Chelsea Dalby

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival to launch in 2015 with John Gann

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Jon Gann Press Image

On January  9 2015, esteemed film-maker and founder of DC Films John Gann, is planning to launch the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival at the University of Sunderland’s David Puttman Media Centre.

The project hopes to bring to life a new collaboration which will expand the city’s independent film scene. It also hopes to provide a platform for local film-makers, amateur or professional, to develop their skills and showcase their work.

The event is inspired by Gann’s existing DC Shorts Film Festival, an annual event hosted in Washington DC, which already gives media hopefuls a chance to exhibit their visual creations.

Films from the 2014 event will feature at the launch of Sunderland’s own Film Festival – with 16 award winning short films set to be shown – several are both director and audience favourites, giving the North East’s own film-makers an opportunity to see what it takes to produce the standard of work featured in the DC Festival.

John Gann said: “I am really looking forward to bringing the film festival to Sunderland. Your City Council has a great focus on Creative Businesses and I think that this is really important. I have also always wanted to start a film festival somewhere outside of DC and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Some of the films featured in the July 2015 Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, will also be shown at its American cousin’s event – opening up an even wider audience for North East film-makers.

The relationship between Sunderland and Washington DC began in 2006. The Friendship Agreement as it’s officially known aims to develop economic, cultural and educational links between the two cities.

Sunderland has unique links to the Transatlantic city through the first president of the USA, George Washington, whose ancestral home is none other than Washington Old Hall. The relationship between the two cities has fostered a number of successful initiatives, supporting creative businesses and encouraging inward investment in Sunderland and Washington DC.

Jon said: “ Sunderland is a city that looks like it wants to have more arts and creativity. It also has very little going on with film right now, so if I can help create something that grows into something large and important for the region, then that’s a fabulous thing for me to do.”

Thanks to funding from the DC Commission and Sunderland City Council Jon has been able to launch his dream into reality.

The event will help put Sunderland on the map as a forward-thinking creative city which hopes to lead the development of excellent projects and opportunities for the North East.