CoMo Shorts celebrates Missouri films and filmmakers

CoMo Shorts showcased indie films at Fretboard Coffee to support local filmmakers.

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High schooler and singer-songwriter Piper Page’s voice filled Fretboard Coffee on Friday evening, inviting and soulful. By the time Page finished her performance, the coffee shop had run out of seating, leaving a few audience members standing at the back.

Megan Casady, the showcase’s marketing director, happily announced that the turnout for their inaugural showcase was beyond expectations as the crew brought out more chairs for the standing patrons.

Event director Matt Schacht welcomed everyone and introduced the new film showcase. CoMo Shorts is dedicated to showcasing local talents. Accepting works made by Missourian filmmakers or films shot in Missouri, their mission is to give a platform for such filmmakers to enjoy a live-audience reaction to their storytelling.

Eight films were showcased in total, with genres ranging from satirical comedies to touching dramas. The opening film, “Where I’m From,” set the mood with its powerful and rhythmic spoken word poetry. Other films may have been less apparent in their messages but hold deeper meanings.

“Scraps,” which was the longest film at a little over 16 minutes, was a very moving short that personally touched me. The story follows a young homeless woman who is selfless and kind, a little bit eccentric but endearingly so. She is seen to save lives and put others above herself. This results in a bittersweet and heart-wrenching ending.

However, shorter films in the showcase’s lineup managed to prove that a film’s attractiveness isn’t determined by the length of its runtime. “Dishes,” “Shopping” and “Kiddie” were three films that induced plenty of laughter from the audience.

After the screenings, a Q&A session with the MU student filmmakers behind “Dishes” and “Shopping” was held. John Messer, the director, co-editor and writer of “Shopping,” shared that the comedic short was an uncut one-take. The film follows a young man who has a bizarre experience trying to shop at a convenience store.

“It’s so relatable,” was Schacht’s comment on Ryan Groom’s “Dishes,” a film about a boy procrastinating his turn to wash the dishes and his roommate arguing with him passionately over it. Groom laughed as he shared that dialogue of the film was largely improvised by the actors themselves.

As Schacht thanked the audience for their presence, he reminded them that the eight short films would continue screening over the weekend at Fretboard Coffee. The weekend screenings had Q&A sessions as well, with Saturday seeing the creators of “Where I’m From,” “Ingratiator,” and “Versus,” while those from “Scraps” and “Good Things” made an appearance on Sunday.

The inaugural CoMo film showcase plans to be an annual event. With the success of Friday night’s debut showcase, CoMo Shorts seems to be an event that will be on par with the other film festivals that the city of Columbia enjoys every year.

Edited by Joe Cross | jcross@themaneater.com

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