Nitehawk Cinema Shorts Festival

Quick flicks: Williamsburg theater debuts short film fest

Two men walk into a bar: A still from short film “Two People He Never Saw,” which will play at the Nitehawk Cinema Shorts Festival.
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The cinema renowned for mixing booze and the big screen is now offering bite sizes.

Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg will kick-off its first Nitehawk Cinema Shorts Festival on Nov. 21, showcasing short films by local filmmakers — many of whom live within a six-block radius of the Metropolitan Avenue theater.

“Everyone seems to be creating their own thing from the ground up, and it’s inspiring to be surrounded by so many truly creative people,” said Eleanor Wilson, the director of festival entry “Possum,” and a post-producer at production company Picture Farm Gallery, which is a five-minute walk from Nitehawk.

The three-day festival will feature 22 shorts — each less than 20 minutes long — covering a diverse range of subjects including Times Square in the ’80s (“Times Square of the 80s: A Short Documentary”), marionette puppetry (“Sanko”), and a father-daughter reunion (“Sharp Love, Sharp Kittens”).

The programmers at Nitehawk said they had wanted to put a short film festival together since the independent triplex was founded in 2011. Although the theater has previously hosted outside short and feature-length film fests, its programmers have been working since January to put on their own in-house event to spotlight neighboring artists.

“Everyone in our programming department is particularly interested in shorts, and we’ve been interested in fostering emerging and local filmmakers,” said Caryn Coleman, communications manager and programmer at Nitehawk. “We wanted this to be a good platform for them.”

For some local filmmakers, entering a submission to the fledgling festival was a simple act of neighborly gratitude for the business that brought the ’hood its first multi-screen cinema in almost a decade.

“Nitehawk to me embodies the spirit of the Williamsburg that I once knew,” said Jon Sajetowski, the director of “Sharp Love, Sharp Kittens” and former long-time Wythe Avenue resident. “It’s a great addition to the neighborhood, and it certainly filled a void. The neighborhood has so many things, but it’s almost hard to believe that there wasn’t a cinema.”

Nitehawk Cinema Shorts Festival at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Avenue near Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384–3980,], Nov. 21, 9:30 pm, $15; Nov. 23–24, 11:45 am, $9–$11.

Updated 9:42 am, November 19, 2013
Reach reporter Megan Riesz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
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