Austin Shorts at Sundance
David Lowery and the Zellner Bros. to do the 'Dance
By Kimberley Jones,
5:10PM, Mon. Dec. 6, 2010
Sundance sure is sweet on Austin's Zellner Bros. Don't get us wrong – we're sweet on their hilarious shorts, too – but the notoriously plays-hard-to-get film festival seems to show a new Zellner short every January.
This year, it's "Sasquatch Birth Journal 2," which premiered at this fall's Fantastic Fest. Also making the cut is "Pioneer" from Austin filmmaker David Lowery, whose feature debut St. Nick screened at SXSW 2009.
Sundance announced its full lineup of U.S. and international shorts programs this morning. Keep scrolling down for the whole shebang.
U.S. NARRATIVE SHORTS
"After You Left" (Director: Jef Taylor; Screenwriters: Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale) – A man in his mid-thirties searches for meaning in the aftermath of a relationship.
"Andy and Zach" (Director and Screenwriter: Nick Paley) – When Zach decides to move out, his roommate Andy tries to set up a new life without his best friend.
"AWOL" (Director and Screenwriter: Deb Shoval) – Days before her deployment to Afghanistan, Joey, 19, comes home to rural Pennsylvania for Christmas, with big dreams of running away to Canada.
"Babyland" (Director and Screenwriter: Marc Fratello) – A woman seeks love and beyond in a small American town.
"Brick Novax" (Director and Screenwriter: Matt Piedmont) – Penniless and now living in a seedy motel with only weeks to live, international super legend Brick Novax records his amazing tales as an astronaut, movie star, corporate CEO, and famous musician to preserve his legacy as the coolest guy in the history of the world.
"Close." (Director and Screenwriter: Tahir Jetter) – One night after a casual ‘visit’, Angela is all but ready to leave Derek’s apartment. Derek, however, is determined not to let her go without a fight.
"Crazy Beats Strong Every Time" (Director and Screenwriter: Moon Molson) – An African-American twenty-something finds his Nigerian-immigrant stepfather passed out drunk in their project-building hallway and is pressured by a friend into murdering him.
"Das Racist "Who's That? Brooown!"" (Director and Screenwriter: Thomas De Napoli) – An epic quest through the streets of New York City made in the style of -bit video games from the 1980’s.
"Excuse Me" (Director and Screenwriter: Duncan Birmingham) – A couple threatens to splinter apart due to what may or may not have been said in the heat of passion.
"EX-SEX" (Director and Screenwriter: Michael Mohan) – Two former lovers navigate their fizzled relationship by confusing their emotional needs with their physical desires. Ex-sex makes it better. Ex-sex makes it worse.
"Fight For Your Right Revisited" (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Yauch) – After the boys leave the party... /Cast: Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Jack Black./
"Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight" (Director and Screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) – A Russian teenager in Brooklyn makes an unimaginable decision to protect her aging father and herself.
"The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting" (Director and Screenwriter: Emily Carmichael) – A Brooklyn couple have dinner with a hunter and his girlfriend, a magical swan woman. It doesn't go well.
"I’m Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents" (Director: Jeff Tomsic; Screenwriter: T.J. Miller and Jeff Tomsic) – Thirty-two, unemployed, and derailed somewhere on the path to adulthood, T.J. has boomeranged back home. There, his ennui takes the form of increasingly real fantasies about offing his parents and becoming man of the house.
"The Pact" (Director and Screenwriter: Nicholas McCarthy) – As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother's death, an unsettling presence emerges.
"Pandemic 41.410806, -75.654259" (Director: Lance Weiler; Screenwriters: Lance Weiler and Chuck Wendig) – Bree and her little brother Tyler know that their parents awaken only at sundown and are capable of strange and dangerous nocturnal behaviors. Running low on supplies and forced to act, Bree plots their escape, but Tyler stands in her way, unwilling to leave their family home and give up on the parents he loves so much.
"Pioneer" (Director and Screenwriter: David Lowery) – A father tells his little boy the most epic bedtime story ever.
"Sasquatch Birth Journal 2" (Directors and Screenwriters: Zellner Bros.) – An unprecedented peek at the mysteries of nature.
"sexting" (Director and Screenwriter: Neil LaBute) – People are not who they seem when a misdirected text message leads a young woman to meet with the wife of her boyfriend and ask what is really going on in their relationship./ Cast: Julia Stiles./
"The Strange Ones" (Directors and Screenwriters: Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein) – A man and a boy, traveling to an unknown destination, find respite in a motel swimming pool. On the surface all seems normal, but nothing is quite what it seems to be.
"The Terrys" (Directors and Screenwriters: Tim Heidecke and Eric Wareheim) – Two down and out losers named Terry conceive a child in a fit of drug-induced passion. The child is an abomination, or so they think, but what they come to learn is that this 'special' child was sent to them for a purpose: to teach them how to love.
"We’re Leaving" (Director and Screenwriter: Zachary Treitz) – Rusty has to find a new place to live with his wife and his teenage American Alligator, Chopper.
"Worst Enemy" (Director and Screenwriter: Lake Bell) – A comedy about a female misanthrope who gets herself stuck in a full body girdle.
"YEARBOOK" (Director: Carter Smith) – Something strange is going on at Rockdale high school…
U.S. DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
"Animals Distract Me" (Director and Screenwriter: Isabella Rossellini) – A day in the life of animal-obsessed Isabella Rossellini as she visits with Mario Batali, Andre Leon Talley, Charles Darwin and a host of urban creatures in New York City.
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement" (Co-Directors: Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday) – 85-year-old Mr. Armstrong, an African American barber in Birmingham, experiences the manifestation of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president.
"Living For 32" (Director: Kevin Breslin) – The inspirational story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic gun shooting massacre which occurred on the Virginia Tech campus, April 16th, 2007. The winning combination of Colin's passion, charisma and optimism has commanded the attention of the American public and media since the devastating incident which left 32 dead and 17 injured.
"The Majestic Plastic Bag" (Director: Jeremy Konner; Screenwriters: Sarah May Bates and Regie Miller) – A plastic bag encounters enemies and escapes death on its epic migration to its final destination, the great Pacific Garbage Patch.
"oops" (Director: Chris Beckman) – A metaphorical elucidation exploring the Internet's infinite repository of 'throwaway' social documentation.
"Satan Since 2003 " (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos Puga) – Three weeks' access to The Hell's Satans (Richmond, Virginia's premier moped gang) presents an eye-popping peek into this otherwise reclusive society, but also a satirical jab at the process of documentary film-making.
U.S. ANIMATED SHORTS
"Bike Race" (Director: Tom Schroeder; Screenwriters: Tom Schroeder and Hilde De Roover) – Two friends decide to stage a bicycle race to determine who is the best racer of all time, Eddy Merckx or Lance Armstrong. A love triangle develops during the race and the stakes of winning grow in importance.
"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" (Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp; Screenwriters: Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp) – A short conversation with Marcel, a shell with shoes on.
"Something Left, Something Taken" (Directors and Screenwriters: Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter) – Everyone who enters a crime scene leaves something behind and takes something away, which proves true during a vacationing couples' encounter with a man they believe to be the Zodiac killer.
"Xemoland" (Director and Screenwriter: Daniel Cardenas) – This animated short film recounts the story of a seven-year-old boy who is led to believe there is a portal to an alternate reality where all his dreams come true. However, the boy quickly realizes that Xemoland is not the place of his dreams, but of his nightmares.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE SHORTS
"Baby" / United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: Daniel Mulloy) – A young woman intervenes when she witnesses men mugging a girl. Now they won't leave her alone.
"BLOKES" / Chile (Director: Marialy Rivas) – 13-year-old Luchito fantasizes about Manuel, his 16-year-old neighbor, whom he can see standing by a window in an adjacent project building. Oblivious of the gaze of his precocious voyeur, Manuel discovers his own sexuality with a girl from the neighborhood.
"Cinderela" / Brazil, France (Director and Screenwriter: Magali Magistry) – Luiza and Rico. Love and loss in a Rio nightclub.
"Deeper Than Yesterday" / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Ariel Kleiman) – After three months submerged underwater in a submarine, the crew have become savages. Oleg, one of the men onboard, fears that losing perspective may mean losing himself.
"Diarchy" / Italy (Director and Screenwriter: Ferdinando Cito Filmomarino) – Giano and Luc are traveling through the woods when a storm breaks, forcing them to take shelter in Luc's villa. Gradually and insidiously, a competition emerges between them, with terrible consequences.
"The Legend of Beaver Dam" / Canada (Director: Jerome Sable; Screenwriters: Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion) – When a ghost story around the campfire awakens an evil monster, it's up to nerdy Danny Zigwitz to be the hero and save his fellow campers from a bloody massacre.
"Little Brother" / United Kingdom (Director: Callum Cooper; Screenwriters: Callum Cooper in collaboration with Oni Family) – A teenage boy uses his hearing impairment to escape his daily routine and the responsibility of looking after his wheelchair-bound little brother.
"Love Birds" / Czech Republic (Director and Screenwriter: Brian Lye) – A humorous love story that reflects the similarities between bird and human life.
"Protoparticles" / Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Chema García Ibarra) – The experiment was a success: protomatter exists.
"shikasha" / Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Isamu Hirabayashi) – Imprisoned and bound, a mother and child lay in darkness as investigators search a wasteland.
"Small Change" / Ireland (Director and Screenwriter: Cathy Brady) – Karen, a young single mother is bored by routine as slot machines have become her secret thrill and addiction. With Christmas looming, a desperate hope for a big win sees her life spiral out of control.
"SPRING" / United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: Hong Khaou) – A young man meets a stranger for an experience that will change his life forever.
"Stardust" / Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Nicolas Provost) – An investigation of the boundaries between fiction and reality. The camera ventures to Las Vegas and uses the glorious and ambiguous power of the gambling capital to turn everyday life into an exciting crime story.
"Stopover" / Italy, Romania (Director: Ioana Uricara; Screenwriter: Cristian Mungiu) – Lost and found in between plane rides.
"The Wind is Blowing on My Street" / Iran, USA (Director and Screenwriter: Saba Riazi) – A young girl in Tehran accidentally gets left on the street with no head scarf. She is forced to interact with a neighbor who keeps her company in an environment where her mishap could equal trouble.
INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
"Grandpa’s Wet Dream" / Japan, USA (Director: Chihior Amemiya) – A 75-year-old Japanese man has been acting in adult videos for 15 years without telling his family.
"The High Level Bridge" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Trevor Anderson) – Trevor drops his camera from Edmonton's High Level Bridge in memory of those who have jumped.
"Incident by a Bank" / Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Ruben Östlund) – A detailed and humorous account of a failed bank robbery.
"Negativipeg" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Matthew Rankin) – Rory Lepine gives a personal account of his fateful and infamous encounter with The Guess Who's legendary lead singer, Burton Cummings, in a Winnipeg 7-Eleven in 1985.
"Out of Reach" / Poland (Director and Screenwriter: Jakub Stozek) – Karolina and Natalia seek refuge from their domineering father and reminiscence about sad childhood without a mother in a basement of their block of flats.
"Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul" / United Kingdom (Director: Orlando von Einsiedel) – In a country with innumerable problems, Skateistan represents an oasis where children can be children and build the kinds of cross-cultural relationships that Afghanistan needs for future stability.
INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED SHORTS
"1989 (When I was five years old)" / Denmark (Director and Screenwriter: Thor Ochsner) – Poetic memories of a five-year-old boy who ends up in a dramatic car accident with his dad.
"8 BITS" / France (Directors: Valere Amirault, Sarah Laufer, Jean Delaunay, and Benjamin Mattern) – A fight between an 8-bit superhero and a high-def boss, in a retro-gaming world.
"The Eagleman Stag" / United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: Mikey Please) – If you repeat the word "fly" for long enough it sounds like you are saying "life". This is of no help to Peter. His answers lie in the brain of the beetle.
"The External World" / Germany (Director and Screenwriter: David O'Reilly) – A little boy practices playing the piano.
"The Greatness" / China (Director and Screenwriter: Yi Zhou) – Inspired by the Divine Comedy. An imaginary journey through the circles of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise where music is a central character. The video begins with the notes of a mysterious waltz-like rhythm, and the soundtrack itself directs attention to the special collaboration between Yi Zhou and Ennio Morricone.
"Love & Theft" / Germany (Director: Andreas Hykade) – And I'm still carrying the gift you gave, it's a part of me now, it's been cherished and saved, it'll be with me unto the grave, and then unto eternity.' (Bob Dylan)
"Storm" / Brazil (Director: Cesar Cabral; Screenwriters: Cesar Cabral and Leandro Maciel) – A lone sailor sails through stormy seas, seeking to reunite with his beloved. He follows a strict routine until unexpected changes in his path alter his destiny.
"Tord and Tord" / Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Niki Lindroth von Bahr) – One day Tord accidentally walks in to the apartment next to his own. Another person named Tord lives there, he has just moved in. Tord and Tord start to spend time with each other.
"Tussilago" / Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Jonas Odell) – In 1977 West German terrorist Norbert Kröcher was arrested for having planned to kidnap the Swedish politician Anna-Great Leijon. Among the people arrested during the following raids was Kröcher’s former girlfriend ‘A.’
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 color and thought-provoking messaging – these films electrify and energize the mind.
"ALL FLOWERS IN TIME" / Canada, USA (Director and Screenwriter: Jonathan Caouette) – The director of /Tarnation/ takes us on a guided tour through the shattered remains of memory and identity. /Cast: Chloe Sevigny./
"Anne Truitt, Working" / USA (Director: Jem Cohen) – A short portrait of artist Anne Truitt (1921-2004). The film consists of an interview and 16mm footage made in and around her studio at the Yaddo artist colony, as well as footage from her home studio in Washington, D.C.
"Jupiter Elicius" / USA (Director: Kelly Sears) – A haunted meteorologist dreams of storms that are a lot closer and further away than he thought.
"On the Way to the Sea" / Canada, China (Director and Screenwriter: Tao Gu) – /A /poetic vision that weaves together fictional elements, documentary fragments and visual abstraction, investigating the dreams, memories and sensory perceptions of two earthquake survivors.
"This Is Not A Suit" / United Kingdom (Directors: Adrien Sauvage, Chris Gaunt, and Jon Clements; Screenwriters: Adrien Sauvage and Madeleine Morlet) – An instructional guide to the art of dressing that explores the creative quandaries of the mind. Who is the designer? Well, we will look into that. Here we learn the principles of easy dressing as you have not seen them before. This is not a suit.
"Tornado" / Mexico (Director: Francis Alys de Smedt) – The film combines four basic movements: waiting for tornadoes, chasing, hitting or missing them.
"Triumph Of The Wild" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Martha Colburn) – An exploration of the impulses of hunting and the resiliency of the people and animals in times of battle. The film is made using stop-action animation of cut-out paintings and puzzles to explore the psychological states of players and victims in the 'game of war' over the past 300 years of American History.
"Venus" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Jessica Oreck) – Planets. Women. Sun. Heat. Time.
"Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl)" (Director: Tiffany Shlain; Screenwriters: Tiffany Shlain and Ken Goldberg) – Sophocles once said, 'nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse,' and this couldn't be more true of technology.
INDIGENOUS SHORTS SHOWCASE
"The Cave" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Helen Haig-Brown [/Tsilhqot’in/]) – A hunter on horseback accidentally discovers a portal to the afterlife in this fantastical version of a true Tsilhqot'in story.
"Choke" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer [/Métis/]) – Upon leaving his First Nations reserve, Jimmy encounters the lost souls of the city and is reminded that no matter how far you travel, you cannot escape who you are.
"Ebony Society" / Aotearoa-New Zealand (Director and Screenwriter: Tammy Davis [/Ngāti Rangi & Atihaunui a Paparangi/]) – One night out stealing; two boys learn a lesson.
"Redemption" / Aotearoa-New Zealand (Director: Katie Wolfe [/Taranaki/Ngati Tama Ngati Mutunga/]; Co-Screenwriters: Tim Balme, Renae Maihi [/Nga Puhi/Ngati Hine, Te Arawa/Ngati /Wakaue], and Katie Wolfe based on the short story by Phil Kawana [/Ngaruahinerangi, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitane/]) – A boy. A girl. A step too far.
"The Rocket Boy" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Donavan Seschillie [/Navajo Nation/]) – A young boy’s limitless imagination creates a dilemma between reality and dreams.
"Stones" / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Ty Sanga [/Native Hawaiian/]) – Set in the ancient times in the islands of Hawai’i, a forlorn woman living in isolation with her husband meets a child from a nearby village and contemplates whether she should bring her into her mystical world.
"Wapawekka" / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Danis Goulet [/Métis/]) – A final visit to their isolated cabin in northern Canada reveals the inter-generational rift between Josh and his traditional Cree father.