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Horror, humor a hit at 'Shorties' film challenge


Amelia Niedermier, 10, left, has her photo snapped by her father, Craig Niedermier, right, on the red carpet before the kickoff showing of the Shorties category at this year's Tree City Film Festival at Northview High School in Sylvania.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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This year’s Shorties Short Film Challenge declared two short films as winners in the kindergarten to eighth-grade category.

“Unprecedented,” is how Jeremy Baumhower, the event’s emcee, explained the voting that placed two short films in the winners circle Thursday: The Haunting on Tamworth!, directed by the Vargas brothers of Sylvan Elementary School and Fruit Love, directed by Sylvan fifth-grader Jordan Slutsky, 11.

Another Sylvan student, fifth-grader Noah Archer, 11, claimed second place for The Unknown Hour.

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Held at Northview High School Theatre Thursday, the short films were judged live by a three-panel committee, Eric Shanteau, a Maumee-based photographer with more than 4,000 followers on Instagram, Toledo Free Press Film Critic James Molnar, and Ali Hoxie of WTOL.

The Vargas brothers -- fifth-grader Bishop, 11, second-grader Boston, 8, and Braiden, 9, who is in the third grade --- created a murder scene where a little devil was attacking boys in a Tamworth Road home. Although slightly ghoulish, the nearly two-minute film had a touch of humor.

Jordan chose to place two bananas at the center of her short film.

“I was in class and we had to make up a kooky idea,” she said, about basing the movie on two bananas in love.

The winners for K-8 category were announced about 7:30 p.m. Winners for the high school category, announced later that evening, were Silent Letters directed by Allison Oswald of Northview and second place was Words Unsaid directed by Caitlin Beach of Northview. In total there were 17 submissions per each category. Winners received trophies and a pizza party for their class. 

The Shorties were the first of several events planned for this weekend's 2nd Annual Tree City Film Festival organized by the Sylvania Community Arts Commission. The 50 Hour Film Challenge Short Films will be viewed 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Train Barn, Sylvania Historic Village, 5717 Main St. Winners will be announced at the 8 p.m. showing. 

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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