Author Archives: LoveYourShorts

Permalink to Ric & Jen Serena – Hometown Talent

Ric & Jen Serena – Hometown Talent

After our inaugural film festival last February we were delighted to receive an email from award-winning editor Ric Serena, congratulating us on bringing a short film festival to Sanford.  Even better was that Ric, currently working in L.A., is a Sanford native!  And on top of THAT his wife, Jen, a very talented photographer, is also from Sanford.  It was so good to make this connection and learn of their success in the film and photography industry.

Ric and Jen have worked with clients such as CBS, VH1 and Nickelodeon.  Their most recent project took them on a 219 mile trek on the John Muir Trail in California.  They recorded their adventures along the way and the result is JMT: The Muir Project.

Jen said, “The most difficult challenge wasn’t the high elevation with the extra heavy packs. It was making the miles and still allowing time to stop and capture our experience. We took nearly four weeks, but we could’ve easily spent months. Now, the exciting challenge is bringing it to life for others.”

I wanted to learn a little more about Ric and Jen, their thoughts on filmmaking in Central Florida, and what was next on their plate.

You’re out in LA now, but is there anything about Sanford or Florida that you miss?  

Jen: We still have most of our family and a lot of great friends in Sanford, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. But there are certainly days when we miss the cobble-stoned streets and spanish moss.  Sanford has a unique ability to celebrate it’s past while pursuing a successful future – evident in all of the beautifully refurbished buildings.

Ric: I grew up on 2nd street, so downtown always brings back a rush of memories every time we return.  I’m determined to shoot something there.

Do you think Central Florida will ever be a huge film hub like LA is known for?

Jen: LA has such an infrastructure already connected to the industry, plus it’s terrain & climate allows for year-round filming in areas that can mimic numerous locations around the world, all within a few hours of each other. (Barring the infamous LA traffic of course.) I think a better comparison for Central Florida’s future would be more like Toronto.

Ric: I don’t think Central Florida will be as large a film hub as LA in the near future, but also don’t think it’s necessary. There’s a certain charm about filming in an area that isn’t ALL about production.

What has been the absolute highlight of your career so far?

Jen: We love what we do. Because of that, I will probably always say that what I’m doing RIGHT NOW and what I hope to do tomorrow are my highlights. Every time I’m on set and everyone gets that same high from making something creative – that’s the moment you want to recreate again & again.

Ric: Yeah, I agree.  I kept looking back to think if there was one defining moment in my career, but they’ve all been these amazing steps.  Actually, there’s one moment I keep coming back to.  I was in Hawaii shooting promos for the premiere of Hawaii Five-O.  We had just finished four very productive, but exhausting days of shooting on the island of Oahu.  After working with Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, we were on our way back to the hotel when we decided to pull over and get one last shot.  One our Production Assistants, Josh, disclosed to us that he played the ukulele and agreed to let us record him perform.  As our small crew of 8 hovered, Josh proceeded to play the dwarfed instrument.  The highs and lows of the week, the exhaustion from nearly sleepless nights, the bonds we’d formed had swelled to that single moment.  You get variations of that story on each shoot, but for some reason this one really defined that feeling.

What type(s) of camera(s) are you using?  We’ve been noticing A LOT of commercials and tv shows being filmed with DSLRs.

Jen:  I shoot with a Nikon D3s for my commercial & portrait photography.

Ric:  The cameras I use vary from job to job.  However, I do shoot with DSLR’s (Canon 5D Mark II and the Nikon D7000) for my personal projects as they present such an affordable option.

What’s next for the two of you?

This summer, we joined with some other filmmakers and hiked the John Muir Trail.   For 25 days and 219 miles we hiked, documenting the entire journey.  Right now, we’re in the process of culling through all the material in hopes of piecing together a gallery exhibit and documentary film.  We just went live with a website about the project and released our first glimpse in the form of a 2 1/2 minute music video/teaser set to Opus Orange’s Almost There.

Learn more about Ric and Jen and keep up with their latest news and projects!

Ric Serena

Jen Serena

Ric and Jen’s Blog

JMT: The Muir Project

Photos courtesy of Ric and Jen Serena

Permalink to Now Accepting Your Short Film Submissions!

Now Accepting Your Short Film Submissions!

The Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford, Florida, is accepting short films in all genres, with additional, separate categories for films made by students (12th grade and under) and films with Florida connections. Entries cannot exceed 30 minutes, including credits. The categories are:

Animation Any form of animation short.

Comedy Any live-action comedy short.

Documentary Any documentary short except television programs that have been repurposed as short films.

Drama Any live-action short that is not specifically comedy or sci-fi/horror.

Florida Flavor Any film either made primarily in Florida, or made anywhere by filmmakers that are residents of Florida during the film’s production.

Sci-Fi/Horror Any live-action science-fiction, horror or fantasy short.

Student Any film by student filmmakers through 12th grade.

You may submit your film online with Withoutabox or d ownload and fill out a submission form. 

or Download submission information and submission form.

Permalink to 2011 Summer Rewind a Success!

2011 Summer Rewind a Success!

The first ever Love Your Shorts Summer Rewind took place August 26th at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center.  It featured a variety of films that were screened at our February 2011 festival.  Over 200 people attended to laugh, cry, and appreciate this art form that we love so much.

We hope that everyone will return to our next festival in February!  Tickets will go on sale in the coming months.  In the meantime, check out our sponsorship page to see how you or your business could participate in our festival.

Permalink to 2011 Summer Rewind

2011 Summer Rewind

Love Your Shorts Film Festival Summer Rewind will he held Aug. 26 at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford featuring a variety of movies that were screened at the inaugural film festival in February.

The 12 shorts were made by filmmakers from Seminole County to Australia, and even include “God of Love,” this year’s winner of the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film.

Movie fans are asked to help pick a couple selections to add to the free Summer Rewind showing of 10 already chosen by the festival board.

Click here to VOTE!

The lineup and optional films are listed below.

The Summer Rewind movies represent the different blocks that were shown at the February festival: animation, documentary, comedy, sci-fi/horror, drama, and Florida Flavor. Movies by two local filmmakers are included: “The Hard Road,” directed by Charles Frisby of Sanford, and “A Drop of Summer,” directed by Oviedo High School student Allison Tate-Cortese.

Some of the films address mature topics, such as “Do men die of cancer or embarrassment? discuss!,” a British cancer-awareness project that contains brief male nudity.

The free Summer Rewind is a joint project of the nonprofit Love Your Shorts Film Festival and Densch’s Return to the Ritz movie presentations.

About 225 movies from 15 countries were submitted for the February festival. There were 63 movies shown over three days, and filmmakers from as far away as Canada and California attended.

The 2012 Love Your Shorts Film Festival is scheduled Feb. 10-12 at the performing arts center, 203 S. Magnolia Ave. Filmmakers, sponsors and volunteers that would like to be involved can contact LYS at

Here are the movies to be shown Aug. 26, followed by the list of six others from which viewers can pick two on the festival’s website ballot:

A Drop of Summer
Directed by Allison Tate-Cortese, USA, 4m
An epically funny tale of children thwarting a chase for the very last
glass of lemonade on a scorching summer afternoon.

Bad Language
Directed by Viron Papadopoulos, Australia, 14m
Set in an Australian Kafenion; a cross between a men’s club, mafia den and a nursing home.  Bill is forced to take over for a while when Kosta sees an opportunity to make a fast buck off him…as long as he can keep his cool, his wife at bay and the cops on his side.

Do men die of cancer or embarrassment? discuss!
Directed by Kate Rodgers & Patrick Cox, United Kingdom, 3m
This short film was designed to spark debate. Reducing the stigma of embarrassment in the fight against male cancer has never been tackled head on.

God of Love
Directed by Luke Matheny, USA, 18m
A lovestruck, lounge-singing darts champion finds his prayers are answered – literally –when he mysteriously receives a box of love-inducing darts.

Directed by Sijia Luo, USA, 4m
A little chicken is late to school, but her excuse is too wild to believe: She was kidnapped!

Lake Cop 2: Ripple Effect
Directed by Graeme Morgan, Canada, 3m
Set on the US-Canada border, Lake Cop is about a radical law enforcer who brings his absurd brand of vigilante justice on self-propelled water-skis and stirs up the waters in the rural community of Rainy Lake. This summer, one man will enforce the lake law, by breaking it.

Surviving Hunger
Directed by Balgum Song, USA, 3m
Set in a desert where food is scarce, two odd looking creatures try to outsmart each other in hopes of having their next meal.

Directed by Yen-Ting Kuo, USA, 4m
While enjoying a swing on the roof, an elderly patient is reminded of the value of his life.

The Furred Man
Directed by Paul Williams, United Kingdom, 15m
Max Naughton sits in an interrogation room sporting a black eye, a bruised cheek and dressed in a furry costume which is caked in dry blood. He can explain…

The Hard Road
Directed by Charles Frisby, USA, 5m
Chain finishes business with his biker club and completes his final contract before going home to his family.

Movie fans, vote on the website for your choice of two of these:

Directed by Paul Hardway, USA, 6m
Forgiveness – Does everyone really need it? And why? In this film, a priest meets with a man in prison in the wake of a recent tragedy to explore the reasons behind why we all seek restoration.

Directed by John Skibinski, Austrailia, 3m
An Australian frilled neck lizard’s simple attempts to get a meal escalate into a full blown dilemma and quest to stay alive.

Missile Crisis
Directed by Jaye Davidson, USA, 16m
South Florida. 1962. While the Cuban Missile Crisis threatens to incinerate America, divorce looms over the Shaw family. Thirteen-year-old Miles Shaw must protect his little brother, Danny, from the fallout, and he has it all figured out.

Directed by William Peters, USA, 14m
Two late-night travelers attempt to bargain hunt for a motel room only to find that the simplest tasks can sometimes be next to impossible.

Directed by Bill Lyle, Canada, 13m
Paul traumatizes himself and everyone around him as he contemplates his impending vasectomy.

The Shoes Maketh The Man
Directed by Tarek Sursock, USA, 16m
An ambitious but misguided accountant hurries to sign-on his next important client. His materialistic values are going to be put to the test as he makes his way through the concrete jungle of Beverly Hills.

Permalink to Announcing the 2012 Love Your Shorts Film Festival!

Announcing the 2012 Love Your Shorts Film Festival!

Wayne Dench Performing Arts CenterWe are proud to announce that the 2012 Love Your Shorts Film Festival will be held February 10 – 12 at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (WDPAC)!

This historic theater has accommodated live stage shows and motion pictures. Early features at the then “Milane” included “Sherlock Holmes” with John Barrymore, “Good-Bye Girls” with William Russell: and “Three Ages” with Buster Keaton. Segments of “Good-Bye Girls” were filmed in Sanford. In 1936, the management inaugurated its “March of Progress” season with hits that later received nominations for Academy Awards—“Tale of Two Cities” and “Trail of the Lonesome Pine”.

Permalink to Congratulations to the 2011 LYSFF Winners!

Congratulations to the 2011 LYSFF Winners!

The inaugural Love Your Shorts Film Festival has just ended.  We had a wonderful time with great films and such talented filmmakers.  We will be uploading some festival pictures soon, but in the meantime let’s recap the winners.

Best of Festival – God of Love

Best of Opening Night – SNIP

Best of Animation – Kidnap

Best of Documentary – Crazy Diamond

Best of Comedy – God of Love

Best of Sci-fi/Horror – The Furred Man

Best of Drama – Determined

Best of Florida Flavor – Missile Crisis

A HUGE thank you to all the filmmakers who attended this year.  We were so excited you could make it, everyone was just so lovely!  Can’t wait to post pictures!

Permalink to Sanford Herald Article – LYS Makes Official Selections!

Sanford Herald Article – LYS Makes Official Selections!

The Sanford Herald

By Ray Myer

Herald Staff

Sixty-three movies for next month’s inaugural Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford were selected this week from 225 movies submitted by filmmakers around the world. Entries were from 15 different countries.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions we received in our first year – more than double what we were anticipating,” said Christina Grace-Beverly, media director of the Feb. 11-13 festival. “I think the audience will be pleased by the quality and variety of films.”

The three-day event organized by a nonprofit group in Sanford will feature films up to 30 minutes long in six different categories.

The movies will be shown at the Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce. The chamber, which used to be a USO headquarters for dances and parties from 1943 to 1968, will serve as the weekend headquarters of this first Love Your Shorts event.

In addition to films from the United States, others from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, India, Thailand, Oman, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia were submitted for judging. Some of the films are subtitled.

The films chosen for the event have been grouped into categories and will be shown in blocks of about 1½ to 2 hours each: animation, comedy, documentary, drama, Florida Flavor, and sci-fi/horror. The Florida Flavor category is for films made in Florida, or by Florida filmmakers elsewhere.

“I think that we have compiled a solid lineup. There is undoubtedly something for everyone,” said Scott Gabbey, one of the festival’s board members. “I was amazed by the creativity involved.”

Film fans at each block will vote on their favorite movie. The winning movies from each block will advance to a final block for a panel of judges to pick the Best of the Fest.

Grace-Beverly said some filmmakers from as far as New York and Canada have responded that they’ll attend the festival.

On the final afternoon of the festival, a free discussion forum will be presented featuring several of the filmmakers attending the festival. The filmmakers will discuss their movie techniques, triumphs and tribulations.

Tickets for the festival are $6 per block and are available on the festival’s website,

Permalink to Festival Program Has Arrived!

Festival Program Has Arrived!

We have received so many excellent films.  Our programmers had a tough job!

Thank you to all who submitted.  We are honored, humbled, and completely flattered that you chose us as a potential venue for your film.

View our selections here

To get the latest news and to be alerted of when our film selections are made please join us on Facebook.

Permalink to The LYS Commercial Has Arrived!

The LYS Commercial Has Arrived!

Check out our Love Your Shorts Film Festival promo video! Share it with friends and family. Thank you to Shane Swenson for filming and editing and a big thank you to the people of Sanford for being in it!

Permalink to Our Festival Poster is Here!

Our Festival Poster is Here!

You will be seeing these posters around town very soon! A special thanks to artist Frank Loose for creating our very first festival artwork! Download a copy of it here. (pdf)

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