The Macabre Short Film Block
Wanderer, Wanderer: The Legend of the Huay Chivo
Director: Luis Quijano
Synopsis: In a rural village in Yucatan, Mexico, two young missionaries in search of the town's religious conversion go against the people's beliefs and awaken a monster from a folk legend.
Real American Chicken
Director: Fredric Lehne
Synopsis: An all-American family tries to enjoy an all-American evening at home while fascist death squads ravage their neighborhood.
Director: Michael Klepacki
Synopsis: After the world has come to an end, a lonely survivor fights off his infection and finds hope in an unexpected encounter.
Director: Rene R. Rivas
Synopsis: An afternoon jog for a trail runner seemed like the perfect way to spend her day off, until a strange encounter with a red tent ensued.
Director: Joe Lujan
Synopsis: Mia and Scott think they have found the perfect home, but after Mia finds a doll within the house the couple's dream house becomes a real life nightmare. the doll begins to terrorize Mia. an evil force will now possess scott and mia to perform
the unimaginable to themselves.
Director: George Heras
Synopsis: GOODNIGHT is an anthology horror tele-series based on sleep paralysis. The pilot opens up following the story of Lisa Tejada's (Cinta Laura Kiehl) recent episodes of sleep paralysis that have revealed glimpses of the night her mother died. Will she be able to uncover the truth or be trapped in the shadow-man's dimension forever?
Director: Onur Dogan
Synopsis: A woman who lives alone at home wants to get rid of her unborn baby by applying an abortion. But that won't be as easy as she thinks.
El Paso & Texas Short Film Block
Presented by the El Paso Film Commission
The Silent Life
Director: J. Genaro Limon
Synopsis: Ulises, Manu and Rami whom we’ve seen on the prequel “La vida que no ves” are three friends sharing similar stories right on the US-MX border this time we see the silence of life through Ulises eyes, Viri it's expecting his unplanned child. The atrocities and desires will lead him to reconsider his surroundings and his way of living.
Director: Jorge Villarreal Jr.
Synopsis: Based on incredible real events. The film takes place in 1968's Mexico telling the story of Alejandro, a young journalist who witness the Tlatelolco massacre where the Mexican government killed thousands of innocent people during a peaceful protest. After the massacre, the government managed to sweep everything under the rug, buying off or killing anyone that spoke out about the massacre. Alejandro however, is on the run towards the U.S. as the Mexican government is trying to hunt him down, and kill him.
Director: Jorge Barahona
Synopsis: A man pines after a life in the city, but is distracted by a woman and the hope of love. The love fades and he is left to face the abyss between him and his aspirations in the city.
Director: Jesse Fraire
Synopsis: A soul searching psychic discovers the true purpose of her powers when she helps uncover the truth for a client whose child was murdered.
Director: Leslie D. Lanier
Synopsis: This short film follows America, and her "girlfriend" Love. The film is a psychological thriller that explores a woman suffering through a severe manic episode of a mental illness. The film features one (extremely talented) actress playing the role of someone mentally ill and the person that loves her even in the worst of times.
Director: Miguel Stone Elizalde
Synopsis: When love awakens the darkest and most brutal part of people, trust in someone you love can become the worst nightmare.
Why Haven't They Fixed the Cameras Yet?
Director: Travis White
Synopsis: Late at night, a woman leaves her holiday work party to discover the security cameras are still broken.
High School & College Short Film Block
Director: David Velez
Synopsis: While 11-year-old Ricky is plays with his small ladybug, his oblivious older brother sneaks into the room and brutally smashes the ladybug in front of his eyes. After a fight between the two boys gets broken up by their single mother, she demands that the boys make up. While the trouble seems to be over, there is still tension between the two. As a result, Ricky plots a sinister plan to get back at his older brother that may yield unexpected consequences.
Director: Priyanka Shah
Synopsis: When a grieving mother continues her daily life, she partakes in an unusual hobby to help her cope with the reality of death.
Director: Josh Pulido
Synopsis: A young man heats up a late night snack while waiting for a friend but it looks like he might have an unexpected guest first.
Be Like Ben
Director: Megan Zelesky
Synopsis: The year is 1985. Isaac Miller, an awkward college freshman who just can’t seem to fit in, has pulled a campus-wide revenge prank on the most popular student at Fincher University. Afraid that he's now being searched for, Isaac decides to don a disguise and wait things out in a local restaurant, dragging his friend Sarah along for the ride as he desperately tries not to be noticed by the people around him.
Director: Josh Pulido
Synopsis: One Email. Five People. No time to lose. Ashley has to figure out what to do when she accidentally sends everyone she knows the same love letter, as she presses “Reply All.”
Sorry for the Inconvenience
Director: Jonathan Gonzales
Synopsis: A boy attempts to disclose some life changing information to his unsupportive father.
Director: Brendan McCallion
Synopsis: In the depths of rural Ireland, Tommy has done everything to look after his sick father, succumbing to a life of isolation in the process. However, letting go proves to be more difficult than he had ever imagined.
Director: Oisin-Tomas O Raghallaigh
Synopsis: Tony, a convict and drug addict, desperate for a new relationship with his daughter and former partner, must overcome his past temptations and prove that he's finally changed his ways.
Director: Trilina Mai
Synopsis: A Grandfather and grandson's journey through life.
Director: Ejun Hong
Synopsis: Mother is about my 92-year-old grandfather, who lost his mother when he was only 3-year-old.
He now has Alzheimer’s and is living the last days of his life. I love and respect him very much, so I wanted to pay tribute to him by creating a film that shows his challenging yet successful life. Setting his mother as the central theme of the film, I wanted to deliver a message that the love between a mother and son never fades away.
Mother made my grandfather experience the everlasting love between him and his mother in a way he never has.
World Shorts Film Block
Director: Jeremy Comte, Canada
Synopsis: Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer.
Director: Abdullah Sahin, Turkey
Synopsis: Ilyas and Ahmet are two close friends. Emir, Syrian refugee completes the gang. Ilyas wants to make the tryouts for a local football team and saves money to buy new cleats. Emir shares his ideal. After seeing his father pays the debts of Emir’s family at the grocery store, Ilyas gives his new cleats as a gift to Emir in order to join to the tryouts. However, his own cleats tear up just after. The shoemaker gives him a bigger cleats temporarily. The tryouts morning one of Ilyas’ cleats drops to the river. When Ilyas and Ahmet try to take it out, Emir surprises them with what he’s done.
Leaving to Live
Director: David Rodrigues, United Kingdom
Synopsis: On December 24 in the middle of the afternoon, Alexandra, 35, makes an important decision that will change her life: leaving her marital home with her 7-year-old daughter Léa. She asks her to make a promise: to say nothing to his father.
Director: Juan Avella, Venezuela
Synopsis: A Latina immigrant must face her abusive American boyfriend when she wakes up bound in a garage about to be sold to an underground organ trafficking ring.
Director: Girard Delphine, Belgium
Synopsis: A night. A car. A woman in trouble. A call.
Documentary Short Film Block
The River of the Kukamas
Director: Nika Belianina
Synopsis: Being born from the spirit of the River, Kukama people have a special connection to the water. The river shrinks and grows throughout the year, affecting the lives of its citizens. Filmed at its widest state at the end of the rainy season, we learn of the challenges Kukama people face today.
Director: Fernando Martin Borlan
Synopsis: Nations are liquid and ephemeral but, what is a nation?
Director: Gaston Calivari
Synopsis: Francisco has been making bricks with his own hands in the field for several years. He uses mud and horse dung. Gonzalo, his son, works with him. Olga, his wife, accompanies him every day.
Synopsis: Late nights. Harsh criticism. Passion. Follow two architecture students at Texas Tech University as they develop their designs and overcome challenges.
Walk With Pride
Director: Kaela Waldstein
Synopsis: Santa Fe Indian Market is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting over 115,000 attendees each year. It culminates with its Haute Couture Fashion Show. The show highlights Indigenous fashion designers who look to their cultural past to create clothing, jewelry and accessories that embody the essence of ancestral memory while creating innovative designs representing the now. Through interviews with the show's creator, designers, models, and attendees, "Walk With Pride" challenges notions of what's considered "traditional" and "authentic" and through the lens of the show, offers a contemporary view of evolving Native American and First Nation's identities.
Inner City Fencers
Director: Daniel Feighery
Synopsis: Two high school fencing coaches from Harlem meet a filmmaker who documents their journey to visit the 2018 NCAA national champions in fencing, the University of Notre Dame.
Act Like a Woman
Director: Drama Del Rosario
Synopsis: Angel Qinan is a Filipina transgender woman in search of the American Dream in Hollywood. Initially migrating as a nurse, she soon realizes her true passion as an actress. But her acting career faces a detour when she realizes why no one is booking her—she looks “too transgender.” Facing constant rejection from the film industry and from her own unsupportive mother, Angel learns self-acceptance and the importance of breaking transgender stereotypes as an actress. Hollywood is definitely more than just glitz and glamour.
Home Street Home
Director: Tyler Hollinger
Synopsis: In 2015 Shane Duffy met a homeless man Damian "Dean" Cummings. In an effort to directly help one man's life Shane built a "Hidden Home" disguised as a dumpster. Damian lived in this home for over a year on the streets of SOHO NYC and know one suspected otherwise. In 2017 the NYPD took Damians home away because the NY POST broke the story, thus returning him to the streets. Now the duo is being threatened with 10 days of jail, a $500 fine, and three court cases later the pair is finally victorious. With the help of this documentary and the tireless resources of many Damian has been moved into his first home in 20yrs. This is his story.
Film & New Media Block
Director: Zane Ennis
Synopsis: Official music video for Hannah Who's song "Chrome Girls"
Total Prophet: Have You
Director: Marilyn Brindis
Synopsis: Everybody goes through their struggles. This 90's themed music video combines great lyrics with a story about a young boy struggling to connect with peers because of his father's unlucky job search and financial situations. His mother's recent death brought hardship to the family, and he struggles to make friends at his local bus stop. The mood brightens when a mystery message is passed around his peers. The young boy overcomes his fears and strikes a deal with a bully, finding a way to turn her negative energy into a productive, money earning scheme.
Director: Will Kindrick
Synopsis: A government enforced dating app malfunctions sending an unexpected user through a series of splash portals determined to seal his fate.
La Casita de Mati
Director: Rayell Abad Guangorena
For Mati to avoid being admitted into a psych ward, his sister Tania must convince his family and doctors that he is sane.
Director: Mark Ward
Synopsis: A frazzled young woman prepares to take the hardest test in the world. Thankfully the only thing on the line is everything.
Director: Monica Arsenault
Synopsis: April, a gay high school senior, and Sister Cecilia, a bisexual nun, begin an unlikely friendship after sharing a joint. April struggles with her sexuality as she continues to develop a crush on her classmate, Megan. Meanwhile, Sister Cecilia, determined to help April at all costs, attempts to reconcile her personal beliefs with the Church’s strict teachings on homosexuality.
The Happy Side
Director: Michelle Dos Santos
Synopsis: The Happy Side is based on my career in Retail Management. It was a career I fell into, but I wasn’t happy in. It’s a story I had wanted to tell for quite some time, but it was actually a boring office job that inspired me to write this piece. Although based in an offbeat retail setting, the story at heart, is universal. It’s about questioning why we work the job we work. Even when we feel like we’re stuck in a rut, not passionate, uninspired, or just plain exhausted. Do we do the bare minimum because we’re tired of caring or do we try to find the good in the bad? The happy in the not so happy reality of mediocrity?
The Borderland & Texas Short Film Block
Presented by the El Paso Film Commission
Director: Justin A. Rodriguez
Synopsis: Darkness follows a television faith healer while he’s striving to be the best in Texas.
Director: Ross Kagan Marks
Synopsis: Henry’s dad is a famous personal injury lawyer. Earl played two years of special teams at Stanford. Richard Dunbar the IV spent time in Leavenworth for murder. Stuck in a holding cell inside Tarrant County jail, in Fort Worth, TX, three men discuss the importance of names, high school football, and the crimes with which they’ve been charged. Unlikely bedfellows, they must learn to get along to survive.
Director: Wesley Ward
Synopsis: Swords are drawn when a zealot of the Pope tracks down his former commander, who betrayed the church when he deserted from the eighth crusade.
Director: Molly Vernon
Synopsis: A teenager cares for her younger sibling and local orphans in the face of danger after her Grandmother is killed surrendering to the Mexican Army toward the end of the Texas Revolution.
Story is Sacred Short Film Block
Steel Cut Oats
Director: Harry Chaskin
Synopsis: We open on a diner as former featherweight champ ‘Miracle Kid’ Carraway relays his life story to a sympathetic waitress: How he rose to the top, how the mob broke his leg for refusing to take a dive, and how he created a nuclear powered oatmeal monster to protect himself. What he didn’t count on was raising the creature as a son. They form a strong father-son bond and Carraway ends up teaching 'Oats' how to fight, which culminates in a title match against a steam-powered robot owned by the mobster who destroyed Carraway’s career. Who’s going to win the fight, and at what cost?
Thematically, the film pulls from Jewish folklore, film noir, 50’s monster movies, and nuclear paranoia. It is primarily inspired by the legend of the Golem, a creature built from clay and brought to life through ritual. From there, it asks the questions: What would happen if the creator loved his Golem and raised it like a son? How does the idea of legacy impact self-expression? Can we avoid molding our children to follow in our footsteps, intentionally or not?
Aesthetically, the film combines live action with traditional techniques like stop-motion animation, matte painting, miniatures, and hand-drawn optical effects to create a memorable aesthetic that looks toward the future while paying homage to the past.
Director: Jeannie Donohoe
Synopsis: A new kid shows up at the high school boys' basketball tryouts and instantly makes an impression. Will talent and drive be enough to make the team once they discover a secret?
Director: Jessica Mendez Siqueiros
Synopsis: La gringa killed her Nana.
The Boy Hero
Director: Kyle Thompson
Synopsis: A Narrative short film that raises awareness of childhood cancer. The Boy Hero tells the story of an unlikely friendship that forms over an art project.
Max is determined to earn his superhero pin so he enlists the help of 75-year-old Frank to help him as they both go through chemotherapy.
Opening Feature Film
Meow Wolf: Origin Story
Director: Morgan Capps & Jilann Spitzmiller
Editor: Alessandra Dobrin Khalsa
Synopsis: A psychedelic, rowdy anthem for artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone who has ever dared to dream.
Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story
Director: Chris Hanna
Synopsis: This is the true story of Tony Romo, a kid from Burlington, WI who became one of the most prolific quarterbacks to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Though he never won a Superbowl, his community describes a man whose passion for the game continues to inspire his fans, community, family and friends.
Through the eyes of people close to Tony Romo, as well as Tony Romo himself, “Now or Never” follows his life through his high school, college and NFL career to tell the story of how Tony Romo became the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
Tony’s community describes the impact Tony has on them by returning each year. His father gives insight into the origins of Tony’s passion for sports. Tony’s grandparents describe their own journey from Mexico, and how their dreams of success transferred to Tony. His coaches and former teammates detail how Tony found his passion for football in high school and went on to receive a scholarship from Eastern Illinois to play as their quarterback.
They explain the ups and downs of his career as a Dallas Cowboy, how the wins, losses, injuries and ultimate retirement affected them and the community. Leaving on a good note, we learn how despite the fact that Tony never won a Superbowl, Tony has still made a wonderful impact on Burlington by proving that if you dream big, you can accomplish anything.
Director: Julio Vincent Gambuto
Synopsis: Screen time alert! Marco, 11, is obsessed with his electronics — his iPad, his Xbox, his VR headset — and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco’s life is turned upside-down and he’s forced…to go play outside. “Nonno” (Grandpa) introduces him to bocce — the world’s oldest game — and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter and love, Marco finds connection to other people “in real life” and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on his grandfather and his pals. Learn more at www.teammarco.movie or get full details at www.meetborofive.com/team-marco-festival.
Animal Among Us
Director: John Woodruff
Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed an animal attack, the camp was condemned and the killer never found - but something horrific still waits in those woods.
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