We might associate animation with Disney and children’s cartoons, but it also has a long history as an alternative art form. Join a group of Festival filmmakers whose shorts and features use animation in all of its guises to satirize, criticize and generally push the envelope of what we expect to see in animated work. With Venus director Tor Fruergaard, George the Hedgehog director Jakub Tarkowski, Jim Trainor, SAIC Professor/Independent Filmmaker, and other panelists TBA.
This lyrical portrait of life in small town Virginia finds a single mother struggling to keep it together, working as a housekeeper and looking for love. Meanwhile, her two adolescent sons explore their own sexuality in the sweltering, stagnant days of summer. This debut family drama presents an intimate study of the emotional landscape of rural America.
Thom (Sam Jaeger, NBC’S Parenthood) just can’t win. After losing a job offer and getting evicted, he decides to buckle up as an illegal New York City cab driver. When he picks up Claire (Amber Jaeger), they embark on a trip neither one anticipated. This comedy finds solace in the back seat of a cab, the landscape of the USA, and even in a complete stranger. This classic road movie shows how a little cross-country drive can lead you to a different exit.
Pawel and his father Zygmunt make a living importing second hand clothing from France to Poland. When Zygmunt is suddenly and publicly accused of being a past Communist informant, he flees the country leaving the stubbornly apolitical Pawel to pick up the pieces and face the pervading legacy of Poland's troubled past. With strong performances and sympathetic characters, The Mole candidly explores how the weight of history affects a son's love for his family and his motherland.
Polish, French with subtitles 108 min
Original documentary shorts that have won international acclaim for their fresh approaches and sensitive storytelling.
FLYING ANNE (The Netherlands) is a sensitive portrayal of a beautiful young girl suffering from Tourette Syndrome. GRANDMOTHERS (UK) uses mixed media animation to render the tragic story of one woman's experience of the Argentine revolution. In CARETAKER FOR THE LORD (UK), we are privy to the everyday goings on and discontent amongst an aging and steadily declining church community in Scotland. THE HIGH LEVEL BRIDGE (Canada) is a fitting and humorous homage to the people and events surrounding an oddly significant landmark. GOODBYE MANDIMA (Switzerland) is a moving account of childhood memories of growing up in Zaire. In BITTER LEMON (Bangladesh), we experience the point of view of a traffic policeman in the chaotic streets of Dhaka.
Experience the point of view of a traffic policeman as he complains about how the people of Dhaka have made breaking the rules a way of life. 3 minutes put to perfect use in this immersive micro-doc.
A fragile community clings to a run-down Church in Glasgow’s east end as it faces closure. As line dancing and yoga illuminate the caretaker’s warm church hall, the Minister bitterly preaches that the Church has lost its direction and should be left to die. The broken building trembles in this battle for space and souls. A thoughtful piece of verite filmmaking that lets it subjects do the talking.
Eleven-year-old Anne is a beautiful girl. The kind of girl you can’t take your eyes off. And the longer you look, the more you see her ‘tics’. Anne suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, which makes her body do things beyond her control. Anne sometimes finds it hard to cope with her illness, especially in school. She’s afraid that others will bully her or laugh at her. Anne therefore tries to keep her tics in check, although that isn’t easy. She prefers ‘flying’ through life, so you won’t notice anything. When flying, she’s at her best. Flying Anne is a beautiful, sensitive portrayal of Anne’s life with her tics. Tics that, in the end, she doesn’t want to lose either...
Childhood pictures and video footage tell the story of the filmmaker’s departure from Zaire aged 10. This moving award-winning short is a retrospective goodbye from a European boy to the African culture that raised him, one that has since changed forever.
French, with subtitles 11 min
In a small apartment in Buenos Aires, an old woman eagerly awaits the birth of her grandchild and all the joys of becoming a grandmother. However, horrific circumstances means she will be forced to wait over 30 years. Using real-life testimonials this powerful animated documentary raises issues of memory, repression and loss.
Spanish, English, with subtitles 9 min
Director Trevor Anderson provides a voice-over narration of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge and drops his camera from the bridge in memory of those who have jumped. A fitting and humorous homage to the people and events surrounding this oddly significant landmark.
Amidst the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Havana in the 1940s, Chico and Rita fall immediately in love. But infidelity and their respective pursuit of fame both unite and pull them apart for the next six decades. Spanish filmmaker and music producer Fernando Trueba (La Belle Epoque, Calle 54), graphic artist Javier Mariscal, and animator Tono Errando pay tribute to the great Afro-Cuban and Be-bop musicians of the 40s and 50s in this delightfully sensuous animated film.
English, Spanish with subtitles 94 min
An unconventional coming-of-age tale wrapped in a tender love story, this debut feature presents a portrait of compassionate devotion and an unflinching look at aging. When Hannes retires at age 67, it seems that life "well, meaningful life" has come to an end. Estranged from family and friends, Hannes' most intimate relationship is with his boat, until a series of drastic events causes him to take stock of his life.
Icelandic with subtitles 99 min
In a small Romanian town, a group of 20-something guys known as “loverboys” woo young women into loving them before selling them into prostitution. One of the men, Luca, has never had any qualms with his profession until he meets Veli, a young farm girl. As their relationship deepens, Luca begins to question the path he is making and the path he has chosen for the future.
Romanian with subtitles 94 min
What are the latest trends in documentary form? Has technology changed the way docs are produced and distributed? How do filmmakers incorporate new styles and approaches such as 3D and animation into their storytelling and character development strategies? Join a lineup of this year’s visiting filmmakers and members of the local documentary community for an insightful conversation on the status of non-fiction cinema. With Ron Fernandez (DePaul University), director Xan Aranda (Andrew Bird: Fever Year) , director Adam Gacka and producer Paul Matian (Sadermania), director Olivier Morel (On the Bridge) and local filmmaker Dan Rybicky.
A six-year-old in Germany confronts and questions the nature of self-identity after learning of his Turkish grandfather’s journey as a guest worker in the 1960s.The discussion leads the whole family to travel to their original home in Turkey, a trip that will prove surprising in more ways than one. This delightful comedy shows that your identity is not determined by where you live or where your parents come from, but rather what you feel inside.
German with subtitles 101 min
Only twice in its history has the Norwegian army fired on its own people. King of Devil’s Island focuses on one of these incidents: the 1915 uprising at a boys’ reform school and its deadly aftermath. Erling is the newest resident of Bastøy Boys Home and immediately rebels against the school’s oppressive regime. His rebellious spirit soon spreads like wildfire among the inmates of this bleak institution. The epic struggle for freedom that ensues brings to light issues of class structure, repression, and the consequences of control.
Norwegian with subtitles 120 min
A Frankenstein love story centering on a doctor who must save his ailing wife. This gorgeous 3D animated film is a testament to love, the cinema of yesterday and the grand music of The Steampunk Quartet.
A sheltered teenage girl’s life is turned on its head when a mysterious greaser gang swarms into her sleepy suburb and she falls in love with their tough, handsome leader. The Ghosts authentically and lovingly recreates the look and feel of 50’s small town America.
L Train is the story of Sunny, a teenaged African American girl. Her commute through an inner city Chicago winter reinforces a negativity in her, until one day an encounter with a young woman who is differently abled forces her to consider replacing her anger with compassion. L Train is a brief, humble reminder of what we all might miss every day.
After a succession of late work nights, unexplained whereabouts and suspicious behavior, Carter, suspecting that his wife Betty has been unfaithful and demanding to know the truth, receives news that devastates their marriage and forever changes their lives - while imparting an important life lesson.
Kyle is a 5th grade boy from Michigan who stands up for what he believes in - his love for the vacuum cleaner. What started out as an obsession has now made him into a source of pride and curiosity. But it's not always easy being a town celebrity. Kyle understands something many people never will - love is worth the risk. A wonderful documentary character study- respectful, touching, and very funny.
A heavy pickaxe and chains aren't the only things weighing down a daydreaming chain-gang member. Mocking guards, cold weather, and meaningless work are all trying to break his spirit. However, with the help of a fresh snowfall the prisoner is able to make an escape. Winter’s unique look was achieved by shooting on 8mm and edited digitally.
Adopting from the animal shelter can be both joyful and heartwarming, unless of course, you try to adopt them from two volunteers by the names of Brad and Emily. Then your experience might go from slightly uncomfortable to simply terrifying. Perfectly pitched mockumentary magic.
To read Flaubert and Proust with your girlfriend after a passionate bout of lovemaking…what more could a young intellectual want? How about, years later, being asked by a veteran novelist to type out the handwritten notes for his next novel? Julio is in literary heaven. But life, like literature, can be surprising, and very soon Julio is forced to live up to the lies he has been spinning. Bonsai presents a charming Chilean spin on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.
Spanish with subtitles 95 min
The ambiguous suicide of local beauty, weathergirl, cheese model, and Marilyn Monroe look-a-like finds an eager sleuth in David Rousseau, best-selling crime novelist. When Rousseau visits a remote Alps village for the reading of his friend’s will he unwittingly, but irresistibly, gets caught in the tangled web of murder and small town politics in this off-beat mystery.
French with subtitles 102 min
One morning, Alex receives a devastating phone call: his mother has just been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Desperate to control the situation but overwhelmed by conflicting advice from friends, family and medical staff, he attempts to take matters into his own hands. Unfortunately things do not go as planned. This daring addition to the Romanian New Wave, based on the director’s real life experience, brims with emotional impact and authenticity.
Romanian with subtitles 105 min
Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary takes us inside the legendary 60-year-old Parisian cabaret club, presenters of the “best nude dancing show in the world,” as they rehearse and perform a new titillating show called Désirs, staged by famous French choreographer Philippe Decouflé. The third in Wiseman’s trilogy of films about iconic French institutions, Crazy Horse reveals the intense pace these young women must maintain to perform 15 shows a week for hundreds of tourists from around the world.
French with subtitles 120 min
Noir infused characters, with plenty to be paranoid about, are thrown together in a desperate situation when recent parolee Nick Burke (Mark Pellegrino) comes to the aid of Michelle (Alicia Witt), an exotic dancer living in a mysterious self-imposed exile in downstate Illinois. When they’re forced to team up and go on the lam, the two wonder whether they can even trust each other.
A series of provocative shorts exploring sex and relationships in unique and hilarious ways.An elderly couple's dinner repartee takes an unexpected and hilarious turn in PASS THE SALT, PLEASE (USA). The pleasures and perils of going back for more are explored in EX-SEX (USA). An old man has a dirty secret in GRANDPA'S WET DREAM (USA/JAPAN). Wallace and Gromit meets Shortbus when a Claymation couple decides to spice up their sex life in VENUS (Denmark). A plucky actress prepares for a challenging new role in METHOD (USA). Bert's barely clad neighbor comes to borrow some sugar and things go horribly wrong in SUGAR (The Netherlands).
Two former lovers navigate their fizzled relationship by confusing their emotional needs with their physical desires. Ex-Sex makes it better. Ex-Sex makes it worse. A bittersweet, honest glimpse at a relationship which reminds us how we always hurt the ones we love.
A 75-year-old Japanese man has a dirty secret - he has been acting in adult videos for 15 years without telling his family. Featuring some priceless behind the scenes footage and insights from friends, business associates and of course Grandpa himself, this is an insightful look at the Japanese porn industry and one man's personal quest to leave something behind.
Japanese, with subtitles 16 min
When an actress lands the role of her dreams, she takes her preparation seriously. A little too seriously. Pretty Woman fans will love this witty parody of the industry.
Dinner. A glass of wine. Stimulating conversation. What better way to wind down the day? A couple's dinner repartee quickly morphs into a scene ripped straight from the script of an adult film. Who wins this battle of the sexes is anyone’s guess. Starring Seymour Cassel as you’ve never seen him before.
When Bert's sexy neighbor pops in to borrow some sugar, a regular situation with a potentially sexual outcome turns instead into his worst nightmare. Bert will do anything - including getting extremely intimate with his neighbor's pink panties. Hilarious, over the top and very saucy.
Dutch, with subtitles 8 min
Caroline and Rasmus are in a mess. They have not had sex for four months. To Caroline's great dismay Rasmus believes the answer is to be found at the local swingers' club, and Caroline reluctantly agrees to go with him to the club in an attempt to save their relationship, with unexpected results. Shortbus meets Wallace and Gromit in this risqué, touching and completely original Claymation.
Danish, with subtitles 8 min
Léa, a young student from the provinces, dreams of attending the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Sciences and being fully independent. The sole caretaker of her resentful, Alzheimer’s-suffering grandmother, Léa becomes a stripper in order to afford her university studies and her grandmother’s nursing home. When things start to spiral out of control, Léa discovers that easy answers can come at a hefty price.
French with subtitles 93 min
Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Johnny To (Triad Election) returns to the world of comedy with this achingly sweet tale. Charming Zixin finds herself in a love triangle with two men that are as handsome as they are different. To tells a heartfelt whimsical tale where neither time nor space can hold back love’s grand gestures, while revealing an amusing touch that might not be familiar to the fans of his action-packed films.
Cantonese, Mandarin with subtitles 115 min
Violeta, a dentist in Rio de Janeiro, is happily married and still engages in passionate morning lovemaking with her husband. Then he leaves on business and calls to tell her he never plans to return. Confused, she begins to wander the streets, trying to figure out what happened and why. Rio is as much a protagonist as Violeta, its energetic and melancholic landscapes a reflection of her changing moods in this ode to resilience in the face of heartbreaking loss from Gold Hugo winner Karim Aïnouz (Madame Sãta).
Portugese with subtitles 82 min
Set in Memphis, Undefeated chronicles the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season as they strive to win the first playoff game in the high school’s 110-year history. A perennial whipping boy, in recent decades Manassas had gone so far as to sell their home games to the highest bidder, but that all changed in the spring of 2004 when Bill Courtney volunteered to lend a hand. The football program began resurrecting itself and, in 2009, features the most talented team it has ever fielded.
Based on true events, this skillfully crafted psychological thriller centers on 16-year-old Jamie, who lives in a squalid, crime-ridden slum on the outskirts of Adelaide. When John Bunting, a charismatic older man, enters his life, he offers friendship and escape from his deadbeat existence. But as Bunting’s behavior becomes increasingly sinister, Jamie finds himself caught up in horrors he could never have imagined as he realizes his new father-figure is actually a cold-blooded serial killer.
A stunning panorama of new animated shorts from around the world.An accident changes Dinki's life in the gorgeous BIRDBOY (Spain). A striking blend of animation styles are used in FLOWERS FOR JUPITER (USA). A seductive alternative cityscape is presented in the stylish HELLVILLE (France). A poodle puppy terrorizes the henpecked Carlos in EL MACHO (UK). One man's obsession with the passing of time is explored in black and white stop-motion in THE EAGLEMAN STAG (UK). Animator Bill Plympton invited multiple animators to remake his Oscar® award-winning short Guard Dog, and GUARD DOG GLOBAL JAM (USA) is the eye-popping result! THE GALLERY (Poland) is a satirical parable on modern consumer habits. A young boy learns some life lessons in THE RENTER (USA). TRAUMDEUTUNG (UK) explores our fascination with dreams. HEAVY HEADS (Denmark) is a minimalist black comedy. BRIDE CAN (Iran) uses cutouts in a witty commentary on the role of women in Iranian society. Oscar has to leave something behind in the melancholy, beautifully hand drawn BELLY (UK).
Oscar is coming of age, against his better judgment. In doing so he must experience the necessary evil of leaving something behind, but he can still feel it in the pit of his stomach. Belly features a beautiful hand-drawn animation style, a distinctive color palette and an unsettling, offbeat mood.
A terrible industrial accident changes Little Dinki's life forever. Now Dinki's fate may ride on the wings of her eccentric friend Birdboy, a misfit who hides in the Dead Forest, lost in his fantasies... a beautiful, haunting tale told with stark, stylized animation based on a graphic novel.
Spanish, with subtitles 13 min
A witty deconstruction of women’s life in traditional Iranian society, emphasizing gender oppression and lack of control over their already determined fate. Bride Can uses surprising juxtapositions of imagery to criticize objectification of women in Iran.
Henpecked Carlos yearns for order and calm amidst the chaos of his loud family of women. The arrival of adorable Alfonso, an energetic poodle puppy, shatters any dreams he had of peace and quiet. El Macho uses traditional 2D pen on paper animation, with individual screenprints for backgrounds.
English, Spanish, with subtitles 7 min
A spellbinding mix of 2- and 3-D animation, live action and prosthetic effects are employed to tell a tale of hope and negligence in which a young, fanciful girl mines her past for answers regarding the accident which, years earlier, took her middle finger. Flowers for Jupiter explores the world that exists between imagination and memory.
Animation impresario Bill Plympton’s short film Guard Dog won the Oscar in 2004. In 2010 he decided to remake the film via the internet, with 70 artists from around the world, with different levels of expertise, recreating each shot of the film in their own style. Guard Dog Global Jam is the eye-popping result, featuring pretty much every animation style you can think of, and some you probably haven’t!
In a gray kitchen Monika lives a solitary life, to the sounds of a dripping water tap and a buzzing housefly. Monika is seducing the housefly, when a sad stranger suddenly surprises her by entering the wrong door. Heavy Heads is a melancholy minimalistic black comedy about loneliness and solitude.
Hellville seems to have found its bizarre balance through a traffic system exclusively made of pedal vehicles...Until the day the roaring engine of a motorbike resonates through its streets. Hellville’s futuristic urban landscape is like an animated love letter to Jacques Tati’s Playtime.
If you repeat the word "fly" for long enough it sounds like you're saying "life". This is of no help to Peter. His answers lie in the brain of the beetle. This funny, philosophical stop-motion animation has been garnering awards at festivals around the world.
A black and white line, with only a few accents provided by a bright red stain, form a satirical parable of the consumer habits of modern society in a surreal shopping mall. The Gallery features an innovative, amorphous style which fuses elements of painting, animation and graffiti.
A young boy is dropped off at an elderly woman’s home for the day. Her house sits amongst fields of weeds and rotting pears, and a lone tenant adds to the unsettling atmosphere. The savage slaughter of a chicken makes this daycare a harsh and confusing world for the boy, who learns caring can be shown in unexpected ways. A multi-award winning short with a unique, visceral look and feel.
Dreams, squirrels and videotapes. A man dreams of a squirrel and then - backed up by battery of machines - mounts an inquiry into the apparition of squirrels in other people’s dreams. Traumdeutung is a funny and thought-provoking journey into the global reserve of dreams which blurs the borders between documentary and the surreal.
Can you ever really go home again? In Chicago-born Prashant Bhargava’s visually stunning feature debut, a successful Delhi businessman returns to his familial home, urban-bred daughter in tow, for a surprise visit during India’s largest kite festival. The excitement of their homecoming soon fades as long-held resentments and distrust surface.
Hindi with subtitles 93 min
A young thief’s ability to control minds is frustrated when he meets one just beyond his reach in this fast paced Korean action thriller. On a routine robbery of a pawnshop, things go terribly awry and an epic cat-and-mouse game quickly ensues, taking the viewer on a super charged tour of Seoul at night.
Korean with subtitles 114 min
In this Indonesian-styled Priscilla Queen of the Desert, our transsexual superhero goes up against Mr. Storm, The National Morality Front, and his deadly burqa-clad wives. A dark wit pervades this daring, camp-filled first feature from director Lucky Kuswandi.
Indonesian with subtitles 100 min
Juan is a lovable loser content to loaf around the streets of Havana wisecracking, womanizing, and wiling away the days with a motley crew of fellow drifters. But when what seems at first to be dissident rumblings in the city turns into a full-on flesh-eating zombie onslaught, Juan and his gang go into business as “Juan of the Dead”
Spanish with subtitles 92 min
This hilariously profane animated comedy follows George, a skateboarding booze guzzler with a libido to match, as he turns from randy rodent into spiky statesman, by way of some pretty far out genetic manipulation techniques. Both a bold piece of satire and a refreshing break from the animated norm, the film brims with as much irreverent energy as its prickled protagonist. Mature audiences only.
Polish with subtitles 80 min
When taxi driver Gu-nam finds himself in financial straits, he accepts a proposal from a local mob boss to travel to Seoul to carry out a hit on a professor. Once Gu-Nam arrives in the capital city, he discovers he isn’t the only person targeting the professor and in a quick turn of events, finds himself on the run. Gu-nam must call in his every survival instinct to stay one step ahead of his pursuers in this thrilling man-on-the-run crime drama.
Korean with subtitles 140 min
Zombies, ghosts, murderers and more go on the rampage in this miniature showcase of terror.Thirty years after a zombie epidemic the undead are used for cheap labor in the stylish THE UNLIVING (Sweden). A mysterious vagrant is hiding in an empty house in the menacing GHOST (South Korea). There's a new addition to the family in the form of a benign severed head in the darkly comedic CROPPED (Australia). A little boy and a yeti-like monster go on a disturbing adventure in DREAM OF 1ST OF APRIL 1999 (France). A gruesome scene unfolds in a peaceful home by the sea in BEATING HEARTS (USA). A young mother's mental state deteriorates rapidly in the nightmarish FOAL (Austria) and an army of mutant flies is unleashed in an orgy of bloodlust in FRIEND OF FLIES (Sweden).
A harrowing take on family ties, true love and murder. A gruesome scene unfolds at the hands of a little girl and an older man in a seemingly peaceful home by the sea. Beating Hearts reverses the typical horror structure by opening with the blood-spattered act of violence while the rest of the narrative resides in the stillness and quiet of the aftermath.
The Australian outback has been decimated by the brutal drought, destroying the livelihoods of farmers across the land. Barry and his family have been hit particularly hard, but their lives soon take a dramatic turn as they discover a mysterious object on their property. Each member of the family reacts differently to the gruesome new addition to the family which slowly stretches their relationships to breaking point. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your head … Cropped is a hilarious and disturbing black comedy.
A little boy goes for a walk in the forest with a mysterious, yeti like creature in this bizarre and highly creative animation which takes us on a dark, nightmarish journey which becomes increasingly abstract and surreal. 20’s style intertitles add to the dreamlike, nostalgic feel of this unique film.
A young pregnant woman enthusiastically hurls herself into her new family, but her husband is worried and uncertain about their marriage. The forced family structures begin to crumble away. Sensing her partner’s rejection, the woman bolts herself in her majestic estate in this gorgeous, atmospheric tale of rejection and betrayal.
German, with subtitles 16 min
For want of friends, a little boy seeks fellowship among flies. Once he has gained their confidence, he finds himself in possession of endless power. But power is not the solution to everything, and how is a child to master such responsibility? Using only three colors, black, white and red, Friend of Flies deploys a striking visual aesthetic to tell a melancholy tale about the loneliness of childhood.
A mysterious man is hiding out in an empty house. The man, who is wanted by the police, is caught up in a fantasy world brought on by extreme hunger and anxiety. However what he faces at the end is the darkest side of himself in this austere, deceptively simple short with an unnerving undercurrent of menace.
Korean, with subtitles 10 min
Thirty years after a zombie outbreak, people have started taming and using the zombies as a cheap workforce. The young couple, Katrine and Mark, struggle with the tedious everyday life of dirty zombie catching, bloody lobotomy experiments and a relationship on the verge of falling apart. Featuring truly exceptional production and complex, intriguing characters, The Unliving was the winner of the Best European Short Film award at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
Swedish, with subtitles 28 min
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