15th Annual Short Short Story Film Festival


November 1, 2022

Revived Local Cinema Broadens Cultural Mission with Global Short Film Festival on November 19th

Area independent cinema fans were encouraged when, after the pandemic-driven closure of the Bethel Cinema, Frank and Jamie Lockwood reopened the space as Greenwood Features earlier this year.  Beyond screening independent films at the four-screen cinema, the Bethel couple’s goals included creating a community and events destination and fostering the arts.

In support of this mission, on Saturday, November 19th, the cinema will be hosting the Short Short Story Film Festival, partnering with Southington-based MergingArts Productions, who has been presenting the festival around New England since 2007.

The festival makes its western CT debut with its fifteenth edition.  On hiatus during Covid in 2020, the festival presented an online-only “best of” edition in 2021.  MergingArts Creative Director Toni Pennacchia remarks, “After relocating to Connecticut from Providence, we wanted to bring the live festival experience back, and Greenwood Features, whose mission is creating a community and events destination, seemed like a good fit.”

Pennacchia explains that the festival’s concept is implicit in its “Short Short Story” title.  “We focus on both brevity and narrative.  While many short films in festivals can be up to forty minutes, our festival highlights films under six minutes, short and to the point.  At the same time, many very short films can be experimental, but we emphasize the story along with the short-short aspect of the films.”

The festival offers audiences a unique chance to sample rare works from two dozen countries, culled from over a thousand submissions from over eighty countries.  Almost all the films are US or World Premieres.  Audiences can attend one or both of two distinct programs, each consisting of nearly 20 films in under 90 minutes, both of which include live-action and animated shorts.

The first program, Heartstrings, screens at 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm, and leans towards live-action.  As the name implies, the films explore themes of love and loss, inspiration and frustration.  US premieres include the Ukrainian film The Anniversary, a dialog-free depiction of the effects of war on what should be a celebration of love.  World Premieres include Argentina’s The Golden Key, a tense yet touching tale of a mother and son’s struggles in the aftermath of a crime.  On the lighter side, the French/Polish co-production Bizarre! depicts a young woman trying to figure out the true intentions of a peculiar yet charming older man.

The second program, Headtrip, screens at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  With animation and live-action, the films may be absurdist, satirical, or unsettling.  Animated offerings include Finland’s Dysmorphia, a visualization of the impact of body dysmorphia on relations with others, and Portugal’s Juni and Evy, a chaotic chase between an earnest couple and a pair of desperate birds. Live-action fare includes the US Premiere of Spain’s Aminata, a glimpse at the impact of the sex trade on one of its participants.

Audiences will select their favorite three films in each program, which are then tallied across screenings to determine winners. Each program also awards a jury prize from a panel of film industry professionals who were guests on Spoiler Alert Radio, MergingArts’ nationally syndicated interview broadcast and podcast. The awards themselves are custom art objects created by previous festival participants. “It’s a simple approach, yet no other festival commissions awards from within their family,” claims Pennacchia.

A reception will follow the last screening, with DJ Madame B providing soundscapes from international artists and the festival organizers available for meet-and-greet.  The theater offers wine and local craft beers, along with savory and sweet snacks.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door on the day of the festival.

MergingArts Productions is an organization dedicated to cultural programming encompassing film, music, visual arts, technology and media.  Visit for the latest festival information.

For more information, contact:

Ms. Toni Pennacchia (She/They)

Creative Director, MergingArts Productions

401-359-2576 (Phone)

Posted in

Connecticut Arts Alliance