Not A Robot (UK)
By George Summers
Synopsis: A robot tries to break into a human facility, and is asked a security question... Running time: 00:01:00
Festivals: Boston Short FF, Sydney World FF, Toronto Arthouse FF, Hong Kong Arthouse FF, and more.
About the director: George Summers is an animation director from Cornwall, creating stop-motion films with an emphasis of rich storytelling and memorable characters.
Boy from the Blaze (Spain)
By Ignacio Acconcia
Synopsis: Aleixo Paz A.K.A “Boy from the Blaze” is the survivor of a tragic accident that destroyed his life and that of his family. About to turn 18, without a job or an education, he spends his days in the darkness of his room. Consumed by pain and anger, his only hope is writing songs for an imaginary crowd. Inspired by a friend and encouraged by his mother, he will find the strength to go on stage and overcome his fears. Running time: 01:30:00
Festivals: Seminci FF, Viewpoint Documentary FF, Venice Film Week (Winner Best Documentary Feature), Toronto Arthouse FF, and more.
About the director: Ignacio Acconcia (1984) is a Spanish screenwriter and director. He studied film direction at ESCAC and has a Masters in Creative Documentary at UPF. His short films “Putas” (2009) and “Don’t forget about me” (2013) have been at international festivals and won several prizes. He wrote and directed the TV Series “David, mi amigo” and his project “350 Hours” (2012) was selected for the MEDIA workshop 4CORNERS. He was one of the co-director of the film “Demonstration” (2014) by Victor Kossakovsky. “Boy from the blaze” is his first feature documentary.
By Hazel McKibbin
Synopsis: A young woman grapples with the aftermath of reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. Running time: 00:09:45
Festivals: Sundance Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival, and more.
About the director: Hazel McKibbin is a British American writer and director based in New York City's Brooklyn. She is a 2020 BAFTA Newcomer and is currently working on her thesis at Columbia University, where she is pursuing an MFA in screenwriting and directing. McKibbin is drawn to realism, often through a feminist lens, and the idea that compelling stories can be created from ordinary relationships and interactions.
In Ashes (Norway)
By Kjetil Engh Aasen
Synopsis: The life of Inger and her son Jonas is turned upside down when the man they thought they knew is suspected of unspeakable crimes against children. As painful questions arise, Inger realizes her son is slowly pulling away from her. Inger struggles to find a way back to her son, while at the same time, attempts to deal with her own conflicting feeling towards her husband. Running time: 01:23:48
Festivals: Verona IFF (Winner Best Narrative Feature Film), Brussels Independent FF, Venice Film Week, and more.
About the director: Kjetil (1991, Norway) is a screenwriter and director. In 2014 he acquired a BA in psychology at the University of Tromsø. In the following years, Kjetil has worked in the field of psychiatry, while also working with movie projects. His deep interest in human psychology and storytelling was combined in his debut feature film project In Ashes. He considers filmmakers such a Debra Granik, Michael Haneke, Kenneth Lonergan, Lynne Ramsay, Richard Linklater as main inspirations.
Among the Almond Trees (Belgium)
By Marie Le floc'h
Synopsis: Today, Maysan has a very important administrative appointment for her family. But Iyad, her husband, has a question she is not ready to hear. Running time: 00:21:18
Festivals: International Film Festival Rotterdam, Brussels Independent Film Festival and more.
About the director: Marie Le floc’h grew up between Brittany and the South of France. During her studies of History at the Sorbonne in Paris, she works on several shootings, which develop her curiosity and passion for cinema. She decided to quit the university in 2010 to join the Institut des arts de diffusion (I.A.D), a cinema school located in Brussels. She directed, with Gabriel Pinto Monteiro, Elena, short film about a Polish family in Brussels. The film won several awards in various film festivals.
Les herbes bruissent encore, her graduation film, develops, in a quite different context, a subject already salient in Elena, namely the inverted relationship between children and parents. Her last short film, Je serai parmi les amandiers, is produced by Helicotronc et Films Grand Huit. From documentary to fiction, she is presently developing and working on several projects.
Darkness of Otherwhere (Japan)
By Ayoub Qanir
Synopsis: A young woman gets emotionally caught in a voyeuristic game on the dark shades of Tokyo only to reveal a darker past of her own. Running time: 01:24:00
Festivals: Brussels Independent FF, Toronto Arthouse FF, Venice Film Week and more.
About the director: With over 12 years of experience; 3 feature films, 5 short films, a dozen music videos and more than 80 world nominations, Ayoub has a scientific spirit and depth in the choice of his filmic thematics- Making films where psychology and science are the main actors. Original and thoughtful, the young director expresses himself with a cinema where philosophy and symbolism make perfect sense. Qanir likes to create a reality where the thriller is cerebral and psychological. His films ponder existential questions and show his admiration for the power of neorealist cinema.
By Farhad Delaram
Synopsis: The young Iranian woman had not been expecting this kind of examination. She only wanted to renew her driver’s license, but when the officials noticed a scar on her wrist and her tattoo, they began looking at her with suspicion. Suddenly she is trapped, forced to answer personal questions and exposed to insinuations. Running time: 00:15:00
Festivals: Berlinale International Film Festival, Boston Short FF, Raindance International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Brussels Independent FF, and more.
About the director: Born in Tehran, Iran in 1988, his studies at the city’s university focused on sound in poetic cinema. He completed his master’s degree with honours and also published a paper on the topic. He has worked for 12 years as a screenwriter, including for state-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and has also made six short films as director, writer, cinematographer, editor and sound editor. In 2017, his film Away from Home was selected as one of the ten best short films of the year in Iran.
By Kunlin Wang
Synopsis: Obscure is a coming-of-age journey of a teenage boy who sexually awakens after discovering the sexual relationship between his father figure and sister figure. The sibling love and companionship, which once served to counterbalance familial strangeness, is now disturbed and gradually develops into a sexual attraction and desire. Running time: 01:31:00
Festivals: Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Brussels Independent FF, Toronto Arthouse FF, Venice Film Week, Amsterdam Independent Film Festival and more.
About the director: Obscure (2019) marks Kunlin Wang's debut as a feature film director. She holds an MFA in Film Production from Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. As a writer and director, she has a passion for telling stories of deviance, subcultures, and marginalized people. Her background in Gender Studies informs her work as she endeavours to challenge and subvert social norms regarding gender and sexuality.
The Cut (Canada)
By Chloé Cinq-Mars
Synopsis: Recovering from a cesarean section, Emma finally meets her newborn son. As she overcomes her unfamiliarity and slowly falls in love with him, The Cut explores the complexity of the bond between mother and child. Running time: 00:17:00
Festivals: Fantasia International FF (Winner Best Actress, Best Editing), Brussels Independent FF, Boston Short FF, Vancouver IFF, Female Eye FF, Venice Film Week, Hof IFF, and more.
About the director: Chloé Cinq-Mars wrote the screenplay of La Voce, a short film directed by David Uloth, which traveled to over 150 festivals and was awarded 54 prizes. She also wrote the feature film The Far Shore, directed by David Uloth. The Cut is her first experience as a director.
Snake Dick (U.S.)
By David Mahmoudieh
Synopsis: Jill's got the snake. Julia's got the flute. Alone, they have nothing. But together, they have a secret weapon to fight the darkness... Running time: 00:07:47
Festivals: South London International FF (Winner Best International Short Film), Salem Horror Fest (Winner Audience Award), Venice Film Week, British Horror FF, and more.
About the director: Born in the UK to immigrant parents, David is half-Iranian and half-British-French-Canadian. David began his career as a trainee AD on productions including “X-Files”, “The Outer Limits” and “Batman Begins”, where he was lucky enough to learn from some of the best directors in the business. He won the ECU Screenwriting Contest with his spec script, “Rain”.
My Son (South Korea)
By Equan Choe
Synopsis: A man and his handicapped son gift each other something extraordinary. The man helps his son masturbate, the son helps his father commit suicide. Running time: 01:59:00
Festivals: Durban IFF (Winner Best Actor Best Screenplay), Brussels Independent FF, Sydney World FF, and more.
About the director: Equan Choe (1970, Seoul) studied at the Korean Academy of Film Arts, received a BA in Linquistics at Seoul National Univ, and an MFA in Filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. He was the director of the Korean Academy of Film Arts and is a professor at Soongsil University. He directed films such as Voice (2005), Life is Cool (2008) and Mama (2011), and produced films such as Ingtoogi (2013), Socialphobia (2015), Alice in Earnestland (2015).
Save Ralph (U.S.)
By Spencer Susser
Synopsis: Save Ralph is a stop-motion animated documentary-style short film, featuring HSI’s campaign spokesbunny Ralph, voiced by Taika Waititi, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab. In addition to Taika Waititi as Ralph, the film stars Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. Running time: 00:04:00
About the director: Spencer Susser is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and editor whose career spans feature films, short films, commercials and music videos. He made his feature film directorial debut at Sundance in 2010 with “HESHER”, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson & Natalie Portman. Spencer recently directed 2nd Unit and edited the Oscar-nominated “The Greatest Showman”, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. Spencer has also directed music videos, including the breakthrough video for Lana Del Rey “Summertime Sadness”. His work as an editor in music videos includes artists such as Elton John, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Jennifer Lopez, and many more.
Ala Kachuu - Take and Run (Switzerland)
By Maria Brendle
Synopsis: Sezim (19) wants to fulfill her dream of studying in the Kyrgyz capital when she gets kidnapped by a group of young men and taken to the hinterland. There she’s forced to marry a stranger. If she refuses the marriage, she is threatened with social stigmatization and exclusion. Torn between her desire for freedom and the constraints of Kyrgyz culture, Sezim desperately seeks for a way out. Running time: 00:38:26
Festivals: Flickers' Rhode Island FF (Winner Marlyn Mason Award), Cleveland International FF (Winner Audience Choice), Brussels Independent FF (Winner Best Narrative Short), WorldFest Houston IFF, Solothurner Filmtage, USA FF, and more.
About the director: Maria Brendle is an award-winning director and scriptwriter based in Zurich, Switzerland. She received her bachelor’s degree in film from the Zurich University of the Arts and her master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience (aon) from the Academy of Neurosciense Cologne. Maria graduated the renowned Drehbuchwerkstatt Munich. She works with a focus on women issues.