville.

Afterhours events will be at Elena's Wine Bar and Grain Station Brew Works.

The awards dinner will cap off the festival in The Bindery event space. The ticketed event will start at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13.

"We wanted to spread things out and support more local businesses," Nancy Morrow said.

Films will be screened in blocks according to genre, such as documentary, drama/comedy, animation or experimental/a little bit strange.

There's even a local category. Entries include work by two McMinnville filmmakers: Ted DeChatelet's award-nominated film "Mac and Lewis" and the "Trent Saucer Special" by West Skotko.

Other nearby filmmakers who will show work in the festival are Rett Bowers of Gaston, with "Jamaica: A Stop-Motion Animated Music Event," nominated for best first-time filmmaker; and Carly Sweet and Scott Gaede of Newberg with "Creation in Mourning," nominated for the best college film award.

Each screening will run for 90 minutes to two hours. Starting times and dates are listed on the festival website, at

The website lists all the 2022 entries, including films nominated for honors such as the Will Vinton Animation Award or the First-time Filmmaker Award.

Tickets for each screening are $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Cost is the same for each on-line screening block, although only one ticket is needed per household watching online.

Full weekend passes, which include both in-person and online screenings through Feb. 20, are $75. The price also includes the filmmaker reception and the Feb. 13 awards dinner with the keynote speaker.

For a full schedule of all events and information about the films, go to the website or the McMinnville Short Film Festival Facebook page.


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable