Sundance announces short-film titles
An image from "It's Such a Beautiful Day."
The Sundance Film Festival has announced the 64 short films that will play in Park City.
Here are descriptions of the short films:
U.S. Narrative Shorts
- ‘92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card • Two estranged brothers meet when their father dies, and a certain trading card becomes a point of contention. Directed by Todd Sklar, who co-wrote with Alex Rennie (who plays one of the brothers).
- The Arm • A texting relationship begins in this short, written and directed by Brie Larson (who broke Michael Cera’s heart in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), Sarah Ramos (a regular on “Parenthood”) and Jesse Ennis.
- The Black Balloon • “Daddy Longlegs” directors Josh and Benny Safdie tell the story of a balloon that strays from the herd and explores New York City.
- Dol (First Birthday) • A gay Korean-American man wants a family life that’s “just out of reach,” in this short by writer-director Andrew Ahn.
- Famous Person Talent Agency: Pearls of Asia • A luckless talent agent works for his clients in this film, directed by Ivan Hurzeler and written by Cami Delavigne.
- Fishing Without Nets • An inside view of Somali pirates, directed by Cutter Hodierne, who co-wrote with John Hibey.
- The Fort • A man (Jake Weber) offers to help a young boy build a fort, in a short written and directed by Andrew Renzi.
- Fourplay: Tampa • A guy wants a quickie in a mall bathroom, but it’s not that easy. Directed by Kyle Henry, written by Carlos Trevino.
- Hellion • The ultimate “wait ‘til your dad gets home” story, with a terrified 7-year-old and his hell-raising older brothers. Written and directed by Kat Candler.
- Henley • A 9-year-old who earns money by collecting roadkill has to up his game when the family business, a motel, starts losing money. Directed by Craig Macneill, who wrote with Clay McLeod Chapman.
- L Train • A teen girl fights her way through a blizzard in the inner city, in this short by writer-director Anna Musso (a one-time assistant to “The Descendants” director Alexander Payne, who’s executive producer).
- Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke • The classic “La Jetée” updated to Miami, in which the infamous rapper Uncle Luke (a.k.a Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew) goes from First Amendment defender to mayor of Miami. Directed by Jillian Mayer, written by Lucas Leyva.
- OK Breathe Auralee • A woman wants a baby and goes to extremes to get it. Written and directed by Brooke Swaney.
- Rolling on the Floor Laughing • Grown brothers must compete with a strange man for the affections of the brothers’ widowed mom, in a short written and directed by Russell Harbaugh.
- Song of the Spindle • Who has the bigger brain? A sperm whale or a human? Writer-director Drew Christie moderates the debate via animation.
- spoonful • Three sisters pack up their childhood home after their father’s death — and the oldest sister has been separated from her baby for the first time. Written and directed by Jenée LaMarque.
- The Thing • At a roadside attraction, Zooey tries to reestablish her relationship with the transgendered Tristan. Directed by Rhys Ernst, who co-wrote with Avery McTaggart.
- Una Hora Por Favora • A woman (Michaela Watkins) hires a day laborer (Wilmer Valderrama) and gets more than she bargained for. Writen and directed by Jill Soloway.
U.S. Documentary Shorts
- Aquadettes • Directors Drea Cooper and Zackarie Canepari profile a group of elderly synchronized swimmers in an Orange County retirement community — one of whom is fighting multiple sclerosis and using medical marijuana.
- The Debutante Hunters • Southern belles show their more rugged side, hunting in the wilds of South Carolina’s low country. Directed by Maria White.
- Family Nightmare • Director Dustin Guy Defa, who grew up in Salt Lake City, takes “a dizzy trip through the mid-1990s with a dysfunctional American family.”
- The Meaning of Robots • For 10 years, a 65-year-old filmmaker has been shooting an epic stop-motion robot sex film in his apartment, which now overflows with thousands of robot porn stars. Directed by Matt Lenski.
- The Movement: One Man Joins an Uprising • A look at Rick Finkelstein, paralyzed in a ski accident in 2004 and, after six years, returning to ski Aspen Mountain, where his accident happened. Directed by Greg I. Hamilton and Kurt Miller (son of ski-film legend Warren Miller).
- Odysseus’ Gambit • A Cambodian-American chess player looks for his place in the game. Directed by Álex Lora Cercós.
- Pluto Declaration • How many planets are in the solar system? Director Travis Wilkerson’s film argues for 12, including Pluto.
- The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom • Director Lucy Walker (“Waste Land”) follows the aftermath of Japan’s tsunami and nuclear accident, just as Japan’s most beloved flower, the cherry blossom, begins to bloom again.
U.S. Animated Shorts
- 38-39º C • A man with a large birthmark on his back enters a public bathhouse, and dreams of confronting his father (who has the same birthmark). Directed and written by Kangmin Kim.
- Avocados • Following many characters and cultures through a city. Written and directed by Kataneh Vahdani.
- Dr Breakfast • A man’s soul bursts from his eyeball one morning at breakfast, in writer-director Stephen Neary’s surreal take on friendship.
- It’s Such a Beautiful Day • The conclusion of animator Don Hertzfeldt’s trilogy that began with “Everything Will Be OK” (which won top honors at Sundance in 2007).
- Night Hunter • Writer-director Stacey Steers composed 4,000 collages by hand for this spooky film, which borrows Lillian Gish from the silent-film era for a haunting new role.
- Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise • Writer-director Kelly Sears uses collages to explain mysteries from a 1970s high-school yearbook.
International Narrative Shorts
- Barbie Blues • (Israel) Teen Mika finds a disturbing creature in her pool and asks her neighbor Gershon for help, as what starts as a friendly encounter turns into “an unexpected lesson on the borders of control.” Written and directed by Adi Kutner.
- Bear • (Australia) Good intentions go wrong for Jack, the guy from director Nash Edgerton’s disturbing 2008 short “Spider.” Edgerton wrote with David Michôd (who directed “Animal Kingdom”).
- Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared • (United Kingdom) The This Is It Collective made this puppet-filled lesson in creativity that turns quite dark. Directed by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling.
- Frozen Stories (Opowiesci z chlodni) • (Poland) A supermarket’s two worst employees are told to find a goal in their lives. Written and directed by Grzegorz Jaroszuk.
- Fungus (Svamp) • (Sweden) Katrin, with a broken heart and itching nethers, faces her old boyfriend when he comes to collect his stuff. Written and directed by Charlotta Miller.
- Girl • (Sweden) A 32-year-old woman is invited to a party whose guests are five 20-year-old men, and she goes from discomfort to feeling like she’s one of them. Directed by Fijona Jonuzi, written by Gustaf Boman Bränngård.
- The Hidden Smile (El somriure amagat) • (Spain) A boy, age 10, escapes from his misfortunes at home and arrives in Ethiopia’s capital, integrating into a group of street children. Directed by Ventura Durall, who wrote with Miguel Llansó.
- Juku • (Bolivia) Life inside Posokoni, Bolivia’s largest tin mine, into which 10,000 enter every day. Directed by Kiro Russo, who co-wrote with Gilmar Gonzales.
- Killing the Chickens to Scare the Monkeys • (Sweden) In China, a young teacher’s life is affected by national politics and strategy, in a story told in nine scenes by writer director Jens Assur.
- Las Palmas • (Sweden) A middle-aged lady tries to make friends and have fun on holiday. Writer-director Johannes Nyholm tells the story with a baby as the lead, and marionettes as the rest of the cast.
- Lazarov • (France) Russian scientists refuse to accept the decline of the Soviet Union, and work in secret to resurrect the superpower. Written and directed by Nieto.
- Long Distance Information • (United Kingdom) Douglas Hart, bass player for The Jesus and Mary Chain, wrote and directed this short about an estranged son (Alan Tripney) calling his dad (Peter Mullan) one Christmas.
- Moxie • (United Kingdom) Here’s the complete synopsis from Sundance: “A pyromaniac bear misses his mother.” Written and directed by Stephen Irwin.
- Playtime (Spielzeit) • (Germany) Writer-director Lucas Mireles tells a tale “of German youth and innocence on a Sunday afternoon.”
- Random Strangers • (United Kingdom) Rocky and Lulu, living on opposite sides of the world, establish a relationship via art and the Internet — but how real is it? Directed by Alexis Dos Santos, who co-wrote with Laurence Coriat.
- The Return (Kthimi) • (Kosovo) A man returns to his wife and son after four years in a Serb prison, but picking up where he left off isn’t so easy. Directed by Blerta Zeqiri, written by Shefqet Gjocaj.
- Surveillant • (Canada) A new city park monitor learns that teen bullies unofficially run the park, in this story by writer-director Yan Giroux.
- Tooty’s Wedding • (United Kingdom) While attending a weekend wedding in the country, a young couple’s marriage hits the rocks in this comedy. Directed by Frederic Casella, written by Laura Solon and Ben Willbond.
- Tumult • (United Kingdom) Norse warriors, wounded after battle, are beset by a different army: modern tourists. Written and directed by Johnny Barrington.
International Documentary Shorts
- Into the Middle of Nowhere • (United Kingdom) Children in an outdoor nursery in the woods test the boundaries of reality and create their own worlds, in this documentary by director Anna Frances Ewert.
- Stick Climbing • (Switzerland) A contemplative walk turns into a vertiginous climbing tour in Daniel Zimmerman’s perspective-defying documentary.
International Animated Shorts
- 663144 • (Japan) The Japanese tsunami and earthquake, from the perspective of a 66-year-old cicada. Directed by Isamu Hirabayashi.
- Belly • (United Kingdom) A coming-of-age story for Oscar, who must leave something behind that he can still feel in the pit of his stomach. Directed by Julia Pott.
- Bobby Yeah • (United Kingdom) A bunny-eared thug gets in trouble when he steals the favorite pet of some dangerous individuals, in this stop-motion film by director Robert Morgan.
- A Morning Stroll • (United Kingdom) A New Yorker encounters a chicken on his morning walk. Directed by Grant Orchard.
- Robots of Brixton • (United Kingdom) Young robots try to survive inner-city life, including poverty and mass unemployment, in this film by Kibwe Tavares.
- Slow Derek • (United Kingdom) An office worker “struggles with the true speed of planet earth,” in a film directed by Dan Ojari.
New Frontier Short Films
- The Conquerors (Les Conquérants) • (Canada/France) People try to discover what it takes to build a new civilization — or whether it’s enough to destroy the old one. Written and directed by Sarolta Szabo and Tibor Banoczki.
- The Diatom • A look at the planet’s most numerous species, the basis of the aquatic food chain and producer of much of the world’s oxygen. This mixed-media work by director Chris Peters features Utah-based scientist Sam Rushforth and his team.
- Fragments of Dissolution • A second work by director Travis Wilkerson (“Pluto Declaration”), this one includes interviews with four women: Two who had close family members kill themselves after military deployments, two others who lost loved ones in house fires caused by the inability to afford heating costs.
- Moving Stories • (Belgium) Two air passengers on a romantic adventure, in a story told completely through stock footage by director Nicolas Provost.
- Seeking the Monkey King • Director Ken Jacobs calls this avant-garde film “a reversion to my mid-20s and that sense of horror that drove the making of ‘Star Spangled to Death.’”
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