Illinois’ Lake County Film Festival rolls out lineup of virtual/in-person screenings for November

The 10th Annual Lake County Film Festival (LCFF) has announced that passes and tickets are now on sale and available, along with the full and complete lineup and details for this year’s 10th Anniversary edition of the film festival, taking place November 5-16. An ambitious program of 23 features and 96 short films will be presented in a virtual/in-person hybrid highlighted by a special double feature presentation at The Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest of Jack C. Newell’s MONUMENTS and Joshua Y. Tsui’s INSERT COIN. Newell’s MONUMENTS will serve as the popular film festival’s Opening Night selection preceded by a program of local short films, while Alexander Jeffrey’s MOLTO BELLA will be the Closing Night selection this year.

MONUMENTS
INSERT COIN

The virtual presentations, powered by Seed&Spark, will be available to residents of Illinois and Wisconsin, potentially offering many film fans in those states their first opportunities to see LCFF’s films and filmmakers (via remote Q&As) for the first time. In addition, the film festival will host a 24/7 chat room to add even more opportunity for audience members to interact with their filmmakers.

Lake County Film Festival Director Nat Dykeman said, “Like many film festivals we have taken the challenges presented to us by restrictions and limitations brought about by the pandemic to actually broaden our scope, extend ourselves and use this moment as a chance to introduce our films and filmmakers – as well as the personality of LCFF to audience in two states. It’s an opportunity to create a bigger tent of film fans, who just might come to Lake County next year to enjoy the show we put on in person.”

Jack C. Newell’s drama MONUMENTS will both be the Lake County Film Festival’s Opening Night selection on Wednesday, November 5, as well as being part of LCFF’s special double feature presentation in the John and Nancy Hughes Theater at Gorton Community Center at Gorton Community Center (400 E. Illinois Rd) on Saturday, November 14. MONUMENTS follows a man, who at the urging of her deceased wife’s ghost, steals her ashes and her family’s pickup truck to travel across the country to scatter her ashes at the Field Museum. Jack C. Newell is a multi-alumni from the LCFF’s previous festivals, who has been consistently putting out films over the last decade, including the cooking documentary 42 GRAMS, and the award-winning drama, OPEN TABLES.

The other half of the special double feature presentation at Gorton Community Center will be Joshua Tsui’s documentary INSERT COIN. The film chronicles the rise, fall, and eventual bankruptcy of Chicago-based Midway Games. “Midway Games pioneered the technology of motion capture in games, and went on to publish some of the most influential and successful games of all time, including NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat, Terminator 2, and my personal favorite, Smash TV,” said Festival Director Dykeman. 

The Closing Night screening on Monday, November 16, Alexander Jeffery’s MOLTO BELLA is an intimate narrative film with the natural dialogue of the BEFORE series, and the digetic music of ONCE. The film follows American musician Josie Day (played by IRL musician Andrea von Kampen), who is in Sicily looking for inspiration for the follow up to her first hit record. When she meets a poet there, their chemistry sparks collaboration, and they challenge each other to express their thorniest struggles.

DEATH OF A ROCKSTAR
CABARETE
SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE

Additional feature film highlights are led by the World Premiere of the animated, science-fiction, retro-rock opera DEATH OF A ROCKSTAR. Written, directed, animated, and performed by musician Röckët Stähr, who spent thirteen years creating the film, almost completely by himself. DEATH OF A ROCKSTAR is a fun, rock ‘n’ roll trip created by a true auteur. Chelsea Christer’s award-winning BLEEDING AUDIO focuses on San Francisco pop punk band The Matches. The film recently won Audience Awards at both Dances With Films and San Francisco DocFest. Ivan Bordas’ drama CABARETE is about a young man who wants to compete in kite-surfing, and Chris Hansen’s SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE is a festival favorite that follows the life of an interracial marriage between an aspiring filmmaker and a dancer that is made up of seven vignettes that chronicles the better and worse.

A wide variety of topics, subjects, and issues can be found on the documentary side, includeing; Matthew Salleh’s WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS, which looks at the distinctive bonds that we form with dogs via a handful of heartfelt and unconventional portraits of people with their dogs stories around the world; Zach Marion’s WHERE SHE LIES, a fascinating true-crime film about a woman who suspects her newborn baby was stolen from her and incorrectly declared deceased years ago; and Carolina Monnerat and Theodore Collatos’ QUEEN OF LAPA, which captures the larger-than-life actress, cabaret performer, activist, and proud sex professional since the age of eleven, Luana Muniz – arguably one of Brazil’s most recognizable transgender personalities – on screen.

WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS
QUEEN OF LAPA

Films with local connections include Marc Menet and Scott Prestin’s JOHN WAYNE GACY: DEFENDING A MONSTER about the man who became John Wayne Gacy’s defense attorney; Ines Sommer’s SEASONS OF CHANGE ON HENRY’S FARM, about a man reaching a crossroads regarding the future of his farm, which is located downstate; and Chicago native Vince Clemente’s fun look at palindrome creators in THE PALINDROMISTS.

The Lake County Film Festival has been noted for its short film programming, and this year’s edition will feature it largest and most ambitious lineup (91 selections) yet, that have been curated and carefully (and sometimes whimsically) and put together in 21 separate programs – all running no more than 45 minutes in length. With programs titled “#BLM,” “Action! Shorts!,” “Always Punch Nazis,” “The Fourth Wall,” “Guns, Guns, Guns,” “Modern Romance,” “OMG!WTF!,” “Shutterbugs,” “The Souls of Black Folks,” and “The Woman’s Work,” themes will touch on all genres and sometimes very specific subjects and ideas. Many of the short films also feature recognizable actors, such as Patton Oswalt (THE PRIEST), Alia Shawkat (ALINA), Beth Grant (LA SIRENA, FAITH), Martin Starr (MILFORD), Henry Rollins (MONEYBAG HEAD), Jeremy Sisto (WICHITA), Kerris Dorey from Ray Donovan (SILVERTONE), and Jason R. Moore from Marvel’s The Punisher (HONOR AMONG THIEVES).

For information on purchasing passes, tickets, and additional details on the Lake County Film festival, please go to: https://www.past.lakecountyfilmfestival.org/.

PRESS CONTACT
John Wildman
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FilmsGoneWild.com
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Lake County Film Festival film descriptions:

FEATURE FILMS

Opening Night Selection

MONUMENTS 

Director: Jack C. Newell

Country: US, Running Time: 94 min

Ted (David Sullivan – Primer) and Laura (Marguerite Moreau – Wet Hot American Summer) are at a precarious stage of their marriage when Laura is killed in a car accident. Paralyzed with grief, Ted is literally unable to let her go, carrying her ashes around under his arm. When he is visited by her ghost, who tells him to go against her family’s wishes and scatter her ashes a thousand miles away, at The Field Museum in Chicago. Unfortunately, with Laura’s family in pursuit, led by Ted’s nemesis – Howl (Javier Muñoz, Hamilton) it won’t be that easy. 

Closing Night Selection

MOLTO BELLA

Director: Alexander Jeffery

Country: US, Running Time: 91 min

In the Sicilian town of Taormina, an aspiring poet in search of inspiration meets a folk singer trying to write a follow up to her breakout hit. Their chemistry sparks collaboration, challenging each other to express their thorniest secrets, growing closer all the while.

Additional Narrative Features

THE BLACKOUT 

Director: Daniela De Carlo

Country: US, Running Time: 77 min

As hurricane Sandy descends upon New York, leaving destruction in her wake and plunging the city into darkness, a group of friends and neighbors come together and discover the joys, heartaches, and pleasures of human connection.

CABARETE 

Director: Ivan Bordas

Country: Dominican Republic, Running Time: 112 min

Inspired by true events. CABARETE follows the story of Somalia, a good-hearted teenage kitesurfer from the Dominican Republic who convinces his idol to train him for an upcoming tournament in Cabarete. However, once in Cabarete, the town’s hedonistic nightlife quickly catches Somalia’s attention, and he finds himself having to choose between a life of pleasure and pursuing the athletic ambitions he once had.

DEATH OF A ROCKSTAR

Director: Röckët Stähr

Country: US, Running Time: 92 min

In the year 2164, when rock n’ roll is banned, a group of underground rebels, lead by a mad scientist, attempt to start a non-violent revolution by waking up the docile masses via a cloned rockstar sent on a guerrilla tour to “rock n roll them free from their misery”. But they soon find out, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

FEELINGS TO TELL (GUI QU LAI XI)

Director: Wen Li

Country: China, Running Time: 80 min

After falling into sleep, Jiang, a young painter, finds himself in a Taogu village where he meets a mute girl, Jiu’er and her foster father Old Bai, who believed firmly in ancient Xiangchu gods. As an observer and participant of the dream, the veneration they showed to the gods deeply touched Jiang. When Jiang witnessed the deep affection that his grandfather showed to his grandmother, he felt more puzzled over the fact that his parents had torn the last veil of hypocrisy and wished to get rid of the perplexities of real life. For the second time, Jiang entered into Taogu Mountain and re-acquainted with Old Bai and Jiu’er, he found that this was a mystic domain of reversed time. Jiu’er’s age means she will soon become a ‘mountain goddess’ and must be taken away…

LOVE IS NOT LOVE 

Director: Stephen Keep Mills

Country: US, Running Time: 94 min

Early December, and everyone is in the hunt for love in this romance of fantasy, fate, and yearning. Why? Because they haven’t found it, and because they haven’t found it, they make it into a myth and chase the myth instead. Frank has been married to Paula for 30 years, and like many older men, desperately fears that he has missed out on something that always seems just out of reach. His search leads him to a much younger woman who works as an escort, and who initially makes him feel whole again. Blinded by the fantasy that she could be his true love, he gradually recognizes that this is merely a fable produced by his yearning.

RATTLED 

Director: Kd Amond

Country: US, Running Time: 86 min

Upon her mother’s death, Michelle Daniels returns home where she’s unexpectedly reunited with her estranged and acutely mentally ill sister Addison. What Michelle intended to be a quick trip to settle the family succession, spirals out of control as her sister displays an increasingly sinister obsession. 

SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE 

Director: Chris Hansen

Country: US, Running Time: 100 min

Noah and Madison are artists who want to change the world, and they begin their marriage as most couples do – full of hope and idealism, sure that their love will solve all their problems.  But marriage isn’t all about the great times people post on social media. It’s also about the arguments over petty stuff, and the arguments over big stuff, and the longstanding resentments that no one wants to even bring up.

UNA GREAT MOVIE 

Director: Jennifer Sharp

Country: US/Mexico, Running Time: 96 min

Susan is a black American woman travelling to Mexico to rekindle a romance with her former lover. Or is she? As a screenwriter struggles to tell the story she has dreamed of writing all her life, she is faced with pushback from the gatekeepers of the film industry who insist on white-washing the cast and treating the people of color as one-dimensional stereotypes.

WOMAN OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS 

Director: Takeshi Kushida

Country: Japan, Running Time: 94 min

A misogynic photographer discovers for the first time in his life the joys of loving a woman, this one confused about her self-identity and self-esteem, by helping her in her perceptions of herself with his photographic retouching skills.

Documentary Features

BLEEDING AUDIO                                                                  

Director: Chelsea Christer

Country: US, Running Time: 90 min

BLEEDING AUDIO is an intimate portrait detailing The Matches’ promising career, defeating break up, and inspiring reunion as they reflect on what success truly means for musicians in today’s digital industry. The Matches’ story overlaps with the drastic changes the music industry has undergone in the past several years. From declining record sales, to excessive touring, to illegal downloading and streaming. This documentary uses The Matches history and recent reunion to dig deeper into the root of the challenges the average musician faces in the digital age of the industry, and how artists can navigate their careers today.

INSERT COIN 

Director: Joshua Y. Tsui

Country: US, Running Time: 101 min

The oral history of a team of geeks and misfits in the back of a Chicago factory creating the biggest video games (Mortal Kombat, NBA JAM, and others) of all time.

JOHN WAYNE GACY: DEFENDING A MONSTER 

Directors: Marc Menet, Scott Prestin

Country: US, Running Time: 89 min

The authorized documentary based on the best selling book John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster. This is the story of Sam Amirante, a young lawyer fresh from the Public Defender’s Office whose first client in private practice turns out to be one of the worst serial killers in American history. It all started with a phone call from Gacy, “Sam could you do me a favor?”

NEVERTHELESS 

Director: Sarah Moshman

Country: US, Running Time: 79 min

Taking a look behind the headlines of #MeToo and Time’s Up, NEVERTHELESS follows the intimate stories of 7 individuals who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or school context. From a writer’s assistant on a top TV show to a Tech CEO and 911 dispatcher, the film shines a light on the ways in which we can shift our culture and rebuild.

THE PALINDROMISTS 

Director: Vince Clemente

Country: US, Running Time: 91 min

Delve into the history palindromes while following the world’s greatest palindromists as they prepare for the 2017 World Palindrome Championship.

PICTURE CHARACTER 

Directors: Martha Shane, Ian Cheney

Country: US, Running Time: 80 min

How do you create a global language on the fly? Picture Character explores the complex, conflict-prone, and often hilarious world of the creators, lovers, and arbiters of emoji, our world’s newest pictorial language. This film charts the evolution of emoji and investigates what they may reveal about our increasingly technological world.

QUEEN OF LAPA 

Directors: Carolina Monnerat, Theodore Collatos

Country: Brazil, Running Time: 73 min

Larger-than-life actress, cabaret performer, activist, and proud sex professional since the age of eleven, Luana Muniz – arguably one of Brazil’s most recognizable transgender personalities, shapes a new reality for a new generation of transgender sex workers in her hostel by providing a safe working environment in the dangerous neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. QUEEN OF LAPA explores the day-to-day lives, quests for love, housemate rivalries in a turbulent political climate under matriarch Muniz’s watchful and guiding eye.

SEASONS OF CHANGE ON HENRY’S FARM 

Director: Ines Sommer

Country: US, Running Time: 83 min

For a quarter-century, Henry Brockman has worked alongside nature to grow delicious organic vegetables on his idyllic Midwestern farm. But farming takes a toll on his aging body and Henry dreams of scaling back. So he puts his former apprentices in charge of the farm, while spending a “fallow year” with his wife Hiroko in Japan. But things don’t turn out as planned, and Henry must grapple with the future of farming in a changing climate on personal, generational, and global levels.

STORIES I DIDN’T KNOW 

Directors: Melody Gilbert, Rita Davern

Country: US, Running Time: 74 min

A search for her Irish ancestors leads a woman down an unexpected path to reveal a family secret about a sacred piece of land. Like many children of immigrants, the past was often an unexamined topic. We learn the value of finding and facing the past by watching her journey.

THROUGH THE CRACKS 

Director: Ben Scholle

Country: US, Running Time: 94 min

In July, 2002, Johnny Johnson was arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of 6-year-old Cassandra Williamson in Valley Park, Missouri. The effects of the crime continue to reverberate in the community. During the capital murder trial, a proceeding clouded by questions of mental illness and competency, a juror described the killing as “the worst possible crime.” This film seeks to answer the question: Does the worst possible crime deserve the worst possible punishment?

WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS 

Director: Matthew Salleh

Country: US, Running Time: 84 min

A contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives. Former child soldiers in Uganda. The local pub in a Scottish town. A dog walker on the streets of Istanbul. A kaleidoscope of unconventional portraits from fascinating locations. People need dogs, and perhaps they need us, but what do humans do to deserve the unconditional love they provide?

WHERE SHE LIES 

Director: Zach Marion

Country: US, Running Time: 100 min

A gripping true story of an assaulted teen, Peggy Phillips, who gives birth out of wedlock in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1962. Upon giving birth, Peggy receives conflicting narratives about her infant’s fate, with one doctor claiming that her baby had passed, and another claiming it was thriving. Thirty-three years later, Peggy’s mother reveals on her deathbed that Peggy’s baby is still alive. After a series of new attempts to uncover the truth, including exhuming her infant’s alleged grave, Peggy reaches an impasse when she runs out of money. Almost two decades later, the film documents Peggy uncovering the truth about what happened.

SHORT FILMS

Screening with Features

A NORMAL GIRL        

Director: Aubree Bernier-Clarke

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min     

A NORMAL GIRL brings the widely unknown struggles of intersex people to light through the story of intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis. (preceding QUEEN OF LAPA)

ALL THE POSSIBILITIES…    

Directors: Marsha Gordon, Louis Cherry          

Country: US, Running Time: 16 min     

ALL THE POSSIBILITIES… is a documentary meditation on artist Vernon Pratt’s over 1,400 square foot systematic abstraction painting. (preceding PICTURE CHARACTER)

AMERICAN OCELOT  

Director: Ben Masters  

Country: US, Running Time: 33 min

AMERICAN OCELOT tells the story of one of the most endangered and beautiful wild cats in the United States — a species so elusive that high quality images and video have never been captured until now. AMERICAN OCELOT provides a glimpse into the lives of this mysterious species, explores the nuances of the Endangered Species Act, and aims to invigorate ocelot recovery to ensure the long-term survival of the species. (preceding WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS)

CALL CENTER BLUES

Director: Geeta Gandbhir        

Country: US, Running Time: 25 min     

CALL CENTER BLUES is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico. (preceding UNA GREAT MOVIE)

GRACELAND  

Director: Bonnie Discepolo      

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min     

Anna Camp stars as a southern mom whose life is all-shook-up when her fourth grader claims to be reincarnation of the king of ‘rock-n-roll.’  (Preceding QUEEN OF LAPA)

MILFORD        

Directors: Nathan Barnatt, Seth Barnatt          

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

A man living in a small town struggles with his decision to finally do something with his life—leave his hometown or succumb to his apprehension for change and the comforts of an easy life. (preceding THE PALINDROMISTS)

PROLOGUE    

Director: Justin Joseph Hall     

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min     

Jack and Julie would be a perfect couple if only they could communicate about this one thing. (preceding SEVEN SHORTS FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE)

REPARATIONS           

Director: Gregory G. Allen        

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

A Jewish Holocaust Survivor agrees to be interviewed by an African-American doing research for her grad thesis. He cannot grasp any similarity between restitution for descendants of slaves versus those he’s received from Germany. As her questions unearth his secrets the bond between them deepens. (preceding STORIES I DIDN’T KNOW)

SOUND           

Director: Tawan Bazemore      

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

Photographer Isabelle Pisano, becomes hearing-impaired after a violent car accident. As she struggles to cope in the muffled and scary new normal something beautifully-terrifying happens. (preceding RATTLED)

THE BEE FARMERS   

Director: Steve Utaski  

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min       

Short documentary of a one-of-a-kind program based in the Pacific Northwest that rents bees to residential customers which in turn are used to pollinate crops on farms throughout the United States. (preceding SEASONS OF CHANGE ON HENRY’S FARM)

TOGETHER TILL THE END     

Director: Salvador Medina       

Country: Mexico, Running Time: 8 min 

They thought breaking up was the end of the world. (preceding RATTLED)

TUTORIAL > SKIP?    

Directors: Thy Vo, Sydney Seekford, Ryan Imm           

Country: US, Running Time: 4 min       

Because no one plays the tutorial. (preceding INSERT COIN)

#BLM

ANT    

Director: Mischa Meyer

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

Police brutality protests boil in South Central Los Angeles as four teens plan a robbery and find themselves in a comic book store. 

BEND  

Director: Susan Misner

Country: US, Running Time: 11 min     

BEND is a love story that charts the distance between its lovers. A single gesture of political activism lays bare the fragile balance of a relationship, revealing how we all struggle with our past in the effort to forge a more honest future.

DEAR BRUH: A BAPTISM. A EULOGY. A CALL TO ACTION  

Director: Ya’Ke Smith  

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min       

A short on the current movement for Black Lives. About love and loss. About Justice. About honoring those lost as America struggles to become an Anti-racist nation. 

RUN FREE      

Director: Brandon Ravet          

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

After a Black country singer is offered the chance to sing the National Anthem at the high school football state championship, he is forced to choose between career and cause. Featuring original songs by Phredley Brown (Guitarist and Music Director for Bruno Mars).

Action! Shorts

THE COLLECTOR       

Director: Godefroy Ryckewaert

Country: France, Running Time: 8 min 

THE COLLECTOR takes place in a decadent nightclub with an electric vibe. The evening takes an unexpected turn when a tax collector arrives to collect money for one of his clients.

THE DOE        

Director: Jennifer Lumbroso     

Country: France, Running Time: 18 min           

A French woman, lost in the countryside, has to face unexpected events as nature takes back its rights. 

THE SPEED OF TIME 

Director: William J. Stribling      

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

Future cop Johnny Killfire must go back in time and team up with his former self in order to stop the TimeBorgs from getting their hands on an app that could break the space-time continuum by delivering pizzas into the past…before they were even ordered. 

Always Punch Nazis

A HEAD SHORTER     

Director: Sasha Bortnik

Country: US, Running Time: 23 min     

A HEAD SHORTER is an animated documentary about a 12 year old boy in the Holocaust and how he survived multiple concentration camps.

DWAYNE’S WORLD    

Director: Geno DiMaria

Country: US, Running Time: 23 min     

On June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered 9 members of Emanuel AME Church. On August 4, 2016, Roof was assaulted by fellow inmate Dwayne Stafford. This is Dwayne’s story. 

Death & Life

BURY ME AT TAYLOR HOLLOW        

Director: Orion Pahl     

Country: US, Running Time: 32 min     

After spending 15 years working in the conventional funeral industry, John Christian Phifer is paving uncharted territory to help create Larkspur Conservation—the first natural burial ground of its kind in Tennessee.

LIFE AFTER DEATH   

Director: Noah Glenn   

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min     

In this light-hearted dark comedy, a man discovers an unconventional family when he is invited to a support group for the legally dead, after attempting to dig up his own grave.

Escape Plans

ALINA 

Director: Rami Kodeih  

Country: US, Running Time: 24 min     

As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risk everything to smuggle their friend’s three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events. Starring Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Search Party), Edin Gali (Mad Men), Rebeca Robles (Better Things), Erika Soto (Vida), and Mark McCullough (LOGAN LUCKY). 

VARIABLES    

Director:Sabina Vajrača           

Country:US, Running Time: 24min       

In the middle of the Bosnian War, a teenage math-wiz is given a way out of the bloodshed when his math club gets an invitation to compete at the 1995 International Math Olympiad in Canada. Inspired by true events. 

Experimental Shorts

CONGRESS CARES   

Director: Theodore Collatos     

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min       

On March 27th, the United States congress approved a multi-trillion dollar coronavirus relief package by voice vote. CONGRESS CARES is a satirical chronicle of the faux debate.

IF THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS OF MY LIFE

Director: Peony Yip     

Country: Hong Kong, Running Time: 3 min      

The Hong Kong-based narrator details her experiences and feelings while preparing to go back to China during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. 

SHAPES & SIZES       

Directors: Pamela Falkenberg, Jack Cochran   

Country: US, Running Time: 6 min       

SHAPES & SIZES melds melds music and moving pictures together in a startlingly beautiful but alienating critique of American car culture and its disregard for the environment worthy of Jean Baudrillard. 

TIDES 

Director: André Silva    

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

Filmed at Masonboro Island, an undeveloped barrier island in southeastern North Carolina, TIDES contemplates the liminal space between the modern technological world and that more ecological dimension we label as “nature” or “the environment.”

WE ARE FREE BECAUSE OF HARRIET TUBMAN      

Director: Nadine Patterson      

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

This lyrical documentary is a meditation on resistance, nature, and history. Professor Sonia Sanchez’s words speak to us today as many in America struggle to find their own liberation. The imagery is meant to heal and aid the viewer in reflection upon the text. 

YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND         

Director: Trish Harnetiaux        

Country: US, Running Time: 10 min     

An idyllic picnic of one is upended after the arrival of a stranger. 

The Fourth Wall

AND, CUT! (DANKE, AUS!)      

Director: Luca Amhofer            

Country: Austria, Running Time: 7 min 

Tom is an actor and the only thing he really wants on the film set is a still water. The big problem is, that his colleagues are too incompetent to organize one.

THE HOLE TRUTH      

Director: Russell Friedenberg   

Country: US, Running Time: 16 min     

When a suicidal woman in a dead-end job, breaks the rules to overhear the confessions of strangers, her initial excitement quickly unravels into despair, however, as she carries out her “exit strategy” she encounters love in an unexpected way.

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE LAKE 

Director: Greg Pope    

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

After the disappearance of their dog a 12-year-old girl and her little brother set out on a nighttime search, completely unaware they are being watched.

TWO BODIES ON THE BEACH           

Director: Anna Paavilainen      

Country: Finland, Running Time: 20 min          

A woman wakes up on a beach wrapped in plastic, half-naked and in high heels. “Not again,” she sighs and decides to find out who is behind this. She persuades an older woman who has been pushed to the margins of society to accompany her on her revenge trip. During their journey through classical cinematic landscapes, the two women have to face their own lusts, conflicts between generations, and their fragile ideologies.

Guns Guns Guns

1,2,3 ALL EYES ON ME

Director: Emil Gallardo

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

Ms. Leena, a passionate teacher is doing her best to manage her challenging class when she suddenly finds herself trapped in a crisis that engulfs her elementary school campus, threatening the children in her care.

FALLING FROM ARMS

Director: Sean Patrick Leonard

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

John recently lost his wife and son to an active shooter at their school. Now as his daughter Claire prepares for her first day back at school after the life altering incident, John searches for new ways to cope with the grief. What he learns from those around him could provide him with the keys to unlock new ways to move forward in life.

THE GENTLE ART OF VIOLENCE

Director: Andrew Przbytkowski

Country: US, Running Time:

In the intimacy of a confessional, a priest is unusually coerced into confessing to a mysterious woman, their true nature will be revealed as the situation spirals out of control.

TANTRUMS     

Director: Zander Coté  

Country: US, Running Time: 10 min     

Francis didn’t want to go on an elk hunting trip with his mother’s boyfriend. But now that it’s too late, he’s changed his mind.

Local Shorts

COOL FOR FIVE SECONDS   

Director: Dani Wieder   

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

When Colleen reunites with her estranged sister, things don’t go exactly as she planned.

E.R. A.M.        

Director: Will Schneider

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

Six strangers bond as they wait to get into the emergency room. 

EVERYTHING’S FINE 

Director: Danny Rhodes          

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

A new mother suffering from Postpartum OCD struggles with intrusive thoughts about harming her baby. 

LONG RIDE HOME     

Director: Dame Pierre  

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min       

Brandon, an affluent African-American who has clawed tooth and nail to success, resenting anyone not willing to put in the same amount of discipline. However, Brandon’s perspective is challenged during an Uber ride to his old neighborhood.

Losing My Religion

FAITH 

Director: Matteo J. Mosterts     

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

A catholic nun decides to break her vows and go back to find the man she fell in love with, 20 years ago. 

THE PRIEST   

Director: Michael Vukadinovich

Country: US, Running Time: 17 min     

In a lonely desert town, a suicidal priest (Patton Oswalt) makes a decision that kicks into motion a series of strange and comedic events leading him to an unexpected discovery. 

THE SEEKER 

Director: Lance Edmands        

Country: US, Running Time: 19 min     

A lyrical portrait of an excommunicated Amish woodworker struggling with spirituality, poverty, and life as an outcast from his strict, insular community. 

Modern Romance

COME F*CK MY ROBOT         

Director: Mercedes Bryce Morgan        

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

A virgin 18-year-old finds himself in over his head when he responds to a mysterious Craigslist post looking for someone to test a prototype sex robot only to have her not consent. Based on a real Craigslist post. 

THE GHOSTING OF ELISE MONTGOMERY   

Director: Motke Dapp   

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

When Elise once again starts ghosting someone who doesn’t fully interest her, the ghosts of past relationships start showing up to find out why she ghosted them.

SLOAN HEARTS NECKFACE 

Director: Justin Fair      

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

An anonymous, anarchic graffiti artist unexpectedly falls in love with a fan but can’t be with her until he reveals his true identity.

Music Shorts

A HANDFUL OF RUST

Director: Conor Chandler Simpson       

Country: US, Running Time: 10 min     

Inheriting the family junkyard when her father dies unexpectedly, Simone makes eccentric punk music with her troubled savant younger brother and battles their short-fused mother intent on sending him away. 

RALLENTANDO!         

Director: Jon Gower     

Country: US, Running Time: 6 min       

A Nashville country band runs into trouble during rehearsal when the bandleader, a sophisticated dandy, has to confront his redneck drummer.

SILVERTONE

Director: Kerris Dorey

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

Film follows the members of the band Silvertone, as they work on the follow-up to their hit record.

SON OF SUN  

Director: Anthony Short           

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min       

A song once recorded 50 years ago at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee, is nearly lost by the only left survivor who knows of its existence. In pursuit of purpose in life, Alex is driven to re-record a piece of history.

SUNDAYS AT THE TRIPLE NICKEL   

Director: Jessica Colquhoun    

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

On Edgecombe Avenue in Sugar Hill, Harlem, Marjorie Eliot is making sure her apartment building’s iconic jazz legacy lives on. Marjorie and her son have been hosting jazz concerts in her apartment every Sunday for the past 26 years, a pursuit of overcoming grief through music. This film tells the story of the women behind the piano, and how Marjorie’s generous vision came to be and the life it has taken on since, as she leaves behind her own legacy. 

WATERS OF MARCH  

Director: Elizabeth Lewis         

Country: Canada, Running Time: 4 min           

Based on the classic Tom Jobim song of the same name, WATERS OF MARCH uses naturalistic hand drawn animation to express the cycle of life through the beauty of nature. 

OMG! WTF!

MONEYBAG HEAD     

Director: Patrick O’Brien           

Country: US, Running Time: 16 min     

Dennis is searching for human connection despite having a head that looks like a literal bag of money. 

NERO 

Director: Jan-David Bolt           

Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 9 min      

Humans spend five years of their lives thinking about food. This film may not change that.

OH DEER        

Director: Richard C. Jones       

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

A dark comedy about the perils of parenting.

PEANUT         

Director: Andy Mills      

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

After learning he has an abnormally small brain, John is prescribed a gun to kill himself. Unfortunately, he learns a gunshot to the head is not quite sufficient for his affliction.

TALK OUTSIDE          

Director: Austin Davison          

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min       

When two tough guys leave a bar to fight, their search for the right spot becomes an adventure.

Queer Shorts

BRODATE       

Director: Hank Braxton

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min       

Two bros grab lunch and the conversation gets real…awkward. 

FORTUNATE COUNTRY         

Directors: Kristin Jordan Tripe, Julia Hinson     

Country: US, Running Time: 23 min     

Two small-town women in the rural Midwest confront their feelings for one another and explore the quiet romance unexpectedly blossoming out of their long friendship. A modern adaptation of the 1913 Willa Cather novel, ‘O Pioneers!’, this naturalistic drama follows one young woman who is restlessly trying to reconcile her past so that she can escape her hometown, and another clutching on to a quiet life in the country. 

MORE THAN HE KNOWS        

Director: Fiona Dawson

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min     

When a happily married couple go on a routine staycation, the wife demonstrates that she knows her husband better than he knows himself. 

Science Fiction Shorts

ARK    

Director: Soma Helmi   

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

Captain Mira Bernhard is finally home after a lengthy mission to the new planet, GAIA – humanity’s last hope. But what’s only been a 5-year trip for her, has been a 45-year wait for her husband. 

HONOR AMONG THIEVES     

Director: Justin Eugene Evans

Country: US, Running Time: 10 min     

When a planet-hopping cowboy-criminal (Jason R. Moore, Marvel’s The Punisher) returns to New Mexico after a heist-gone-wrong, he expects a hero’s welcome. Instead, he finds his mutinous crew have decided he’s no longer in charge.

IN ORBIT        

Director: Katie McNeice

Country: Ireland, Running Time: 17 min           

There was once an invisible optician, living in a strange and lonely world. Her story starts with a broken lens and the woman who taught her to see things differently. 

TIME   

Director: Mitchell Smalenski     

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

With time as her only resource, Anna travels back to fix the mistakes of her past. 

Shorts with Kids

KOKOKIDS OF PARIS

Director: Alexia Colette            

Country: France, Running Time: 15 min           

Two girls get away in a dreamy adventure until they face the harsh reality surrounding their lives and that of more and more kids in Paris. The Kokokids of Paris. Glowing on the inside, while living in the shadows. 

LA SIRENA     

Director: Matteo Servente        

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

The lives of Penny, the nighttime police dispatcher, and Nino, the barber, get turned upside down when 10-year-old Speed drives a stolen muscle car into their small rural town, looking for a Mermaid.

MY HERO       

Director: Logan Jackson          

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

As last-minute plans for a babysitter fall apart, eight-year-old Brandon is left alone to oversee his younger brother Mason.

THEY GROW UP SO FAST     

Director: Michael Pomaro         

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

Two sisters are home alone in a post-apocalyptic world when danger comes knocking. 

Shutterbugs

A MILLION EYES        

Director: Richard Raymond      

Country: US, Running Time: 24 min     

A gifted young photographer, grappling with his mother’s alcoholism, sets out to capture something he loves.

NICOLE          

Director: Brett Cramer  

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min       

Riley’s photoshoot doesn’t go as expected.

THE WORLD IS A SKATEPARK: PHOTOGRAPHER J. GRANT BRITTAIN      

Director: Bill Wisneski   

Country: US, Running Time: 13 min     

THE WORLD IS A SKATEPARK shares the work and stories of legendary skateboarding photographer J. Grant Brittain. In his 40-years as a photographer, he captured some of the most iconic images in skate history, documenting the rise of future pro skaters like Tony Hawk. 

VIEWFINDER  

Director: Melody Gilbert

Country: US, Running Time: 4 min       

Every day for the past 23 years, Michael has taken a single picture with a film camera. 

The Souls of Black Folks

BROOKLYN PARK      

Director: Nikola Duravcevic      

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

Alone in New York, Somali rideshare driver Abdi begins his nightshift with the news of a tragedy back home. The faces in the backseat change as he wrestles, unable to connect, with whether the unthinkable can be true—until a vision provides the clarity he seeks. 

FEELING THROUGH   

Director: Doug Roland 

Country: US, Running Time: 18 min     

A teen-in-need’s reluctant act of kindness toward a DeafBlind man becomes a night-long journey, creating a bond between them that gives the teen hope for the future. 

IN A LIFETIME

Director: Frantzy Moreau         

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

Olly and Ade are two friends who cherish their bond and relationship. However, one strives to leave the environment by any means while the other grows dependent on the friendship.

We Love Short Shorts

BEYOND NOH

Director: Patrick Smith 

Country: US, Running Time: 3 min       

BEYOND NOH rhythmically animates 3,475 individual masks from all over the world, beginning with the distinctive masks of the Japanese Noh theater and continuing on a cultural journey through ritual, performance, utility, and politics. 

HANGRY         

Director: Clint Till          

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

When a retired Reverend takes his seat in the retirement home dining room, he’s surprised to find that the lunch served doesn’t live up to his standards or expectations. He takes it upon himself to find a way to get the lunch he thinks he deserves.

TIRED EYES   

Director: Ryan Martin Brown    

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min       

Rose, Mitch, and Trevor make up the lo-fi rock band Tired Eyes. The trio have a small gig tonight, which means schlepping gear from a cramped practice space in Brooklyn to the middle of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the city has a way of making even the simplest of tasks absurdly difficult.

TRAVELING    

Director: Paul Bland    

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

Three co-workers meet to discuss their recent experiences with time travel tourism.

TWO WIZARDS, ONE STAFF  

Director: Josh Folan    

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min       

Two wizards, a young African-American apprentice and an older white Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, bump into each other while walking their dogs.

THE WATCHMAKER   

Director: Charlie Fonville          

Country: US, Running Time: 5 min       

THE WATCHMAKER profiles Japanese watchmaker Takumi Oshiro as he nears completion of his greatest masterpiece.

WICHITA         

Director: Sergine Dumais         

Country: US, Running Time: 6 min       

Sara is in bed with her lover when her husband calls. When he asks for something in his sock drawer, she runs home, stalling for time, asking endless questions about Wichita, Kansas.

The Woman’s Work

AVALANCHE  

Director: Heather Jack 

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min     

Underemployed and reeling from a recent miscarriage, a comedy writer’s life is getting less funny by the minute. When she lands a meeting that could turn it all around, she has to choose: tell the truth or go for the laugh? 

MODERN WHORE       

Director: Nicole Bazuin

Country: Canada, Running Time: 12 min         

University student by day, escort by night, Andrea Werhun led a secret life under the alias “Mary Ann.” To her horror, Andrea discovers outrageous online reviews of Mary Ann’s sexual performance written by self-proclaimed “hobbyists.” In this hybrid documentary, hobbyist and escort perspectives collide with hilarious and revealing results.

SPIRIT

Director: Braden Dereniwski     

Country: Canada, Running Time: 9 min           

A documentary featuring Marina Cole, a chainsaw carver who carves driftwood and other recycled materials into beautiful pieces of art. The film also examines her approach and process to creativity. 

THE GIRL WITH THE RIVET GUN       

Directors: Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly 

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min     

Taking you beyond the iconic “We Can Do It” poster girl to the millions of real-life women who shook the foundations of the American workplace – forever changing both their own lives and the very perception of what women can do.

Ukraine

ANNA  

Director: Dekel Berenson         

Country: UK, Running Time: 15 min     

Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to a party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. 

ENTER THROUGH THE BALCONY     

Director: Roman Blazhan         

Country: Ukraine, Running Time: 26 min          

This doc explores the phenomenon of the balcony as a small architectural form across the Ukraine. Through the history of the balconies, the film explores the history of Post-Soviet Ukraine — life, culture, and the relationships between personal and public space in cities. ENTER THROUGH THE BALCONY examines how architecture can be a curious pathway to a deeper understanding of culture and place. 

KACHALKA     

Director: Gar O’Rourke

Country: Ireland, Running Time: 9 min 

A cinematic portrait of Kiev’s Soviet scrap metal ‘Kachalka’ gym – the world’s most hardcore gym. 

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