Scary Cow Festival: Screening 14 Great Local Short Films

Awards season has passed, thank goodness, and film festival season is revving up. Festivals come in all shapes and sizes, some spanning multiple weeks and movie theaters, while others are one day, one theater. In the latter category is the 19th Scary Cow Independent Film Festival, starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Castro Theater and ending not long after dusk. But packed into those few hours will be many, many great shorts by Bay Area filmmakers.

Founded in 2007, Scary Cow is a co-op dedicated to strengthening the local filmmaking community by helping people to actually make films, providing varying degrees of budgets, crews, and motivation. Part of that motivation comes from the fact that programs of new short films are screened at the Castro three times a year, making this Scary Cow's 19th festival in its six-year history. Fourteen films are screening this time: 10 in Phase 1 (made without a Scary Cow-provided budget), and four in Phase 2 (made with a provided budget). Audience members vote for their favorite films in each category, and the producers of the most popular Phase 1 films get to move on to Phase 2.

One of the big attractions of 2013's first Scary Cow Festival is Lucky Dragon Productions' Sonnet Series: Suite 2. It's the follow-up to Sonnet Series: Suite 1, a Phase 2 entry which won Best Film in the 16th Festival, all the way back in March 2012.

Kicking off Phase 2 at 6 p.m., Sonnet Series: Suite 2 is a 16-minute collection of three short-shorts based on Shakespeare's sonnets — Nos. 113, 36, and 29 this time around. The screening features a one-time-only live performance of the film's score by local band LordRifa, which also performs during the intermission. Clearly, the Scary Cow system works.

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