Climax’s First Major Festival Brings Forth Narrative Silence, Auteur Archaeology And Magic Realism In Ambitious New “Vexhibition.”
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Climax opens the doors of its virtual arthouse film exhibition (coining the term “vexhibition”) from this Wednesday 9 November 09:00 GMT+1 / 04:00 EST until Wednesday 16 November 00:00 GMT+1 / 12:00 EST.
The Climax Critics Awards (or “Climax Awards”) based out of Madrid, Spain, machines a rare and exclusive encounter with global cinema; one that sees its selected film titles and alternative new media become something much bigger than themselves by interacting with each other through this ambitious art vexhibition’s many virtual “film rooms” (film blocks).
Climax engineers for its deserving lucky contenders the ultimate promotional pack and critical reception for their film work, from the way their work is treated through its vexhibition’s omnipresent academic and curatorial hysteria; to its advantageous and extensive press coverage with the industry's most notable and career-advancing film magazines and journals, to name its key players American Cinematographer and MovieMaker Magazine. Climax's ongoing dialogue and collaboration with renowned film journalists, scholars and critics set it as the most promising virtual awards event and platform since the Critics Choice Association Awards, amongst its guest film critics, collaborators and experts in the field are Raúl Asensio Díez as the festival's director of communications, renowned documentarist Ilán Shats Yudilevich, Spanish creative designer Francisco París Fernández, multi-award-winning film auteur Sebastián Llinares Sirvent, horror icon Annie Knox and one of the most renowned and in-demand film critics of the past year Adrián Pérez Ramírez.
This year, Climax welcomes a sky-high volume of 1,374 submissions across the globe with dominance in a couple of ratios; from English-speaking content markets (ratio English vs. foreign-language films 65.5: 34.5) and male film directors (ratio male/female/non-binary filmmakers 68: 27: 5). For women creators, Climax's ratio is lower than Deadline’s recently reported percentage in recent film festivals study that found women made up 39% of directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers working. 922 creative projects rejected.
Top Awards: Outstanding Achievement & Contribution To Independent Filmmaking
Climax's two major awards of the season for Outstanding Achievement & Contribution To Independent Filmmaking are bestowed upon Jun Wang for The Journey of Murder (China) and Victoria Yakubov for Olma Djon (France). Climax's primary obsessions and thematic preoccupations lie within narrative silence and minimalism; exclusively visual storytelling that caresses magic realism, engages in complexity reduction, metaphoric projection and leads into anti-climactic ambiguity. No better exemplar canvases than The Journey of Murder and Olma Djon to receive Climax's top honors.
Best Picture Contenders
In-competition, the big winners of the season are truly international, led by:
• Jun Wang's The Journey of Murder (China) landing six Climax award wins (for Best Picture, Best Feature Film, Best Drama, Best Directing, Best Lead Actress, Best Original Score) and three award nominations (Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing);
• Brad Katzen's The Domestic (South Africa) with three Climax award wins (Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & SFX) and five award nominations (Best Feature Film, Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Editing); and
• Jim Zou's Naked Island (China) with three Climax award wins (Best Film (Medium-Length), Best Queer Emerging Filmmaker Award) and four award nominations (Best Directorial Debut, Best Young Filmmaker, Best Lead Actress, Best Student Film).
• Victoria Yakubov's Olma Djon (France) comes in 4th Place with two Climax award wins (Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress) and seven award nominations.
• Anastasiya Yevchenko's If We Had Tomorrow (Ukraine), Alan Chung-An's Part Forever (Taiwan) and Nicholas Tory's Lifeblood(Australia) all tie also in this 4th overall Place with two Climax award wins and seven award nominations.
• Otis Birdy's Jiyan: La Vie (Switzerland) finishes 5th Place with two Climax award wins (Best Zero/Low-Budget Film, Best Lead Actor), six award nominations and 1 semi-finalist nomination.
• Leandro Cordova's Club Internacional Aguerridos "C.I.A." (Mexico) 6th Place with two Climax award wins (Best Cult, Best Ensemble Cast), five award nominations and one semi-finalist nomination
• Daniel Pradilla De Bedout's Pongamos Que Hablo De Ti (Spain) and Beboon Bahk's 후각 "Olfaction" (Republic of Korea) both tie in 7th Place with two Climax award wins and six award nominations.
To highlight our remaining Best Picture nominees for the entire season: Fernando Bonelli's La Tierra Llamando A Ana "Planet Earth Calling To Ana" (Spain) with 1 Climax award win, seven award nominations and 1 semi-finalist nomination; Kim Saarinen & P.J. Piippo's Oja "The Ditch" (Finland) with six Climax award nominations; and Matthias Von Braun's Devoid (UK) with one Climax award win and six award nominations.
Honourable Mentions & Achievements
• THE JOURNEY OF MURDER (China) · Jun Wang
Some films stay with you; they are an arrow straight to the heart that, even if you try to pull it out, always leaves a trace, and that's The Journey of Murder for you, a transcendent and spectacular film that makes cinema history this year. Jun Wang's silent odyssey tells the story of Ma Saike, a man addicted to gambling who is forced to sell his mentally ill wife in exchange for money to settle a gambling debt so that his mother can get cancer treatment. This is one of the rawest stories we've ever seen depicted onscreen, where a man is forced to do horrible things to save his family. Still, this story manages to convey that sense of anguish through what I dare say is the performance of the year from the brilliant Feifei Yu, not to mention her co-star Zhen Liu who is undoubtedly one of the best actors on the independent scene and who we can't rule out seeing in a short space of time in big American productions. But the best thing about this story is that not only does it have a good account and brilliant performances, but it also exhibits a rare masterclass in directing given by one of the most brilliant directors on the circuit, the talented Jun Wang; who gives us with each scene a delicate hand-painted picture where everything we see is placed in a certain way to transmit at each moment what he is looking for. Jun Wang excavates for humanity's harsh and raw truth through the power of narrative silence and magic realism, I implore you, make The Journey of Murder your outmost priority because it is simply one of the best films of the year.
Six Climax award wins (for Best Picture, Best Feature Film, Best Drama, Best Directing, Best Lead Actress, Best Original Score) and three award nominations (Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing out of 1,374 submissions.
• PONGAMOS QUE HABLO DE TI "Let's Pretend I'm Talking About You" (Spain) · Daniel Pradilla De Bedout
Sometimes you are witnessing, seeing, or living something special, and you know it. And this is exactly what I felt when I saw this short film for the first time; a shiver ran through my whole body, and at that moment, I knew I was watching something extraordinary. Let's Pretend I'm Talking About You is the latest short film from the brilliant work of director Daniel Pradilla De Bedout. Its synopsis is as follows; Sebastian, a sommelier, decides to spend a weekend in the woods in the company of a strange woman. Memories of a previous relationship constantly invade Sebastian and jeopardise what appears to be the perfect encounter. As conversations occur, the identity of the strange woman is revealed, and her connection with Sebastian's past is disclosed. It isn't easy to highlight anything about this short film because everything is simply brilliant, from its idea to its performances; everything works as a perfect mechanism that Pradilla De Bedout manages to mesh perfectly for us to enjoy what is one of the best short films of the year. The subtlety with which the director can transmit this story is brilliant; through a minimalist style, he manages to touch the necessary keys to share all that he is looking for, and he does it by taking advantage of all the resources that cinema puts at his disposal. The use of editing to show the characters' state of mind stands out, and its use is quite innovative, and we have seen it in very few works. An example is Madre by Rodrigo Sorogoyen. It's not surprise the short film has garnered so many awards, and more are yet to come; its director has achieved one of the most exciting pieces of the year, thanks to a team that has been outstanding in every department. We hope to see the feature film soon. We have nothing more to add, except don't forget to support independent filmmakers if you like their work because that's what allows us to see beautiful things from time to time, films that leave a mark on us, and isn't that what life is all about?
Two Climax award wins for Best Short Film and Best Original Screenplay, and six award nominations for Best Picture, Best International Film, Best Directing, Best Original Concept, Best Production Design and Best Lead Actor out of 1,374 submissions.
• DISSOCIATING VULNERABILITY (Japan) · Nobuo Nakagawa
Nobuo Nakagawa presents us with one of the most intriguing works of the year, Dissociating Vulnerability , which tells the story of Shinya, a man (Yuki Yamazaki) who loses his mother in a terrible car accident. As time goes by, Shinya begins to perceive the presence of a mysterious woman that only he can see. Nobuo Nakagawa crafts a chilling dramatic story complemented with outstanding cinematography. The power of close ups here to show his protagonist locked up is one of the young Japanese director's greatest successes. A well-structured script with a clear trigger draws the viewer into Shinya's world from the very first few minutes of the film. But let's assume for a second something truly makes this medium-length film special over many other independent film titles this year, that would be its central performance; Yuki Yamazaki's ability to show us his character's internal conflict through the use of his body language is brilliant, and the director is largely responsible for this, making sure that each scene works on its own with a suitable rhythm that gets the viewer fully involved in this story, which is undoubtedly one of the surprises of the year.
Five semi-finalist Climax award nominations for Best Feature Film, Best Directing, Best International Film, Best Thriller and the Emerging Filmmaker Award out of 1,374 submissions.
· 503 (USA) · Francis Han
Francis Han presents 503, a short horror film with hints of the great Stanley Kubrick. Through a simple but effective premise and an unmistakable style, Han tells the story of Sam, a man who gets trapped in a horror video game. Through a frenetic pace that adapts perfectly to what the talented director is looking for and a sublime performance by Patrick Burkard the talented director achieves what is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying films of the year.
Three Climax award nominations, for Best Horror, Best Young Filmmaker, the Emerging Filmmaker Award, and three semi-finalist nominations, for Best Short Film, Best Directing and Best Cinematography, out of 1,374 submissions.
· ELECTION NIGHT (USA) · Peter Zerzan
Directed by Peter Zerzan, Election Night is a socio-political short film reminiscent of the plot of what was once one of the best series of the moment, House of Cards (2013-’18, Netflix). Through a minimalist aesthetic, Zerzan narrates the hidden intricacies behind a presidential election, where everything can change in a moment. The result is an interesting short film with well-executed performances and an unexpected plot twist. Election Night is an intriguing short film that may have lacked a small budget to achieve a home-run. Still, its director manages to solve it with astuteness and elegance through close-ups and eloquent editing, it's a formidable independent film currently out there in the circuit.
Two Climax award nominations, for Best Drama, the Emerging Filmmaker Award, and four semi-finalist nominations for Best Short Film, Best Directorial Debut, Best Supporting Actress Karen Kahn and Best Production Design out of 1,374 submissions.
• FRUITVILLE (Trinidad and Tobago) · Lallan Samaroo, Larry Horrell
Lallan Samaroo and Larry Horrell's Fruitville best defines itself in three words: Originality, surrealism, and bravery. Through very elaborate stop-motion animation, Samaroo and Horrell tell us the story of a group of fruits feeling frustrated for being replaced by plastic fruits. Utilising a very personal narratorial style of filmmaking, the directors breathe life into their characters, which undoubtedly helps viewers to identify with their internal conflict, which is very human; "the fear of being replaced." Fruitville, although with a much whiter comedy, is reminiscent of the amusing Sausage Party (2016, Vernon and Tiernan) that was so successful in the independent circuit due to its daring style; you should not miss Fruitville if you love the cult genre because it will not leave you indifferent.
One Climax award nomination for Best 2D Animation and six semi-finalist nominations for Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film, Best Created Environment, Best Zero/Low-Budget Film, Best Directorial Debut and Best Original Concept out of 1,374 submissions.
• CLOSET NIGHTMARES (USA) · Camila de los Santos
Camila de los Santos brings us Closet Nightmares, one of the most chilling short films of the year. With an authorial style, the emerging director tells us the story of three friends who end up facing their past. One thing that's of outmost importance in short horror films is what we call “suspension of disbelief,” this consists in fooling the spectator into believing what they're watching is honest and real, and De Los Santos achieves this to perfection with an impeccable production design by Kaylin Cassidy. What is striking about the acclaimed director's work is its authorial style. Despite her freshness, we denote tints of a very marked style of her own, reminiscent of the great directors of the genre such as Haneke, especially one of his most brilliant works, Funny Games, where the director, like De Los Santos, uses the camera and the use of zoom as another narrative resource, raising the cinematographic language of the film to another level. But the director does not forget another fundamental aspect of horror, sound. The sound design starts everything in this genre. In Closet Nightmares, we have a working, clear and precise sound that, together with the music of Andreas Foivos, manages to provoke the necessary tension for this work to perform a thousand wonders. We will have to follow the film career of this emerging director closely because she could very well become one of the most promising directors on the independent film scene.
One Climax award nomination for Best Horror and four semi-finalist nominations for Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Editing and Best Young Filmmaker out of 1,374 submissions.
• RED LIGHT (USA) · Parker Alexander Meyers
The talented director Parker Alexander Meyers presents us with Red Light, his latest work that tells the story of an escort (played by the fabulous Arielle Duran) who doesn't know how to tell her favourite client that she is leaving the business. The film doesn't take long to detonate. It doesn't take long for us to get to know the protagonist's inner conflict, which means that we can't unhook ourselves from the screen until the film is over, which is undoubtedly one of the greatest successes of its emerging director; it's clear watching Red Light that Meyers knows exactly what mechanisms cause great interest in the audience. And this is where one of the most brilliant moments of the film comes in because, thanks to the actors' superb direction and brilliant performances, we see a fantastic chemistry on screen that more than manages to move us. For a moment, we forget about everything else, and we want this story to end well, for her to leave her job and for them to end up together. But life isn't always so pretty, and Meyers clearly knows what this story needs, so he delivers one of the most heartbreaking twists and turns we can remember in recent years. Red Light is a raw, brave story where Meyers portrays a brutal conflict, and the result is an excellent short film that works from beginning to end and where the emerging director does not neglect any of the essential aspects of the seventh art. We are used to seeing many directors, but I assure you that Meyers' work has not gone unnoticed; we will have to be very attentive to his subsequent works; we would not be surprised if someone allowed him to make his first feature film, of course, he has plenty of talent.
Two semi-finalist Climax award nominations for Best Drama and the Emerging Filmmaker Award out of 1,374 submissions.
• BABY IN THE BASEMENT (USA) · Dina Gilmore
The incredible short film directed by multi-award-winning director Dina Faye Gilmore tells us the story of two homeless people who meet in search of shelter and whose end will overwhelm them. Despite being her directorial debut, Faye Gilmore makes one of the most exciting pieces of the year, offering us a dramatic short film. Despite having few economic resources, the director squeezes the most out of her possibilities, always trying to provide us with exciting scenes. The strength of this short film lies in its ability to touch our hearts; it makes us feel so close to it that we want Mary and Jasper to be happy. To find out if they do or not, you'll have to see the short film; I'm not going to be the one to spoil the end of this story for you. What I can assure you is that it is well worth watching; the director's ability to convey such complex emotions in each scene with such limited resources, the simple but effective photography, and the incredible performances of Josette Aderhold and Tristan Wolf make it a short film that you simply can't and shouldn't miss. We can't wait to see what's next from this director, who shows tremendous potential and could be one of the big names in independent cinema in the coming years. Until then, enjoy her directorial debut, and the time will come when you will be lucky enough to say, “well, I saw her first short film,” as happened to a lucky few after the release of Scorsese's The Big Shave in 1967.
One semi-finalist Climax award nomination for Best Cult and 1 quarter-finalist nomination for Best Experimental Film out of 1,374 submissions.
· BROKEN STARS (USA) · HanYing Du
Broken Stars tells us a love story between Xing and Sirius, two young people who meet in the middle of the pandemic, but who will end up discovering that love is not always easy. HanYing Du makes her directorial debut with this short film in which we can already revile, despite her young age, the overtones of a great filmmaker. Proof of this is the composition of the shots where the emerging director uses vertical lines to show the farewell of this couple, the staging that is well cared for in each scene and the use of monochrome as a narrative element. Despite the tight budget that the film has, the director manages to make the most of her resources by betting correctly on the interpretation of her actors who manage to capture the emotions of the protagonists in an excellent way. Also noteworthy in this story is a good use of dialogues that manage to arouse our interest as viewers, an adequate rhythm where the cuts are made at the relevant moments. In conclusion, it is a fact that HanYing Du is one of the promises of independent cinema and we are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve with the passage of time, experience and more economic resources, we are sure that his next works will not leave anyone indifferent.
One semi-finalist Climax award nomination for Best Directorial Debut and one quarter-finalist nomination for Best Directing out of 1,374 submissions.
• DIGITAL AFFAIRS (USA) · Elor De Mayo
The great director Elor De Mayo presents us with Digital Affairs, a web series filmed during the Covid-19 pandemic in which masterful performances (you can tell that the director is also an actress) portray everyday situations that we had to face in the midst of one of the most tumultuous times. De Mayo manages to make the most of the logistical difficulties such times present, creating a story with exciting and profound characters that capture our attention from the very first get go, mainly due to the excellent character architecture the multifaceted director achieves. The awe-inspiring thing about this story is that it makes you shudder, which is not easy, given the continuous exposure of audiovisual pieces. It is becoming increasingly difficult to empathise, become invested, and even hold one's attention. But thanks to sublime performances and a well-crafted text, there is only one drawback: we need more chapters! One thing is clear: De Mayo has tremendous potential as a filmmaker, and we can't wait to see her subsequent work.
One semi-finalist Climax award nomination for Best New Media and one quarter-finalist nomination for Emerging Filmmaker Award out of 1,374 submissions.
• WICKED WRETCHED WRAITH MEN (USA) · Raymond Harrison
Raymond Harrison's Wicked Wretched Wraith Men is a screenplay that confronts a fascinating concept: if two young children were to endure a horrific trauma together, how differently might they develop as adults? Written with impressive creativity and imagination, the screenplay ambitiously and violently explores the two distinct strands that evolve; a need for revenge and a need to forgive and find peace. Finding its strength in scenes of vengeful brutality and emotional trauma, the screenplay would benefit from holding back from an over-reliance on repetition, which starts to allow the dialogue to fall into a confusing monotony. Silence, or stripped-back dialogue, can be more meaningful and poignant than monologues when used well. With this note aside, Harrison's screenplay is triumphant.
Semi-finalist Climax award nomination for Best Feature Screenplay out of 1,374 submissions.
Please keep reading to discover the remaining top contenders of the season exhibited in the following high-class film blocks...
The Spectacularity Of The Unspectacular Void: Excavating The Philosophical & Psychoanalytic Dimensionality Of Slow Cinema, Narrative Silence & Magic Vs. Poetic Realism.
1 · DEVOID (UK) · Matthias Von Braun
2 · 후각 "OLFACTION" (Republic of Korea) · Beboon Bahk
3 · THE JOURNEY OF MURDER (China) · Jun Wang
4 · OLMA DJON "LOVE APPLE" (France) · Victoria Yakubov
5 · IF WE HAD TOMORROW (Ukraine) · Anastasiya Yevchenko
6 · OJA "THE DITCH" (Finland) · Kim Saarinen, P.J. Piippo
7 · TWO STRANGERS (USA) · Sam
8 · ABOUT DEATH (Mexico) · Adrián Bodegas
9 · DISSOCIATING VULNERABILITY (Japan) · Nobuo Nakagawa
Unrestricting Area 51: New Underground Wave Of Cult Legends, Auteur Archaeologists, Rebels & Originals.
1 · ARCHIMÉTRICA (Spain) · Jose Luis Serzo
2 · PART FOREVER (Taiwan) · Alan Chung-An
3 · CLUB INTERNACIONAL AGUERRIDOS "C.I.A." (Mexico) · Leandro Cordova
4 · PORT (USA) · Andrew Lehman
5 · HOT-DOG (Switzerland) · Anaëlle Morf
6 · PONGAMOS QUE HABLO DE TI "Let's Pretend I'm Talking About You" (Spain) · Daniel Pradilla De Bedout
7 · TOUCH & GO (USA) · Heather Hutton
8 · FRUITVILLE (Trinidad and Tobago) · Lallan Samaroo, Larry Horrell
9 · COMBAT NUNS: All Or Nothing (USA) · Rick Williamson
Postmodernist Animation Art: Complexity Reductions & Metaphoric Projections Via Abstract Animation & Expressionism.
1 · HARDBOILED (USA) · Peter Sluszka
2 · NANAKOROBI "SEVEN FALLS" (USA) · Glenna Burmer
3 · PASTEL SLOUGH (Republic of Korea) · Kiha Ahn
4 · TAB UR ET (Romania) · Cate Chereches
5 · THE FOURFOLD (Canada) · Alisi Telengut
6 · FEARLESS (USA) · Rohitash Rao
Pixar Protégés: Independent CGI Animation, Stop-Motion & Infrared Photography In Their Finest Hours.
1 · TOGETHER (Brazil) · Joana Avelino
2 · CITIPATI (Germany) · Andreas
3 · DON'T CROAK (USA) · Daun Kim
4 · KENYA'S SYMPHONY (USA) · Carlos Douglas J
The Kings Of Comedy: Defibrillating Mundane Spaces With Comedic Excess, Embellishing Absurdism In Hyper-Realism.
1 · NEW WEST (USA) · Jordan Mears
2 · GLEN (Australia) · Jeremy Brull
3 · AM ERDBEERSTAND (AT THE STRAWBERRY STAND) (Austria) · Gerald Pribek
4 · WHAT DO WE DO? (USA) · Roderick Fenske
John Carpenter Horror Show: Descent Into Madness, Dreams Of Chaos & The Nightmare Topography Of Midnight Movies.
1 · PART FOREVER (Taiwan) · Alan Chung-An
2 · THE DOMESTIC (South Africa) · Brad Katzen
3 · TAB UR ET (Romania) · Cate Chereches
4 · PORT (USA) · Andrew Lehman
5 · 503 (USA) · Francis Han
The Eyes Chico, They Never Lied: A Career-Defining Performance Hangs On Irrevocable Star Quality & A Heavy Injection Of Truth.
1 · LA TIERRA LLAMANDO A ANA "Planet Earth Calling Ana" (Spain) · Fernando Bonelli
2 · JIYAN: LA VIE (Switzerland) · Otis Birdy
3 · WATER (France) · Cyrille Louge
4 · UNDER TENSION (France) · Mireille Fiévet
5 · ZU DEN STERNEN "To The Stars" (Germany)
6 · DET VAR DET LIVET "There Goes That Life" (Sweden) · Arantxa Hurtado
7 · DON'T CARE TO SHARE (Israel) · Dekel Aizen
8 · SHIELDING SHEILA (UK) · Joyce Grey-Carter
Femme Fatale Origin Stories: From Objects Of Desire To Exterminating Angels.
1 · WUSS (China) · Rubing Zhang
2 · POLISHED (USA) · Colleen Dodge
3 · KAPARA. (Australia) · Steve Hudson
4 · NAKED ISLAND (China) · Jim Zou
5 · UNDER TENSION (France) · Mireille Fiévet
The Time Machine: Primary Obsessions & Thematic Preoccupations Of The Sci-Fi Genre & How Erotic Futurism Moves The Wheel Of Narrative Momentum.
1 · BEACON (USA) · Andrew Stadler
2 · MOON KNIGHT (USA) · Akshay Tiwari
3 · CHECKPOINT (USA) · Jason Sheedy
4 · FENESTRA (USA) · Jason Sheedy
5 · LEMONADE PARTY (USA) · Alexander Minas
A Starry Night: The Curious Humility Behind The Synthetic Arrangement Of 120 Money Shots Per Second.
1 · PERFECT STORM (New Zealand) · Morag Brownlie
2 · ONO (Germany) · Michael Siebert
3 · OLMA DJON "LOVE APPLE" (France) · Victoria Yakubov
4 · BODY OF WATER (USA) · Brad Tobler
5 · THE JOURNEY OF MURDER (China) · Jun Wang
6 · PRECIOUS BALANCE WALK (Sweden) · Felicia Konrad, Johan Haugen
David Vs. Goliath: Corrupted Innocence, Brutalism & Hyper-Consciousness In Defeating The Oppressive & Psycho-Pathological Monster That Is Everyday Life.
1 · GRATIFICACIÓN "Gratification" (Mexico) · Andrés Hernández Covarrubias
2 · HOPELESS ROMANTIC (USA) · Doug Jordan
3 · ZAMAL PARADISE (Réunion) · Dkpit K. Dick
4 · PETE (USA) · Bret Parker
5 · POLISHED (USA) · Colleen Dodge
6 · WUSS (China) · Rubing Zhang
7 · ELECTION NIGHT (USA) · Peter Zerzan
Shall We Dance?: Aestheticised Ballets, Subjective Depth & Cinematographic Grandeur That Attract The Eye.
1 · HOT MONDY 'PALE EMBER' (USA) · Brad Tobler
2 · ONO (Germany) · Michael Siebert
3 · EXHALE (Netherlands) · Dylan Tonk
4 · PRECIOUS BALANCE WALK (Sweden) · Felicia Konrad, Johan Haugen
Lynchland: Conjoining Optical Unconscious, Mythopoeia & Dystopian Opportunities.
1 · FRIDAY MORNING WHEN DANIELE SEEMS DEAD (Taiwan) · Yang Chao Hao
2 · PERFECT STORM (New Zealand) · Morag Brownlie
3 · DEVOID (UK) · Matthias Von Braun
Same Room, Different Perspectives: Film Gris Paradox & The Intellectual Friction Of Filmic Enunciations.
1 · 후각 "OLFACTION" (Republic of Korea) · Beboon Bahk
2 · HUNROS JORNA (UK) · Mickey Smith, Allan Wilson
3 · LIFEBLOOD (Australia) · Nicholas Tory
4 · CLUB INTERNACIONAL AGUERRIDOS "C.I.A." (Mexico) · Leandro Cordova
5 · THE FOURFOLD (Canada) · Alisi Telengut
Cahiers Du Music Videos: Defying The Generic Chaff Of A Format.
1 · BODY OF WATER (USA) · Brad Tobler
2 · SUPERSONICS 'CARAVAN PALACE' (France) · Béchir "Jiwee" Jouini
3 · THE LUNCHBOX CLUB 'YEAH OHH' (Australia) · Connor Simms
4 · CHUCK WONDERLAND 'FREE LIKE A BIRD' (France) · Hervé Humbert
5 · MAMBO (Spain) · Luis Castro
Anthropocene: Complex & Diverse Gazes For A Complex & Diverse World.
1 · WOLF WHISPERS (France) · Chloé Belloc
2 · THE LAND OF MY FOREFATHERS (Pakistan) · Irfan Noor
3 · POSTCARDS FROM INDIA (Italy) · Tommaso Dolcetta
4 · WILD THINGS (Australia) · Sally Ingleton
5 · VERTIGO (Japan) · Haruo Inoue
6 · THE FISHERMAN'S NET (Germany) · Christopher Larson
7 · FRANK BEY: All My Dues Are Paid (USA) · Tom Dwyer, Lisa Palattella
8 · 08/15: THE DAILY LIVES OF DEATH (Switzerland) · Sarah Elena Schwerzmann
9 · I'M NOT GAY (Australia) · Nathan Short
10 · SHOTS: Eugenics To Pandemics (USA) · John Potash
· BLACK OCEAN (USA) · Francesca O'Hop
· EXPOSURES (USA) · Rich Underwood
· CUT THE CORD: The Hedgehog's Leap (Russian Federation) · Kostan Chess
· SPIRIT OF THE WOLF (USA) · Pamela PerryGoulardt
· THE GUARD STATION (USA) · Matt Zappala
· FIFTEEN TIMES A KILLER (UK) · Steve Crawshaw
· NEW OLYMPUS (USA) · Matthew Nicholson
· WICKED WRETCHED WRAITH MEN (USA) · Raymond Harrison
• PERFECT STORM (New Zealand) · Morag Brownlie
Through naturalistic photography, Morag Brownlie transports us to breath-taking landscapes capable of making us feel inexhaustible solitude, astutely conveying dreamlike sensations and the smallness of man in the immensity of the natural world, in shots reminiscent of the Oscar-winning The Power of the Dog (Campion, 2021). A triumph.
• KENYA'S SYMPHONY (USA) · Carlos Douglas Jr
Kenya's Symphony is a fun animated short film that could very well be part of the Pixar universe, an unbelievably tenacious directorial debut where you’ll be enraptured by the magic and power of music.
• SOBRE LA MUERTE "ABOUT DEATH" (México) · Adrián Bodegas
Bodegas offers us a soulful introspective study into humans’ sheer fragility in the face of temporal finitism. A triumph and a film that will undoubtedly be talked about for months, for its philosophical script, masterful character construction and story depth, and performances that elevate it to another level.
• COMBAT NUNS: All Or Nothing (USA) · Rick Williamson
Here it is, the punk comedy of the year starring the talented Dot-Marie Jones and directed by Rick Williamson, who leaves his unique imprint all over this picturesque and delirious short vignette, reminiscent of the unmistakable style and black humour of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. You won’t stop laughing from beginning to end.
• ELECTION NIGHT (USA) · Peter Zerzan
A ravishing minimalist aesthetic, performative prowess and an unexpected plot twist intersect in this formidable socio-political drama reminiscent of the plot of what was once one of the best series of the moment, House of Cards (2013-’18, Netflix). Peter Zerzan masterfully gets up claustrophobically close on the hidden intricacies behind a presidential election where everything can change in a moment.
• SHOTS: Eugenics To Pandemics (USA) · John Potash
An engaging and resourceful film that showcases mastery in the classic expository mode of documentary filmmaking, causes intellectual friction from its filmic enunciation, and proves a great exemplar of the canvas’ potential in conveying complex phenomena to potentially massive audiences in a fresh and entertaining way.
• SHIELDING SHEILA (UK) · Joyce Grey-Carter
"An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease" said mythical master Mikhail Chekhov and it’s a famous quote that easily defines Joyce Grey-Carter’s triumph here turning in a raw and sublime performance to remember, but also a spectacular debut as director. A raw story with scenes of great emotional intensity, magnificent direction, and the performance of Joyce Grey-Carter’s career.
• PORTALES (USA) · Patricia Miller, Michael Miller
An ongoing socio-cultural critique lies underneath this hysterical and light-hearted romantic drama, that comprises masterful dialogue; never has townsfolk nonsensical chattery being so well executed for the screen, not to mention the conception of such original minor dramas. Beyond Patricia and Michael Miller's successful world-building, we must commend their character architecture, much of Portales' success can largely be attributed to the characters created by the acclaimed and emerging writers. Portales serves an authentic, powerful and original story more than deserving of a screen adaptation.
• CHOSEN FAMILY (SA) · Dina Gilmore
Chosen Family tells a brilliant and important story about family, love, and acceptance and has a very strong base in its plot and character relations. We implore Chosen Family gets commissioned into a live-action film, Gilmore's a formidable multi-award-winning writer with a unique style and point of view who we're dying to get new material from soon to sink our teeth into.
• THE STONES OF ROME (Greece) · Sean Tansey
Some performances transcend that become iconic over time; Sean Tansey offers us a performance that stays with us. Through a minimalist aesthetic, The Stones of Rome is a fantastic adaptation, one of the most emblematic texts in history and an interpretative masterclass of the highest calibre.
• CHERZOSO THE SILENT FILM (USA) · Tracy Ann Chapel
Luckily, and thanks to brave directors such as Tracy Ann Chapel, we have authentic tributes to the classic cinema of Chaplin, Keaton, or Bowers. Here lies an emotional story of a woman whose present and future conflict, and a minimalist oeuvre where Chapel’s directorial versatility stands out. Beyond her unique imprints in direction and performance, Chapel also composes the film's soundtrack, showcasing her enormous talent and the great future she has in the world of cinema.
• ONE MINUTE WITH BILLY DUFALA (USA) · Joy Waldinger
Waldinger showcases her incomparable style, versatility, muti-faceted triple talent in this frenetic and enriching micro-documentary that begs to be longer for its fascinating world-building around the mythical Billy Dufala. Waldinger’s an emerging filmmaker we’ll be talking about a lot in the coming years.
• WHY HAVE I NOT LEARNT HOW TO SWIM? (USA) · Amir Shah
Shah’s film stands out for its solid performances, strategic handheld cinematography to build tension and raise stakes, as well as hysteric editing which tops off this imperfect whilst immersive spectatorial experience. Through an experimental style reminiscent of the cult genre, with brushstrokes of masterpieces like Midsommar, Nope or The Witch, we see in Shah raw potential and an emerging filmmaker who, with hard work and determination, soon everybody will be talking about.
• ENTANGLEMENT (Sweden) · Ulrika Sjölin
Sjölin makes one of the most daring proposals of the year, with a script that never ceases to surprise you from start to finish, and whose style is reminiscent of one of Christopher Nolan's best works, Memento. Maria Forslin's outstanding performance also stands out. Entanglement is a very different film to what we are used to; with Sjölin’s authorial vision omnipresent throughout, in every shot, every scene, every word, and that makes it a most interesting artistic creation since we see reflected in a masterful way the world its director wanted to transmit. A masterclass in cinematographic world-building.
• WE GOT THIS (USA) · K.Page Valdes
K.Page Stuart Valdes's directorial talent and tenacity is irrevocable; proof of this is her numerous awards, including being a Semi-Finalist in the Academy Award Nicholl Screenwriting Competition, winning Best Short at the famous Virginia Film Festival, and second place at the New York Women In Film and Television Festival, one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. And this time, Valdes presents We Got This, the third of a series of films that delve into how prejudice and bias infiltrate everyday interactions and intimate relationships in the United States, a recurring theme in the author's filmography that we can see reflected in her previous works Talking Piece and Full Service, both available on Amazon Prime and whose viewing we fervently recommend. With the very talented Jessica Frances Dukes, who we already saw shining in the acclaimed series Ozark with her role as May Miller, and the experienced Wayne Maugans, who gives us one of the best performances of his prestigious career; We Got This is a film not to be missed; its acclaimed director’s narrative talent and strong story and performances serve us one of the year's most exciting films.
• I HAD AN AFFAIR, OR DID I? (USA) · Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
I Had An Affair, Or Did I? surpasses its goal of entertaining us with its excellent script and shining ensemble cast. The dialogues have a cadence and naturalness to them that help the verisimilitude of the narration, which is not surprising knowing Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein’s background, who has been a psychologist for more than 30 years and has written successful novels such as Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen or Conflict and a Bit of Magic. It’s awe-inspiring to see her now beginning a successful career in cinema.
Film program and results schedule below.