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Tara Barr stars as "Dawn," a short film directed by actress Rose McGowan, debuting at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy Sundance Film Festival
From thousands of entries, Sundance picks 66 short films
Film fest » Slate covers drama, documentary, comedy and animation.
First Published Dec 10 2013 02:02 pm • Last Updated Jan 13 2014 09:17 am

Another record year for submissions means programmers for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival have had their work cut out for them selecting the festival’s short films.

Festival organizers announced Tuesday the 66 short films that will play at Sundance this year, chosen from 8,161 submissions — 59 more than were submitted for the 2013 festival.

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A filmmaker from Utah made one of those 66 films, "Person to Person." Dustin Guy Defa grew up in Salt Lake City’s Glendale neighborhood, relocating to Brooklyn in 2004 to pursue his film career. He returned to Utah to film his 2011 feature "Bad Fever," which was inspired in part by his Glendale upbringing.

Other notable filmmakers among the short-film selections:

» Actress Rose McGowan ("Charmed," "Grindhouse") has directed a short teen drama, "Dawn."

» Documentarian Lucy Walker, a frequent Sundance visitor (she had last year’s Salt Lake City Gala film, "The Crash Reel"), is back with a short doc, "The Lion’s Mouth Opens."

» Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Jenny Slate has co-written (with her husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp, who directed) the dramatic short "Catherine." Slate also stars in "Obvious Child," a feature set to play in Sundance’s Next program.

» Playwright and activist Eve Ensler has co-directed a documentary, "One Billion Rising," based on the campaign to create a worldwide day of raising consciousness — and dancing — to end violence against women.

» Musa Syeed, who took the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance 2012 for "Valley of Saints," has a dramatic short called "The Big House (Al Bayt Al Kabeer)."

» Canadian animator Chris Landreth, who won the Oscar for his 2004 animated documentary "Ryan," directed, wrote and stars in the short "Subconscious Password."


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Sundance announced its competition and Next programs last Wednesday, followed by the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier and new Sundance Kids programs on Thursday. The festival announced its Premieres and Documentary Premieres slates on Monday.

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16-26 in Park City, and in venues in Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance resort.

Here are the titles and descriptions (provided by Sundance) for the 66 short films selected:

U.S. Narrative

"130919: A Portrait of Marina Abramovic" (Director: Matthu Placek; U.S.) » This one-take, 3-D film majestically documents legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic, capturing the breadth of space in infinite detail: the life of an artist, her keen sense of transition, a space’s decay, and the ripeness of rebirth.

"Afronauts" (Director/screenwriter: Frances Bodomo; U.S.) » On July 16th, 1969, America prepares to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. Inspired by true events.

"The Big House (Al Bayt Al Kabeer)" (Director/screenwriter: Musa Syeed; U.S./Yemen) » When a young Yemeni boy ventures out of his cramped apartment and finds a key to the empty mansion down the street, he lets himself and his imagination run wild in the big house.

"The Bravest, the Boldest" (Director: Moon Molson; Screenwriters: Eric Fallen, Moon Molson; U.S.) » Two Army casualty-notification officers arrive at the Harlem projects to deliver some news to Sayeeda Porter about her son serving in the war overseas. But whatever it is they have to say, Sayeeda isn’t willing to hear it.

"Catherine" (Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp; Screenwriters: Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate; U.S.) » Catherine returns to work after a hiatus.

"Chapel Perilous" (Director/screenwriter: Matthew Lessner; U.S.) » "Chapel perilous" is an occult term describing a psychological state where people are uncertain if they have been aided or hindered by a force outside the natural world.

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