TheWrap on Wednesday announced the 12 finalists for its eighth annual ShortList Film Festival, including stories from around the world about immigration, sex workers, adoption and the first person to introduce the Hula Hoop to the US.
This year’s selected films have won awards at festivals including Sundance, SXSW, LA Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, Aspen Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival among a number of other prestigious festivals. The films and filmmakers come from the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, China, Switzerland and elsewhere around the globe.
In addition to the lineup of festival winners, the ShortList also features up-and-coming filmmakers from top film schools across the country. The 2019 student films come from four schools: UCLA, University of Texas at Austin, Chapman University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Directed by: Jon Frickey
Synopsis: Jiro feels sick. His father sends him to see the doctor. She diagnoses a harmless condition. But it shakes the boy’s identity.
Directed by: Brian Bolster & Jonathan Napolitano
Synopsis: As the frontlines of America’s HIV epidemic continue to migrate away from metropolitan centers – and invariably into territories least-equipped for battle – a funeral director in the heart of the South confronts an environment of societal shame and ignorance to ensure a dignified finality to those fallen from the disease.
Directed by: Paloma Martinez
Synopsis: In the Bay Area, the San Francisco Rapid Response Network, along with sister networks across California, serves as the front line of the local fight back against the current waive federal immigration mandates and propaganda. Read more…
Directed by: Suzanne Andrews Correa
Synopsis: Two undocumented, Turkish brothers face the challenges of life in New York City together. Green (aka Samet), a recent arrival to the city, wants to make a fresh start in a new place, but Abi, older and battle-worn, has been in the city longer and wants to protect his brother. When a street altercation escalates, Green unwittingly draws police attention to the apartment he shares with his brother and several other undocumented men, putting them all at risk of discovery. Read more…
How Does It Start
Directed by: Amber Sealey
Synopsis: It’s 1983 and 12-year-old Rain wants sex, the only problem is she has no idea what that means. With her self-absorbed parents distracted by their recent divorce, Rain is left alone to navigate the complexities of love and adulthood, and learns to do it her own way.
Directed by: Amy Hill & Chris Reiss
Synopsis: “Hula Girl” is the true, surprising and unfortunate untold story behind one of the biggest fads in modern American history. At 94 years of age, Joan Anderson has waited 60 years to prove that “a gentleman’s handshake ” was hardly a deal and it’s time to set the record straight.
Las Del Diente
Directed by: Ana Perez Lopez
Synopsis: Girls are weird. Babies are weird. Bodies are extra weird. “Las del diente” is a film about now, a time when women are tired to choose between having kids and their careers. Days in which anomalies in the reproductive system are celebrated instead of stigmatized.
One Cambodian Family Please For My Pleasure
Directed by: A.M. Lukas
Synopsis: In 1981, a lonely refugee from Czechoslovakia paints an all-too-appealing picture of her American life as she writes a letter begging an organization to send a Cambodian refugee family so that she can help resettle them in her new “hometown of dreams”: Fargo, North Dakota.
One Leg In, One Leg Out
Directed by: Lisa Rideout
Synopsis: “Never say never, because you never know where you’re going to end up next”. Iman knows this sentiment all too well. Born with a “silver spoon” in her hand, she never anticipated spending the past ten years as a sex worker in Toronto. But after coming out as a transgender woman to her family, she found it was her only option for survival. Read more…
Directed by: Claudius Gentinetta
Synopsis: In a veritable firework display of digital selfport-raits, hundreds of quaint, embarrassing and dread-fully disturbing selfies were arranged in a unique short film composition. Single photos, artistically reworked, consolidate to form a ghastly grin that outshines the abyss of human existence.
Directed by: Siqi Song
Synopsis: A man thinks back to his childhood memories of growing up with an annoying little sister in China in the 1990s. What would his life have been like if things had gone differently?
Directed by: Sandhya Suri
Synopsis: A poor agricultural laborer leads a double life in the village’s last remaining cornfield.
Directed by: Yubo Wang (aka “Tiger”)
Synopsis: For these Mormons, marijuana runs in the family.
Directed by: Nathan Knox
Synopsis: NO SANCTUARY explores human nature and behavior through the personal lens of those who have been affected by America’s indifference to gun violence. Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African Americans in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. We explore the lives of these families today and look into a phenomenon known as “the Empathy Gap.
Directed by: Luke Snedecor & Sarah Heinz
Synopsis: A boy’s plan to bake a birthday cake becomes disastrous when his scientist father’s latest experiment gets added to the mix.
Things That Happen in the Bathroom
Directed by: Edward Hancox
Synopsis: In the intimate sanctuary of the bathroom, a lonely young queer yearns for love, and learns how to survive heartbreak. For Jak (John Calvin Pierce), the bathroom is a refuge, a place where they can exist without wearing the mask they present to the world. But when their feelings of loneliness threaten to overwhelm them, Jak invites a new hookup into the bathroom – opening up to all the pleasure, embarrassment and self-discovery that comes with queer intimacy.
Watch the films and vote for your favorite here.
Prizes are awarded based on audience voting from viewers like yourself in addition to a group of jury members.
This year’s jury members include Topic VP of Development & Video Programming Gena Konstantinakos, “It’s a Disaster” Filmmaker Todd Berger, Bentonville Film Festival President of Programming Wendy Guerrero, “The White Helmets” Director Orlando von Einsiedel, and 30WEST EVP Tristen Tuckfield.