‘Knights’ of the silver screen duel for holy grail

By Erene Abdelmeseeh / Managing Editor

By Erene Abdelmeseeh / Managing Editor

Joy, sorrow and anger are just a few of the emotions felt when audience members become enthralled in a film.

During the Knight of Shorts Film Festival there were no emotions alstered.

The 5th annual film festival was held on Nov. 22 and displayed a new array of talent.

Laughter and chatter filled Coffee Depot as the audience intently awaited for the first film to begin. 

In 2004, Rene Hernandez was searching for a place to premiere his film “A Dark Tomorrow” when he heard about Coffee Depot.

He then decided to give other local film makers the opportunity to display their short films and soon his premiere had become a mini film festival.

The Knight of Shorts Film Festival has continued to be a success, proving that size doesn’t matter.

Hernandez said that he likes smaller festivals because they appreciate film makers more than the larger ones.

Audience members are given the ability to vote for their favorite short film, making this festival more involved and entertaining for the viewers.

There were three categories of films: “Knight of The Realm’s Tournament,” shorts created by local film makers from the Inland Empire, “The Damsels Tournament,” shorts created by women, and the “Court Jester’s Tournament,” a group of comedic shorts.

Shery Shimshock, a Riverside local, attended the Knight of Shorts Film Festival for the first time this year and was pleasantly surprised by what she saw.

“I really enjoyed it,” Shimshock said. “And I really liked that they had a category specifically for films from the Inland Empire.The shorts were different from what I’m used to, but many of them were very well done.”

Shimshock continued by saying that she noticed a few of the films portrayed hopelessness, which she felt was a sign of the times.

There were 13 shorts played throughout the course of the day, but three local films stood out among them.

“Rebourne Identity” was a parody of the “Bourne” movies put together by a group of English teachers.

It was shot in many prominent areas of Riverside, including the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, the train station and Lake Alice.

Paul Hendry, the director, said that it started off as a quick video that they made over the weekend to put on YouTube, but later decided to submit to film festivals.

Hendry went on to say that they had no formal training and that anyone can make a film if they have the right equipment.

Maybe they’re right, since they did end up winning in the local film makers’ category.

Although they did not win, two other local film makers’ shorts caught the audience’s attention during the festival.

“Scenes from a Fling” by Edgar Muniz portrayed true, pure human relations when a relationship goes astray and a fling emerges.

This short was pulled from Muniz’s longer film “Songs for the Drowning” which follows the lives of two men in desperate situations and how their paths cross.

Daniel McCarty, the lead actor, plays Hilda, a man who has no real connection with anyone on a deeper level, but rather tries to sustain all of his relationships with sex alone.

“We didn’t want to shy away from sexuality,” Muniz said.

McCarty said that it was difficult to shoot the intimate scenes with his costar, but it was worth it in the end when the final product was complete.

Finally, “Can You Hear Me?” by Murad Amayreh sent a powerful message of unity throughout the world.

The film centers around two pen pals, a Katrina victim and a Palestinian war victim, and how they were able to be emotionally supportive to one another during their time of need.

“We relate to each other even though we have different backgrounds and languages,” Amayreh said. “Different parts of the world have struggles and we should help each other.”

From comedic portrayals of popular films to more serious pleas for countries to help each other, there were many messages and perspectives at the Knight of Shorts Film Festival.

Hernandez and his team will continue to bring passion and art to the silver screen as they give local film makers the chance to put themselves out there.

For more information on the Knight of Shorts Film Festival, log on to the site at http://www.knightofshorts.com.