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Rebirth: Taos Shortz Film Fest gets new life after downsizing

“The Cheech”

For a decade, the Taos Shortz Film Fest was known as one of the premier festivals for short film.

More than a thousand entries would be submitted in hopes of making the festival screening.

In 2017, executive director Anna Cosentine decided to pull the plug on it, and the festival ended on its 10th and final year.

But there was always hope.

Duprelon “Tizzz” Tizdale brought it back last year in a smaller form.

And this year, Tizdale is breathing new life into the festival.

“Two years ago, we culminated the festival, and we were just tired of doing it,” he says. “We also couldn’t afford it anymore. The community has been supportive of the festival for a long time, so we decided to do it smaller. I talked to Anna about it, and we’re keeping is smaller as far as parties and events.”

The revamped festival begins today and will screen films through Sunday, March 24, in Taos.

Fifty-five short films from 18 countries will be screened during the three days.

The breakdown is:

• There are five programs.

• Each will screen twice.

• A New Mexico filmmakers showcase will be held at noon, Saturday, March 23.

• An awards ceremony and screening of the award winners will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Tizdale says each short film will be screened twice.

“We’re doing this so the audience doesn’t have to choose which films to watch if they are screening at the same time,” he says.

Tizdale says the festival is also known for screening or premiering Oscar nominees or winners for seven years in a row.

In 2018, the short film “Madre” was premiered in Taos, and it was nominated at the 2019 Oscars for short film.

“The system we use is pretty much the same,” Tizdale says. “Distributors contact us about the festival, and then Anna and I screen all the films. There’s so much great film getting made these days, it’s tough to pick sometimes. We like to keep the quality high, as well.”

Six premieres – three world, two North American and one United States – will be screened at the festival.

The festival will include the world premiere of “The Cheech,” which tells the story of comedian Cheech Marin’s famous Chicano art collection.

The short “Evie” will also have its world premiere. The short documents how child marriage still exists in the United States.

The Tanzanian film “Tabu” will also have its world premiere. It follows the struggle of a young woman in school.

“Golden Girl,” from Switzerland, will have its North American premiere. It tells the story of a child model breaking out.

“Last Taxi Dance” will get its North American premiere, and the short “Platypus” will have its U.S. premiere.

Tizdale says France’s “Bye Bye Virgins” and Lebanon’s “Tshweesh” are two shorts not to be missed.

“A lot of the films have challenging subject matter. We’ve gotten away from films that show violence,” he says. “I’m tired of seeing gun violence. We want to show what’s best out in the global filmmaking community.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.



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