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Short Films Wander to Grants Pass: Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival

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Sometimes stories don’t need to be told in a 400 page book or on the big screen for two and a half hours. Great stories can be told in a matter of minutes. Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival specializes in telling compelling stories in short films.

The touring film festival will anchor in Grants Pass at Barnstormers Theater Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19, showing various short films by independent filmmakers from across the globe. Founding Director and Curator Michael Harrington started the festival last year with the idea to bring a film festival to communities without much of a film culture.

Living in California for several years, Harrington was involved in a film series, instilling a love for short films within him.

“I wanted to continue to curate films like that,” he says. “The places I really wanted to show the films was communities that didn’t really have a film culture—where there’s really one theatre showing Hollywood blockbusters.”

In the festival’s conception last year, it toured along the West Coast and into Canada. Since then the festival has been out to the East Coast and the Midwest, where Harrington says it will revisit soon.

“Our mission is to bring meaningful, thought provoking films to communities with limited access,” he explains. “So often we come and watch film together, but we don’t take the time to interact afterwards.”

Discussion and Q&As with filmmakers and others involved will take place at the festival, encouraging attendees to engage in what they’re watching. Harrington hopes attendees will discuss what they like or dislike about the films and what they related to in the story.

“It’s an opportunity for the audience to ask questions about the films,” he says. “A lot of our audience hasn’t experienced these kinds of films before. And we kind of packaged them together thematically.”

One of the programs that will be shown at Barnstormers Theater is Generation Juxtaposition, which deals with the theme of the youth and the elderly. Often the director of the theater chooses the programs, but “sometimes in a rural community on the west coast it’s cool to show urban cultures,” Harrington adds.

One of the films in the mentioned program titled Bacon & God’s Wrath is about a Jewish woman trying bacon for the first time; however, it’s much bigger than that. Director Sol Friedman uses creative effects, like cartoons and making a pig head talk, to tell Razie Brownstone’s story.

Flo, directed by Riley Hooper, follows a lifelong photographer with lung cancer and multiple sclerosis through the streets of New York. Though her conditions have confined her to a wheelchair, she rolls down the sidewalk observantly. While her caretaker snaps the pictures for her, the camera remains on Flo Fox’s face, capturing her artistic eye through her smile and sunglasses.

Overall, Harrington says the goal of the festival is “how a short film can evoke change in the world. The greater mission is just films that can inspire conversation within the audience.” Hopefully showing films with a different perspective will inform the audience about certain topics or themes it hasn’t considered before.

Another idea of the festival, Harrington explains, is “in our own grassroots way to give these short films a longer life. We want to show films that are meaningful and thought provoking in a small way.”

Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival

7:30 pm, Friday, November 18

2 pm and 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 19

Barnstormers Theatre, 112 NE Evelyn Ave., Grants Pass

$10 for first and last screenings

Donation at door for 2 pm screening on Sat.

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