Today is the starting day of one of the greatest independent film events, the one and only Sundance Film Festival. And incredible and important scene for the independent cinema, that takes place in the state of Utah, at Park City, in Salt Lake City. From the 21st-31st of January, a wide selection of shorts and features are introduced for the audience, in several selections. We are once again very happy about the animation selection (last year Réka Bucsi’s Symphony no. 42 represented itself), since the surreal and hilarious animated short film of Bori Zétényi and Zsuzsi Kreif called Limbo Limbo Travel has made it into the Animation Spotlight selection. Here are the shortfilms of Sundance.
Pombo Loves You
A distant father is forced to confront a heroic but troubled past life as ’80s TV character Pombo.
Disillusioned with life in the suburbs of segregated Beirut, Omar’s discovery lures him into the city. Immersed into a world that is close yet isolated, he loses track and finds himself struggling to keep his attachments and sense of home.
(we wrote about it here, in the review of the short films in Cannes)
The phenomenon of increasing smartphone addiction can be attributed to today’s cutting-edge technology. Staring at glowing screens instead of exploring the vast expanse of life, people are gradually alienating themselves from the richness, depth, and loveliness of life.
In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies but finds her body is in revolt.
Bob Dylan Hates Me
Independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi meets his childhood idol.
Dujung, an elementary school student, goes to a farm in the suburbs with his parents. While his parents believe the expensive and rare specialty from the farm will strengthen their son’s body, Dujung suffers side effects.
The Grandfather Drum
As the balance of the world turns upside down for the Anishinabek people, the elder Naamowin builds a healing drum to save his grandson and his people.
A damsel in distress gets undressed when a man from the Midwest puts to rest a world that’s obsessed with “the priceless,” also known as “the shiny.”
Limbo Limbo Travel
In a country where men seem more interested in their electronic gadgets than their peers, a group of lonely and disillusioned women take the Limbo Limbo bus. Off to a far exotic country, they hope to find happiness.
*Documentary Shorts Program
Bacon & God’s Wrath
A 90-year-old Jewish woman reflects on her life experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time.
Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enters the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surrounds them.
Flower of a Thousand Colors
Flower of a Thousand Colors shows an intimate slice of the life of Emiliana, a loving mother who struggles every day with her rough environment
a Bolivian mining camp.
Another Kind of Girl
Filmed during a media workshop for Syrian girls in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp, 17-year-old Khaldiya meditates on how the camp has opened up new horizons and given her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria.
Against landscapes that the artist and his father traversed, audio of the father in the Ho-Chunk language is transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet, which tapers off, narrowing the distance between recorder and recordings, new and traditional, memory and song.
The FBI claimed it exposed a dangerous group of men in a massive entrapment operation over an alleged plot to attack a U.S. Army base in New Jersey. But were they really terrorists?
A Woman and Her Car
December 31, 2003: Lucie decides to write a letter to the man who abused her from the age of 8 to 12 years old and resolves to personally bring it to him, wherever he may be.
A man is captured and forced to endure a strange experiment.
An illegal migrant worker decides it’s time to move on from picking crops and find a better job. Little does she know, insidious supernatural forces have a different plan for her. Some borders aren’t meant to be crossed.
The Pound Hole
During a night at the strangest club on earth, DJ Douggpound learns the very real dangers of texting while DJing.
With the ability to travel in time, a girl finds love and comfort by connecting with her past self. Eventually faced with rejection, she struggles with her identity, and as time folds onto itself only one of them can remain.
All pork and no chicken makes Jack a dull boy. Luckily, Jack gets a new job as senior chief night manager at Charbay’s Chicken World and Restaurant Resort, the world’s largest fast-food entertainment complex; however, things quickly get very clucked.
When Glen attends primal scream class, he releases something from deep within that knows no limits.
The Puppet Man
A supernatural killer stalks a young woman and her friends in a seedy, neon-lit dive bar in this short film featuring horror legend John Carpenter.
Dinner with Family with Brett Gelman and Brett Gelman’s Family
Brett Gelman throws his parents a dinner and tribute for their 40th anniversary with the help of legendary actors Tony Roberts and Patti LuPone. The evening soon unravels into a mind-melting comedic orgy of psychological torture and family dysfunction.
*New Frontier Shorts
Travel along with the Voyager spacecrafts as they traverse the solar system on their planetary expedition, spanning over three decades.
Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons)
In a twilight world long after the age of man, a twisted ecosystem centered around an overgrown fruit tree undergoes parasitic and geological transformations as hours, years, and eons pass.
Swimming in Your Skin Again
This intensely musical film is about the spiritual anchorages of life in and around Miami. The story is drenched in the heat, spirit, and landscape of southern Florida.
*Shorts Program 1.
So Good to See You
In this darkly comic take on the dual realities of friendship, a dinner party goes painfully sour.
When Dusty masturbates for the first time, something terrible happens.
Guided expertly by those who live on the land and are driven by the pulse of the natural world, this story takes us on an exhilarating journey from the far north to the urban south.
It’s Not You
Relationships can be an endless cycle of breakups.
Speaking Is Difficult
This film always begins in the present day. A scene of tragedy unfolds, accompanied by fear, chaos, and disbelief. As it rewinds into the past, retracing our memories, it tells a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable.
Life is disrupted for eight-year-old Aida when her father returns with a young Senegalese woman, Rama, whom he introduces as his second wife. Sensitive to her mother’s distress, Aida decides to get rid of the new visitor.
The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere
Haru Urara, a Japanese racehorse, became a national icon after enduring a losing streak of epic proportions. Dubbed “The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere,” she was a symbol of perseverance and inspiration during a time of economic crisis.
*Shorts Program 2.
This comedy about isolation and loneliness follows a young woman who is adrift and seeking intimacy in the most unlikely places.
Some things must die to live.
A Reasonable Request
A desperate son reconnects with his estranged father to ask an unspeakable favor that will change both of their lives forever.
This warm and lyrical film follows a group of unruly monkeys in Gibraltar and the people employed to control them with peashooters.
A portrait of a teenage escort named Coco.
What begins as a love story becomes an existential crisis when filmmaker Sebastian Silva flies to Miami to fulfill his lifelong dream of swimming with a dolphin.
I Am Yup’ik
A 16-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo leaves his tiny village and travels across the frozen tundra to compete in an all-Yup’ik basketball tournament and bring pride to his village.
*Shorts Program 3.
How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps
Losing weight and getting fit has never been easier! Shed those unwanted pounds with these simple tricks your gym doesn’t want you to know about. You won’t believe what happens next!
This ordinary day of a teenage girl in Istanbul follows her encounters with three different men as she goes to school, plays basketball, and takes a bus home.
(also wrote about it at the Cannes short film reviews)
A Coat Made Dark
Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. So begins this darkly comic tale, in which Midnight, an anthropomorphized dog, and his human servant Peter struggle for power, courtesy of the coat.
Beneath the Embers (Bajo las Brasas)
Isabel, a young woman from the Sierra mountains of Guanajuato, is motivated by the love of her family, and she has learned that she must sacrifice her present in order to value tomorrow’s success and achieve her dreams.
The lines between trust, betrayal, and forgiveness are intertwined for two Senegalese vendors as they try to make a living on the streets of New York City.
Her Friend Adam
A boyfriend’s jealous impulse spirals out of control in 16 minutes of romantic doom.
A gigantic figure emerges from the snow and sits on a hill with spiders, saints, and bumper cars in this surreal tale about creating myths, religious kitsch, and the desire for greatness. Meet the world’s largest sacral miniature park resident.
Verbatim: The Ferguson Case
Unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Using court transcripts from the case, this short film juxtaposes the reenacted testimony of two key witnesses: Dorian Johnson and the police officer himself, Darren Wilson.
*Shorts Program 4.
This dark comedy adventure is the story of a young dog walker after the unexpected death of her favorite client.
Land Tides (Marea de Tierra)
Laura, a heartbroken teenager from Santiago, is on holiday in the southern Chilean archipelago, Chiloé, with her friends. As she wanders the lonely island seascapes, she encounters a group of women who are seaweed collectors and shares stories with them.
Peace in the Valley
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is home to both the largest outdoor Passion Play in the United States and an important vote on LGBT rights. This film follows the town’s inhabitants as they prepare for the historic vote.
Edmond’s impulse to love and be close to others is strong
maybe too strong. As he stands by a lake contemplating his options, he reflects on his defining moments in search of the origin of his desires.
MeTube 2: August sings Carmina Burana
After Elfie and her nerdy son August successfully proved themselves on their home webcam in MeTube 1, the odd pair venture onto the street to present the biggest, boldest, and sexiest operatic flash mob the internet has ever witnessed!
After becoming pregnant from a sexual assault on campus, a young woman goes on a journey to find out if the rape was “legitimate.” This film was inspired by the statements of Senate candidate Todd Akin.
A twisted queer romance set in picturesque 19th-century Bohemia tells the true story of the birth of one of the nation’s most influential writers, with suspense, laughter, violence, hope, nudity, sex, and a happy ending
mostly a happy ending.
*Shorts Program 5.
The most bigoted room is the least bigoted room. Watch one night at the Comedy Store’s Roast Battle.
What has happened in this quiet suburban neighborhood? Has there been a murder, a hit-and-run, an accident? The reality is both profound and deeply unexpected.
Work and life partners Kate and Leigh share everything, from their apartment to the bar they co-own. When a sex-life slump forces them to reconsider their relationship, they must confront how intertwined their lives have become, to humorous ends.
Officer Arnaud loved his mom.
Mika is auditioning male actors for her first feature, and they are all well-established alpha dogs in the film business. The situation turns more sour as their confidence in her reaches new lows.
Seide lives in a snowy mountain village with her humble family and her beloved horse. When she’s forced into an arranged marriage with a man from a wealthy family, she fights to save her horse from being slaughtered for food for the wedding.
Mining Poems or Odes
Robert, an ex–shipyard welder from Govan, Glasgow, reflects on how his life experiences have influenced his newfound compulsion to write.
Three women of different ages and backgrounds meet in an ophthalmologist’s waiting room. The mention of a tragedy that left one of them nearly blind suddenly bridges their differences and creates a possibility for closeness and connection.
All the texts and film stills are owned by the Sundance Institute.