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Fifteen Minute Film Festival Set for Saturday at Towngate in Wheeling

WHEELING — Planet 23 Studios and Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre present The Fifteen Minute Film Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the historic Towngate Cinema, located at 2118 Market St. in Wheeling. The festival consists of 15 films, all 15 minutes or less in duration, which will be screened during the evening.

This is the third year for the film festival which received 191 entries from 38 different countries. Four winners were awarded the first through fourth place prizes, and four more were given honorable mention awards. The judges were consistently amazed and pleased at the quality of the films submitted.

“I thought we might receive about a hundred entries throughout the course of the year,” spokesperson Jeff Madzia, the festival’s director and curator, said. “But to get nearly 200 high-quality short films from all over the world is outstanding. Wheeling and Towngate Cinema are fast becoming known as the place to go for the short film art form.”

The festival’s 15 movies include comedies, dramas, animation, documentaries, action and some light horror. “One of the selected films this year is a music video, and nearly all genres of movies are represented at the festival,” Madzia said.

The Fifteen Minute Film Festival’s name comes from the maximum length allowed for any submission – 15 minutes. “This year we will feature some films that are as short as one minute, and some that are about 15 minutes long. The entire show will last just over two hours – about the length of one typical movie. One locally produced documentary not in the competition will also screen,” Madzia said.

A red carpet will greet attendees as they enter the theatre, and selfies with attending filmmakers and other movie fans are welcome. Those in attendance will vote to determine who gets the Audience Choice Award.

Cold beer, wine and snacks will be available for purchase. Madzia said, “More than anything else, we want people to have a good time watching and appreciating some great movies.”

Seating is general admission and tickets can be purchased ahead of time by calling Oglebay Institute at 304-242-7700, or by buying online at oionline.com. More information about the festival can be found at fifteenminutefilmfest.com.

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