A short film isn’t just an excerpt.

Dan Schoenbrun, who programmed the short films in the Montclair Film Festival, compares short films to short stories. They both must tell a compelling story with limited real estate and time: “You need to get specific, and craft something that’s resonant, with very little space.”

This year Montclair Film Festival offers 57 short films, out of over 400 submitted, Schoenbrun said.

The films are divided into blocks: Documentary Shorts, Dream Shorts, Fiction Shorts, Lunafest Showcase (films by and about women), New Jersey Shorts, Montclair Shorts, MSU Shorts, Shorts for All Ages, Student Shorts, and True or False? The Lure of the False Narrative (a collection of shorts). There are also shorts shown before features.

One major change this year is the inclusion of a Montclair-specific block in addition to New Jersey shorts. A Montclair filmmaker could be eligible for either: Montclairite Wes Jones’ “Cat Killer” is in New Jersey shorts.

Jones’ is a filmmaking family; his 15-year-old daughter, Lily, has a winning short film in the Emerging Filmmaker Competition. Father and daughter’s films both feature the Montclair actor Daniel London.

Susan Skoog and Liz Samuel are both Montclair filmmakers who have films about Montclair moms in the Montclair Shorts block. Samuels’ “MOMtress” portrays a Montclair mom going on an audition and trying to balance ambition with parenting and grief. She also stars in the film.

The two women in Susan Skoog’s “Bake Sale” are Montclair moms too. The film explores passive-aggressive behavior in women of different classes, said Skoog, who is director of programming for the Film Institute at Montclair State University. “Bake Sale” is part of her digital series “Breeding Grounds,” in which every episode has a scene structured around pickup time at school. Skoog said she knows women like Debra, the richer mom who is exasperated with poorer mom Cindy, who works as a nurse — and isn’t very nice to her.

At one point, Debra makes Cindy get out of the car so she can take a phone call. “The weird thing is, this kind of stuff goes on. She is a composite of other people. Those exact things have happened if not to me, then to other people I know.”

For Schoenbrun, the shorts program is rich this year. He is particularly excited by “Shorts for All Ages,” which are “incredibly energetic and empathetic stories. ‘Dream Shorts’ is surreal and strange and should only be watched at night. ‘Great Choice’ has a woman who gets trapped inside a Red Lobster commercial from the 1990s.” He noted that “Great Choice” was a late addition, not listed in the catalog.

“Fiction Shorts are really great this year,” Schoenbrun said. “‘American Paradise’ is social satire in the vein of the Coen brothers. ‘Fry Day’ has such an elegance in the way it tells its story.”

And “Cowtown,” about the oldest weekly rodeo in the United States of America, is one of Schoenbrun’s favorites. “It reveals a part of New Jersey I certainly didn’t know about.” It was one of the first ones Schoenbrun saw, he said, and when he did, he knew “this will be a good year for New Jersey shorts.”

Student Shorts
Saturday, April 29, 12:30 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1
260 Bellevue Ave.

Lunafest Showcase
Saturday, April 29, 9:30 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1

Documentary Shorts
Sunday, April 30, 11:30 a.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1

Montclair Shorts
Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1

MFF Shorts

True or False? the Lure of the False Narrative
Sunday, April 30, 3 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 2

MSU Shorts
Thursday, May 4, 7 p.m.
Clairidge Cinema 1
486 Bloomfield Ave.

NJ Shorts
Friday, May 5, 8:45 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1

Shorts for All Ages
Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m.
Clairidge Cinema 2

Dream Shorts
Saturday, May 6, 8:45 p.m.
Clairidge Cinema 1

Fiction Shorts
Sunday, May 7, 7:15 p.m.
Bellevue Cinema 1