These films exemplify the universal desire to connect. Romanticized successes, foreboding failures, and the constantly changing dichotomy between physical and digital connectivity all coalesce in this shape-shifting approach to our role and influence on our ecosystems.
They Say (dir. FUBO) (China) (2:27) (international PREMIERE)
“They Say” envisions the distant future through the power of macro lenses, turning miniature sets into dazzling worlds through an inventive use of objects and effects. We follow a wandering astronaut, far from home, in their attempt to navigate the immense spaces of this cosmos.
Dog Report (dir. Porcelain Bomb) (USA) (0:54) (ONLINE PREMIERE)
The Newspaperman searches for human life inside Alpha Zone but instead meets up with a disillusioned dog. Loyalty is tested as the search for intelligent life continues in this simple but uniquely chaotic scene.
Mind (FULL) (dir. Tilly Wallace) (UK) (1:47) (Online Premiere)
Creating a dichotomy between reality and representation, “Mind (Full)” utilizes stop-motion animation and disembodied sounds to create an agitated rhythm that slowly de-escalates into something more serene.
A River Flows (dir. Cristina Garcia Zarzosa) (Spain) (0:49)
“A dream inside a dream.” For many, little logic follows when dealing with their subconscious; in “A River Flows,” one begins to emerge not from reason, but from intuition. A journey soon ends as suddenly as it begins — and much like fantasies, leaves an air of longing for what’s just out of reach.
The Max Headroom Incident (dir. Tucker Dryden) (USA) (4:20) (World Premiere)
Often cited as the most infamous instance of broadcast signal hijacking, “The Max Headroom Incident” takes us through that amusing minute of history by piecing together the footage and reactions to the event to make a fitting tribute to television’s most surreal moment.
Toad, Leaf, Grass Rock (dir. Federica Foglia) (Italy/CANADA) (3:30) (World Premiere)
A contemporary take on Hollis Frampton’s “(nostalgia),” “Toad, Leaf, Grass Rock” concerns itself with the fragile nature of memory. Re-contextualizing the words of Eugenio Montale, this meditative and moody tone poem captures the melancholy of urban decay and passionate longing.
Trains (dir. Nina Maravic) (USA) (6:00)
A chance encounter with a former lover conjures old memories of intimate adoration and foreboding callousness, creating a brief snapshot of turbulent romance between two college-age graduates on the verge of adulthood. No words are spoken, but everything is clearly heard.
Life (dir. Nenad Teofilovic) (Serbia) (3:15) (Online Premiere)
“I existed as nothingness,” opens “Life,” a minimalist exploration of one man’s search for his purpose in a cold and unrelenting world. His Sisyphean task is one with seemingly no end in sight… and yet, he — like every other being doomed to walk this planet — continues to demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity.
Even in Paradise (dir. Duane Peterson) (USA) (9:58) (Online premiere)
“Even in Paradise” is an essay film that deconstructs the forgotten history of US warmaking. Through text superimposed over images of tranquil scenery and deserted urban buildings, the film reveals the way this history is still embedded in the geography and the infrastructure of California.
It was summer when (dir. Gloria Chung) (USA) (1:16) (World premiere)
“The surveillance network went down for two weeks.” A second submission Chung’s video series “Into the Midst of Things,” a video series of short vignettes portraying landscapes of physical life existentially altered by digital advancements. “It was summer when” enigmatically memorializes the natural world.
One (dir. Roman Sinitsyn) (Russia) (1:00)
An elderly man travels by train to a place of great personal significance in this brief, yet moving meditation on isolation and loss.
Superstar (dir. Gaurav Krishna) (Czech Republic/India) (17:08) (Online premiere)
A lonely, elderly Czech woman spends most of her time lost in television programs. When a faulty TV repair leaves her with only one channel that plays Indian action films, she becomes transfixed with a strapping South Indian action hero. “Superstar,” like the various Indian film industries, is an energetic blend of genre that contrasts the dreamy make-believe world of TV with the lonelier realities that emerge with age.
Tomato Swing – Something’s Gone Wrong (dir. Lauri Niemela) (Estonia) (3:22)
A lush, intoxicating music video in which a tense hostage escape in an industrial Eastern European city is juxtaposed with the band’s performance amidst serene, mountainous imagery.
I Hope You’re OK – A Telephone Story (dir. Theo Garcia, Zoe Almon Job) (USA) (2:37)
The world got a little bit smaller in 1876 after the arrival of the telephone. “I Hope You’re OK” and its nostalgic throwback to newsprint comics – another form of telecommunication that in its prime was hailed as a unifying technology – explores the notion of modern connectivity via the ubiquitous electromagnetic waves that surround us 150 years later.
Happy Ending (dir. Mei Liu) (USA/CHINA) (14:35) (WORLD PREMIERE)
A reclusive Zamboni driver finds comfort in his work, preferring the company of his icy rink to other people. When his shift is suddenly called off one day, he grapples with his newfound freedom by following a discarded coupon to an underground massage parlor. “Happy Ending” contemplates social, cultural, and professional alienation by invoking the spiritual necessity of working class solidarity in a way that blossoms well after it concludes.