Sundance Institute has tapped 70 short films for next month’s festival, including projects by James Franco, Spike Jonze and “Paper Heart” director Nicholas Jasenovec.
Monday’s announcement noted that a quartet of shorts will screen Jan. 21, the fest’s opening day — Jonze’s dramatic “I’m Here”; documentary “The Fence,” directed by Rory Kennedy; international dramatic short “Logorama,” directed by Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy, and Ludovic Houplain; and animated “Seeds of the Fall,” directed by Patrik Eklund.
“Sundance has a long legacy of supporting short filmmaking,” said director of programming Trevor Groth. “Short films are at the core of what independent filmmaking is about — these films are made out of pure passion without commerce in mind. This year, we’re especially excited to screen a short film program as part of the opening of the festival.”
Franco’s “Herbert White,” based on the poem of the same name, is part of the U.S. dramatic shorts program. Jasenovec’s “Para fuera” is a portrait of Dr. Richard J. Bing and part of the documentary shorts program.
The short-film jury includes Sterlin Harjo (“Barking Water”), Christine Vachon (“I Shot Andy Warhol”) and Brent Hoff. The awards ceremony will be held Jan. 26.
U.S. DRAMATIC SHORTS
This year’s 35 U.S. short films were selected from a record 3,504 submissions.
Charlie and the Rabbit (Directors: Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian) — Charlie, a four year-old who loves Bugs Bunny, decides to hunt a rabbit of his own.
Family Jewels (Director and screenwriter: Martin Stitt) — Carol, a mother and a US soldier ready for deployment, finds that the most painful part of leaving is spending the last night with her family.
Fiddlestixx (Directors and screenwriters: David Zellner and Nathan Zellner) — Fiddlestixx is about a monkey. A very special monkey.
Gone to the Dogs (Director and screenwriter: Liz Tuccillo) — A dinner party turns ugly when one of the guests brings her dog along.
Herbert White (Director and screenwriter: James Franco) — Based on the poem by the same name, a man struggles with his inner demons while trying to live a normal family life.
I’m Here (Director and screenwriter: Spike Jonze)
Laredo, Texas (Director and screenwriter: Topaz Adizes) — Sam trains Juan for his first day at his new job, fixing pay phones in the border town of Laredo, Texas. However, tensions boil as Sam suspects that Juan is an undocumented worker.
Little Accidents (Director and screenwriter: Sara Colangelo) — A desperate young factory worker recruits a mentally disabled ex-boyfriend to steal a pregnancy test for her.
Mary Last Seen (Director and screenwriter: Sean Durkin) — A young woman embarks on a road trip with her boyfriend to a place he promises to be beautiful and peaceful. But after a series of strange events occur on their journey, it becomes clear that their relationship is not what she thinks, and their destination is not what was promised.
My Mom Smokes Weed (Director and screenwriter: Clay Liford) — After a loyal son comes home to visit his aging mother, she assigns him some chores — one of which involves a road trip to help satiate her desire for a certain special herb.
NEW MEDIA (Director and screenwriter: J.J. Adler) — Living in the lap of luxury through no achievement of his own, an out of touch, middle-aged poseur tries to make good by getting in on the ‘viral video’ craze.
PATROL (Director and screenwriter: John Patton Ford) — A man pretends to be a policeman to impress his six-year-old son.
RENEGADES (Director and screenwriter: Jim Hosking) — Oh, them renegades.
Rob and Valentyna in Scotland / USA, United Kingdom (Director: Eric Lynne; Screenwriters: Eric Lynne and Rob Chester Smith) — An American abroad travels with his long-lost Ukrainian cousin to the Highlands of Scotland.
Shimásání (Director and screenwriter: Blackhorse Lowe) — When Mary Jane finds a World Geography book that shows her an entirely new world, she must decide whether to maintain her traditional Navajo reservation lifestyle with her grandmother, or go out into the larger world.
Successful Alcoholics (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts; Screenwriter: T.J. Miller) — Drake and Lindsay are successful alcoholics who may need to redefine their definition of “success.”
The Visitors (Director and screenwriter: Samina Akbari) — A young woman that makes up one part of a interracial relationship copes with the arrival of her family while trapped in a rat-infested apartment.
TUB (Director and screenwriter: Bobby Miller) — It’s just your typical story about a guy who can’t commit to his girlfriend…who then jerks off in the shower…and accidentally impregnates his tub.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Born Sweet (Director: Cynthia Wade) — Arsenic-laced water has poisoned a 15-year-old-boy from a small, rural village in Cambodia, who fashions dreams for karaoke stardom.
Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No (Director: James Blagden) — In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, here’s the animated tale of Dock Ellis’ legendary LSD no-hitter.
Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln (Director: Jeremy Konner; Screenwriter: Derek Waters) — On March 22nd, Jen Kirkman drank two bottles of wine and then discussed a historical event. Cast: Don Cheadle and Will Ferrell
Drunk History: Tesla & Edison (Director: Jeremy Konner; Screenwriter: Derek Waters) — On January 7th, Duncan Trussell drank a six-pack of beer…then a half a bottle of absinthe…and then he discussed a historical event. Cast: John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover.
The Fence (Director: Rory Kennedy; Screenwriter: Mark Bailey) — In October 2006, the United States government decided to build a 700 mile fence along its Mexican border. Three years and $3.1 billion later, the film investigates the impact of the project, revealing how its stated goals–containing illegal immigration, cracking down on drug trafficking, and protecting America from terrorists–have given way to unforeseen consequences.
LAST ADDRESS (Director: Ira Sachs) — A composition of exterior images from the last residential addresses of a group of New York City artists who died of AIDS.
Let’s Harvest the Organs of Death Row Inmates (Directors: Chris Weller and Max Joseph; Screenwriter: Graeme Wood) — In 2008, 37 death row inmates were executed. None of their organs were donated. Considering that there are currently 2,775 people on the waiting list for a heart transplant, the film makes the case for harvesting healthy organs from death row inmates.
Mr. Okra (Director and screenwriter: T.G. Herrington) — An intimate look at one of New Orleans’ most colorful characters, the charismatic vegetable salesman Mr. Okra, who provides a glimpse into the soul of an American city.
Para Fuera (Director: Nicholas Jasenovec) — A intimate portrait of Dr. Richard J. Bing on his 100th birthday.
The Poodle Trainer (Director: Vance Malone) — Irina Markova, a solitary Russian poodle trainer, reveals her transcendent relationship with her dogs, the childhood tragedy that sparked a lifetime of working with animals, and the welcome isolation behind the red velvet curtains of the circus.
The S From Hell (Director: Rodney Ascher) — A documentary-cum-horror film about the scariest corporate symbol in history, the 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka The S From Hell. Built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from viewing the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees, the film brings their stories to life with animation, found footage, and reenactments.
Thompson (Director: Jason Tippet) — Since second grade, Matt and
Ryan have shared the bond of speech impediments, weapons, and things that go fast. But as their last days of high school speed by, the two friends find that their go-carts, dirt bikes, and RC cars can’t outrun adulthood.
Quadrangle (Director: Amy Grappell) — An unconventional look at two “conventional” couples that swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the early 1970s, hoping to pioneer an alternative to divorce and the way people would live in the future.
U.S. ANIMATED SHORTS
MEATWAFFLE (Director and screenwriter: Leah Shore) — An old man recalls his strange and bizarre memories.
N.A.S.A. A Volta (Director and screenwriter: Alexei Tylevich) — Another day, another drug deal gone wrong in this NC-17 bit of ultra violence, set in 8-bit isometric metropolis.
One Square Mile of Earth (Director: Jeff Drew; Screenwriters: Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen) — Bill the bunny is a struggling novelist, who has never actually written anything, much to the chagrin of his perfectionist life partner, Gary the frog. Thad the bear is a hopeless romantic who can’t find the right words to express his feelings for the scandalous and alluring Lucy the goat. And Leon the hippopotamus, one the coolest and hippest guys in town, has struck up a unlikely friendship with a down-on-his-luck high school sociology teacher, Pedro the mouse.
Wisdom Teeth (Director and screenwriter: Don Herzfeldt) — Nigel recently had his wisdom teeth removed.
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILMS
This year’s international short films were selected from a record 2,588 submissions. This year’s international shorts include 31 films from 15 countries.
INTERNATIONAL DRAMATIC SHORTS
The Armoire / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Jamie Travis) — 11-year-old Aaron plays a game of hide-and-seek in which his friend Tony is never found. The mystery of their relationship — and of their queer attachment to the armoire in Aaron’s bedroom — can only be revealed, it turns out, through hypnosis.
Birthday / Poland, Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Jenifer Malmqvist) — Sara loves her wife Katarina. For her 40th birthday, Sara wants to surprise her wife, not knowing Katarina also holds a surprise for this memorable day.
Can We Talk? / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Jim Owen) — Vince gets way more than he bargains for when he dumps his girlfriend. Again.
Chicken Heads / Palestinian Territories, USA (Director and screenwriter: Bassam Ali Jarbawi) — After his father’s prized sheep goes missing, Yousef devises a strategy to keep the truth buried.
Echo / Poland (Director and screenwriter: Magnus von Horn) — After murdering a young girl, two boys have to relive the brutal crime they committed and confront the strange and shocking feelings that still linger.
The Fight / Norway (Directors and screenwriters: Dag Åstein, Keio Åstein) — Mads should have told the truth. He is terrible at fighting.
How I Met Your Father / Spain (Director and screenwriter: Álex Montoya) — Every couple has their story, some more romantic than others.
Little Miss Eyeflap / Norway (Director and screenwriter: Iram Haq) — The fantastical, magical story of a Norwegian-Pakistani girl who escapes the forced marriage her family has planned for her.
My Invisible Friend / Spain (Director and screenwriter: Pablo Larcuen) — With the arrival of Andy — his invisible friend — an extremely shy Tomas starts to realize how much better his life would be if he was able to communicate with the people around him.
My Rabbit Hoppy / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Anthony Lucas) — Henry’s ‘Show and Tell’ school project about his pet rabbit goes horribly wrong.
Plastic and Glass / France (Director and screenwriter: Tessa Joosse) — In a recycling factory, the machines dance, the workers join in song, and the truck drivers circle as if all part of a factory ballet.
Raw Love / Argentina (Directors: Martín Deus, Juan Chappa; Screenwriter: Martín Deus) — The story of two friends at the end of high school, and a secret love that is threatened by the closing of the school year.
Seeds of the Fall / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Patrik Eklund) — Middle-aged Rolf and Eva live in a passionless relationship full of sexual frustration. But then something happens that will change their relationship forever.
The Six Dollar Fifty Man / New Zealand (Directors and screenwriters: Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland) — Andy, a gutsy eight year-old boy, is forced to break out of his make-believe superhero world to deal with playground bullies.
Still Birds / Norway (Director and screenwriter: Sara Eliassen) — Adystopic fable that takes place in an enclosed world in which meaning is about to disappear.
Tungijuq / Canada (Directors: Paul Raphael and Félix Lajeunesse; Screenwriters: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, Tanya Tagaq and Stéphane Rituit) — A thought-provoking meditation on the seal-hunt and what it means to the traditional way of life for the Inuit.
Young Love / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Ariel Kleiman) — Clarity can often be found in the eyes of strangers.
INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Bus / Israel (Director and screenwriter: Yasmine Novak) — An examination of those that live their lives amidst the complex rules, walls, soldiers, and permits that make up the Israel/Palestine bus system.
Glottal Opera / Australia (Director: John Fink; Screenwriters: John Fink and Sally Stevens) — Mesmerizing, disturbing, hilarious, disgusting, compelling, repelling.
Notes on the Other / Spain (Director: Sergio Oksman; Screenwriters: Carlos Mugiro and Sergio Oksman) — Each summer, a crowd of Ernest Hemingway doubles meet in Key West, Florida, to choose the authentic Hemingway after Hemingway’s death. One day in 1924, the real Ernest Hemingway also wanted to be someone else. This film is the story of this hypothesis.
Photograph of Jesus / United Kingdom (Director: Laurie Hill) — Real-life archives become the stage where fact and fiction collide, belief runs amok and unruly images have a life of their own.
Wagah / Germany (Directors: Supriyo Sen and Najaf Bilgrami) — A visual illustration that documents a single evening where 20,000 people dance and sing daily at the only checkpoint between India and Pakistan.
INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED SHORTS
The Art of Drowning / Canada (Director: Diego Maclea; Screenwriter: Billy Collins) — A pondering of the possibilities that await us at the end of the line.
The Little Dragon / Switzerland (Director and screenwriter: Bruno Collet) — Thirty-five years after Bruce Lee’s death, his soul reincarnates in a little doll. With self-confidence, the rubber-made toy leaves to discover the great-scaled world all around him.
Logorama / France (Directors and screenwriters: François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain) — Spectacular car chases, an intense hostage crisis, and wild animals rampaging through the city, change a world constructed by heavy corporate sponsorship.
Madagascar, a Journey Diary / France (Director and screenwriter: Bastien Dubois) — A visual travel journal demonstrating the importance of dance, death and traditional customs that are present and vibrant within the Malagasy society.
Old fangs / Ireland (Director and screenwriter: Adrien Mergieau) — A young Wolf decides to confront his father, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a child.
Please Say Something / Germany (Director and screenwriter: David O’Reilly) — A troubled relationship between a Cat and Mouse set in the distant Future.
Rains / Canada, France (Director and screenwriter: David Coquard-Dassaul
t) — A meditation on everyday life and our relationship with nature.
Runaway / Canada (Director and sreenwriter: Cordell Barker) — Happy passengers are having a great time on a crowded train, oblivious to the unknown fate that awaits them around the bend.
Vive la Rose / Canada (Director: Bruce Alcock) — When illness takes the woman he loves, a simple man raises his voice in melancholy song as a last farewell.
NEW FRONTIER SHORTS
An electrifying celebration of innovation in filmmaking, New Frontier shorts are a platform to showcase the wonderment that is modern film. Through bold colors and thought-provoking messaging-these films electrify and energize the mind.
I Without End / USA (Director and screenwriter: Laleh Khorramian) — An intimate look at carved out orange peels that serves as a metaphor to the physicality of the material world, and the equal force of desire, emotion, love and intimacy.
The Zo / USA (Director and screenwriter: Glenda Wharton) — Ahand-drawn animated film about abuse and escape, where a child becomes trapped in a nightmare house by a monster.
Voice on the Line / USA (Director and screenwriter: Kelly Sears) — The era of nuclear anxiety, the red scare and covert CIA plots forever changed how we engaged with the telephone.
Vostok Station / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Dylan Pharazyn) — The sole survivor of a cataclysmic disaster experiences a bewildering moment of fleeting beauty.