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Short Programmes 2019

Animation

Holding their characters to the witness stand, these animations bring to life the consequences of devastating inaction, and how we can visualise the world without a basis of corporate greed. Drawing us into a psychedelic musical memoir; the last conversation between the body and soul; and a devastated ex-mining community, these stories place the ordinary at the centre, questioning what shapes our lives and the ways in which we deal with past and present reconciliation and trauma. 

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Bird Milk An anxiety-inducing exploration of juicy colours and crunchy textures driven by chaotic electronic music. Christopher Strickler Canada
Brexicuted This satirical animation considers why Brexit is happening. A variety of British characters, interviewed the day after the UK voted to leave the EU, speak about what motivated their decision. Chris Shepherd France
Chakham A personal film examining Korean social structure, which forces young people to be good-natured. We were taught to be obedient, to follow the rules, and made to feel powerless. Yoon su Lee USA
Cosmos Express A girl decides to leave this world. Her body and soul have a last conversation as she walks down the path of her life, one last time. Mocong Yuan USA
Eddie & Frankie In an ex-mining community, a young girl’s attempts to get her dad’s attention are thwarted when he loses his job. Katherine Hearst UK
Elsewhere Elsewhere is about the breakdown of a friendship due to change and unforeseen circumstances. It explores the feeling of when a friend is physically there, but the person they were has gone. Rosa Fisher UK
Frontier Wisdom In the dry, desert space between here and there, a phone repairwoman encounters a chatty corpse, a self-propelled peanut, and some portents of the rapture. Jenna Caravello USA
Girl in the Hallway Why does Little Red Riding Hood give Jamie nightmares? Fifteen years later, the girl in the hallway haunts him still. A testament to locked doors. A lullaby sung by wolves with duct tape and polaroids. Not all girls make it out of the forest. Some stories children shouldn’t hear. Valerie Barnhart Canada
Interphase A 2D animated short that depicts the reconciliation of past experiences and trauma through acts of deconstruction, repair, and reflection. A self-made anthropomorphic figure undergoes reformative bodily changes, in search of solace and personal discovery. Kenny Tran Canada
Leaking Life Thousands of them are packed into a bag. The hand dragging the bag has never been seen from their angle. The track on the sand is easily erased by waves. Touching the surface of the sea, they grow new skin. Shunsaku Hayashi Japan
My Generation What if we put down our smartphones and opened our eyes wide shut? My Generation is an 8 minute travelling shot, where we go through different worlds, encountering contemporary art, GAFA, sport, religion, pornography, politics, finance, sacred cows, generalised surveillance, all opium of the people. Ludovic Houplain France
The Mystical Journey of Jimmy Page’s ’59 Telecaster When legendary guitarist Jimmy Page met the Fender Telecaster, rock history was made. Created as part of Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary celebrations this animated short takes viewers on a psychedelic tour through a pivotal time in music, shaped around Jimmy’s own words on his relationship with the iconic guitar. Smith & Foulkes UK
The Opposites Game A classroom erupts into a war of words as students grapple with a seemingly simple prompt: what is the opposite of a gun? Anna Samo, Lisa LaBracio USA
Toe A starving boy eats a toe he finds sticking out of the ground. Later that night, something ghastly comes to his bedroom, wanting it back. Neal O’Bryan, Chad Thurman USA
The Woman Who Turned Into a Castle An animated documentary about a woman who turns into a castle, based on Oliver Sacks’s case study. Kathrin Steinbacher UK
Documentary

As the world fills the screen, our inclination to hold out our hands takes centre stage. Immerse yourself in the four seasons of the Arctic to hear the Inuit art of throat singing, watch a young Indian girl fight sexism through skateboarding, and hear from the man who turns a hearse into a pulpit. Facing against the poisonous confinements of gender, these figures cut through loss and hardship with a sharp and determined spirit. Their voices will stay with you forever.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
99 Problems The inside scoop on the murky world of the ice cream business. Through the eyes of Pinky, the self-declared ‘King of the Ice Cream Men’, we’re taken into this unregulated industry where rival drivers will stop at nothing to protect their livelihoods. Ross Killeen Ireland
Here, We Are Rafael and Joel live in Santiago Tuxtla, a town in the state of Veracruz, Mexico that has been affected by the war on drugs. They have found a way to retain their humanity – through music. It builds community and combats fear, violence, and sadness. Viviana Zuñiga Mexico
Heroin Hearse In the overdose capital of America, Dwayne Woods turns a vintage hearse into a mobile pulpit, preaching a message of life through the imagery of death. When he opens a rehab at the ground zero for heroin use, Dwayne hopes sheer compassion will trump experience when recruiting his first client. Ryan Buckley USA
Inferno An explosive portrait of the lives of pyrotechnic artists and their families in the lead up to the festival of San Juan de Dios, where blazing revelry engulfs the town. Patrick Fileti Mexico/Australia
Kamali Kamali is the only female skateboarder in her fishing village. Her timorous mother, Suganthi undertakes a pilgrimage in a quest for self-discovery. Separated for the first time, they must each find freedom in a man’s world. Sasha Rainbow UK
Queen of the Dinosaurs: A Wrestler’s Story A portrait of professional wrestler Samantha Cohen, following her in and out of the ring, through tribulations of self-doubt and acceptance. This is the story of a strong woman who found a passion for wrestling that, despite its problems, eased her mind and allowed her to overcome sexism. Addison Dlott, Jakob Markwardt USA
Serious Tingz A short tale about the face of masculinity, portrayed by young men who grew up in inner-city environments. Where the iconic ‘screwface’ is more than just an expression, it’s a matter of life and death. Abdou Cisse UK
Throat Singing in Kangirsuk Eva and Manon practise the art of throat singing in their native Arctic land, in the small village of Kangirsuk. Interspliced with footage from the four seasons of Kangirsuk from Johnny Nassak. Eva Kaukai, Manon Chamberland Canada
Gone Astray

What would our society look like without one ounce of compassion? Reconciling empathetic, heart-warming stories with the repercussions of our modern lives, this stream of films focuses on the experimental concept of self-empowerment. Follow those who attempt to take back control as things around them unravel.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Boy Today, seventeen-year-old Tatiana is not going to school. She has a far more important event planned with her friends: saying goodbye to the boy she’s not ready to leave yet. Isabelle Schapira Belgium
Feathers Elizier, an emotionally-dejected new enrollee at The Edward R. Mill School for Lost Boys, must overcome memories of a tragic past, and the present hazing by his peers, in order to tackle larger issues dominating his young life. A.V. Rockwell USA
Goldfish A hopeful and moving story of love and loss. Set against the gritty backdrop of south London, one brave little girl goes on a journey of discovery in search of courage, resolve, and her big brother’s heart. Hector Dockrill UK
Pagans Three young women learn about loss over the course of one Bonfire Night that takes them on a surreal journey into the depths of the English countryside. Lucy Luscombe UK
Strange Days Nina can’t stop thinking about Carla, who went missing when they were teenagers. Alice Seabright UK
What Bitch? On a hot day in Bakersfield, Ketta is dragged to a Catholic thrift store by her mother and younger sister. Ketta has always felt second-best in mother’s eyes. When her little nephew accuses another customer of hitting him, Ketta uses it as an opportunity to gain approval from her mother. Julian Acosta USA
International

We each face struggles on a daily basis, whether pressured by our social environment or grappling for inner truth. This selection of shorts examines human conflict, showing people questioning their core values, stretching their boundaries, and becoming transformed by what they discover about themselves.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Favourites After falling out with her mother, Sofia hitchhikes to Italy in search of her biological father. In the early hours of a summer morning, she meets middle-aged Michael, who reluctantly agrees to give her a lift. The two strangers develop an unlikely friendship on their journey through the Austrian south. Martin Monk Austria/Germany
Find Harbour For A Day Adèle, an English teacher, spontaneously lets a young fifteen-year-old migrant illegally board a ferry for England with her class. Paul Marques Duarte France
A Million Eyes Leroy is thirteen, mixed-race, and grappling with his mother’s alcoholism. He ventures about his town with a broken camera, wishing he could capture the unseen beauty. When an older black photographer challenges him to capture his own truth, Leroy photographs his mother, who he loves so much it hurts. Richard Raymond UK/USA
Running Man 1991. While attempting to escape the ghosts of his past, Fred Love convinces his mates to join him in taking part in a clinical drug trial for cash. But when the trial spirals into violent psychosis Fred is forced to come face-to-face with the very thing he’s been running from. Chris Turner UK
Yes, Virginia Granting everyone else’s wishes has always been second nature to Virginia, but no matter how hard she tries there are certain things that not even wishes can fix. Harvey Puttock UK
Music Videos

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Aha Julian has trouble making real emotional connections with the people around him. The space between him and others is passive and distant, which increases his feelings of loneliness. But then a new character appears – a beautiful woman, an unrealistic, unattainable figure. Andrzej Stepouois Poland
Chatroom A young woman vies for the attention of the leader of her cult. Maegan Houang USA
Convince Yourself It is the neo-colonial period. A group of criollas led by Princesa Alba rebel and enter the casona (mansion) of their patrones (bosses) and Princesa Alba starts a seduction game with various queer love interests. She and her criollas dance, celebrating their new found liberty. Marialy Rivas Chile
Due West Kelsey Lu finds her freedom as she travels west. Cara Stricker, Mindy Le Brock USA
Fat White Family – Feet CC Wade directs FEET for Fat White Family. CC Wade UK
Fukk Sleep A$AP Rocky and FKA Twigs make their way through a futuristic, neon-drenched dystopian city with the panache of Bonnie & Clyde. It is a city that comes from the recesses of their own subconscious, as they lie, at the start of the video, in the hands of white-coated scientists. Diana Kunst UK/USA
Ghosts A short film about people who were once important but have now become ghost-like figures, who live only in the past and in memories. Michael Hughes UK
I Don’t Want to be Your Love “No delusions of grandeur, just grandeur.” I Don’t Want to be Your Love explores the inner conflict of the performer, and the acceptance and isolation of being on stage. The joy and shame of being on display. The fragile balance of baring one’s soul. Zach Shields USA
I’m Not OK For the first time I pluck up the courage to listen to the tiny little child who lives somewhere in my mind, and is sending out an SOS. All of the insecurities and nightmares will finally be clarified. Birdy Nio Taiwan
The Island An exploration of society’s regressive and intolerant nature, set within a dystopian world. A humanoid experiment escapes a lab facility and is ultimately hunted down by its creators, in this official music video for Ladytron. Bryan M. Ferguson UK
Lovers This music video for the band I AM LONO explores the comforting but sometimes constricting nature of a lover’s grip. A dance between the view of the audience and that of the band’s frontman, Matthew Cooper. Matthew Daunt England
Monophobia “It only takes two seconds for deadmau5 and Rob Swire’s Monophobia music video to officially be crowned the most WTF thing you’ve ever seen.” – Billboard Magazine Nick DenBoer, Kenny Hotz Canada
Never Change A music video for Obongjayar by Duncan Loudon, exploring the idea of change through death and items being reduced to dust. Duncan Loudon UK
Not Enough Various characters appear in this paradisiacal, pleasantly tormented succession of situations, which are possibly dreamt up by the artist through music, while he simultaneously listens in on this world, so very different to his own. Bear Damen USA
Shinobi In the future, Miko, a Japanese psychic warrior, is looking to destroy a corporation that mass produces robots called ‘Shinobi’, in order to avenge the death of her loved one. Victor Velasco USA
Sissy Fatigue Sissy Fatigue begins as a seduction song and turns from exaltation, to brooding and insidious, following the transformation of a blonde woman into a bald creature. Moving through themes of staging contemporary femininity and power, Sissy Fatigue looks at fetishised female blondeness, female rage, and the liberating potential of transgression. Olivia Norris, Oscar Oldershaw, Jackie Pratt, Joseph Campbell, Gonnerheous Reese UK/Spain
Truth A teenage boy does the only thing he can to cope with his overwhelmingly cliched suburban family: he writes an angsty song about them. Julia Kupiec USA
Until the Sun Rises A woman in a sexualised dream tries to find her true self, through dancing. Fernando Guisa Mexico
Wannabe I wanna be like you wanna be like me. Rupert Höller Austria
Nova Express

Inspired by bizarre events, these short films are oozing at the seams with pulp science fiction, dark high school horror, and the limits of illogical extremes. Motives can be unclear, and in these violent and suspenseful tales, everything is on the table. In these seats, you have the license to squirm…

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
The Bumbry Encounter 1961. Jackie and Terry Bumbry are a mixed-race couple who encounter a paranormal bright light in the sky near Mount Shasta. They report it to local law enforcement, who bring in a psychologist. But as Jackie tells her story she realises that there may be ulterior motives at play. Jay K. Raja USA
Chowchilla A brother and sister decide to sell their family farm but things go awry when a bag of money shows up on the front doorstep. Rick Darge USA
The Devil’s Harmony As the nerdy captain of the a cappella club, Kiera is an easy target for bullies. But her club possesses a secret power: when they sing ‘Devil’s Harmony’, listeners fall into a never-ending sleep. Kiera covertly wreaks revenge against the bullies, until a charismatic former bully expresses affection for her… Dylan Holmes Williams UK
Dog Eat Dog Silje wants to leave her boyfriend, but when she finds him half-heartedly attempting to hang himself she reconsiders, for fear of him acting recklessly. Rikke Gregersen Norway
Milton A guy makes a bad first impression when he meets his girlfriend’s family as they gather at her grandfather’s deathbed. Tim Wilkime USA
We Are Terrible A violent and hilarious tale of SoCal vengeance. John Macdonald USA
Queer

Intimate portrayals of gendered dynamics, exploring desires beyond the merely representational. An irrepressible and eclectic mix of shorts from around the globe, confronting issues which deal with entanglements of reconciliation. These tales, all with simple messages and an eye for beauty, prove that love will always win in the end.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Drip Like Coffee An intimate portrait of a Black woman whose desire for her female co-worker complicates her relationship with her boyfriend. Anaiis Cisco USA
Mankind A restless young man wants to leave love and the Earth behind. Mankind reflects on the idea that human beings are explorers by nature, and on the consequences of standing still for too long. Layke Anderson UK
The Orphan Jonathas has been adopted, but it doesn’t take long until he is returned because he is ‘different’ from other kids. Inspired by true events. Carolina Markowicz Brazil
The Tears Thing Florence is an actress. Preparations for her new role will challenge her in ways she could never have seen coming… Clemence Poesy France
Thara Thara is a trans woman and sex worker living in Honduras. Despite prejudice and violence, she risks everything in order to be herself, even in the face of the monstrous dangers that stalk the night. Paco Ramirez, Tanya O’Carroll Mexico/UK/Honduras
They Found Her in a Field Haunted by the death of her classmate, Martha returns, ten years on, to their old meeting place. But as the memories of their relationship come flooding back, she must confront the tragic mystery that put an end to it. Ellie Rogers UK
Yulia & Juliet A contemporary love story based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Zara Dwinger Netherlands
Radical Agendas

Disruptive cultural assaults of hostile politics, with a growing sense of unease. Featuring disconcerting visions of a possible future, as identity politics ventures into meltdown mode.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Brotherhood Mohamed is a hardened shepherd living in rural Tunisia with his wife and two sons. He is deeply shaken when his oldest son Malik returns home after a long journey with a mysterious new wife. Tensions between father and son rise over three days until they reach breaking point. Meryam Joobeur Canada
Just Agree Then Contrasting artistic visions, misplaced confidence, and blatant ignorance collide against the backdrop of an increasingly fragile and divided world. In August 2018, seven months before the UK is due to leave the EU, two stubborn Scottish filmmakers struggle to make a short film together in the Austrian Alps. Duncan Cowles, Ross Hogg UK
Paired Up A German exchange student and a British school kid are thrown together. Charlotte Regan UK
Selfie Zein Zein is a young Palestinian woman from Bethlehem, trying to reach Jerusalem. This troubled journey forces her to use her creativity in order to transform herself, altering her one and only outfit into different looks in order to overcome numerous obstacles. Amira Diab Palestine
Tattoo Because of her tattoos, in order to renew her driver’s license a young girl needs to be psychologically assessed by the police hospital. When she is forced to undress in order to be examined, the girl starts crying. Her mental state is questioned, and she flees from the hospital. Farhad Delaram Iran
This is the Winter 2023. A separatist movement has ignited civil war in the north of England. The government has built a wall, dividing the country, to protect people in the south. Trapped in a refugee camp north of the border, a teenage girl has to choose between her father and her politics. Peter King UK
Relative States

These films draw the audience into different worlds, with families who are disconnected, desperate for reconciliation. We wander in search of lucidity, seeking those inspiring moments of clarity. The characters in these poignant tales express disorientating behaviour. Vibrant and exhausting, affectionate and melancholic, sanguine and scintillating.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
The 8th Year of the Emergency Lil sometimes has a hard time finding the right words, but a visit from her family inspires a moment of ecstatic clarity. Maureen Towey USA
Dreamland Tokyo, late 1950s. A man is investigating the strange suicide of Christophe, his friend and colleague from the university. His research drives him to wander at night, in a city full of mysteries, with a suffocating atmosphere. Raphaël Matthieu France
Hush Ava, a young woman, surprises her brother and friends when she suddenly turns up in her small hometown, with a secret. Armagan Ballantyne New Zealand
November 1st A mother and daughter travel across the state to witness a long overdue execution. Charlie Manton UK
Tale of the Anguished Gardener Haunted by nightmares of the mythological character Medea, twenty-year-old Maria seeks refuge in her grandfather’s house in the Armenian mountains. At first deeply depressed, Maria tries to find harmony and a sense of purpose from her closeness with nature and people. Ovsanna Gevorgyan Armenia
Way Out East

A collection of short films from the Far East, exuding dynamic elements of poetic cinema, from the bustling streets of Saigon and deserted roads of Cambodia, to a desolate fishing village in China. Genuinely original, idiosyncratic, and exploratory, these films evoke intimate, immersive, and ethereal experiences within the complex fabric of the human condition.

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English Title Film synopsis – 50 words Director(s) Country
Cocoon A young couple and a gypsy woman ride in the back of a pick-up truck to an unknown destination. They pick up a mute girl in the middle of nowhere and the seemingly random group continues on a mysterious, surreal journey which leads to salvation for each one of them. Bai Ruixuan China
New Land Broken Road Phnom Penh at night. Three young hip hop dancers drive a single motorbike and stop on a muddy, deserted road. They meet a young street vendor whose cart is full of colours. Kavich Neang Cambodia/Malaysia
Pearl Six-year-old Lin lives in an isolated fishing village with her brother and their widowed mother. When the family is given an opportunity to start a new life, Lin has a startling revelation. A melancholy tale inspired by real events. Yuchao Feng China/US
Sigh Gone Without the guidance of her ‘lost love’, Thuy is on the verge of death by boredom. Having no agenda, she finds odd ways to entertain herself in the bustling city of Saigon, Vietnam. Jeannie Nguyen Vietnam
Stay Awake, Be Ready On a street corner, a mysterious conversation takes place between three young men. Meanwhile, a motorbike is involved in a traffic accident. The night brings together a sketch, a multicoloured frame of reality. Pham Thien An Vietnam/South Korea/USA
What Do You Know About the Water and the Moon During an attempted abortion, a girl gives birth to a live jellyfish Jian Luo China