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Podcast | Programming

What Do You Look For In A Short Film?

After 40 years with Asbury Shorts USA, and still going strong, Doug LeClaire shares his secrets to a successful four-decade run that compares this theatrical event with an off-off-Broadway production.

From the Best in Film festivals, worldwide submissions, and just plain scouting the world of the short, there’s always an easter egg surprise that delights audiences. Asbury Shorts USA is the source of short films for show bookers, cinema programmers, and theatrical exhibitors. So what makes a successful short film that finds its way in this two-hour program? It’s all about a good story and a great ending.

Getting back on track after a COVID hiatus, finding the Asbury Shorts USA quality short film is their biggest challenge. I love the optimism!

Doug LeClaire worked as a Line Producer and Production Supervisor of national television commercials independently produced feature films and major cable network promos in the New York metro area for 35 years. He produced television advertising & web content campaigns for Lifetime TV; WE-TV; Comedy Central; MTV; Spike, Oxygen as well as the CBS, NBC, PBS, and ABC networks.  He won a “Clio” for an MTV promotional campaign directed by Barbara Kanowitz. He served as Unit Production Supervisor on national commercial projects directed by Michel Bay, Martin Scorsese, Herb Ritts, Laura Murphy, and Robert Altman among other noted directors.

Doug was the Unit Production Supervisor on a series of national public service announcements created by the City of New York soon after September 11, 2001. Mayor Giuliani recruited legendary TV commercial director Joe Pytka to shoot multi metro area location spots emphasizing how New York City was “back in business” post 9/11.  The PSA’s featured Kevin Bacon, Ben Stiller, Derek Jeter, Susan Sarandon, Henry Kissinger, Al Roker, Harrison Ford, Vanessa Williams, and Woody Allen.

He has line produced two independent feature films: Greetings from the Shore, directed by Greg Chwerchak, starring Kim Shaw, David Fumero, Paul Sorvino, and Jay O. Sanders. Also: Broadway’s Finest, winner of over 10 national film festival awards, directed by Stephen Marro. Doug was the Line Producer on a series of concert background videos for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame through Breathe Productions in New York and the Te A Me Tea global promo sensation: Drink the Tea Donald Trump for the FishEye Creative ad agency from India. He was Joe Pyka’s NY Production Supervisor for 19 years working on national TV commercials for Nike, Pepsi, IBM, Budweiser to name just a few.

In 1981 Doug & partners founded Asbury Shorts USA, now New York City’s longest-running short film exhibition and touring show.  Asbury Short’s mission is to keep award-winning short films in theaters as opposed to YouTube, computers, or smartphones. Asbury Shorts has presented its short film “concerts” in historic venues from Los Angeles to Berlin. Guest Hosts of Asbury Shorts shows have included: Edie Falco, Adrian Grenier, Bob Giraldi, Melvin Van Peebles, Richard Belzer, Harvey Keitel, Olympia Dukakis, Dylan McDermott, and Jason Reitman. Doug directed two award-winning shorts in the 1980s: “The Problem,” and “Surprise.” Both played on HBO.

He was the Director of the Shorts Program at The Lake Placid Film Forum from 2000-2004 and served as an Operations Manager at the Garden State Film Festival from 2007-2021. Doug has been an instructor and guest lecturer at the School of Visual Arts; the New York Institute of Technology; the State University of New York; New York University, Monmouth University, Upstate Independents; Film/Video Arts and One Day University.

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