Short films are in the spotlight at the 14th annual Boston Turkish Festival Documentary and Short Film Competition, runs through Nov. 24, at the Museum of Fine Arts. A program of nine shorts, all finalists in the festival’s competition, screens on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. Highlights include Merve Gezen’s “Speechless,” about children silenced by trauma who find the strength to make their stories heard. Gezen’s “Scrabble” won “best short film” honors at the 2017 Boston Turkish Festival Documentary and Short Film Competition. Burkay Doğan’s “Vahide,” about a woman who dreams of freedom by peddling her sewing machine, won the Special Jury Prize at the Istanbul International Short Film Festival in 2018. “Morality Police,” directed by Berk Sata and Mert Sata, is about a forty-something religious conservative who shares his apartment with his younger brother. When he discovers that his brother is part of the LGBT community, he must come to terms with his fears and prejudices. Ali Bilgin’s “The Locksmith" centers on a young man who becomes infatuated with a woman who comes into his tiny locksmith shop in Istanbul.
Art on film
Filmgoing can now be added to the list of reasons to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The museum’s inaugural film festival, “Collective Memory: A Contemporary Film Series,” is a companion piece to the special exhibition “In the Company of Artists: 25 Years of Artists in Residence,” running through January. The festival presents more than 20 films, mostly shorts, created by artists-in-residence, local filmmakers, and the museums’s Neighborhood Salon Luminaries. Screenings take place at the Gardner on Nov. 21 and 22, from noon to 8:30 p.m., and on Nov. 23 from noon to 4:30 p.m. The films include “Lift with Your Heart” (2019), about Haiti-born choreographer Jean Appolon, from filmmaker Braulio Tellez-Vilches, who emigrated from Cuba in 2017 and lives in East Boston. The screening will be followed by a talk with the filmmaker. Taina Asili’s “Plant the Seed,” a music-video documentary about farmer, educator, and activist Leah Penniman, will be followed by a talk with Asili and Penniman. Italy-born Luisa Rabbia’s 2008 film, “Travels with Isabella: Travel Scrapbooks 1883,” introduced by Gardner curator Pieranna Cavalchini and followed by a talk with the artist, was inspired by Rabbia’s 2007 residency, during which she studied Gardner’s many photographs documenting her travels through China, in 1883. Luxembourg-based artist and cellist Su-Mei Tse has long been associated with the Gardner. Her newest work, “Shaping,” will have its premiere during the festival.
Selling it short
More short films unspool at the 13th annual Short Short Story Film Festival, Nov. 30, at the new Acoustic Java Café and Microcinema, in Providence. The site that was once the Cable Car Cinema. The festival includes more than 30 live-action and animated films, all less than six minutes in length. Many are US or world premieres, culled from submissions from across the globe. The two programs are organized by theme: the first, Heartstrings, screens at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The second, Headtrip, screens at 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
For fans of the annual Boston Underground Film Festival, the monthly screening series BUFF Dispatches From the Underground is a welcome preview leading up to the festival, March. A special edition of the series unspools at the Somerville Theatre Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The Weird Local Film Festival features short films by directors who live in or near Somerville. The WLFF team has combed through films from past events to curate a best-of program that promises an eclectic lineup of strange and surprising shorts.
Go to www.bostonunderground.org.