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Oscar-nominated shorts shown at WNCC Friday

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

When screenwriter Dan Stroncak moved permanently to Hollywood from the East Coast in 1998, his career was launched.

He went through the roles of casting associate, story analyst, creative director, development executive and literary manager to become an independent screenwriter in Hollywood.

“Working in Hollywood is definitely a way to mature as a creative executive,” said Stroncak, who is in his late 30s.

On Friday, he will host the Oscar short-film festival at Western Nevada Community College. He hopes to take the audience beyond a general movie-viewing experience to an experience full of meaning and content.

“There’s a message in every film,” he said Monday from Hollywood. “I think a lot of times, you get so entertained by the characters on the screen, the message isn’t coming across as clearly. When you have someone like me pointing some of the elements out, it’s almost like listening to the commentary on DVDs.”

Stroncak will present eight shorts, ranging from 5 to 23 minutes, and produced in locations as close as the United States and as far away as India and New Zealand.

“What I do is speak between the films and bring up things like themes, like the message the short film was trying to get across,” said Stroncak.

The eight shorts received Academy Award nominations, but only two won Oscars: “Ryan,” for best animated short; and “Wasp,” for best live-action short.

“Wasp,” a 23-minute short by United Kingdom director Andrea Arnold, tells the story of a 23-year-old mother of four in search of love. According to Katrina Wilson, executive director of the Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival, the short is extremely moving.

“To create a story in 23 minutes that gives you such deep feelings is amazing,” she said. “This woman is thinking she can find love somewhere else, when in reality she has four kids that love her.”

The Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival and Western Nevada Community College Lone Mountain Writers are sponsoring Friday’s event. The festival is also scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Nonprofit Center in Incline Village. Call the festival for ticket information.

The weekend holds promise for those interested in getting more out of films.

“After they’re done, they’ll never see film the same way,” Wilson said. “They’ll look at it completely different because (Stroncak) has a way of breaking them apart.”

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

If you go

What: Oscar-Winning Short Films at Western Nevada Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday. The film festival will also be showing Saturday and Sunday in Incline Village.

Where: Marlette Hall at Western Nevada Community College, 2201 W. College Parkway

Tickets $15. Purchase at the Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival Web site at http://www.t-riff.org.

Information: Call (775) 298-0018 or http://www.t-riff.org.