15 Short, Charlotte Jewish film festivals kick into gear Sunday

Olympic gold medal-winner Nadia Comaneci relives her gymnastic past in “Eternal Princess.”
Olympic gold medal-winner Nadia Comaneci relives her gymnastic past in “Eternal Princess.” Courtesy of 15 Short Film Festival

Long-form or short-form? That’s the cinematic question this Sunday, as two of the city’s longest-running specialty festivals offer alternative programming.

15 Short Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th year, packs its programming into one night. The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, which has expanded beyond its spring offerings, has created a Fall Flicks series that runs Oct. 11-Nov. 1. Both promise movies you’re not likely to encounter any other way.

15 Short lives down to its name by showing movies that run no longer than 15 minutes, and many are briefer. It’ll screen 20 films from 15 countries at the tiny Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. (You might want to buy $7 tickets in advance; there may not be any $10 tickets at the door.)

15 Short has established an enviable reputation for picking winners: “Curfew” debuted there before winning the 2013 Oscar for live action short, and two others have gone on to Oscar nominations. It harvests from Tribeca, Cannes and other fests in the categories of animation, comedy, documentary, narrative and “something different.”

This year’s lineup includes “Eternal Princess,” a documentary co-directed by Katie Holmes and Ainz Prasad about former Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and “Merry Xmas,” a comedy in which Dick Van Dyke and Valerie Harper call their kids before the holidays to announce they’re getting divorced.

The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival is selling $25 passes to its three fall films, which otherwise cost $10 at the door. The series runs at Ballantyne Village Cinemas, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, and all films begin at 1 p.m. on Sundays.

The series opens with “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker,” a documentary about the vaudeville and theater star who emigrated from Russia and paved the way for anyone from Mae West to Cher. Producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker will do a Q-and-A.

“The Farewell Party,” a drama that won four Ophirs (Israel’s Oscars), follows Oct. 18. It’s about a group of friends at a retirement home who decide to aid a terminally ill person with his death, then find themselves in demand by other folks. The documentary “Look at Us Now, Mother!” arrives Nov. 1. It’s about the complex, continent-spanning bond between Mildred Kirschenbaum and her daughter, Gayle; both will speak at the screening.

Toppman: 704-358-5232