Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival Short Film Program comprises 83 short films representing 17 countries from 5,107 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by more than 15% over last year. The 2008 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-27 with screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.
“Since the beginning we recognized short films as a viable art form and an exciting way to discover and launch new talent,” said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “We will continue to find innovative ways to extend the success and reach of this amazing work and build a world-wide audience for short-form films.”
“This year we received a record number of submissions, including some of the most dynamic work we’ve seen in years,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer. “We are really proud to present the entire shorts program, which represents a higher level of filmmaking craft than ever before. The work is extremely broad and ranges from outrageous animation to fascinating short documentaries, to original and wild comedies to outstanding dramas.”
Short films screen in Festival theatres prior to a feature film or as part of one of the Festival’s eight short film programs. As it has in the past, Sundance Institute will continue its tradition of streaming an exclusive selection of short films online, free of charge at the official website www.sundance.org/festival. Every day of the Festival, one new short film will premiere online for 24 hours. Starting in 2006, The Short Film Program, both at the Festival and online, has been graciously supported by Festival Presenting Level Sponsor, Adobe Systems Incorporated.
In addition, Sundance Institute continues to support its mission of building audiences for short films by announcing one-of-a-kind partnerships to make a selection of Festival shorts available for purchase and download on three platforms: Apple’s iTunes Movie Store, Xbox LIVE, the online entertainment network for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and the Netflix member Web Site.
Presented in collaboration with Sundance Channel, the shorts available online will launch simultaneously on all three platforms beginning January 18, 2008 and run through 2011. These films will be accessible to audiences far beyond the streets of Park City on www.sundance.org/festival, and on the iTunes Movie Store, Netflix, and Xbox 360. The selected program of shorts available on these platforms will be announced just prior to the beginning of the Festival.
“Sundance Institute and the Film Festival have spent eight quiet years in the online community supporting self-distribution for filmmakers. We cannot wait to get back onto iTunes with our new 2008 program. We’ve been getting requests all year from our past alumni, wanting to get in on the deal,” said Joseph Beyer, Producer, Sundance Institute Online. “Adding Netflix and Xbox 360 creates an opportunity for short films that is unparalleled right now. It’s truly emerging as an entirely new marketplace.”
Sundance Film Festival Short Films will be priced at $1.99 each with www.iTunes.com/sundance being the primary download-to-own platform for viewing on an iPhone, iPod, or widescreen TV with Apple TV. Netflix is making the Sundance shorts available to its subscribers at no additional fee through its instant watching feature, which offers thousands of films and TV episodes to be viewed instantly on PCs. Xbox 360 will offer yet another $1.99 download-to-own platform from Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store. More information can be found at www.xbox.com.
During the Festival, a Short Film Jury awards prizes based on outstanding achievement and merit in American and International Short Filmmaking. Over the years, the Sundance Film Festival Shorts Program has become a prime source for discovering filmmaking’s newest voices, including Todd Haynes, Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, David O. Russell, Tamara Jenkins, Nicole Holofcener, and Alexander Payne.
Maintaining its core mission of supporting filmmakers, Sundance Institute has partnered with industry leader and digital media aggregator Mediastile, Inc. to provide ongoing digital distribution and encoding services to the 2008 Filmmakers. As the Official Digital Clearinghouse of the Sundance Film Festival, Mediastile provides a digital on-ramp to content retailers for filmmakers around the world.
The short films selected for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival are:
U.S. SHORT FILMS
This year’s short films reinforce the genre as one which represents creativity and technological innovation. These films are diverse and eclectic, straying from the norms of creative film production.
The 41 U.S. shorts include a collection of films that grapple with dystopia and disenfranchisement as well as a psychedelic opera and a prison beauty pageant.
AQUARIUM (Director: Rob Meyer)– At fifteen, David and his two buddies are the youngest members of the Boston Aquarium Society. The three make their way to a monthly meeting, but David has a secret he is reluctant to share.
BY MODERN MEASURE (Director: Matthew Lessner)– As part of an ongoing, unaired TV series, an amateur French sociologist presents his observations on a day in the life of two young Americans who meet by chance outside a Taco Bell on October 8, 2006.
CHIEF (Director: Brett Wagner)– Semu Fatutoa drives a taxi in Honolulu, Hawaii, slowly forgetting his old life as a tribal Chief in Samoa. Little does he know, his old life is looking for him.
THE DEEP (Director: Alex Haworth)– A journey unravels through the thoughts of a solitary character in the heart of a future dystopia. As he journeys deep underground, he tends to the machines that fuel the surface city. His jobs are precise, almost compulsive, and he is unable to stop.
DOG LOVER LOVERS (Director: Danny Roew, Screenwriters: Tonya Cornelisse, Graham Sibley)– Two potential lovers meet to talk about their affection for dogs.
THE EXECUTION OF SOLOMON HARRIS (Directors: Wyatt Garfield, Ed Yonaitis; Screenwriter: Ed Yonaitis)– An electric chair execution fails, delivering a non-lethal jolt of electricity that leaves the prisoner screaming in pain. Protocol and routine fail to provide a resolution, and the warden has to cope with the human dilemma that falls into his hands.
FCU: FACT CHECKERS UNIT (Director: Dan Beers; Screenwriters: Dan Beers, Peter Karinen, Brian Sacca)– After being assigned to check a bizarre fact about Bill Murray’s love for drinking milk, two magazine fact checkers break into Bill’s house to spy on him. Cast: Bill Murray
FORCE 1 TD (Director: Randy Krallman)– Three friends, one of whom is visually impaired and has a miniature guide horse named Carmine, set off to find Carmine a very special pair of sneakers for a very special occasion.
MOTION STUDIES: INERTIA (Director: Jake Mahaffy)– This film documents a motion study of a man running as hard and as long as he can in a full suit of smithied High Middle Age armor.
LLOYD NECK (Director: Benedict Campbell)– Alex has a crush on her brother’s friend, Jesse. But Jesse likes Alex’s brother, Taylor. Alex knows something is up with her brother. Caught in an awkward position, Taylor takes Alex and Jesse to his favorite spot.
THE LOSS OF A WRESTLING MATCH (Director: Jed Cowley)– So far in the season, Don has a 9-0 record. He is perfect, but in the upcoming duel he has to wrestle a higher-ranked opponent.
MAN (Director: Myna Joseph)– Maggie and her sister form an unusual bond during an encounter with a young man.
THE MARK (Director: Thomas Barndt)– A lawyer rents a room to a human lightning bolt.
ON THE ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT (Director: Adam Keker)– A top-secret government file, only to be viewed in the event of the President’s death by assassination, gives specific instructions on what should be done, and presents dossiers on the three most likely suspects.
PARIAH (Director: Dee Rees)– A Bronx lesbian teenager juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from friends and family, but pressures from home, school, and within corrode the line between her dual personas with an explosive consequence.
THE RAMBLER (Director: Calvin Reeder)– A stranger takes to the lonely highway with his guitar and traveling sack.
A RELATIONSHIP IN FOUR DAYS (Director: Peter Glanz)– Coming from a wealthy family, Paul recently turned 30 and has never had, or needed a real job. Lost in his own imagination, he often preaches his grand ideas, but in reality never does much… until he meets Sabine.
THE SECOND LINE (Director: John Magary)– After MacArthur’s savings are stolen from his FEMA trailer, he and his cousin Natt take work gutting a house.
SICK SEX (Director: Justin Nowell)– Ken wants sex. Amanda is sick.
SIKUMI (ON THE ICE) (Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean)– An Iñuit hunter takes his dog team out on the frozen Arctic Ocean in search of seals, and inadvertently becomes a witness to a murder.
SUNLIT SHADOWS (Director: Benjamin M. Piety)– A visual mix tape highlighting the simultaneous holding on to–and letting go of–lost love. Told through the songs and moments of a simple lazy morning.
WELCOME (Director: Kirsten Dunst)– A frightened Cynthia and her family encounter a ghost when moving into a house. What seems to be a threat soon becomes someone with whom to share their home. Cast: Winona Rider
CARLIN (Director: Brent Green)– A diabetic Aunt moves in with her family to hasten her own death. This stop-motion piece uses life-sized wooden characters and taxidermied chickens, set in the farmhouse of the filmmaker’s childhood.
LA CORONA (THE CROWN) (Directors: Amanda Micheli, Isabel Vega)– The contestants are murderers, guerillas, and thieves. The winner will be crowned Queen, but she won’t be invited on a press tour as a role model for young girls. Instead, she will be escorted back to her cell.
GREEN PORNO (Director: Isabella Rossellini)— A series about the sex lives of bugs, insects, and various creatures. The films are a comical, but insightful study of the curious ways that “bugs” make love. Cast: Isabella Rossellini
kids + money (Director: Lauren Greenfield)– Money talks. Teens in Los Angeles discuss money: getting it, spending it, and learning to live without it.
my olympic summer (Director: Daniel Robin; Screenwriters: Daniel Robin, M.R. Dhar)– After his marriage fails, the filmmaker looks at home video footage of his parents when they were young in hopes to understand how they kept the magic. This film is set against the historical backdrop of the hostage crisis at the Munich Olympic games of 1972.
PILGRIMAGE (Director: Tadashi Nakamura; Screenwriter: Karen Ishizuka)– A tribute to the small group of Japanese Americans in the late 1960s who transformed an abandoned WWII concentration camp into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races, and nations.
SALIM BABA (Director: Tim Sternberg)–Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old man who lives in North Kolkata with his wife and five children. Since the age of ten he has made a living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods.
THE ADVENTURES OF BAXTER & MCGUIRE: THE BOSS (Director: Mike Blum; Screenwriters: Michael Weithorn, Nick Bakay)– This animated buddy-comedy chronicles the adventures of Baxter and McGuire, the closest of pals who never leave each other’s side. They also just happen to be testicles.
CHONTO (Director: Carson Mell)– Wilted rock idol Bobby Bird literally tries to buy a friend when he adopts a monkey from a zoo in South America.
THE HISTORY OF AMERICA (Director: MK12)–A psychedelic western space opera.
MY BIODEGRADABLE HEART (Director: Dana Adam Shapiro)– A story about puppy love and how long it would take said puppy to decompose.
BEAT OF SEX (Director: Signe Baumane)– A take on sex exclusively from a woman’s point of view.
COUNT BACKWARD FROM FIVE (Director: Tony Gault) – A visual exploration of generosity and addiction that commemorates the filmmaker’s brother’s recent passing.
THE DRIFT (Director: Kelly Sears)– A 1960s space mission goes awry, resulting in a strange disappearance and cosmic transmissions. The fall-out of this journey forever changes life back on Earth and launches a counter-culture revolution.
GAS ZAPPERS (Director: Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung) – A short animation about climate change, where an ironically over-appropriated and fuzzy polar bear, abruptly finds itself in a position to save its home.
IGNITE (Director: Shawn Bannon)–The 2007 fires of Griffith Park. Shot with seven time-lapse cameras. An experimental perspective that is beautiful, eerie, and captivating.
NUMBER ONE (Director: Leighton Pierce)– Water imagery engages the experience of elasticity between varying states of mind.
UNTITLED #1 (from the series EARTH PEOPLE 2507) (Director: Nao Bustamente)– An enchanting meditation on an ancient species from the future using found footage, cell phone video, and crude chroma key effects to create a coherent and petite spell. The rendition of buffalos made from a “herd” of toy poodles tweaks at our understanding of the symbolic world.
BECAUSE WASHINGTON IS HOLLYWOOD FOR UGLY PEOPLE (Director: Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung)– Politician John McCain coined the expression, “Washington is a Hollywood for Ugly People.” This scathing work satirizes with images, color, and music over past and current political leadership.
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILMS
This year’s record number of international shorts offers a compelling look at stories from around the world. There are 42 international short films, up from 28 last year, representing 16 countries. From the torment of a ten-year old Iranian girl to the various collisions of seemingly unrelated worlds, the international shorts challenge our preconceptions and visual conventions.
ADVANTAGE / Australia (Director: Sean Byrne; Screenwriter: Rob Beamish)– A young couple stumble home after a big night out. Their frisky interlude at a suburban tennis club lands them a role in a far more sinister, supernatural game and their opponents have a distinct home court advantage.
AUGUST 15 / China (Director: Jiang Xuan)– Based on a real life event, a young Chinese woman boards a bus with her boyfriend to head home to meet his parents. What was supposed to be a joyful holiday turns unpredictable when a pair of countryside crooks hijack their bus. Traveling through China’s dangerous mountain passes, the passengers must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for their own safety.
CHERRIES / United Kingdom (Director: Tom Harper; Screenwriter: Fiona Kissane)– A class of teenage schoolboys are oblivious to their teacher’s attempts to question them about the wider world. They are about to get a lesson they will never forget…one that will change their lives forever.
CROSSBOW / Australia (Director: David Michôd)– A kid. His Mum and Dad. The sex and drugs. And the boy next door who watched the whole thing unravel.
DENNIS / Denmark (Director: Mads Matthiesen)– When Dennis, an introvert bodybuilder, invites a local girl out on a date his mother is hurt and disappointed. Despite the pressure she puts on him to cancel the date, Dennis ventures into a night that he will never forget.
DUGONG / Australia (Director: Erin White)– In an effort to repair the past, a loner returns home with his dog on the day of his brother’s wedding, but learns that in order to make amends he must leave a piece of himself behind.
THE FUNERAL / Canada (Director: Sara St. Onge)– A dark comedy about a young woman in her early thirties becomes aware of her own mortality and reacts by meticulously planning her own funeral. Possibly due to a lack of other big days in her life so far, such as a wedding, this becomes her moment to shine.
HARVEST TIME / Finland (Director: Sami Korjus)– For so long, farmhouse lady Anja Huovinen has gritted her teeth and put up with her lazy husband’s drinking habits and idle talk, focusing instead on her work. But there is a limit to everything.
I LOVE SARAH JANE / Australia (Director: Spencer Susser)– Jimbo is 13 and can think of only one girl–Sarah Jane. And no matter what stands in his way–bullies, violence, chaos, or zombies–nothing will stop him from finding a way into her world.
JUVENILE / United Kingdom (Director: China Moo-Young; Screenwriter: Glenn Doherty)– A single parent’s relationship with his teenage daughter, on the day she brings home her new boyfriend.
THE OBJECT / United Kingdom (Director: Leslie Ali; Screenwriters: Leslie Ali, Paul Calozzo, Nathan Frank)– Two hunters spot a flying object. Soon after, one of them is struck by the object as it falls to earth, setting off a chain reaction that ultimately reveals mankind’s stupidity and greed.
SMILE / Canada (Director: Julia Kwan)– A subtle look at the fractures that bond a Chinese immigrant family on the day they use their cut-out Sears coupon for a free family portrait.
SOFT / United Kingdom (Director: Simon Ellis)– A father rediscovers his fear of confrontation at the worst possible time.
THE SOUND OF PEOPLE / Ireland (Director: Simon Fitzmaurice)– An 18-year-old boy stands in a moment on the brink of death.
SPIDER / Australia (Director: Nash Edgerton)– It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
THE WRESTLING / Iceland (Director: Grimur Hakonarson)– A love story about two gay wrestlers living in rural Iceland who must keep their relationship a secret from the inner world of Iceland’s national and very macho sport.
WAVES / Romania (Director and Screenwriter: Adrian Sitaru)– A beautiful Western woman asks a Gypsy to watch her four-year-old child while she is taught how to swim by a flirtatious married man, before she disappears into the sea.
WIND / Germany (Director: The Vikings)– A social outcast describes how he finally found his place in the world.
WIND, TEN YEARS OLD (BAAD, DAH SALEH) / Iran (Director: Marzieh Vafamehr)– A day in the life of a 10-year-old Iranian girl highlights the Iran-Iraq war and the national/educational propaganda that informs the tumult, fear, infatuation, and mindset of a generation.
THE APOLOGY LINE / United Kingdom (Director: James Lees)– Based on the creation of a real-life ‘apology line’ where members of the public anonymously confess to absolutely anything over the telephone.
BREADMAKERS / United Kingdom (Director: Yasmin Fedda)– At a unique Edinburgh bakery, a community of workers with learning disabilities makes a variety of organic breads for daily delivery to local shops and cafes.
FAREWELL PACKETS OF TEN / Ireland (Director: Ken Wardrop)– Two ladies discuss the pros and cons of their mutual addiction to cigarettes.
SCORING / Ireland (Director: Ken Wardrop)– A young man explains the true power of a kiss.
1977 / United Kingdom (Director: Peque Varela)– A small town, a growing knot, and a girl searching for her identity.
DOG / Iceland (Director: Hermann Karlsson)– Remembering the death of a dog and the guilt of a boy that soon followed.
FLIGHTY / United Kingdom (Director: Leigh Hodgkinson)– Butterflies in search of mates undergo penultimate speed dating, and for good reason: they have two weeks to live.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD / United Kingdom (Director: Joe Tucker; Screenwriter: Joe Tucker and Raphael Warner)– Graham lives with his overbearing mother in a Christian bookshop, trapped in the seedy outskirts of a decaying nowhere town. He and his mother both love God, but in very different ways.
I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE / Canada (Director: Cam Christiansen; Screenwriter: Kris Demeanor)– A suburban boy competes in a tennis match with his father in the suburbs of Calgary when three young men approach and start to rudely accost them.
I MET THE WALRUS / Canada (Director: Josh Raskin)– In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. Using the original interview as the soundtrack, this narrative tenderly romances Lennon’s every word in a cascading flood of multi-pronged animation.
LAPSUS / Argentina (Director: Juan Pablo Zaramella)– A curious nun ventures into the darker side of her animated world.
MADAME TUTLI-PUTLI / Canada (Directors: Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski)– Madame Tutli-Putli boards the night train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past. As day descends into dark, she finds herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure adrift between real and imagined worlds.
PARADISE / France (Director: Yi Zhou)– A lyrical look at plants and bugs preparing for pollination in the spring.
THE PEARCE SISTERS / United Kingdom (Director: Luis Cook)– An amusingly bleak-hearted tale of two weather-lashed old spinsters living on a remote and austere strip of coast, scraping out a miserable existence from the sea.
YOURS TRULY / United Kingdom (Director: Osbert Parker)– Animation and live action collide in the story of Frank and Charlie, a dark romance of psychological tension that unfolds as the two men sacrifice their morals in search of what they love.
BEND IT / United Kingdom (Director: Jules Nurrish)– An homage piece with a significant nod towards the living sculpture-art of Gilbert and George that plays with conventional notions of gender. Featuring two unnamed, androgynous figures on plinths in an art gallery, they dance to the same tune that Gilbert and George used in their piece from the late 1960s, in which they created the “bend-it” dance.
BUYO / Italy (Director: Andrea Fasciani)– In this post-modern tale, Ralph is a guy whose voice only generates weird sounds, and Anna is deaf. One day they meet in the elevator. Ralph’s unusual voice makes Anna’s body vibrate, prompting Anna’s affections and her desire to follow him everywhere.
NIKAMOWIN (SONG) / Canada (Director: Kevin Lee Burton)– Deconstructing and reconstructing Cree narrative, this film experiments with language to create a linguistic soundscape.
OIRAN LYRICS / Japan (Director: Ryosuke Ogawa)– A historical musical about the glamorous yet plaintive life of Kiyomi, a beautiful oiran or high-class Japanese courtesan.
please stand back ( zurrueckbleiben bitte) / Austria (Directors: Sam Auinger, Dietmar Offenhuber, Hannes Strobl)– The directorial collective, Stadtmusik, deals with sounds in cities by analyzing sound structures that are triggered by urban buildings and facilities. They focus on the aspect of movement in the city, reinforcing a dynamic experience of the urban soundscape.
PLOT POINT / Belgium (Director: Nicolas Provost)– The crowded streets of New York City turn into fictive, filmic scenery. By playing with our collective memory–its cinematic codes and narrative language– the piece questions the boundaries of reality and fiction.
SEVILLA (¥) 06 / Italy (Director: Olivo Barbieri)– A tale about the perception of Europe in Africa…from the vantage point of an airplane.
SUSPENSION / Belgium (Director: Nicolas Provost)– Letting go of realist constraints, and going back to the mirror-images of some of Provost’s previous works, we dive into a metamorphosing cosmic ocean.