Whether it’s your first year or your 14th year, Boulder City’s beloved Dam Short Film Festival always delivers a fresh crop of featurettes that make you laugh, cry and think. Here are seven short films you don’t want to miss at this year’s concise cinema celebration, which kicks off February 8.
Directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith
This short will probably be the first film about people with intellectual disability that is actually made by people who have that disability. A collaboration of 11 program-students of the nonprofit Bus Stop Films, “Kill Off” is the story of how a young woman with down syndrome gains an unlikely friendship via street dancing.
Drama C, Thursday, 7:30–8:30 pm
Directed by Lesley Manning
Lesley Manning has been directing for TV since the 90s and is best known for British TV drama Ghostwatch. “The Vest” brings the audience up close with a suicide bomber’s dilemma in the middle of a bustling city.
International C, Friday, 3:30–4:30 pm
Directed by Alon Juwal
At New York City International Film Festival in 2017, director Alon Juwal received Best Director of a Sci-Fi Short for “Visitors.” The trailer is very reminiscent of M. Night Shymalan’s Signs—depicting strained family relations in an isolated, rural backdrop … and impending doom.
Sci-Fi, Friday, 5:15–6:15 pm
Directed by Nikita Diakur
Nikita Diakur’s Kickstarter page categorizes “Ugly” as experimental, featuring “ugly characters, faulty dynamic animation, a new age spiritual soundtrack and an over the top metaphysical storyline.” This ugly film is the story of how a man and a cat defy all expectations, and how the creative process, not the end result, can bring the most joy in cinema.
Animation, Saturday, 1:45–2:45 pm
Directed by Ben Edmunds
Does it keep you awake at night? White guilt, I mean. A young man is awoken at night by his roommate, who wants consolation for making a joke he suspects might have been misconstrued. How will the sleepy roommate deal with being cast as the spokesperson for all who might be offended?
Comedy, Sat., 5:15–6:15 pm
The Moulin Rouge: A Fight for the West Side
Directed by Rachel Aston
Did you know you can find the United States’ first desegregated hotel and casino in Las Vegas? The Moulin Rouge, on Bonanza, just before the US-93/95 underpass, was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1992. But this monument has since suffered neglect and a devastating fire in 2003. In partnership with Harrison House, “The Moulin Rouge: A Fight for the West Side” reveals the importance of preserving a history that has been continually erased.
Nevada Films B, Sat., 7:45–8:45 pm
Directed by Mary Angelica Molina
Part of the Naughty Side of the DSFF, Valentina is the story of one housemaid whose vagina speaks up for labor rights. See a usually heavy subject taken to uncharted and hilarious territories.
Underground, Sat., 9:15–10:30 pm
14th annual Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City, February 8–11, damshortfilm.org