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Dam Short Film Festival

Ever find yourself growing tired of the prequels, sequels, and remakes filling today's cookie-cutter multiplexes? Rediscover the joy of movies at the 16th annual Dam Short Film Festival, taking place February 13-16 just minutes from Boulder City homes for sale.

History of the Film Festival

Users of FilmFreeway, a festival submission platform, rate the Dam Short Film Festival in the top 1.5 percent of more than 7,000 film festivals and contests worldwide. The largest film festival in Nevada is also one of the most popular cultural events in the state.

The festival's roots date back to 2003 when Lee and Anita Lanier formed a non-profit organization devoted to sharing their love of short films. Over the previous 15 years, the pair had worked in film production and computer animation while directing half a dozen of their short films.

In 2005, the festival made its official debut with screenings at the American Legion Hall. As the festival's scope expanded, it moved to the historic Boulder Theatre in 2008. John LaBonney served as festival director from 2012 to 2019, and under his stewardship, the festival began attracting sell-out crowds.

The Boulder Theatre

The background of the Boulder Theatre is a worthy topic for its own short film. Built-in 1931, the 400-seat theatre was at one time the only air-conditioned building in the Boulder City area. Legend has it that laborers working on Hoover Dam would splurge on a 25-cent ticket to escape the blistering heat for a couple of hours.

Sadly, the influx of high-tech cineplexes in the mid-90s led the Boulder Theatre to close its doors. But the theatre gained new life in 1999 when it was purchased by Amy and Desi Arnaz Jr. to house their non-profit Boulder City Ballet Company. As the son of iconic power couple Desi Arnaz Sr. and Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz Jr. himself is Hollywood royalty. 

Festival Programming

  • Each year the festival screens between 120 and 140 short films. While submissions are limited to a run time of 40 minutes or less, both live-action and animated forms are accepted. 
  • The festival's eight distinct categories include drama, documentary, animation, sci-fi/horror, music video, Nevada filmmaker and student. Nevada filmmaker submissions must be created by a director who is a resident of the state, or the production must be completed primarily in state. Student submissions must be created while the director is enrolled in a school, college, or university.
  • Awards are given to the top film in each category by audience vote. The audience also votes on a Best of the Fest winner. The Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking is determined by the festival board of directors and includes a $1,000 cash prize.
  • Programming blocks are organized by theme across the four days of the festival, with award winners screened in a special presentation at the festival's close.
  • Past submissions have included the participation of top film professionals such as Oscar winners Louis Gossett Jr. and Tom Hanks.

Festival Events

Part of the festival's unique appeal is the intimate setting that offers the opportunity for audience members to socialize and network with filmmakers. Popular events include panels, meet-and-greets, mixers, galas, and special screenings.

You'll always receive the celebrity treatment from our real estate agents. Whether you're buying or selling a home in Boulder City, contact us today.