Short films were the first films, but these days, there is a shortage of the short. That is, until the annual East Lansing Film Festival rolls around.
Writer and director Adam Finberg of the short “On Alert,” said when learning the craft of film, it’s best to start by making a short. It’s the stepping-stone to longer pieces. “It’s best to do that rather than make your first film a feature if you don’t know what you’re doing yet,” Finberg said.[alert]
Finberg explained that many filmmakers don’t aspire to do only shorts but that they are artistically valued. “I don’t think anyone sticks with doing shorts. They’re usually more of show pieces rather than commercial,” Finberg said.
While a short film may not be as involved as a full-length feature, Finberg thinks the story can be told well in a brief period of time. “You can really tell a story in 30 to 60 seconds,” he said. “On Alert” plays at the festival on Friday, April 1.
[adam] Mahyar Abousaeedi works for Pixar Animation Studios and, like Finberg, is also a recent film school graduate. “Nativity” was Abousaeedi’s thesis at the University of Southern California film school. It is an animated piece clocking in at just under seven minutes.
“Animated films take a lot longer than most people realize. The features we work on here [at Pixar] take two to three years with a very large crew of artists.”
Telecommunications sophomore Pat Cooke enjoys seeing shorts as much as he enjoys making them. “It’s a break from reality, like all movies, but more specifically I like to see short films because it’s a break from the Hollywood films that are sometimes very repetitive, almost like they are made by formulas or current trends,” Cooke said.
Cooke creates his own shorts because he likes to come up with ideas with his friends and see them through. “They require less prep than feature length movies, but are still proof that we like to make movies and that we can and do make movies.”
[nat]Like Cooke, many students produce shorts. Some of these end up at the Lake Michigan Film Competition, which comes to East Lansing on Sunday, April 3. The competition, which was expanded from The Michigan’s Own Film Competition last year, receives entries from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Erin Burke, Lake Michigan Film Competition coordinator, said, “[It’s] a larger region and gives other states the opportunity to submit their work.”
The competition had 165 submissions this year. The 52 films chosen for the competition are judged separately by genre and rated on “projection value, sound quality, quality of editing, creativity and plot; which ones score the best are the ones we go with,” Burke said.
When it comes to the shorts in the competition, Burke explains there is quite a variety. “Some are plot-driven and some are cute cartoons,” she said.
If you’re looking for the short of it, the East Lansing Film Festival is where to find it.
The East Lansing Film Festival plays at Wells Hall and the Hannah Community Center from March 30 through April 3. The festival is the largest and most diverse film festival in Michigan. For show times and other information, check out

For more information on Adam Finberg’s “On Alert,” check out
To learn more about Mahyar Abousaeedi’s “Nativity,” please visit

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