Our exciting annual showcase of the best new shorts by talented local filmmakers includes narrative, documentary, and animated works. Three Chicago window cleaners wax lyrical as they work on a high rise in PARADISE. A corpse wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife in CADAVER, featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates. An epic romance is reimagined in a queer light in THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS. Brad spends his final night in the suburbs alongside his older brother in WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM. A human trafficker becomes stranded In the lush Serbian countryside in THE RUNNER. Cole is home for the holidays… and now they’re over in AFTER CHRISTMAS.
Cole is home for the holidays … and now they’re over. A humorous look at a young man’s relationship with his parents and the trials and tribulations of returning to the family home.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 11 min
A corpse wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife, but discovers a truth in death he didn't know in life. A bittersweet love story featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd, Tavi Gevinson and Academy Award® winner Kathy Bates.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 8 min
The gruff, ogre-like Pumpkin and his young son live by themselves in the forest, but their comfortable isolation is disturbed when Pumpkin takes a near-fatal fall from a great height. His son, with the help of the benevolent spirits that inhabit the forest, must venture out into civilization for the first time in search of help. Filled with charming, gorgeous animation, Day of the Crows is an utterly delightful family film.
French with subtitles 94 min
An exciting and unique opportunity to hear from festival programmers and gain insight into what goes into programming a festival, what programmers look for when choosing films, and some do’s and don’t’s to consider when submitting your film. Panelists include:Kathleen McInnis, Film Curator and Head of Industry Programming, Palm Springs Short Film FestivalDanièle Cauchard, General Director, Montreal World Film FestivalDaniela Bajar, Programmer, Nantucket Film FestivalJonathan Jackson, Artistic & Executive Director, Milwaukee FilmInes Sommer, Director, Talking Pictures FestivalAndrew Rodgers, Executive Director, RiverRun International Film Festival
Three Mexican immigrants risk their lives washing windows on some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago. This thoughtful portrayal of their everyday lives reveals their thoughts about working, mortality, and the people they observe inside the high-rises they clean.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English and Spanish subtitles 10 min
As a young girl, Fawzia Mirza fell under the spell of Bollywood heroines and their promise of love and feminine perfection. As an adult, she re-imagines it in a queer light.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 3 min
In the lush, weedy Serbian countryside, a first time human trafficker becomes stranded with the Roma boy he is to deliver in this compelling short drama.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 18 min
Wandering amongst the plotted rows of houses within the motherly arms of the suburbs, two brothers sip liquid courage in this honest, atmospheric film about the fear of change and leaving home behind.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 19 min
An astonishing visual tour de force from Mexican filmaker Reygadas (whose previous film, 2007’s Silent Light, won the Gold Hugo), this enigmatic, elusive film presents the occurrences around a family of four. Mundane domestic events are punctuated with tableaux of overwhelming beauty, while some sinister force lurks outside. Filled with arresting images from one of world cinema’s most innovative visual masters, Post Tenebras Lux is a truly sui generis work.
Spanish with subtitles 120 min
The Thompsons, a seemingly ordinary (if somewhat pathetic) family unit, are accused of murder when Blake, a mysterious, gloomy stranger they’ve invited over, turns up dead. The family’s struggle with their newfound notoriety plays out in a tragicomic disintegration of their already somewhat dysfunctional relationships in this offbeat, absurdist and laugh-out-loud funny mockumentary.
English 86 min
The lives of married couple Kanya and Satoko are turned upside down when they lose their restaurant in a fire. Depressed and desperate, the couple concocts an unlikely confidence scheme to pay the bills: Kanya marries and swindles lonely spinsters. Successful as they are, the fraud wears on the couple, driving an even greater wedge between them.
Japanese with subtitles 134 min
A playfully inventive jigsaw puzzle of a movie, Boys Are Us follows heartbroken teenager Mia, whose older sister Laura persuades her to take revenge on the male sex. Their plan involves Mia seducing a boy and making him fall in love with her before cruelly discarding him, although the predatory Laura can’t help but complicate matters by toying with the boys herself. Can Mia follow through on their plan? Does she want to?
Swiss-German with subtitles 73 min
Mr Lee, an adopted stray cat, routinely disappeared from his South Carolina home for days on end. Intrigued by his whereabouts, his owner Juergen creates a special camera to put around his neck, and CatCam is born!Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English 16 min
An idiosyncratic portrait of an eccentric widow who looks after an impressive collection of fossils and documents, and her unexpected penchant for photoshop.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
Portuguese with English subtitles 12 min
An offbeat, touching documentary portrait of Bruce Metz reveals how he became Mr. Christmas, a man whose astonishing holiday light displays have earned him fame in his community.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English 14 min
These absorbing documentary character studies lovingly explore a handful of unique characters and their relationships with the objects and the places that define them. Stunningly artistic photos are captured on a tiny camera worn by Mr. Lee, a roving feline in CATCAM (USA). Burly men take pride in their work creating ballet shoes in THE PERFECT FIT (UK). WRITTEN IN INK (Poland) is the compelling story of a man trying to get back in touch with his sister after 14 years. An offbeat, touching portrait of Bruce Metz reveals how he became MR. CHRISTMAS (USA). DINOSAUR EGGS IN THE LIVING ROOM (Brazil) creates an idiosyncratic portrait of an eccentric widow who looks after an impressive collection of fossils and documents. THE LAST ICE MERCHANT (Ecuador) has made a living harvesting glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador for fifty years, but now change has come to his community.
Baltazar has made a living harvesting glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador for fifty years in this sensitive, beautifully lensed snapshot of one man struggling to adjust to his changing community.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
Spanish/ Quichua with English subtitles 15 min
The delicacy and perfection of ballet dancers is juxtaposed cleverly with the gruff, masculine men who spend their lives making their shoes. Yet both processes are equally painstaking.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English 9 min
The compelling story of a man trying to get back in touch with his sister after fourteen years that asks if one can change what has already been Written in Ink?Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
Polish with subtitles 12 min
In the midst of a mysterious epidemic that has decimated Lima’s population and shows no signs of abating, Eusebio - a forensic cleaner whose job is to remove corpses and sterilize the apartments of the dead - discovers an eight-year-old boy hiding in an uninhabited house. A grizzled loner who’s never been able to relate to people, Eusebio suddenly finds that he must care for the boy as civilization crumbles around them in this quietly compelling dystopian drama.
Spanish with subtitles 95 min
A sense of vitality and excitement fills the lives of a nursing home’s inhabitants when they decide to compete in a television variety show competition. Although members of this newly-energized group are battling the effects of various illnesses or familial estrangement and neglect, they all come together in common enthusiasm to realize their dream, no matter who or what stands in their way in this heart-warming, rousing film.
Mandarin with subtitles 105 min
Ever since she was abandoned as a toddler in the Jakarta Haven for Animals and adopted by their giraffe trainer, the zoo has been the only world Lana knows. When she encounters and falls in love with a charming magician, she decides to make her journey into the unfamiliar outside world in this delightful, romantic fable.
Indonesian with subtitles 96 min
The Hilton sisters’ incredible story begins in England in the early 1900s when their mother, after discovering she had given birth to conjoined twins, sold the babies to a woman who viewed the girls exclusively as “cash cows.” Their new caretaker/manager put the young pair on display in the back of pubs, eventually taking them on tour in carnivals and circuses. When the twins came to America, they instantly became a gigantic success, but the 23-year-old sisters were unable to cope with the dishonest agents and managers that would exploit them over and over again throughout their lives. Leslie Zemeckis’ compelling documentary explores the colorful, tragic lives of the world’s most famous conjoined twins.
English 91 min
The connection between a father and son is explored in this gorgeous paper-based stop motion animation set in a steam-filled old public bathhouse.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
No Dialogue 8 min
Mila (Juliette Binoche) and Javier are brilliant heart surgeons and passionately in love. While their professional lives are clinical and require precision and perfection, their married life is entirely opposite - they drink, eat and make love to excess. When Mila discovers she is pregnant, she and Javier continue to deny what everyone else recognizes: that Javier is an alcoholic. As her pregnancy develops, their impulsive and unpredictable relationship is derailed - and held together by ego, addiction and hope.
French with subtitles 91 min
A woman suffering from an unexplained stomach pain believes her doctor has the answer, while her husband is more interested in snake hunting in this quirky experimental animated film.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English 10 min
String puppets twist and turn and struggle to break free from the mysterious prison in which they are confined in in this enigmatic animated parable.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
No Dialogue 9 min
When Edmond's co-workers give him a new set of ears, his life begins to change in this haunting, melancholy animation.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
What starts off as a practical joke turns into a crucial turning point in Lilja’s life in this animated short film about playing with identity.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
Swedish with subtitles 15 min
In this spellbinding stop-motion animation, fifty-something Willy returns to the naturist community where he has spent his youth to visit his dying mother. When she dies shortly after he arrives, Willy is confronted with the choices he has made in his life.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
No Dialogue 16 min
For more than 20 years Charles Manson has refused to communicate with the outside world. Until now. Actual never- before- heard phone conversations between Canadian author Marlin Marynick and Charles Manson are brought to life through animation.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English 7 min
A gorgeous array of animation styles and techniques are put to work illustrating these strikingly original tales from around the world. A birthmark forms a bond between father and son in an old public bathhouse in 38 - 39 Cº (USA/South Korea). Life is a constant struggle for a quirky married couple in BITE OF THE TAIL (USA). A man and woman are carried to strange, inhospitable shores in THE CONQUERORS (Canada/France). Charles Manson communicates with the outside world for the first time in 20 years in OLD MAN (USA). When Edmond’s co-workers give him a new set of ears, his life begins to change in EDMOND WAS A DONKEY (Canada/France). Willy is forced to return to his naturist roots in OH WILLY… (Belgium/France). BODY MEMORY (Estonia) explores how far back in our ancestry it is possible to go. Lines blur between patron and bartender in the visually striking THE PUB (UK). A prank takes an unexpected turn in NEXT DOOR LETTERS (Sweden).
A man and woman are carried by stormy seas onto a strange, inhospitable shore. There they embark on an epic adventure, attempting to survive in their new world in a stunning animated collage.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
No Dialogue 12 min
Based on a true story, The Last Sentence follows celebrated Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt, who conducted his own campaign against the Nazis while navigating a fraught personal life. Officially neutral, Sweden’s leaders did their best to silence Segerstedt, fearing German reprisal, especially as the journalist began inciting the ire of top Nazi officials. Illustrious director Jan Troell (The Emigrants) brings a Swedish hero to life in this gripping, lyrical epic.
Swedish with subtitles 120 min
Lines blur between patron and bartender as intoxication takes hold in this visually striking animation.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English 15 min
A powerful drama about cultural conflict and the strength of familial bonds, Agon explores the relationship between Albanian brothers who must deal with prejudice treatment and bigotry in a new country. Saimir is well-established and thriving with a stable job and a fiancé in Greece, while Vini, newly emigrated, is involved with dangerous criminals. Family is incredibly important to both brothers, but their differences open a rift between them that they must confront.
Albanian, Greek with subtitles 110 min
A nitro-fueled narco-thriller from director Oskar Thor Axelsson and executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Black’s Game chronicles the evolution of Iceland’s homegrown drug industry from boutique trade to deadly big business. Stebbi sets out to take over the Reykjavik drug trade by any means necessary. Axelsson captures the drug-induced rhythm of Stebbi and his cohorts in this stylish, thrilling tale of Reykjavik’s criminal underground.
Icelandic with subtitles 104 min
An audacious sci-fi thriller, Antiviral tells the gripping story of Syd March, an employee at a clinic catering to celebrity fetishists by selling them diseases extracted from their heroes’ bodies. Syd, who smuggles them onto the black market through his own body, infects himself with the mysterious virus that killed superstar Hannah Geist. Chased on all sides by those who want the disease, Syd realizes he must uncover an antidote before he succumbs.
English 110 min
A slow-burning absurdist comedy, The Last Friday follows Youssef, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver whose lonely life changes suddenly when he learns he must have a testicular operation immediately. His son, meanwhile, must be sent to a private school. The money for both tuition and the operation is due by Friday. Youssef finds himself reaching out to estranged family members and friends, both for the money and to salvage what’s left of his life.
Arabic with subtitles 88 min
A girl visits her ex-boyfriend in search of their lost intimacy in this candid exploration of the ways in which sex can both bring us closer together and drive us further apart.Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
Croatian with subtitles 11 min
Little Milos worships his family tradition of hunting but takes matters into his own hands when he's told he is too young to go. But what is the real reason he is forbidden to tag along?Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
Czech with English subtitles 9 min
In this bittersweet story, Ellen is leaving to travel the world. She just has one more thing to take care of before she leaves: finding a new girl for her boyfriend.Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
Judy Dench is as charming as ever in this short comedic look at the mature generation dating in our modern, social networking-obsessed world.Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
English 12 min
Marla and Sam meet and flirt in the restroom of a bar, but this isn’t just a story of boy meets girl. Hands down, this just may be the strangest, and most inventive, love story you've ever seen.Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
On a road in an arid desert, a car pulls into the parking lot of a motel. A man holding a cardboard box comes out of it and rushes into the room number 69 … but what is inside the box?Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
A stimulating program that encompasses sweet, saucy, sad, and subversive elements of our romantic and sexual relationships. Caution advised for those on first dates! A man with a cardboard box pulls into a motel and rushes into ROOM 69 (Switzerland). A girl visits her ex-boyfriend in search of their lost intimacy in CHILL (Croatia). Delightful comedy FRIEND REQUEST PENDING (UK), featuring Judi Dench, observes the mature generation dating in our modern social networking world. MARLA (Australia) may just be the strangest love story you’ve ever seen. Milos worships his family tradition of hunting and takes matters into his own hands when he is told he is too young to tag along in DEAR HUNTERS (Czech Republic). On the eve of departing overseas, Ellen gives her boyfriend a questionable gift in ELLEN IS LEAVING (New Zealand).
In a diverse and cosmopolitan contemporary Havana, young Arthur meets and falls in love with Cecilia, a beautiful prostitute. Their idyllic aspirations for love and happiness quickly meet with complications. Fable is ultimately a moving, sincere exploration of the possibilities for love in a city defined by economic and social adversity.
Spanish with subtitles 92 min
With a cast featuring both renowned actors (including legendary thespian Derek Jacobi) and hundreds of prisoners, StringCaesar tells the story of the early, under-documented life of emperor Julius Caesar. Set in three working prisons across the world (in South Africa, Wales and Canada), this remarkable ensemble collaborates to bring to life the thrilling, tumultuous story of one of the most powerful, enduring personalities in Western history.
English 88 min
The final completed film from Raúl Ruiz (Time Regained), one of world cinema’s most inventive, iconoclastic filmmakers, Night Across the Street follows the ruminations of Don Celso, an elderly office worker, as he relives memories - both real and imagined - from his life. Stories hide within stories and the thin line between imagination and reality steadily erodes, opening up a marvelous new world of personal remembrance and fantastic melodrama.
Spanish and French with subtitles 110 min
A melancholic, mesmerizing vision of backwoods gothic Americana, Consuming Spirits weaves together a spell-binding blend of cut-out, pencil-drawn and stop motion animation techniques, a painstaking artistic process which took Chicago-based director Chris Sullivan nearly 15 years to complete. Folksy storytelling tinged with the dark surrealism of David Lynch, this atmospheric, multi-layered tale of outcasts and misfits is haunting, funny and occasionally heartbreaking.
English 130 min
A “subjective documentary” exploring the numerous theories about the secret, hidden meanings of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Room 237 is a guided tour through the most compelling attempts to decode this endlessly fascinating film. Director Rodney Ascher introduces us to the passionate amateur critics who devote themselves to Kubrick’s gothic horror masterpiece, following their dizzyingly complex, brilliant, and inventive analyses wherever they lead, creating a compulsively watchable tribute to obsessive cinephilia, and to a remarkable film.
English 102 min
A late night helping of thrillers and chillers, from the supernatural to the bloody to the downright bizarre. IN HANFORD (USA) is an animated depiction of a little-known environmental catastrophe. A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard takes on the local bullies using special powers in YARDBIRD (Australia). A serial killer is prowling in a small town in MURDERER ALIAS X (Switzerland). THE CHAIR (USA) is the story of one boy’s reaction to a mysterious outbreak of poisonous mold in his small rural town. PAUL (Israel) is still in the aftermath of a tough break-up when a mindless burglary forces him to push through the underworld of Tel Aviv. A girl’s talent for archery hides violent instincts in MY BOW BREATHING (Italy). When Stefan senses an intruder in his home, panic quickly turns to grim determination in COME TO HARM (Iceland).
In the concrete landscape of contemporary Reykjavik, Stefán’s life is slipping into turmoil. When he senses an intruder in his home, panic quickly turns to grim determination in this masterfully paced thriller.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
Icelandic with subtitles 18 min
This eerie black and white animation depicts a little-known environmental catastrophe.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
English 5 min
In this darkly comedic animated tale, a serial killer is prowling in a small town. But who can really be trusted?Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
French with English subtitles 9 min
A girl attunes her breathing to the movements of her bow, but her talent for archery hides violent instincts in this visceral, powerfully immediate piece of filmmaking.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
Italian with English subtitles 11 min
Still in the aftermath of a tough break up, Paul's life is slowly deteriorating. A mindless burglary of his rented apartment forces him to push through the underworld of Tel Aviv to investigate.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
Hebrew with English subtitles 26 min
The mysterious story of an outbreak of poisonous mold in a small town, and one boy's attempt to understand his mother's death, his grandmother's obsession with their discarded recliner, and the roots of this short-lived, strange, and inexplicable plague.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
English 13 min
A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard is forced to take on the town bullies when they travel out to torment her father in this beautifully shot tale set in the desolate Australian countryside.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
When cyber junkie Jung-mi learns of a sinister new “forbidden” internet video, she’ll stop at nothing to find it. However, the morbid video has strange effects on its viewers, and soon Jung-mi and her sister seem to be under a bizarre and terrifying curse. Playing on 21st century obsessions with technology, surveillance and internet fame, Don’t Click plays like an updated version of cult Japanese horror film Ringu for the dot-com generation.
Korean with subtitles 91 min
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