News Column

Asbury Shorts presented in Bridgeport

August 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 23--Life may be short, but Hollywood doesn't seem to recognize that idea.

The major studio blockbusters have been getting longer every year -- even the much-derided summer flop "The Lone Ranger" runs two-and-a-half hours -- but the art of the short film is alive and well.

Quantity does not equal quality in the opinion of New Yorker Doug LeClaire, who is bringing a program of films ranging from four to 18 minutes long to Bridgeport's Bijou Theatre on Friday, Aug. 23.

For the past 32 years, LeClaire has run Asbury Shorts, New York City's longest-running short-film exhibition, which he has expanded into a traveling film festival that he hopes has found a new home in Connecticut.

"We're hoping they like us so that the next time we can have celebrity guests and host some live music," LeClaire said of the short-film "concerts" he has curated in several other locations.

"We are dedicated to keeping a place for short films in theaters instead of on your iPhone," he added.

The program at the Bijou will include "Facade," a nominee for the best live action short Oscar earlier this year; and "Death, Taxes and Apple Juice," which took the "audience favorite" prize at last year's Los Angeles Shorts Festival.

"I've been doing this short film thing for a long time," LeClaire said of the festival he started with college friends at the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island. (It is named in honor of Asbury Avenue in Woodbury, L.I.).

"We don't give out awards. What we are about is sharing the best films we can find with the public," he said of sifting through short films from festivals all over the world.

Great films of less than feature length are being made each year, LeClaire said, "but the number of outlets for them are few. In our own small way, we're trying to change that."

At first, Asbury Shorts specialized in student films that weren't being seen outside the festival circuit, but over the years the traveling film festival has expanded to include short films of all types from all over the world.

"We moved to New York City in 1987 and never looked back," he said.

LeClaire was still finalizing the Bijou program when we spoke last week, but said there would be around 10 films on the program and that they would represent the best short movie work being done today.

"We are very picky."

Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport. Friday, Aug. 23, 7 p.m. $15. 203-332-3228. www.thebijoutheatre.com.

jmeyers@ctpost.com; Twitter: @joesview

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(c)2013 the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.)

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