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Slamdance announces slate for 2021 virtual film festival, skipping Park City because of COVID-19

(Photo courtesy of Slamdance Film Festival) Nathalie Doummar plays a woman who needs to get across a border, in the Canadian drama "No Trace (Nulle Trace)," which will be the opening film at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival — which will run online from Feb. 12 to 25, 2021.

The Slamdance Film Festival will screen about as many movies as usual in 2021 — but not at the festival’s regular venue in Park City.

Slamdance on Monday announced its lineup of 25 feature films and 107 short films, all of which will screen online from Feb. 12 to 25. The festival announced in October that its 27th edition would skip in-person screenings at Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn for 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the films, as well as Q&As and panels, will be available to stream on Slamdance.com, AppleTV, Roku, Firestick and YouTube. Virtual festival passes are available for free through Dec. 31; from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25, the cost for a pass is $10.

Slamdance’s theme for 2021 is “Greenlight Yourself,” which Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter said is “inspired by the incredible resilience and creativity evidenced by our community and our team over the past few unprecedented months.”

Baxter, in a statement, said the “shared journey” of Slamdance and its filmmakers and alumni is to “triple down on not only who we are, but how we can continue expanding the many ways we support the filmmakers who are the future of independent filmmaking.”

Fifteen of the 25 feature films will make their world premieres at Slamdance; four more will have their North American premieres, and one will make its U.S. debut. The films represent the United States and such countries as Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lithuania, Romania, United Kingdom and Taiwan.

The “opening night” film is “No Trace (Nulle Trace),” by Canadian writer-director Simon Lavoie. Set in the near future, the film follows a hardened smuggler getting a young woman and her child across the border to safety.

In addition to virtual screenings, “No Trace” will screen Feb. 13 at a drive-in at Joshua Tree, Calif., the first of two nights of in-person, socially distanced screenings there that are open to the public. Slamdance is planning an invitation-only retreat at Joshua Tree on Feb. 13 and 14, if COVID-19 safety protocols allow it.

A closing-night screening, the world premiere of Stephen DeBro’s documentary “18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story,” is planned for Feb. 25 at a drive-in theater in the Los Angeles area. The film centers on the historic venue for athletic events and concerts, and the woman who ran it, Aileen Eaton. Those interviewed include the late pro wrestler Roddy Piper, rock musician John Doe, crime novelist James Ellroy and boxer Julio Cesar Chavez.

(Photo courtesy of Slamdance Film Festival) Andre the Giant is at the center of a wrestling free-for-all, one of the events described in Stephen DeBro's documentary "18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story," which will be the closing film at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival — which will run online from Feb. 12 to 25, 2021.

Slamdance is debuting a new program for 2021, called Unstoppable, that spotlights short films made by disabled filmmakers, feature actors with disabilities, or discuss issues around disability. The program is a collection of 22 short films, curated by disabled artists.

Slamdance started in 1995, by Baxter and other filmmakers whose movies were rejected at the larger Sundance Film Festival. Since then, the two film festivals have lived side-by-side in Park City every January.

The Sundance Film Festival announced this summer it would be mostly an online event in 2021, with a limited in-person presence in Park City and some events in cities across North America. Details about how Sundance will do that are expected to be announced soon.

Here, with synopses provided by Slamdance, are the feature films and shorts selected for the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival:

Narrative features

“A Brixton Tale” • (UK/Ireland) Directors: Darragh Carey & Bertrand Desrochers; screenwriters: Rupert Baynham, Darragh Carey, Chi Mai; producers: Rupert Baynham, Dennis Gyamfi, Beau Rambaut; cast: Ola Orebiyi, Lily Newmark, Craige Middleburg, Jaime Winstone, Barney Harris, Michael Maloney, Rose Kerr, Dexter Padmore. • “A voyeuristic, wealthy vlogger finds herself drawn to a handsome, shy youth from the infamous Barrier Block housing project. Their relationship with each other, and with the camera, leads them down a dangerous path.”

“Dea” – (Hong Kong/Switzerland/Indonesia/France) Director: Alberto Gerosa; producers: Alberto Gerosa, Jocelyne Rouch, Andrea Gerosa; cast: Dea Panendra, Bruno Zanin, Mas Gentur, Mas Akri, Mega, Mawar, Vincent, Abe and Icy Tsui. • “Dea leaves rural Indonesia and her singing dreams to migrate to Hong Kong as a foreign domestic worker. The script is the result of a nine-month acting improv laboratory with a group of Indonesian women migrant domestic workers, who have been victims of domestic violence while working in Hong Kong. The protagonist’s story merges their real-life experiences into one.”

“A Family” • (Ukraine/Australia) Director: Jayden Stevens; screenwriters: Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens; producers: Olga Mykhalets, Clea Frost, Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens; cast: Pavlo Lehenkyi, Liudmyla Zamydra. • “A man living in solitary seeks emotional refuge in the organizing and documenting of family moments using low-grade impersonators. When his fake sister becomes inspired to follow his method, their relationship struggles between the forged and genuine.”

Hurrah, We Are Still Alive!” • (Poland) Director/screenwriter: Agnieszka Polska; producer: Anna Gawlita; cast: Piotr Polak, Sonia Roszczuk, Marta Ojrzyńska, Arkadiusz Brykalski, Jacek Beler, Joanna Drozda, Marcin Czarnik, Bartosz Bielenia. • “An artistic commune of filmmakers awaits the return of the Director, who disappeared without a trace. Despite his absence, the Director seems to control all of the troupe’s actions.”

“Isaac” • (Lithuania) Director: Jurgis Matulevičius; screenwriters: Saulė Bliuvaitė, Jurgis Matulevičius, Nerijus Milerius; producer: Stasys Baltakis; cast: Aleksas Kazanavičius, Dainius Gavenonis, Severija Janušauskaitė, Martynas Nedzinskas. • “A Soviet style film noir about the murder of a Jew that changed the world.”

“Man Under Table” • (United States) Director/screenwriter/producer: Noel David Taylor. cast: Noel David Taylor, Ben Babbit, Danny Lane, Katy Fullen, John Edmund Parcher, Robert Manion, Alisa Torres, Frank Hinterberger. • “In an anachronistic dystopian landscape, a beleaguered young man attempts to navigate his way through the indie film scene in L.A.”

The Sleeping Negro” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Skinner Myers; producers: Skinner Myers, Matt Palmieri, John Campbell, Alex McCarthy, Dan Funes; cast: Rae Dawn Chong, Tunde Adebimpe, Nican Robinson, David Fumero, Julie McNiven, Skinner Myers. • “Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young Black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.”

“Taipei Suicide Story” • (Taiwan) Director / screenwriter: KEFF; producer: Amy Ma; cast: Yuhua Sung, Tender Huang. • “A receptionist at a suicide hotel in Taipei forms a fleeting friendship over the course of one night with a guest who can’t decide if she wants to live or die.”

Teenage Emotions – (United States) Director/screenwriter: Frederic Da; producer: Frederic Da, Roxane Mesquida; cast: Jaya Harper, Jayden Capers, Silas Mitchell, Ava Cooper. • “What happens within the walls of an American high school?”

Documentary features

“A Tiny Ripple of Hope” • (United States) Director: Jason Polevoi; producers: Jason Polevoi, Nick Jenkins; cast: Jahmal Cole, Dimetriana Chambers, Dominetrius Chambers, Deontae Lewis. • “A charismatic activist works to build a better Chicago for the teens in his neglected community even if it comes at the cost of his home, his family, and his safety.”

“Anatomy of Wings • (United States) Directors/producers: Nikiea Redmond & Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander; cast: Brittany Backmon, Teshavionna “Tazz” Mitchell, Sheila Butler, Marquise Weems, Brienna Brown, Danisha Harris, Cami McCrief, Tywana Reid, Quandra Jones, Quanisha Carmichael. • “Black and white, young and old, a group of women risk their personal identities to build a second family while creating a documentary film across the inequities of their Baltimore City neighborhoods.”

“Bleeding Audio” • (United States) Director: Chelsea Christer; producers: Erin Persley, Jannette Bivona, Chelsea Christer; cast: Shawn Harris, Justin San Souci, Jon Devoto, Matt Whalen, Mark Hoppus, Nick Hexum, Cassadee Pope, Justin Pierre. • “From inspiring triumphs to heartbreaking setbacks, ‘Bleeding Audio’ relives the explosive career of the Matches and what it means to succeed in the digital age of music.”

Code Name: Nagasaki” • (Norway) Director: Fredrik S. Hana; screenwriters: Fredrik S. Hana, Marius K. Lunde; producer: Gunhild Oddsen; cast: Marius K. Lunde, Fredrik S. Hana. • “‘Code Name: Nagasaki’ tells the story of Marius and Fredrik, two young men who forged their friendship through filmmaking and decided to put their skills to a unique challenge: finding Marius’ long lost Japanese mother.”

“Everyone Wants to Be the Next Weismann” • (Spain) Director: Alberto Triano; screenwriters: Alberto Triano and David Cantolla; producer: David Cantolla. • “In the art world, there are those who take risks and then, there’s Martín Solo.”

“Holy Frit” • (United States) Director: Justin Monroe; producers: Justin Monroe, Chris Saito; cast: Tim Carey, Narcissus Quagliata, David Judson, Adam Hamilton. • “Tim, a talented, yet unknown L.A. artist, bluffs his way into winning the commission to create the world’s largest stained-glass window of its kind, even though he has no idea how to make it…but he stumbles across someone who might, the famous glass maestro, Narcissus Quagliata.”

Me To Play” • (United States) Director/screenwriter/producer: Jim Bernfield; cast: Dan Moran, John Christopher Jones, Joe Grifasi, Ruth Kreshka, Marybeth Coudal, Carolyn McCormick, Byron Jennings. • “As their bodies give way to Parkinson’s disease, two New York actors put their hearts into one final Off-Broadway production of Beckett’s ‘Endgame,’ the play that posits, “there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness.”

“Workhorse Queen” • (United States/Australia) Director/screenwriter/producer: Angela Washko; cast: Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), Greg Meyer (Darienne Lake), Tom Smalley (Aggy Dune), Christopher Steckel (Ambrosia Salad), Michael Steck (Pandora Boxx), Steven Levins, Roy Haylock (Bianca Del Rio), Joey Santolini (Tatianna). “After an unlikely casting onto a reality television show, 47-year old suburban telemarketer Ed Popil leaves his job to pursue a full-time entertainment industry career as his drag queen alter ego, 1960′s era housewife Mrs. Kasha Davis.”

Breakouts

“After America” – (United States) Director/screenwriter/producer: Jake Yuzna; cast: Yvonne Freese, Theresa McConnon, Daniel Nies, Ahmed Yusuf, Dan Fox, Eli Anthony, Robert Dante. • “In 2019 a group of criminal justice de-escalation workers in Minneapolis embarked on a collaborative film project that used radical theater workshop techniques to explore their real-life struggles to escape the pressures of the American dream. The result, finished days before the murder of George Floyd, captures a city searching for what lies after America.”

“Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez” • (United States) Director/screenwriter/producer: Susan Stern; cast: Spain Rodriguez, R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Ed Piskor, Ishmael Reed, Trina Robbins, Susie Bright. • “‘Working-class Latino hood, crossed with crazy artist, crossed with left-wing radical,’” so the legendary underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez is described in this intimate portrait by his wife, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Susan Stern.”

A Black Rift Begins to Yawn” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Matthew Wade; producers: Matthew Wade, Sara Lynch; cast: Sara Lynch, Saratops McDonald, Luke Massengill. • “As two former classmates dig into their deceased professor’s set of cassette tapes, which possibly contain recordings of strange signals from beyond the stars, they begin to feel memories, the chronology of time, and their identities slip into obscurity.”

“End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock” • (United States/Finland) Director/screenwriter: Shannon Kring; producers: Shannon Kring, Pearl Daniel-Means, Sophia Ehrnrooth; cast: Phyllis Young, Wašté Win Young, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Sky Roosevelt-Morris, Linda Black Elk. • “Featuring shocking, never-before-seen law enforcement video surrendered by a disgraced officer, End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock’ is the incredible story of the indigenous women who establish a peaceful camp in protest of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline construction that desecrated ancient burial and prayer sites and threatens their land, water, and very existence.”

“Mia Misses Her Revenge (Mia isi rateaza razbunarea)” • (Romania) Director/screenwriter: Bogdan Theodor Olteanu; producers: Anamaria Antoci, Anda Ionescu; cast: Ioana Bugarin, Maria Popistașu, Ana Maria Guran, Carol Ionescu, Adrian Nicolae, Alexandru Ion, Mădălina Stoica, Ștefania Cîrcu. • “After a violent breakup, Mia is struggling to get revenge on her ex. As her plan kicks off, she finds herself surrounded by a group of friends that give female togetherness a new definition.”

“No Trace (Nulle Trace)” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter: Simon Lavoie; producer: Marcel Giroux; cast: Monique Gosselin, Nathalie Doummar, Martin Desgagnés, Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon. • “In a near future, a callous smuggler hardened by life guides a pious young woman and her child across the border to safety, unaware that their destinies are inescapably linked in this inhospitable land.” Opening film.

Spotlight screenings

“18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Stephen DeBro; producers: Stephen DeBro, Robert Benavides, Mayre McAnulty, Tony Peck; cast: Roddy Piper, Carlos Palomino, John Doe, Julio César Chávez, James Ellroy, Mamie Van Doren, Gene LeBell, The Destroyer. • “A raucous, visceral Los Angeles tale — seen through the story of a 20th-century fight palace and the remarkable woman who ran it — reveals battles over race, gender and identity that still roil America.” Closing film.

“Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide” • (United States/Brazil) Directors/screenwriters: Malia Scharf, Max Basch; producers: David Koh, Malia Scharf, Max Basch. • “Along with friends Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf grew from a graffiti artist into a major force in the 1980s NYC art scene. Obsessed with garbage, cartoons, and plastic, this playful Peter Pan’s roller coaster career flourished despite the decimation of the AIDS crisis and the fickle tastes of the art world and continues to create colorful, complex work that puts him at the forefront of where popular culture meets fine art.”

Shorts: Narrative

Autoscopy” (United Kingdom) Director/ screenwriter: Claes Nordwall; cast: Ulrik Munther. • “A displaced ambient musician goes on a disorientating voyage on mushrooms. This takes him deep into the heart of nature and ultimately, deeper into himself.”

“Birdland” • (Japan) Director/screenwriter: Takeshi Kogahara; cast: Shin Furukawa, Natsuko Fuji. “An old man spends the remainder of his life on his bed with an occasional visit by a caretaker. One night, he sees snow outside the window which awakens memories from his past.”

Blue” • (Turkey) Director/screenwriter: Ali Şenses; cast: Hüseyin Canpolat. • “A painter has devoted his life to a search for the inexplicably sublime.”

“Comforter” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Cameron Bruce Nelson; cast: Katya Skakun; Moara Passoni. • “A woman gets so stoned she disappears.”

“Delimitation” (Czech Republic) Director: Tereza Vejvodová; screenwriter: Tereza Vejvodová; cast: Markéta Jandová. • “A dancer moves through a city, seeking a space in which to exist.”

“Each Other” • (Australia) Director/screenwriter: Oskar Weimar; cast: Jack Riley. • “Emerging from a dead tree, a human body seeks to understand itself.”

“Every Day’s Like This” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter: Lev Lewis; producers: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas; cast: Kacey Rohl, Daniel Kash, Francis Melling, Krystina Bojanowski. • “A family tries to schedule the medically assisted death of a loved one.”

Exquisite Shorts, Volume 1.” • (United States) Directors: Ariel Fish, Ben Kutsko, Winnie Cheung, Travis Stevens, Courtney Andujar, Andrew and Elsbeth Mumm, Matt Boman and Tosca Rivola, Hunter Adams, Sarah Lind, Doug Klinger and Machete Bang Bang, Theresa Desautels, Jessica Calleiro, Ben Fee, Emily Andujar and Manuel Taylor-Alcocer, Bossi Dean Baker, June Zandona, Hillary Andujar, Niles Howard and Kayli Stollak, Kevin Kearney, Mary Florence Brown; screenwriter: Ben Fee; cast: Ben Fee, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Doug Klinger. • “Adapted from the surrealist drawing game ‘exquisite corpse,’ this short of shorts created by 19 filmmakers is stitched together in a stream of consciousness with unique words bridging each of the segments, creating an anthology of diverse visual flavors.”

“In France Michelle Is a Man’s Name” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Em Weinstein; cast: Ari Damasco, Jerry Carlton, Olga Sanchez, Neil Green. • “Michael, a young trans man, returns home to the rural American West after years of estrangement from his parents. ‘In France Michelle Is a Man’s Name’ explores trans identity, masculinity, and the prices we’re willing to pay for acceptance.”

“Inside the Storm” (Israel) Director/screenwriter: Daniel Bloom; cast: Ben-Oved Berkovich, Harel Glazer. • “In the middle of the night, after a tough breakup, Nadav goes to visit an old friend he hasn’t seen for a long time.”

“Instructions to Let Go” • (Mexico) Director/screenwriter: Gustavo Gamero; cast: LD Handal, Mafer Marquez. • “Daphne and Mafer meet at a hotel, they quickly become friends and chemistry begins to emerge between them.”

Mada (Mother)” • (Jamaica) Director / screenwriter: Joseph Douglas Elmhirst; cast: Asoya Smith, Brenda Farmer, Xavier Alexander-Keating. • “In the postcolonial, matriarchal culture of rural Jamaica, a simmering conflict over Luther’s nature surfaces and we are offered insight into two mothers, Faith and Ethel’s conflicting notions about love and protection, meditating on its impact on a child who deviates from the norm.”

“Night Visions” • (England) Director/screenwriter: William Glass; cast: Lily Ashley, Hugo Nicholson, Olivier Huband. • “Two friends drive to a secluded forest and experiment with hypnotism, which triggers vivid dreams and serpentine hallucinations.”

“Others” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Grace Rex; cast: Arthur French, Debargo Sanyal, Ann Carr, Sunita Mani. • “‘Others’ is a collection of surreal vignettes in which people in everyday moments are tethered by an umbilical cord to otherworldly beings.”

“Post Office” (United States) Director: Courtney Loo & David Karp; screenwriter: Courtney Loo; cast: Julie Zhan, Naomi Shih, Ari Shih, Xiaowan Jin. • “When a Chinese American mother and her children come upon a seemingly abandoned little girl, their attempts to help have unforeseen consequences.”

“Progressive Touch” • (Austria/Netherlands) Director/screenwriter: Michael Portnoy; cast: Tizo All, Juan Felipe Amaya González, Marc Philipp Gabriel, Deva Schubert. • “... Progressive Touch’ depicts three futuristic, absurdist love scenes in which the goal is to ‘improve’ sex by complicating its rhythm and choreography.”

“Returning” • (United Kingdom) Director/screenwriter: Lucy Bridger; cast: Niamh Cusack, Simon Shepherd, David Beames. • “A retired teacher confronts some unexpected emotions as she struggles through the discomfort of a heatwave.”

“Signs He Made At Home” • (United States) Directors: Charlie Cole, Machel Ross; screenwriters: Micheal Norton, Machel Ross, Charlie Cole; cast: Ian Elton, Elianny McDonald, Chasten Harmon. • “An outsider artist spends a lifetime creating a world bigger than himself.”

“There” (Taiwan) Director/screenwriter: Wu Yu Fen; cast: Chen Shally, Yu Fan Zu Mei, Tsai Ming Shiou. • “In the absence of his children, Grandpa’s Indonesian caregiver is forced to mourn him.”

Trammel • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Christopher Jason Bell; cast: Dale Smith, Mohammad Dagman. • “Dale lives a solitary life in a small town, his only outlet being conversations with the local pharmacist Mohammad.”

The Ultimate (By Lou Fescano)” • (United States) Director: Daniel Jaffe; screenwriter: Daniel Jaffe & Michelle Uranowitz; cast: Michelle Uranowitz, Clare McNulty, Lisa Haas, Jonathan Marballi. • “After the death of her childhood friend Lou, filmmaker Nicole Friedman returns home to find he’s left behind a mediocre script that his family wants her to make in his honor.”

“Vision Of Wonder (Undersyn)” • (Norway) Director/screenwriter: Aleksander Johan Andreassen; cast: Rune Andreassen. • “Aleksander Johan Andreassen presents a fictional and subjective portrait of his father who is struggling with a visual deficit.”

“Young Forever” • (United States) Director: Stevie Szerlip; screenwriters: Stevie Szerlip, Young Lee; cast: Young Lee, Sorel Carradine, Dana Boulos, Joseph Lopez. • “A Korean entrepreneur living in Los Angeles is entangled in a pyramid scheme that goes far beyond beauty product endorsement in an elliptical thriller about risk, survival and loss.”

Shorts: Documentary

About A Home” • (United States) Directors/screenwriters: Daniel Chein, Elizabeth Lo; cast: Precious Sarria. • “Precious Sarria and her family experienced housing insecurity for over two years. After transitioning into housing, they documented their lives to raise awareness for the rising homelessness in regions surrounding Silicon Valley.”

“Ain’t No Time For Women” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter: Sarra El Abed; producer: Isabelle Grignon-Francke. • “Tunis, November 2019. On the eve of the presidential election, a group of women is gathered at Saïda’s hair salon, which is transformed into a town square, mirroring the internal turmoil of the country. In this female sanctuary, we get an intimate look at the country’s teenage democracy.”

“A Family That Steals Dogs” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: John C. Kelley. • “Strange experiences and realizations lead a grieving artist to reconsider his identity and beliefs in this meditation on loss, family and mental illness.”

“Faraway” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter: Aziz Zoromba. • “After being estranged from his family for his homosexuality, we observe a young Arab man over four seasons from far away as he navigates his solitude – all the while attempting to reconnect with his mother.”

“Field Resistance” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Emily Drummer. • “Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation, ‘Field Resistance’ blurs the boundaries between documentary filmmaking and science fiction to investigate overlooked environmental devastation in the state of Iowa.”

“I Think It’s Enough, Isn’t It?” • (Israel) Director/screenwriter: Emily Shir Segal. • “Reconstructing one last encounter with Dad.”

“The Length of Day” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Laura Conway. • “A collaged essay film that tells an emotional history of socialism in the United States. Filmmaker Laura Conway enacts a cinematic seance using archival documents to communicate with her departed communist grandparents and ask them questions about the end of capitalism. An account of the dreams, struggles, and losses of revolutionaries in the United States.”

Ms Curvy” • (United Kingdom) Director/producer: Ghada Eldemellawy • “A Ugandan mother tries to navigate her past traumas through participating in the country’s first beauty pageant for plus-size women.”

Sleeping With the Devil” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Alisa Yang; cast: Alisa Yang, Bob Larson. • “Based on a recorded Skype exorcism and found footage, the filmmaker confronts her religious trauma growing up in the Evangelical prophetic and deliverance ministry.”

“Unforgivable” • (El Salvador) Director: Marlén Viñayo; screenwriters: Carlos Martínez, Marlén Viñayo. • “A ruthless hitman for the 18th Street gang serves his sentence in an isolation cell in El Salvador. But in prison, Geovanny is not just guilty of his crimes, but of an unforgivable sin under God and gang: being gay.”

Shorts: Animation

“Bad Mood” • (Italy) Director/screenwriter: Loris Giuseppe Nese; cast: Rossella De Martino, Patrizia Scannapiecoro. • “The mother cares for seniors in their homes, where the ticking clock counts down the working day, between the frightening sounds of the heavy breathing that increase the fear of emptiness…”

“Friend of a Friend” • (France) Director/ screenwriter: Zachary Zezima; cast: Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Isaac Kessler, Shawn Stoner. • “A young man is sexually assaulted and subdues, punishes, then befriends his own attacker while confronting his past and the ambiguities of sexuality.”

“Knife Hanging From A Tree” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Jihee Nam. • “Sour grapes.”

“The Land of Whim” (Poland) Director/screenwriter: Betina Bozek. • “The film is an image of a land ruled by a whim. Everything that exists on the planet is unobvious, chaotic, and changes its shapes and properties.”

“Lizard Ladder” • (United States) Director: Ted Wiggin. • “Three animals caught between planes of existence, and an egg.”

“Molly Dane” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Ida Lasic. • “Experience the ritz and glamour of a death at the Dane’s fundraiser.”

“Opera” (South Korea) Director/screenwriter: Erick Oh. • “A massive 8K size animation installation project which portrays our society and history, filled with beauty and absurdity.”

“Papa Sun” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Noah Gallagher; cast: Noah Gallagher, Nick Knezevich, Em Jiang, Chelsea Garvey. • “A visual and audio mixtape that celebrates the sun, the moon, water, and the beach.”

“Poise” • (Portugal) Director: Luís Soares; screenwriters: Luís Soares, Cátia Salgueiro. • “A man is unable to make a choice and the world comes to a halt. Is the tension of indecision stronger than the fear of mistake?”

“Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland” • (China/United States) Directors: Haomin Peng, Yue Huang, Yuchao Luo; screenwriter: Yue Huang. • “Looking at a China modernized, are we back in such a wonderland described in an ancient fable, the Peach Blossom Spring, or is this high-speed train impelling us to somewhere else?”

“Something to Treasure” (United States/Canada) Director: Annapurna Kumar. • “Warm showers make me see stars.”

“Urges” (United States) Director/screenwriter: Angela Stempel. • “Unleash your urges! Let them take care of you.”

“White Horse” – (United Kingdom/China) Director/screenwriter: Yujie Xu. • “The bystander leaves after whispering, they say an accordion could never talk to a white horse.”

Shorts: Experimental

“Desert Air” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: ANDiLAND. • “A dark journey down the rabbit hole of a turbulent female adolescence.”

the gospel according to them” • (United Kingdom) Director: Bury Leod. • “An experimental film that explores the phenomenology of faith and its relationship to the Black body.”

Letter From Your Far-Off Country” • (United States/India) Director/screenwriter: Suneil Sanzgiri. • “Drawing upon a rich repository of images — from digital renderings of Kashmir’s mountains to the textured materiality of 16mm hand-processing and direct animation techniques — ‘Letter From Your Far-off Country’ maps a hidden vein of shared political commitment and diasporic creative expression, linking a poem by the Kashmiri American writer Agha Shahid Ali with interviews with the filmmaker’s father and a letter addressed to Communist Party leader Prabhakar Sanzgiri, who is also the filmmaker’s distant relative.”

“Morning Sickness in the USA – (United States) Director/screenwriter: Cristine Brache; cast: Juliana Brache, Cristine Brache. • “The director’s grandmother shares the story of being committed to a mental hospital in 1961 after seeing a doctor for inexplicable nausea.”

“Mountain Lodge” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Jordan Wong. • “The candle, the myth, the legend. Mountain Lodge.”

“Passage” • (Germany) Director/screenwriter: Ann Oren; cast: Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau. • “A Foley artist creates sounds for a film featuring a dressage horse and dissolves into his own imitation. Shot on 16mm film, ‘Passage’ is contemporary and sensual homage to the origin of cinema, with a thrilling performance from queer artist and performer Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau.”

“Piz Regolith” • (Switzerland) Director/screenwriter: Yannick Mosimann; cast: Thomas Burger, Gloria Grams, Helmuth Gufler, Ruedi Hählen. • “A postmodern Swiss-Tyrolean ensemble ventures into remote mountainous regions, embracing the sonorous variety of local vernaculars. A poetic road movie with stunning shots and an emphatic approach to a new alpine aesthetics.”

“Rumi and His Roses” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Navid Sinaki; cast: Navid Sinaki. • “Using love letters tucked in bootleg DVD menus, a gay Iranian recounts his first relationship and its end.”

“Something to Touch That Is Not Corruption or Ashes or Dust” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Mike Stoltz. • “Fences, zooms, blastbeats and oscillators search for possibility or perforation as the walls close in.”

“The Wind” • (United States) Director: Miranda Javid. • “The rigidity of a historical fact rolls by like clouds, or maybe like cloud-computing. Digital landscapes like desktops, trash cans, and cursors flatten the sensation of what tangibly remains: the invisible pleasure of wind on skin.”

“Wild Heart 1981 / 2020” (United States) Director/screenwriter: Zach Dorn. • “While browsing YouTube at the start of the 2020 COVID pandemic, a narrator grabs a camcorder and shares their thoughts about the video platform. The narrator lingers on a video of Stevie Nicks singing ‘Wild Heart’ in the studio of Annie Liebovitz in 1981.”

Shorts: Episodes

The Anxious Taxidermist - Pilot” • (United States) Director: Jeff Dickamore; creators/screenwriters: Jeff Dickamore, Aurora Florence; cast: Aurora Florence, Shaun Harmon Thompson, Rachael Winegar, Alex Diaz. • “The story of Marie, a young woman who uses her secret passion for rogue taxidermy to cope with debilitating anxiety.”

“Blackwater” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Boise Esquerra; cast: Kyla Garcia, Branscombe Richmond, Gary Farmer, Carolina Hoyos. • “A Native American country music star finally hits rock bottom and is court-ordered into wellness therapy with an offbeat group of misfits on her hometown reservation.”

“Black Kung Fu Chick” (United States) Director/screenwriter: Rae Shaw; cast: Taylor Polidore, Peter Boon Koh, PJ Hubbard, Terrance Ellis. • “A feisty young girl from South LA struggles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor with the help of her high school science teacher, a martial arts master.”

“Chef Giants” • (United States) Director/creator/screenwriter: Troy DeWinne; cast: Troy DeWinne and Ethan Dirks. • “Two goblins behold and scold the great chef giants.”

“Dead End” • (Israel) Director/creator: Nir Berger; screenwriters: Ofir Sasson, Nir Berger; cast: Ofir Sasson, Gaya Beer Gurevich, Yotam Perel, Guy Shahaf. • “In a post-nuclear-war Jerusalem, two teenage bickering siblings travel what’s left of the city in search of their little brother whom they lost in the bombing.”

“Early To Rise” • (United States) Director: Alec Cohen; screenwriters/creators: Alec Cohen, Mike Cabellon, Adrien Pellerin, Katie Sicking; cast: Mike Cabellon, Adrien Pellerin, Katie Sicking. • “On the way to a distant planet, three less-than-qualified astronauts are awoken from stasis 90 years too early and trapped inside their hibernation pods. Alone in the endless void, they can’t kill themselves, and they can’t kill each other, so they’ll just have to kill time.”

“Hustle: Episode 4” • (United States) Director: Matt Strickland; creator/screenwriter: Rekha Shankar; cast: Rachel Pegram, Bowen Yang, Jordan Myrick, Morgan Phillips. • “Two gamer best friends battle the everyday Big Bosses of ‘unequal opportunity’ and ‘crappy day jobs.’ In this episode, Nina’s first writing credit may spell ‘game over’ when she realizes the publication isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, while Paige battles her own self-doubt (the biggest baddie of all).”

“Like in Movies” • (Japan) Director/creator/screenwriter: Yoh Komaya; cast: Takeo Ito, Eri Mori, Ryota Taniguchi, Hisayasu Fujii. • “Life is full of twists and letdowns. Live it like a movie.”

“The Little Broomstick Rider” • (Italy) Creator/director/screenwriter: Matteo Bernardini. • “When a nine-year-old boy in 1620s Bavaria goes on trial for witchcraft, a flabbergasted court must decide the child’s fate.”

“Now Is Not the Best Time” – (United States) Director: Jacqueline Dow; screenwriter: Seth Birkan; cast: Betsy Kenney, Kenneth Kimmins, Dan Erickson, Kenneth Kyle Martinez. • “Alisa gets a chance to win $50,000 by making a half-court shot at a Knicks game but her anxiety quickly derails her when she learns the contest is going to be on TV.”

“Quarantine Quarrels: Connecting in Quarantine” • (United States) Creator/director/screenwriter/cast: Sophia Stephens. • “A woman struggles to maintain her sanity during the 2020 quarantine lockdown.”

“Sixteen Thousand Dollars” • (United States) Director: Symone Baptiste; screenwriters: Brodie Reed & Ellington Wells; cast: Brodie Reed, Ellington Wells, Alice Wetterlund, Punkie Johnson. • “A struggling Black college grad wakes up to find that reparations have finally been paid to descendants of slaves in America.”

Shorts: Unstoppable

“A$$ Level” • (United States) Director: Alison Becker; screenwriter: Santina Muha; cast: Santina Muha, Lydia Hearst, Travis Coles, Amy Hessler. • “A comedic music video that celebrates life with a disability while paying homage to 90s dance videos.”

“Best Friend” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Cory Reeder; cast: Gitane Neil, Kim Kendall, Robert Buscemi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan. • “After moving cross-country, a young girl with Down syndrome struggles to fit into her new surroundings.”

“The Bin” • (Philippines) Director/screenwriter: Jocelyn Tamayao; cast: Patrick Silver Padao, Brian Arda, Zernice Mae Cruz, and Juner N. Quiambao. • “A father struggles to connect with his son, who grows to love a language not native to his tongue.”

“The Butterfly Circus” • (United States) Director: Joshua Weigel; screenwriters: Joshua Weigel, Rebekah Weigel; cast: Nick Vujicic, Eduardo Verastegui, Dou Jones. • “The story of a renowned circus troupe traveling through the devastated American landscape at the height of the Great Depression, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs in a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman, he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.”

“Committed (United States) Directors: Rachel Handler and Crystal Arnette; screenwriters: Kara Moulter, Rachel Handler, Melanie Waldman; cast: Rachel Handler, Jaleesa Graham, Colin Buckingham, Damond McFarland. • “When Calvin announces that he’s proposing to Leesa...and then they’re moving to the suburbs, Rebecca enlists Dennis’s help to sabotage the proposal and keep their friends around for good.”

“The Co-Op” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Cameron S. Mitchell; cast: Josh Matthews, Emilie Krause, Emma Mitchell, David Mitchell. • “A robber’s plan goes horribly awry when he realizes the store he has targeted is full of disabled people.”

“Endomic” • (Canada/United States) Directors/screenwriters/producers: Camille Hollett-French, Ipek Ensari; cast: AJ Simmons, Ipek Ensari, Rhiannon Collett, Natasha Richards. • “An exhaustive meta-analytic review documenting a mysterious ‘women’s’ issue, otherwise known as endometriosis (a term used to describe a clinical etiology that thus far has only been identified in primates with a female reproductive system, an anatomical structure of decidedly lower importance in comparison to those of the male primate).”

“Feeling Through” (United States) Director/screenwriter: Doug Roland; cast: Steven Prescod, Robert Tarango. • “A teen-in-need’s reluctant act of kindness toward a DeafBlind man becomes a night-long journey, creating a bond between them that gives the teen hope for the future.”

“Flying Eggs” (United States) Director: Sheldon Chau; screenwriter: Antonio Garcia Jr.; cast: Antonio Garcia Jr., Christopher M. Lopes. • “A teenage boy in a Brooklyn apartment interrupts a man on his morning run by throwing eggs out the window.”

“Full Picture” • (United States) Director: Jacob Reed; screenwriters: Santina Muha, Jacob Reed, Elizabeth Reichelt, Stephen Sanow; cast: Santina Muha. • “Santina has been in a wheelchair since she was six years old. With meetings, hangouts, and classes happening virtually due to the coronavirus quarantine, she’s experiencing something new: Choosing when (or if) to disclose her disability.”

“Human Helper” • (United States) Director / screenwriter: Shaina Ghuraya; cast: Nicole Evans, Alora Kinley, Anthony Golden Jr., Shauna Turnmire. • “A sci-fi comedy short about a doctor’s mission to make artificially intelligent human-like helpers not ableist.”

“How Much Am I Worth?” • (United States) Directors: Rachel Handler and Catriona Rubenis-Stevens; cast: Rachel Handler, Andrea Dalzell, Jaleesa Graham, Denise Castelli. • “This stirring documentary explores the failures of the U.S. health system through the lens of four disabled women.”

“I Wish I Never” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Shaina Ghuraya; cast: Angela Rockwood, Lucas Maschi. • “This music video tackles the reality of women with disabilities in abusive relationships.”

“My Layers” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter/producer: Susanne Serres; cast: Kym Dominique-Ferguson. • “A dance and art short film about psychosis, from mental illness to full recovery.”

“On The Outs” • (United States) Director: Jordan Melograna; producers: Mark Stroh, David Carlson, Anna Guy, Jordan Melograna, Tina Pinedo; cast: Eldorado Fleetwood Cadillac Brown, Tyrone Gatherings, Kara Moser. • “‘On The Outs’ follows three people with various disabilities, including vision impairment, brain injury and mental illness, as they reenter the community from Washington State prisons.”

“Road to Zion” • (United States) Director: Andrew Reid; screenwriters: Andrew Reid, Jeremy Palmer. • “A Jamaican immigrant finds his life in L.A. shaken by forces outside his control as he struggles to understand how far he is willing to go to protect his family.”

“Safety Net” (Australia) Director: Anthea Williams; screenwriter: Julian Larnach; cast: William Best, Nikki Shiels, Steve Rodgers. • “Thirteen-year-old Terry is in emergency care with guardians after his mother’s arrest. Cheeky and living with a disability, he outwits one guardian while finding exactly the connection he needs from the other.”

“Single” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Ashley Eakin; cast: Jordan Wiseley, Delaney Feener. • “A girl born with one arm gets set up on a blind date with a guy who has one hand, and she is pissed!”

“Stilts” • (United Kingdom) Director/screenwriter: Dylan Holmes Williams; cast: Tom Glynn-Carney, Con O’Neill, Hebe Beardsall, Amanda Hale. • “A young man tries to escape a surreal dystopia where everyone wears ginormous metal stilts.”

“Union” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Julia Neill; cast: Scott Barton, Amanda Forstrom, Zack Rukavina, Evan Casey, Barbara Zablocky. • “A young Civil War surgeon in the Union Army visits home with an unexpected companion: a soldier whose arm she amputated.”

“Unspoken” • (United States) Directors/screenwriters: Emma Zurcher-Long, Julia Ngeow & Geneva Peschka; cast: Emma Zurcher-Long. • “A groundbreaking point-of-view documentary exploring a non-fluent speaker’s world. 14-year-old Emma challenges societal judgment surrounding autism... one keystroke at a time.”

Verisimilitude” • (United Kingdom) Director: David Proud; screenwriter: Justin Edgar; cast: Ruth Madeley, Esther Smith, Laurie Davidson, Alice Lowe. • “A struggling disabled actress gets a job advising a film star how to be disabled for his latest role.”

Shorts: Department of Anarchy

“ASMR for White Liberals” • (United States) Director: John Connor Hammond - screenwriter/cast: Randall Otis. • “Liberal? White? Guilty as hell? Let me help you get through your tough, tough times with ‘ASMR for White Liberals.’”

“Bare Bones” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Meryem Lahlou/ • “Who are we when we all share the same face?”

“Beyond Noh” – (United States/Japan) Director: Patrick Smith; screenwriter: Kaori Ishida. • “Thousands of masks from around the world, at 24 masks per second, brings us along a journey through culture, utility, and deviance.”

“Catastrophe Anthem” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Christopher Hewitt; cast: Tuesday Thomas. • “The ‘End of the World’ isn’t going to be an apocalyptic explosion. It’s going to be our minds, descending into chaos.”

“The Danger in Front” • (Canada) Director/screenwriter: Alexis Chartrand; cast: Bruno Marcil, Guillaume Cyr, Guillaume Lambert. • “While observing life outside his shop, a barber thinks he sees someone who is after his life and his family. Confronted with imminent danger, the barber decides to react.”

“Everything You Need To Know About Pierogi” • (United States) Director/screenwriter: Jon Phillips. • “Everything you need to know about pierogi, and more!”

“Just a Guy” • (Germany) Director: Shoko Hara; screenwriter: Simon Thummet. • “Three women contemplate their relationship with convicted serial killer Richard Ramirez.”

“Life” • (Iran) Director / screenwriter: Mohammad Mohammadian. • “An experimental super short film about time of life. The duration of this film is only 4 seconds (not minutes) because life is very short and very fast.”

“Peter the Penguin” • (United Kingdom) Director/screenwriter: Andrew Rutter; cast: Chris Butler, Alex Kapila, Mia Hemerling, Peter Terry. • “Nigel is on his way to meet his partner’s daughter Emily for the first time, and while he hopes to make a big impression, the impression she’ll leave on him is far more permanent.”

“Run That S---!” • (United States) Director: Tristan Kim; screenwriters: Tristan Kim, Will Allyn Robinson; cast: Jerome Beazer, Shaune May, Michael Rendeiro, Jimmie Cummings. • “A Satanic cult lures a no-name rapper into stealing an enchanted chamber pot from his estranged friend and now superstar rapper, Big Tobacco.”

“Urban Sphinx (Esfinge urbana)” • (Spain) Director/screenwriter: María Lorenzo. • “The eye that you see is not an eye because you see it; it’s an eye because he sees you. A tribute to all Street Artists from Valencia.”

Wild Bill Horsec--k” • (United States) Director: Oliver Shahery; cast: Hayes Johnson. • “Hayes Johnson is a Prius-driving, red-light-running vegan, who sings country, shoots DIY porn... and unfortunately, a lot more. Wild Bill Horsec- -k dives headfirst.”

DIG (Digital, Interactive and Gaming)

Homage to Airway” (Denmark) Director / screenwriter: Sophia Ioannou Gjerding; cast: Aoife Slevin. • “While ‘airway’ can be a reference to air travel and human respiration alike, in this context ‘Airway’ is the name of a dog.”

“Inside and Outside the Wall” • (China) Director/screenwriter: Yihan Lin. • “During the 14-day mandatory quarantine in a hotel room after I went back to China, I ‘raised’ some virtual animals in my phone. Somehow, we look very alike.”

“To Die in the Valley I’ve Loved” (United States) Directors: Koryn Wicks & Willing Kompany; cast: Koryn Wicks. • “A dance performance exploring horror movies, why we love them, and the things they reveal about our culture.”

24,483 Dreams of Death” • (United States) Director: Chris Peters; screenwriter: GPT-2 A.I.; cast: Naomi Petit. • “An artificial intelligence (A.I.) computer watched the Mario Bava classic ‘La Maschera del Demonio’ for six straight days, then it made its own disturbing movie.”

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