Preview: Ohio Shorts 2019

Brynne McGregor & Melissa Starker

Apr 22, 2019

Still from the short film "Bethany" by filmmaker Janelle Moorman, a selection in the Wexner Center for the Arts' 2019 Ohio Shorts program

The state of Ohio is home to an array of unique, impressive filmmakers and Ohio Shorts is an annual opportunity to catch up with their work. Happening this Saturday at 7 PM, the program includes a wide range of genre and form made by all ages of artists. Below, we connect with a first-timer to the program: Janelle Moorman, a junior at Columbus College of Art & Design studying Film & Video. Her contribution to Ohio Shorts is Bethany (image above, courtesy of the filmmaker), a personal documentary about traumatic loss. Below that, you'll find info about a few other films from Ohio Shorts newcomers that'll screen on Saturday.

Janelle Moorman, Bethany

How did you get into filmmaking and why do you make films?

My dad is really into home videos, which got me comfortable with a camera early on. My life is chronologized in footage of everything from sleeping to vacations and birthdays. With my father's camera, my sisters and I would make short films for school projects and fun. I gradually did more and more; eventually I reached a point where I decided that I never wanted to stop. I make films because it’s how I’ve learned to communicate complex ideas…the intricacies of life.

What was the most challenging aspect of creating your film?

My film Bethany details the very personal story of one of my best friends. I had to treat the story with extra care to make sure that I accurately represented her experience. I wanted to make sure that this wasn't a film about her mother dying, but about her experience with losing her.

What do you hope the audience takes away from viewing your piece?

I hope the audience will feel inspired to share their personal stories with others and that they will see that there is strength in suffering.

Still from the short film "Empty Skies" by Luke and Wenting Deng Fisher, part of the 2019 Ohio Shorts program at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Other newcomers to watch:

Luke and Wenting Deng Fisher, Empty Skies
Set in Communist China during its Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s, this beautifully shot story about two children searching for the last sparrow in their village was a finalist for a 2018 Student Academy Award (image above, courtesy of the filmmakers).

Yemazen Sellassie, Defining Shadows
A student at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton, Sellassie had four shorts selected for the 2019 Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition. This is one of them— a simple, earnest celebration of blackness.

Mitch Vicieux, Generica America
This arresting short from Ohio State grad student Vicieux touches on local gentrification and the audience manipulation inherent to filmmaking.