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Where can you see some of the world’s best short films? Right here in Columbus

If you won the lottery today, what would you do (besides pay off your debts)? Maybe get a house? Maybe have a makeover? Maybe travel the world? You might quit your job depending on the size of the pot. And then what? Adventure after adventure, if you’re asking me.

Alright, dream on. Few of us live that kind of magical, exciting life. But most of us know a little bit about it — thanks to the movies. We’ve watched a character (who works an entry-level job but somehow has a beautiful New York City apartment) get a surprise ticket to another country only to embark on an adventure for the ages. Through the movies, I’ve been to Greece, Singapore, Argentina, Iran and Rwanda. Through the movies, I’ve completed impossible missions, defeated the undead and become a princess.

Movies, like other works of fiction, broaden our perspective, heighten our empathy and teach us about what it means to be a human in the world. The thing movies do that books do not is center us in a visual reality. Combine great storytelling with potent visuals, and it’s no wonder that each of us has a favorite movie that we can never watch too many times.

People of Columbus, we are so lucky. The weekend of Oct. 19-21 is the third annual Way Down Film Festival, our local, yet international, short film festival. You are probably well aware that Georgia is a very popular state for Hollywood to choose when considering where to shoot a film. Well, Columbus is part of Y’allywood in more ways than one. We have a soundstage, a few film production companies, a film academy and an incredible film festival to top it all off.

I’m so glad I can say I was there at the first Way Down Film Fest, because I know it will be a staple in our city for decades to come. What to expect? First of all, expect great people. This event attracts an eclectic crowd of locals and creatives from as far as California and Europe. There are multiple networking and social events over the weekend long festival, so both new and experienced filmmakers can meet, greet, and stay connected for future projects.

Then, of course, the movies! The reason practically any of you reading should make sure you buy a pass. There are short films in multiple categories/genres (including documentary) that you can screen in the beautiful Springer Opera House. On the night of Oct. 20, a handful of those films will be awarded exciting cash prizes at the awards bash. Your own vote could play a role in who takes on home! Don’t miss out on the chance to escape reality for a beautiful new place, an exciting new adventure, or a healing new perspective.

Natalia Naman Temesgen is a playwright and professor of creative writing at Columbus State University in Columbus.