…and her cat Betty

“We had films from Russia, England, Japan, Romania, Colombia… and Sunnyside”

Sherry Gamlin, who has organized the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival since 2007, lives with her cat Betty on 44th Street in Sunnyside. While she jokes “Betty is my longest relationship,” Sherry isn’t a quite what you would consider a wallflower. Energetic and endowed with a twisted sense of humor, Sherry enjoys mobilizing large crowds and getting attention far beyond her neighborhood borders. In the past the short film festival has drawn an audience of over 200 people and submissions from all over the world. The fourth edition will take place on September 25th, 2010 at Sunnyside Community Services.

“We had films from Russia, England, Japan, Romania, Colombia… and Sunnyside,” Sherry said, adding that contributions included comedies, animations and documentaries of up to 25 minutes. “We are open to all cultures,” she said. “We try to stay away from violence and anything we don’t agree with [politically].”

Last year Sherry and her friend Teresa Ward organized a fundraiser at Claret Wine Bar on Skillman Avenue. People played games and celebrated while helping to pay for the space rental fee, the technician who sets up the screen and projector, the photographer who documents the event, as well as flyers, programs and advertising.

Among the special guests and volunteers at the film festival is Sherry’s family, who fly in from Florida for the occasion. While her sister and her niece sell candy, her mother serves as the “chief critic.”

At the end of our interview, Betty reappeared from the linen closet to listen to Sherry talk about the three short films she made before the Sunnyside Shorts Film Festival started taking up all of her spare time. While I was briefly distracted by Betty’s large black spot on her otherwise white behind—“I found her in an inkwell in Sunnyside Gardens,” Sherry joked—I decided to feature this excerpt from our conversation for its humor and originality.

Listen to Sherry’s interview