Attending FilmQuest this year (2017) brought back my enjoyment of short films. I didn’t realize until sitting through a couple of blocks of films how much I liked them while I was growing up. As a disclaimer up front, I am going to pitch to you why you should be checking out short films at the independent theaters, film festivals, and other places you can find them.

I haven’t seen a block of short films in years. This is my fault. I look at my schedule and would think I don’t have time for such nonsense like a short film. This is an oddity because I like reading and writing short stories. Several of my favorite short story authors are H. P. Lovecraft, Roger Zelazny, and Philip Jose Farmer. Looking at who I enjoy, I’m not surprised the shorts at FilmQuest were so enjoyable to me.

I wracked my memory to come up with the last time I saw a collection of short films. It was when I was attending the University of Utah and a group of us went to the Blue Mouse to see that year’s award-winning shorts. That was the year Pixar introduced the lamps. Something we now see at the start of their movies and consider it to be so basic in animation. Back then, it was cutting edge.

My enjoyment of the shorts goes back further. Along with what I liked to read, it went along with what I liked to watch. I didn’t always get to watch the programs I wanted to (I’m the youngest of five children), and if you missed an episode you had to find someone to tell you about it. Or, later, you hoped someone recorded it on their VCR. Growing up, I enjoyed watching the shows that were not episodic dramas or comedies. I enjoyed the shows that represented short film making.

Three of my favorites TV shows were The Twilight Zone (in rerun), The Outer Limits (also in rerun), and Night Gallery. Again, I see how the Filmquest films fit right in to what I like. These shows showcased the short format of film storytelling. Every week a new story would be presented with new settings, characters, and plots. Seldom did a story carry over into the next week’s episode.

The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone are still being watched regularly (unfortunately Night Gallery hasn’t done as well). I’ve talked with people who enjoy watching these older shows and we’ve had discussions about which episode, which story, were our favorites (one of mine is Green Fingers from Night Gallery).

I have friends who haven’t gone to see a short film in a long time, or at all, and realized how much we’ve been missing out on.

FilmQuest targets fantasy, science fiction, and horror. There are other festivals for other genres. Independent movie houses present short films in blocks so you get multiple stories for the price of a single ticket. At FilmQuest there are around 10 short films showing in a block.

If you enjoy reading short stories, or if enjoyed the TV shows that gave a different story, or several, every episode, I recommend checking out short films.