A short-film festival offers unique rewards for film fans. By their nature, shorts are best suited to small, character-driven pieces (few shorts attempt to encapsulate, say, the entire military history of the Assyrian empire), but the form allows filmmakers the freedom to play around.

In any given roster, the lucky viewer might find an autobiographical slice of life; something designed to show off newly mastered special effects; a “Twilight Zone”-style twist-ending thriller; an intimate, heartfelt documentary; and maybe a clunker that wouldn’t get double-digit hits on YouTube. But since you’re at a short-film festival, that last one will be over soon.

Not that you’ll have to worry much about clunkers at the second annual Maine Summer Shorts Festival, showing Tuesday at the Nickelodeon in Portland (patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html).

In addition to the festival’s traditional selection of good-looking Maine films, including Jonathan Gilbert’s “The Perfect Picture” (winner of this year’s Film Chowdah college film fest), Donnie Hiltz’s thriller “2Grand” and “Son Rise” by David Miller, this year’s slate of films comes fortified by the entire lineup of the prestigious New York Short Film Concert.

The NYSFC, comprising 11 award-winning short films, includes Oscar winners such as the Dutch animated film “Father & Daughter.” You’ll also see honorees from the Tribeca Film Festival, including the comedy “Super Powers,” and films from the Avignon/New York Film Festival such as “The Quality of Mercy,” starring Mary Louise Parker of “Weeds.”

“We want the public to come because they never get to see short films on the big screen,” said Doug LeClaire, director of the NYSFC. “It’s a cool lineup, a real mix of comedy, drama and animation.”

LeClaire said the NYSFC is excited to be the guest of the Maine Summer Shorts Festival this year, and credits Maine Studios founder Jon Seymore for including them in the program. NYSFC has been around since 1987, and is New York’s longest-running short-film series.

The red carpet for this year’s festival begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with the program kicking off at 6:45 p.m. and running until about 10 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

LeClaire promises a fast-paced, fun and varied evening of short film.

“We call (the NYSFC part of the program) a concert, because its not a film festival, it’s a two-hour compilation of hit short films from the past and current international film fest honorees. We want everyone to have fun.”

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.


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