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Gateway featuring short films in Halloween competition

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DC06-570 Gateway Hop JUL-13-2006 Photo by Jo McCulty The Ohio State University

“Homemade Horror” is set to feature horror-themed shorts at Gateway Film Center Oct. 27.

For anyone who wants to get terrified in brief increments, the Gateway Film Center is probably the place to be Monday.

The movie theater, located in the South Campus Gateway, offers a film competitions throughout the year, and this week, there’s one focusing solely on Halloween this week.

It’s a popular version of the monthly competition “Show Us Your Shorts” — your short films, that is. 

It’s like an open mic night for independent filmmakers, and takes place on the last Monday of each month at 9 p.m. Anyone can submit their film of 12 minutes or right up to half an hour before it starts. 

During these events, the audience might view submissions from a mix of film students, hobbyists and professionals screened one after the other. The films can be of any genre, and there are often submissions from students who attend Ohio State, Columbus State and Columbus College of Art and Design, said participating filmmaker Jim Higgins.

After the screenings, the audience gets the opportunity to ask the filmmaker questions and offer their opinions. 

Johnny DiLoretto, spokesman at Gateway Film Center, said he believes this is the most important part. 

“That’s the best thing about ‘Show Us Your Shorts’ — is that it gets our growing film community talking to each other in an informal way,” he said.

Cost of admission is $5, and all of the money from that fee goes to the creator of the audience-voted best film of the night. 

This week’s competition, “Homemade Horror,” a one-night-only event for horror-themed shorts. Gateway Film Center has hosted this event for the last few years, and DiLoretto said there usually more submissions than most months for, so a jury decides the top 10 films to show the audience. The jury also picks the winner, who will receive the “Skully” award, but the audience still gets to have its say. The audience-voted winner will receive all of the money from admission to the event and the opportunity for their short film to show in the previews before a movie showing at The Gateway.

Higgins, who began making films in college and is an instructor at Capital University, said he wanted to challenge himself by using an exorcism concept for his submission. He was inspired by his Irish Catholic upbringing as well as the intrigue of the topic.

“I had done research on exorcisms for a number of years just out of sheer interest and kind of found out that in movies, they did it wrong a lot of the time,” he said. 

He added that he hopes to show a more authentic portrayal of the situation.

“I hope the audience watches it and gets into the emotional ride of the actual exorcism,” Higgins said.

Higgins’ and other community members’ hard work will play out on the big screen Monday, and the audience can get involved in the film community of tomorrow. 

Jason Tostevin, an OSU alumnus and board member of Gateway Film Center, said events like “Show Us Your Shorts” are important platform for Columbus’ budding filmmmakers.

“A filmmaker is nothing without an audience, a movie is nothing until an audience watches it. The reason ‘Show Us Your Shorts’ is so important is because independent filmmakers need it to make films,” he said, noting Gateway Film Center’s importance to the community.

“This will be the hub of independent film in the greater central Ohio area … because of the programs, investment, and people who work here,” he said. 

DiLoretto also predicts big things for the future of Columbus film.

“I think Columbus’s next big exciting export is going to be our filmmakers,” he said. “We really have a very talented community of production people and they are turning out really great stuff.”

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