Opening Night: Past


Personal histories, historical identities, and the way the past dictates our lives. These films tell stories about immigrants, imperialists, and lovers. They exemplify our goals for the festival by showcasing a wide variety of visual styles and thematic ideas.

You can watch the stream live on May 28th at 8pm EST here or at It will screen again May 29th at 4am EST and 12pm EST.

Stream schedule. 

Vote for your favorites at the end of the night on the front page of

Sky Above the Port (dir. Gloria Chung)
sky Above the Port (dir. Gloria Chung) (USA) (1:24) wORLD PREMIERE

This year’s festival opens to a digital landscape, the data cloud exploded and “embers of all the world’s memories glimmered in the dead skies.” Sky Above The Port, like the films that follow it, finds the world’s memories floating in the cloud. -EZ

Recreation (dir. Duane Peterson III)
RECREATION (dir. Duane Peterson III) (USA) (9:55) wORLD PREMIERE

Peterson’s inventive film uses images taken by tourists at one of the world’s most iconic landscapes to examine the relationship between image-making and American imperialism. -EZ

Golden Age (dir. Seyfican Bilgiç)
Golden Age (dir. Seyfican Bilgiç) (Turkey) (4:19)

A beautiful slice of Magical Realism. In the distant future, along an empty expanse in the badlands of Turkey, a single man brings forth an unexpected moment of respite from a minimal life. -GL

time (dir. Ben Creech)
time (dir. Ben Creech) (USA) (2:15)

Bolstered by a rocking Madlib deep-cut, time showcases every instance of the word “time” in Gilles Deleuze’s cinema. -CN

To the Girl that Looks Like Me (dir. Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah) (USA) (5:10)

An experimental poetry piece that celebrates black women, To the Girl that Looks Like Me highlights the journey of existing in a system that was not built for them using dance, language, folklore, and spirituality. -CN

Bambirak (dir. Zamarin Wahdat)
Bambirak (dir. Zamarin Wahdat) (Germany) (13:29)

Following 8-year-old Kati who stows away in her father’s delivery van for a day, Bambirak is a grounded and insightful lens into the immigrant experience and the sacrifices we make in order to fit in. -CN

Those Who Drown Cling to Foam (dir. Urtina Hoxha) (Kosovo) (4:21) International premiere

Through stark, intricate animation, Those Who Drown Cling to Foam illustrates the devastating personal account of a family forced to flee their home during the 1999 NATO bombings of Kosovo. -CN

Wooden Sword (dir. Behzad Alavi & Sousan Salamat) (Iran) (7:00)

Exploring themes of masculinity and innocence, Wooden Sword follows two boys that become friends despite their differing personalities until forces outside of their understanding change their lives for good. -CN

Instants of Cindy Sherman (dir. Federica Faccin) (Italy) (5:54)

Visceral animation and shapeshifting movements are powerfully weaponized in this ode to the work and artistic lense of legendary photographer Cindy Sherman. -CN

the lights are on, no one's home (dir. Faye Ruiz)
The Lights are on, no one’s Home (dir. Faye Ruiz) (USA) (10:25)

Grappling with loss, a young transgender woman tries to decide a name for herself while journeying through newly gentrified neighborhoods in hopes of finding her childhood home. -CN

You Don’t Have To Thank Me (dir. Ella May Sahlman) (USA) (8:11)

Depicting a vulnerable conversation between two exes, You Don’t Have to Thank Me explores the interconnections of queerness, identity, and intimacy through honest and cutting dialogue. -MV

What’s Mine is Yours (dir. Nick Ribolla) (Cuba) (9:53) wORLD PREMIERE

Employing an inventive mix of documentary and narrative filmmaking, What’s Mine is Yours is the tale of a young couple searching for privacy in the crowded, buzzing streets of metropolitan Havana. -CN

The Touch of the Master's Hand (dir. Gregory Barnes)
The Touch of the Master’s Hand (dir. Gregory Barnes) (USA) (11:40)

With gorgeous cinematography and completely deadpan style, The Touch of the Master’s Hand follows a young Mormon missionary who must confess the humiliating depths of his pornography addiction. -EZ

Past | Present | Future | May 28th – 31st | Stream Schedule | Time Zone Converter |