How accurate is the narrative you have been dealt? These films embody the spirit of the festival by negotiating selfhood relative to structures of identification. They take us to local cultures and their social spaces, creatively challenging pre-existing contexts in search for individual motivation.
Tap Water (dir. Paul Restivo) (USA) (5:00) (WORLD Premiere)
“Advice from a good friend that has your best interest in mind,” Tap Water comedically considers the concept of “propaganda” by searching for the fine line between factual, believable, and convincing information. The footage was shot over five years but edited together in the first week of lockdown.
One By Two (dir. Raghav Puri) (India) (4:42)
A short film about the difficulties of holding onto friendship, “One by Two,” with quick-witted dialogue and a charming pair of performances, explores the pitfalls of growing up over the span of several years and many more meals.
Carol Wright Catalog (dir. Grace Sloan) (USA) (1:31)
Sex, love, gender, and marketing subliminally clash in “Carol Wright Catalog,” a grand work of kitsch and nostalgia that hypnotically navigates the lingering implications of mail (male?) order catalogs.
Slaughter (dir. Saman Hosseinpuour & Ako Zandkarimi) (Iran) (13:03) (ONLINE Premiere)
In “Slaughter,” Ghasem is forced to sell his family’s cow to survive a harsh winter in the village. Set against a beautiful but brutal backdrop, the film thoughtfully and sympathetically conveys struggle and desperation.
The Heavy Shadow of the Crow (dir. Behnan Asadolahi) (Iran) (10:51) (ONLINE PREMIERE)
Filmed in the arid landscapes of central Iran, “The Heavy Shadow of the Crow” takes us through the enigmatic journey of five men born into the world. Its allegorical form mixes symbolism and self-reflexivity as the characters quickly engage in a fight for dominance.
Novelty (dir. Saunder Lynne Boyle) (USA/France) (3:17)
A humorous reflection on belonging, “Novelty” takes us inside the mind of a dejected Parisian souvenir, who can’t help but longs for the popularity of the city’s finest artworks.
Destructive Path (dir. Jamie Payne) (USA) (1:16) (international premiere)
Accompanied by abstract imagery and an ambient soundscape, a distorted narrator tells ominous, opaque tales of isolation and folly in “Destructive Path”
In Media Res (dir. Gloria Chung) (USA) (1:05)
The first of our two selections from experimental filmmaker Gloria Chung about “the state of now, post-singularity and post-collision of technology and nature.” Originally part of video series “Into the Midst of Things,” a series of short vignettes portraying landscapes of physical life existentially altered by digital advancements. Are these new configurations part of the future or already upon us?
Sleepwalker (dir. Maximilien Luc Proctor) (Germany) (1:00) (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
Nocturnal anxieties manifest themselves in fleeting images that feel both deeply personal and universal. “Sleepwalker” abstractly represents late night restlessness in a way that is inexplicably tangible.
Dark White (dir. Ryan Russo) (USA) (6:18) (ONLINE PREMIERE)
A young man is trapped in a dark void and must make amends with those he has wronged for release. “Dark White” combines experimental narrative forms and abstract, ambiguous imagery to explore the complexities of self-absorption.
The Fishman (dir. Leto S. Meade & Agata Leniartek) (United Kingdom) (4:40) (ONLINE PREMIERE)
The journey of a dying fish’s last moments. “The Fishman” formally embodies the transitory, shapeshifting nature of life and the inevitability of change by plunging its disembodied anthropomorphic protagonist between different mediums and styles.
Death Offers Life (dir. Saheer Abbas) (India) (8:00) (international PREMIERE)
A fictional account of the last five minutes of acclaimed painter Vincent Van Gogh’s life speculates on a possible change of fate: Due success and an artist’s legacy are not necessarily secured in tandem — is one worth more than the other?
Sycamore (dir. Mehmet Tigh) (Turkey/Germany) (14:50)
In “Sycamore,” an elderly man takes a fateful stroll in the bustling streets of Istanbul, more interested in the vibrant city life and the remnants of the natural world than in the people themselves.
Moonsong (dir. Maximilien Luc Proctor) (Germany) (4:41) (WORLD PREMIERE)
On the surface, “Moonsong” first appears to be a collection of illuminated fragments; pulsating objects are distorted into abstract incandescents. Its playful nature carries a melancholic undertone, one that intensifies in tandem with each overlapping layer of light as it pierces through the darkness.