Waco’s Deep in the Heart Film Festival Announces Full 2023 Lineup


The Deep in the Heart Film Festival announced the film and events lineup for its 7thedition, which will combine in-theater screenings July 20-23, followed by an online encore July 24-30. Deep in the Heart FF will kick things off with an Opening Night presentation of Dawn Mikkelson and Keri Pickett’s film festival sensation Finding Her Beat, and Anna Baumgarten’s decorated drama Disfluency will be the Closing Night selection. The festival will also present a special multi-media screening and performance of Greg Brownderville and Bart Weiss’ critically acclaimed Southern Gothic shaggy dog story Fire Bones, and a Friday Night Spotlight screening of Thaddeus D. Matula’s inspiring documentary Into the Spotlight.

With screenings at the historic Waco Hippodrome and Cultivate 7twelve, and a program divided into four categories: Crowd Pleasers, Deep Dives, Family Friendly, and For the Curious and Adventurous, the Deep in the Heart FF has once again worked to add more to the popular film festival’s screenings, events, and presentations to make it even more audience-friendly and easy to access and enjoy as they head to the movie theaters. The programming tracks were created to help audiences understand the tone of the films and make it easier for people to discover the movies that fit their tastes. The screening schedule will include 127 films (9 features, 106 shorts, 12 music videos), and 1 multi-media project).

Deep in the Heart FF co-founders and directors Samuel Thomas and Louis Hunter, said, “For this year’s edition of the film festival we are emphasizing what leads the way in every decision we make: Waco, independent, and film. We have added more feature films as we keep growing the film festival, but we will continue to focus on giving our filmmakers help with their development as artists, and work to encourage them to come back to town to shoot their next project here. Of course, we also enjoy having a reputation as a really fun film festival to attend whether you are a film fan or a filmmaker so all the favorites will return on that front as well.”

Opening Night ‘s Red Carpet Gala evening will feature Dawn Mikkelson and Keri Pickett’s Finding Her Beat, a certified hit on the regional festival circuit, screening coast-to-coast and leaving energized audiences in its wake over the course of the past year. The film follows the efforts of two women to assemble the world’s best female Taiko drummers in a bold effort to claim a cultural spotlight that has historically been reserved only for men. As the clock ticks toward their first performance, it becomes clear that their story has become much larger than Taiko. The screening will also include a live performance of Taiko drumming as part of the presentation.

Friday will feature two things that Deep in the Heart FF has made its name on: innovation and films that touch people personally. The afternoon will include a special stage and screen presentation with live music led by Dallas’ Greg Brownderville and Bart Weiss as they introduce audiences to their one-of-a-kind multi-media creation, FIre Bones. A whimsical Southern Gothic shaggy dog story told in ten chapters via multiple mediums including podcasts, short films, music videos, poems, and still images. Fire Bones follows a poet and filmmaker  who meet one crazy character after another as they investigate the mystery  of  a  missing  pilot  and  Pentecostal  preacher who  vanished  on  a  transatlantic  flight.  Created  with  smartphones  in  mind, the project includes  podcasts,  short  films,  music  videos, poems,  and  still  images.

Friday evening will be the Spotlight Feature screening of Thaddeus D. Matula’s Into the Spotlight. In the film, Matula follows a musical theatre program for young adults with disabilities as they prepared for their annual production at the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. The film is told from the perspective of the cast in the play as they share their challenges and triumphs through the 2021-22 season. The screening is co-presented with the Texas Behavioral Health Network.

The Closing Night selection is Anna Baumgarten’s Disfluency, about the struggles of a brilliant young woman, who returns home to her family’s lake house as she tries to come to terms with the confusing drama that derailed her senior year in college. The film has received an impressive number of awards on the regional festival circuit, including the Capital City Film Festival, deadCenter, Ouray FF, Oxford FF, and the Austin Film Festival.

Highlights among the additional independently made features coming to Waco include Johana Putnam’s mystery Shudderbugs about a woman, who returns to her childhood home when her mother suddenly passes. In place of familiar spaces and memories, she discovers unsettling mysteries, leading her to follow a scavenger hunt her mom had prepared for her upcoming birthday, while she wrestles with her own sanity. Additional indie documentaries include Zac Zlatic’s City Kids which follows the efforts of a couple who has dedicated the past 30 years to changing the lives of inner city kids from San Antonio, and Alexander Jeffery’s You Have No Idea, which tells the extraordinary story of Evan James. When he was diagnosed with Autism in the early 90s, treatment options were limited. However, his mother Beth set out to provide her son with a life filled with purpose and friendship, and the rest of their friends and family followed suit as they helped create a wonderful world for him to thrive in despite the challenges.

Jeffery’s short film Addie and the Lightning Bugs is also in the mix of Deep in the Heart FF’s always dynamic group of short film selections. The magical realism film focuses on a young girl who hatches a plan to stay put after her family anounces plans to move, aided by the mysterious lightning bugs in her backyard. Other highlights among the shorts are Dania Bdeir’s Warsha, about a crane operator in Beirut who is able to live out his secret passion and find freedom. The film is on the Academy Award Short List. Scott Lazer’s West by God, in which a West Virginia teenager goes on an awkward date with a local drug dealer where he shares a version of himself others don’t see. Fidel Ruiz-Healy, and Tyler Walker’s Midnight Award winner Dead Enders follows a young gas-station clerk on the midnight shift who must fight for his life versusan ancient race of mind-controlling parasites are other shorts to look out for.

Short films and indie filmmaking in a real practical way will also be the focus of the “Mobile Movie Making” filmmaker panel hosted by Bart Weiss, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and co-creator of Fire Bones. The panel will discuss how cell phone in your pocket can be the key piece of equipment for your next film.

Once again, Deep in the Heart FF will present its Made Deep in the Heart Screenplay Grant. This grant is awarded to the winner of the film festival’s screenplay contest, and it provides a variety of elements for producing that screenplay in Waco including  up to 4 nights of complimentary hotel stay provided by the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau for pre-production scouting or during the production, up to $2,500 in rebates provided by the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, camera and lighting Packages courtesy and 5 hours of free filmmaking consultation courtesy of Vision Vehicle Studios. The Waco Trolley Filmmaker Shuttle also returns to make it easy for filmmakers to get to Waco. Filmmakers can catch a free ride from DFW Airport to Waco, with a return trip at the end of the festival. Another favorite coming back is the Waco Film Locations Tour, where the film festival takes visiting filmmakers around town and show what Waco has to offer. Representatives from the Texas Film Commission, the Texas Media Production Alliance, and the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau all participate to talk about the benefits and opportunities found by filming in Texas.

Another thing Deep in the Heart FF is famous for is the film festival’s parties and the enthusiastic local embrace of the incoming filmmakers. Each night of the festival will conclude with an after-party where local attendees can enjoy a more casual connection with those visiting filmmakers. Each party will be hosted at locally owned Waco hot spots including Brotherwell Brewing, Southern Roots Brewing, and Stay Classy Waco. Those parties will include the film festival’s famous party game night, a campfire themed event, and a bronco bull riding machine.

To purchase passes and tickets and to find more information on the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, please go to: https://www.deepintheheartff.com/.


2023 Deep in the Heart Film Festival Official Selections


Finding Her Beat
Directors: Dawn Mikkelson & Keri Pickett
Countries: USA/Japan; Running Time: 89 min
In the midst of a frozen Minnesota winter, a Japanese drum master and Korean adoptee from North Dakota join forces to assemble the world’s best Taiko drummers in a bold effort to claim a cultural spotlight that has historically been reserved only for men. Their rhythm revolution includes rock stars from the world of Taiko: Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Kaoly Asano, Chieko Kojima, Megan Chao-Smith, and Jennifer Weir. Through grueling rehearsals, Jennifer weaves together their disparate voices and styles. Vulnerability, pain, and joys are shared—and we quickly see the bonds of friendship form as these talented women navigate their way through differences in culture, age, language, and performing styles. As the clock ticks toward their first performance, it becomes clear that their story has become much larger than Taiko.


Director: Anna Baumgarten
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 93 minutes
After unexpectedly failing her final college class due to a traumatic personal event, Jane, an aspiring speech pathologist, retreats home to her parent’s lake house in the hometown she grew up in. Her older sister and friends, as well as an old high school crush, soften the burden of failure, inspiring her to embrace the carefree summer as she tries to sort out what to do next. She also rekindles an old friendship with her neighbor Amber, a single mother with a difficult toddler, utilizing her skills and knowledge to help her connect with her son. Jane, however, fights through PTSD and imposter syndrome as she attempts to piece together what exactly happened to unravel the emotional and psychological tangle that’s been haunting her as she finds a path forward toward the never-ending process of healing.


FIre Bones
Directors: Greg Brownderville, Bart Weiss
Country: United States; Running Time: N/A
Fire Bones is a whimsical Southern Gothic story told in ten chapters via multiple mediums including  podcasts, short films, music videos, poems, and still images. Fire Bones follows the  journey of discovery  that a poet and filmmaker  make as they are introduced  to  the  tale  and  mystery  of  a  missing  pilot  and  Pentecostal  preacher who  vanished  on  a  transatlantic  flight.  The   two  men  encounter  one  colorful  and eccentric character  after another  as their trip brings them closer  to  the  truth of her story and ultimate destination. Created  with  smartphones  in  mind,  a  go-show  tells  a  story  episodically  via multiple  mediums.  ”Fire  Bones””  includes podcasts,  short  films,  music  videos, poems,  and  still  images.  Each  episode   of  a  go-show   should   use whichever medium  works best for that part of the  story. Chapters and episodes are  meant to  be experienced  in order.

Into the Spotlight
Director: Thaddeus D. Matula
Country: United States; Running Time: 99 min
A heartfelt story of how a script, a stage, and a theater program composed of adults with disabilities celebrate their creativity, explore life’s complexities, and empower a community, in their own words and their own way.


Director: Johanna Putnam
Country: United States; Running Time: 106 min
Samantha Cole returns to her childhood home when her mother suddenly passes. In place of familiar spaces and memories, Sam finds only uneasiness and confusion. Things are missing, the environment seems unnatural, and the neighbor (Noah) who discovered her mom’s body is suspiciously obtuse. Isolated with these mysteries, a scavenger hunt her mom had prepared for her upcoming birthday, and rising red flags from Noah, Sam wrestles with her sanity and certainties. On her journey to untangle the truth, she finds herself at a dangerous crossroads: How far can she trust instincts that may be clouded by grief, guilt, and desperation?


City Kids
Director: Zac Zlatic
Country: United States; Running Time: 64 min
What does it take to change someone’s life? City Kids is the story of a couple who has dedicated the past 30 years to inner city kids from San Antonio, introducing them to the great outdoors, and changing the trajectory of hundreds of lives in the process.

Punderneath It All
Director: Abby Hagan
Country: United States; Running Time: 76 min
If laughter is the best medicine, then pun competitions are just what the doctor ordered. Visiting the “pun scenes” in respective US cities, Abby Hagan’s Punderneath It All follows multiple characters as they create their own pun slams and navigate the live comedy world. You’ll meet an endearing cast of characters, including Seattle’s “pun slam” hostess, a world-ranked chess champion, a pop cultural anthropologist, and a stand-up comedian who specializes in “dad jokes,” as they hone their comedic chops in pun competitions around the country.

The Last Thing Lost
Director: Jake Siam
Country: Cambodia, United States; Running Time: 42 min
The Last Thing Lost examines the remarkable life of Sarith Ou. His narrow escape from the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s took him on an improbable journey to small-town Wisconsin. Sarith remained connected to his culture, leading Cambodian communities in America, but his past still haunted him. With the help of his friend Roger, a Vietnam vet turned psychologist, Sarith returns to Cambodia with renewed purpose more than two decades after his departure. Together, Sarith and Roger bring hope to rural Cambodia, while healing their own decades-old wounds.

Wine, Women, and Dementia
Director: Kitty Norton
Country: United States; Running Time: 87 min
The world is facing a crisis as baby boomers age into dementia. The U.S. is no exception with an estimated 9 million Americans living with dementia by 2030. Wine, Women, and Dementia brings the audience face to face with the human side of dementia as former dementia family caregiver and filmmaker, Kitty Norton, sets off on an RV adventure to meet other dementia family caregivers throughout the U.S. who virtually provided her with critical support through their shared caregiving experiences. The caregivers share intimate, humorous, heartfelt stories, told individually direct to camera, and in backyard “wine chats” with 2 or more participants.

You Have No Idea
Director: Alexander Jeffery
Country: United States; Running Time: 86 min
When Beth’s son Evan James was diagnosed with Autism in the early 90s, treatment options were limited. Doctors offered no practical advice for daily living and advised Beth to limit his social interactions. Rejecting these notions, Beth sets out to provide her son with a life filled with purpose and friendship. This heartfelt film is a sweet testament to the power of love and community by following a determined mom advocating for her son.


A Haunting Across The Galaxy
Director: Edwin Raul Oliva
Country: United States; Running Time: 14 min
An alien archeologist, on his quest to capture a living souvenir from Earth, has trouble capturing an uncooperative Ghost.

A New Day (Brought to You by Horizon Research Systems)
Director: Nate Southard
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min
At Horizon Research Systems, we pride ourselves on helping you achieve the life of your dreams – the life you deserve. Also, we may owe you a few apologies…

A Tessellation
Director: Matthew Ramsaur
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
Archeologist Marcy Jones unearths a strange object that proves to be key to unspeakable horrors and answers.

A Thousand Times A Day
Director: Chantelle James
Country: United States; Running Time: 16 min
Natasha loses her 4-year-old son to drowning and blames her alcoholic brother, Jeremy, who was taking care of him on the night of the tragedy. Both of their lives are irrevocably ruined by the boy’s death. After hitting rock bottom, they both learn that, as hard as it might be, their only chance of survival lies in forgiveness and in choosing to let go.

Addie and the Lightning Bugs
Director: Alexander Jeffery
Country: United States; Running Time: 17 min
In the damp heat of a southern summer, a young girl finds out that her family is moving to a new city. As Addie hatches a plan to stay put, she seeks solace in the mysterious lightning bugs in her backyard.

Animal Behavior
Director: Adrian Delcan
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
A skilled wildlife foley artist has his methods challenged by a newcomer with an innate understanding of animal behavior.

Director: Raghav Puri
Country: United States; Running Time: 11 min
An anxious Indian man desires to get up on stage, but must first overcome his own insecurity about his identity.

The Art of Dying
Director: Justin Anthony Rodriguez
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
In 1994, A man follows mysterious coordinates from an automated caller that leads him into the dangerous crosshairs of something much bigger.

Before It’s Gone
Director: Luke Amick
Country: United States; Running Time: 19 min
South Carolina, 1993. An amnesiac’s private detective girlfriend uncovers a link to his lost past. The only problem: It’s the woman he loved before losing his memory.

Bibimbap for One
Director: Ella Greenwood
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 16 min
After the passing of her mother, an unusual encounter with an elderly neighbour helps Hana to put things into perspective.

Director: Hrishi Bardhan
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
Amidst moving homes, a superstitious Indian-American girl struggles to bury her pet bird in fear of it coming to haunt her.

Directors: Rebecca Marquardt, Lane Michael Stanley
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
A gay cis woman’s father is surprisingly happy when she brings her transmasc boyfriend home – but she soon realizes he’s only happy because she’s in a straight-passing relationship.

Director: Ursula Echeverria
Country: United States; Running Time: 3 min
The journey of a young boy being born into a family of older sisters.

The Businessman
Director: Nathan Ginter
Country: United States; Running Time: 9 min
On the way home from school, a young girl runs into a mysterious salesman who looks to instill the fear of financial insecurity and coerce her into selling fashion magazines for him.

Bye Bye Baby
Director: Jessie Barnett
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 22 min
The babyshower of the decade goes horribly wrong when its hostess is revealed to have spun a web of lies to impress her so-called friends. When she’s publicly ridiculed by the girls – she snaps, leading to the boujiest of bloodbaths…

The Call
Director: Shireen Ayache
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 12 min
Laila, a university student, and her mum are based in the UK when they receive a call to hear a bomb has exploded in their home country Lebanon. They must make decisions and try to heal from the experience despite their conflicting views.

Castles in the Sky
Director: Pearl Gluck
Country: United States; Running Time: 30 min
Living in a cloistered Hasidic milieu in Brooklyn, Malke is a Holocaust survivor and a beloved sex-ed teacher who has never been able to have children of her own. However, Malke has secretly been slamming poetry in New York’s Lower East Side for the last three decades, defying all communal norms and laws. One day her transgressive pursuits are discovered by one of her bridal students. Is Malke willing to risk it all for her poetry?

The Central Standard
Director: Charles Featherston
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min
When a money drop goes wrong, Louise and Alexi find themselves in a standoff with time ticking away.

Director: Shaun MacLean
Country: United States; Running Time: 21 min
After receiving a mysterious letter, a wayward son returns to his childhood home to wrestle with a dark family secret.

Director: Charles Kugler
Country: United States; Running Time: 9 min
Two boyfriends take a tour of their dysfunctional relationship through the magic of television.

Director: Chris Beier
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
A woman is forced to smuggle contraband across the Mexico/Texas border.

Curtain Call
Director: Christian Jacob Ramón
Country: United States; Running Time: 18 min
In a competitive high school theatre program, a passed-over high school senior finds herself overshadowed by a precocious freshman. Mired in jealousy, she must come to terms with the fact that she isn’t as talented as she wants to be.

Dead Enders
Directors: Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
A disaffected, young gas-station clerk on the midnight shift must learn to give a damn about something after malevolent mind-controlling bugs are set loose by irresponsible oil drillers.

Director: Sloan Turner
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
An impulsive middle schooler playing a game of hide-and-seek soon realizes something sinister is hunting him and his friends.

Don’t You Go Nowhere
Director: Bryan Poyser
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
A jazz dynamo belts his way through his weekly set until he makes an unexpected connection with an audience member in this short film about the power of music over memory.

Dying to Meet You
Director: Ava Bounds
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 14 min
A hotel lobby in Depression America is the crucible where a brilliant, ruined drunk battles his demons one last time. This true story reveals what happens on the day Bill Wilson turns down a drink and creates Alcoholics Anonymous.

Eid Mubarak
Director: Mahnoor Euceph
Country: Pakistan, United States; Running Time: 16 min
A privileged six-year-old Pakistani girl embarks on a mission to save her beloved pet goat from being eaten on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Azha, only to learn the meaning of sacrifice.

Director: Molly Rose Heller
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
eXcape is the story of two queer Black women on the heels of a break-up that mysteriously turns into a game of “Escape the Room.” They are then forced to relive key moments from their relationship if they ever want to leave their once-shared apartment.

Fall Better
Director: George Magner
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 9 min
Owusu is learning to walk again. He is in recovery from a debilitating illness and cannot trust his body to respond to him. But rebuilding a body isn’t just about rebuilding muscles: Owusu must learn to let himself fall, and fail, and face up to his weaknesses, in order to grow strong again.

Farmer Ed
Director: Azwan Badruzaman
Country: United States; Running Time: 17 min
After an isolated farmer makes a shocking discovery on his land, he unlocks its mysteries unbeknownst to his wife.

Fat Girl
Director: Makez Rikweda
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 14 min
A lonely teenage girl’s obsession with her favourite Tik Tok star takes a dark turn as she descends into DIY cosmetics in an attempt to look like her.

Fault Lines
Director: Mark Blitch
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
A ruthless crime lord faces off against a husband and wife.

First Love
Director: Chad Smith
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min
First Love is the story of a little vintage children’s turntable who loses his love and goes on a quest to reclaim it.

five fifths
Director: Clinton Pickens
Country: United States; Running Time: 11 min
A woman of color finds herself stuck between a rock and a hard place in the unforgiving Texas wilderness.

The Fool’s Mate
Director: Cian Llewellyn
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 12 min
A couples relationship is at a crossroads – as Fred attempts to break how with Holly, she thinks he’s about to propose. But might an impromptu game of chess finally force them to confront how they really feel about one another…

Get Out of There
Director: Matthew Barber, Nathaniel Barber
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min
After surviving a dangerous fall an injured patrolman soon discovers that a dark supernatural presence is closing in on him.

Good Boy, Craig
Director: Samuel Black
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
When a depressed man has an unfortunate run-in with an old, blind farmer and his unlucky dog, he goes to drastic lengths to hide his mistakes and search for meaning along the way.

Good For Nothing
Director: Katherine Press
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 6 min
Sick of hearing she’s an entitled good-for-nothing, a millennial finds a vocation “doing nothing” for others in surprisingly meaningful ways.

Director: Waleed Bedour
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min
At a late night eatery, Farida shows her friend traditional Egyptian food. When Farida witnesses a sexual assault, she confronts the situation and everyone else.

Director: Stephen Robinson, Eric Pham
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
Two Vietnamese sibling refugees must navigate their new lives in Houston, Texas following the Vietnam war.

Howard and the Carpet Union
Director: Luke Patrick Larsen
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
Howard Piew. Lenny Rubinstein. PI partners for as long as they can remember. This is their last chance to redeem their careers and hit it big again. But this job is different… It’s got more rugs and secrets than anyone would have bargained for.

In Tow
Director: Sharon Arteaga
Country: United States; Running Time: 20 min
A self-involved teen and her overworked single mom confront their differences as their mobile home is towed away … with them inside of it!

Director: Micah Stathis
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
Following a series of increasingly catastrophic first dates, Izzy discovers an online dating site with a twist: 100% satisfaction guaranteed. A shortcut to a soul mate? Possibly; if the stunning and seemingly perfect Persy has anything to say about it.

Director: March Mercanti
Country: Canada; Running Time: 14 min
A couple’s relationship is tested when an evening with friends erupts with jealousy.

Jelly Bean
Director: Nessa Norich
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
Jelly Bean is a portrait of Reyzl, a queer woman who is earnestly seeking romance on dating apps that she can not hack. Lacking any strategy to vet a perfect match, Reyzl decides to date whoever the algorithms choose. Catastrophe ensues when Reyzl’s first online date turns out to be an appalling disappointment. When an unexpected opportunity for intimacy presents itself a second time, will Reyzl have the courage to open herself up and grasp it?

The Jellyfish Man
Director: Ben Davis
Country: United States; Running Time: 11 min
Spencer’s neighbor won’t turn off his music, but it’s unclear who’s disturbing the peace.

Director: Nicolas Guéniot
Country: Réunion; Running Time: 3 min
Jennifer is expected in a mysterious place on her birthday’s evening, although she had specifically told her boyfriend Benjamin she didn’t want anything special that day. She’s going to fight her own fear and show how an unbalanced relationship can reverse…

Director: Jack Donnelly
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 8 min
Touring actors, Jasper and Dario, arrive at ‘digs’ one evening and walk into a peculiar setup. Unintentionally they inflate tensions with their odd host when one causes a blow-up between him and his unusual ‘wife’.

Kody Switch
Director: Evan Cleaver
Country: United States; Running Time: 9 min
Kody alters the way he speaks based on the situation or who he’s talking to. Some would call it a survival technique others might think he’s clinically insane.

La Telaraña
Director: Dan Husted
Country: United States; Running Time: 14 min
The three Alvarez brothers Luís, Emilio, and Davíd struggle to keep their narcotics operation afloat while being relentlessly hunted by the DEA. Little do his two older brothers know, but Davíd’s double life as an informant for the DEA will reveal the hidden layers of guilt, greed, and ambition within their brotherhood.

Director: Camille Morales
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
A teenager who dreams of being a dancer is forced to confront her own desires with real life.

Looking Back
Director: Michael Charron
Country: United States; Running Time: 9 min
George gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a ghost living in the backup camera of his new car.

The Long Ride
Director: Stephen Robinson
Country: United States; Running Time: 20 min
A group of Texas Rangers investigate a massacre of a ranch family in the early days of the Texas Republic.

Lost Sheep
Director: Lukas Rooney
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min
When a three-legged lamb realizes he is different from the other sheep in his flock, he ventures out into the unknown and becomes lost and alone. Determined to bring the lamb home, the kind-hearted shepherd sets out on a rescue mission.

Love, Grandma
Director: Matt Spear
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
The death of a loved one is a surreal experience. Time seems to stand still and yet the world around you moves on. This is a recollection of my memories from the day my grandma died and the moments that stood out.

Director: Maja Costa
Country: Germany, Netherlands; Running Time: 15 min
Little Alya and her father are crossing the Mediterranean Sea on a boat that takes them from Africa to Europe in search of a safe place to call home. Tragically, the boat sinks. Thanks to Mångata—“the road to the moon”—the rescuers spot little Alya, the sole survivor. Many years later, we find her again as an astronaut on an important lunar mission. In the middle of the mission, a technical communication problem isolates Alya from the base.

Director: Daniel Negret
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 8 min
A Man’s commitment to his job takes a dark and surreal turn for the worst.

Mickey Dogface
Director: Zach Fleming
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
Halloween night, three friends high in a van, and an urban legend surrounding a cult singer’s mysterious death in a fire – what could go wrong?

Director: Kevin Machate
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
The touching, poignant story of an elderly couple on vacation while struggling with their physical limitations and sharing memories of a life fully lived.

The Mountain
Director: Clare Macdonald
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 15 min
Matthew is tired of feeling down. He wants to get help, get milk, and get back to normal. But his relentless inner voices are not going to make things easy. In fact, they’re going to make sure it’s an ice-cold uphill struggle.

Muffy & Bette
Director: Samantha Bennett
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
When a wannabe skater chickens out of going to the skate park, she drags her best friend across town to find a fabled empty pool to shred on a sweltering Summer day.

Director: Mike Doxford
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 9 min
A couple in a cafe await with trepidation their harshest critic and most important confidant… their 9 year old daughter. Here she outlines the terms and conditions she requires for the arrival of her new sibling.

Director: Jurg Slabbert
Country: South Africa; Running Time: 18 min
An Afrikaans-speaking man helps his elderly German neighbour in a time of need, despite a language barrier. In the process, he learns volumes about himself.

The Operator
Director: Matt Riley
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 20 in
The Operator follows Michael, a client contact associate as he starts another dull day of business as usual. Connecting long distance intergalactic calls from a remote satellite (not as exciting as it sounds); a bleary eyed and coffee fuelled Michael receives a distress call. No one ever receives a distress call. They barely touch on distress calls during the induction day.

Director: Joseph Samuel Meyerson
Country: United States; Running Time: 25 min
Two young men attend weekly meetings in the basement of a church to satisfy the conditions of their parole.

Director: Jordan Held
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 in
A young man must face his fears to make a personal purchase.

Parking Spot
Director: Robert Stronger
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
The last available parking spot triggers an escalating battle of furious fists and kicks.

The Perfect Place to Cry
Director: Shane Bannon
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min
Late at night, deep in the woods, a woman cries in her car. A light flickers through the trees. At the edge of her headlights’ reach, she can just make out the shape of a man. He’s coming closer.

The Phoenix
Director: Regina Pigsley
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
After successfully acquiring superpowers, a young girl attempts to fix her parents’ marriage. In the end, she learns that superpowers can’t fix everything.

The Problem With Time Travel
Director: Mike Kearby
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
A young woman visited by two time-travelers is shocked to learn that in matters regarding climate change, humans will never change even when presented with facts that would push their species to extinction.

Ride or Die
Directors: Minsun Park, Teddy Tenenbaum
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min
Three teens are on a road trip when a dangerous man with a strange affliction jumps into their car. The story he tells them is hard to believe…

She Doesn’t Like Pizza
Director: Matt McKisson
Country: United States; Running Time: 2 min
When the ugly truth about a local woman’s tastes come to light, there are dire consequences for everyone involved.

(S)hit Squad
Director: Johnathan Brownlee
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
Two hitmen, one with irritable bowel syndrome, face complications during their latest assignment.

Smiley Death Face
Director: Andrew Patrick Torrez
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min
A young girl stumbles into a text message conversation with an anonymous person that communicates entirely in Emojis.

Social AnnXiety
Director: Jason C. Brown
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min
Everyone loves a party. For Annie, a social gathering is an opportunity to live out every worst-case scenario before stepping foot through the door.  Really, what’s the worst that could happen?

The Social Chameleon
Director: Alex Ross
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
Cosmo the chameleon doesn’t fit in with the other animals. No matter how hard he tries, he just can’t seem to find his place in the jungle. Then, everything changes when he meets another chameleon who shows him how to live by his own true colors!

Director: Rachel Fowler
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 11 min
A photographer comes to take remembrance portraits for a family who have suffered a stillbirth.

That’s Our Time
Director: Alex Backes
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
Danny’s stuck in a dead-end job. It keeps him focused on the clock and unable to connect with those around him. At their final session, his sympathetic therapist tries to help him realize that it’s more important to focus on the time you have left than the time you’ve already spent.

Those Who Run
Director: Nick Milczarczyk
Country: Canada; Running Time: 14 min
When a track star is caught using performance enhancers by her rival, she takes desperate measures.

Director: Amelia Sears
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 15 min
A weekend away at the seaside is Ellie’s first family holiday since she and Nick had Harry. But holidays are not like they used to be. Neither is her marriage or her body.

Trail Boss
Director: Stephen Robinson
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
A young girl in late 1800’s Texas is forced to manage the sale of her family’s cattle after the head of the family falls ill.

Director: Madelaine Moore
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 15 min
When Ella discovers that her internet date, the recently bereaved Mark, sleeps in a giant bird’s nest made of clothes, she must choose whether to stay in her own comfort zone, or take part in his unconventional grieving process.

Until the End
Director: Joshua Wisdom
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 min
With less than an hour until the end of the world, a lonely man seeks comfort from the nearest possible stranger who mistakes him for her late husband.

Director: Dania Bdeir
Country: Lebanon; Running Time: 15 min
A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom.

Directors: Rolfin Nyhus, Steven Brumwell
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 16 min
His worst fears seemingly realised; a distraught father takes one last walk through his ruined world. For most people, being at the centre of their own world and having a loving family is a wonderful thing. For Charlie, it’s literally a nightmare. Waving explores the anguish of a father in self-imposed exile to shield his family from his obsessive-compulsive disorder and the emotionally destructive thoughts he cannot escape.

The Well
Director: Peter Stanley-Ward
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 9 min
Known as the outsider, Trish leads three ‘friends’ to a secret well in the hope to build friendships. When they realise the potential of the well, they get a terrifying reminder to always be careful what you wish for…

Werewolf Babysitter
Director: Patrick Meimari
Country: Canada; Running Time: 3 min
A Grindhouse style trailer for a movie so terrifying, you’ll be running home to mama. Nothing can prepare you for Werewolf Babysitter.

West by God
Director: Scott Lazer
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
A West Virginia teenager goes on a date with a local drug dealer where she catches a peek into his world and psyche that breaks her expectations.

What We Share
Director: Maya Avidov
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 12 min
When Brian returns to home after being released from prison he’s confronted by his daughter Deborah. Their terse exchange reveals what lies beneath their heartache and anger caused by the death of the missing matriarch.

Where’s Weirdo
Director: Duncan Peake
Country: Australia; Running Time: 9 min
A young bookstore owner accidentally unleashes a demonic creature who takes the form of a famous children’s book character.

Director: Case Avron
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min
When the power goes out in an old farmhouse, Clair must venture down into the basement to reset the breaker box. Equipped with nothing but a janky wind up flashlight, Clair uncovers evidence that there might be an unwanted guest on the property.

Wok Hei
Director: Joel Salaysay
Country: Canada; Running Time: 10 min
A first-generation Asian-Canadian mother of two endeavours to restore a rusty family wok, and in-so-doing, reconnect with her cultural roots.

Written in Ink
Director: Cordelaine Kline
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min
A man hangs a noose, feeds his cat, and starts writing his suicide note, but his pen runs out of ink.


Andrew After Angola
Director: Will LaCalle
Country: United States; Running Time: 40 min
Andrew After Angola follows a re-entry program created to help former prisoners rebuild their lives in Louisiana and explores the complex background of the program’s founder, Andrew Hundley. Andrew is in a unique position to speak to this experience, having spent years in Louisiana’s largest prison, Angola, for a crime he committed at age 15.

Benny: Our Musical Lineage
Director: Dave Garcia
Country: United States; Running Time: 16 min
Three generations, spanning 70 years, sharing their passion for music, family and purpose.

Crosses in the Dust
Director: Christine Kane
Country: Mexico, United States; Running Time: 11 min
At the Arizona-Mexico border, the Sonoran Desert has been weaponized as part of the “Prevention Through Deterrence” policy, which has cost the lives of thousands of migrants since its inception in the mid-1990s. Crosses in the Dust follows a law professor and her students as they assist organizations fighting the ongoing immigration crisis along the border while honoring those who have perished on their journey into America.

In the Rearview
Director: Meagan Massa
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min
As two siblings – the filmmaker and her bother – look back on a road trip with their father 20 years ago, they discover their memories have faded, but the feelings they share remain the same.

Inside the Beauty Bubble
Directors: Cheryl Bookout, Cheri Gaulke
Country: United States; Running Time: 31 min
Enter a pastel dreamland of 3,000 vintage beauty artifacts in the desert community of Joshua Tree, California and meet “America’s hairstorian” Jeff Hafler as he struggles to keep his roadside attraction afloat during a remarkable year that changes his life and the lives of his husband and son.

It’s in the Voices
Director: Field Humphrey
Country: United States; Running Time: 17 min
Historian Clint Bagley revisits an oral interview he conducted in 1976. As he dives deeper into the interview, we learn about Daisy Greene and her community of Greenville, Mississippi.

La Cosecha
Director: Samuel Díaz Fernández
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 min
In her new home of Austin, Texas, Nolvia finds her independence through delivering farm fresh produce and navigating the roads of the immigrant experience:

Director: Vincent Mann
Country: United States; Running Time: 22 min
Ocean chronicles the extraordinary journey of a young boy named Ocean who, after a near-death experience, returns to life with a profound perspective on existence. As Ocean navigates the challenges of growing up, his unique outlook on life and death impacts everyone around him.

Python Huntress
Directors: Nicholas Orris, Matt Deblinger
Country: United States; Running Time: 19 min
A glimpse into the life of Donna Kalil, an environmentalist who spends her nights patrolling the Florida Everglades in search of the Burmese Python–an invasive apex predator that has devastated local wildlife.

Quilted Education
Director: Kayla Robinson
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
In the era of critical race theory being challenged, books banned and history watered down, it’s important, more now than ever, that the responsibility of teaching Black History go beyond the educational institution. My mother, Karen Robinson, is a shining example of this. A historian and skilled quilter, she has used her talents to create beautiful works of art to educate for decades.

They Call Me Manu
Director: Hannah Moore, Diana Durazo
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min
Manu makes jewelry and sells it outside of the Chelsea Flea Market. His materials come from the dumpsters and sidewalks of New York City. As he works, stories begin to flow.

Director: Anna Hopkins
Country: United States; Running Time: 12 min
Underpaint follows the filmmaker, Anna Hopkins, as she wanders through an art gallery. Noticing a young girl on a gallery visit with her dad, Anna embarks on a journey through memories and conversations she had with her own father, Tom Hopkins, a painter himself. She explores personal reflections on her father’s death, his worldviews, his art practice, and his impact on her life.

Women in Aviation
Directors: Keith Famie, Brendan Martin
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 min
Four Michigan female pilots tell the history of the courageous women that flew before them and reveal a bright future of possibilities for aspiring young girls in aviation.


Director: Jeff Hilliard
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 min

Anna Please
Director: Austin Leih
Country: United States; Running Time: 5 min

Baker Hotel
Director: Billy Cano
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 min

Drug Bleed
Director: Trevor Chase
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 min

Every Moon Is Blue
Director: Ryan Thomas
Country: Australia; Running Time: 5 min

Finger Bang Your Day
Directors: Jeff Hilliard, John Orphan
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min

Director: Matthew John Lawrence
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min

Directors: Chris Johnson, Erik Passoja
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min

I’m Not Fine
Directors: Madison Olandt, Taylor Olandt
Country: United States; Running Time: 3 min

Living All of Life
Director: Marlén Ríos-Farjat
Country: Cuba; Running Time: 5 min

My Lady
Director: Grant Weinraub
Country: United States; Running Time: 5 min

When I Take My Eyelashes Off (You Forget That I’m Pretty)
Director: Jackie Pardue Scripps
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 min


Bad Words
Writer: Stuart Alan Creque

Writer: Brian Rawlins

Bite Marks
Writer: Rachel Debolski

Crimson Haze
Writer: Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy

The Divers
Writer: Allison Calloway

Ese Día (That Day)
Writer: Alycya Magana

George and Benji
Writer: Shanna Riker

Halloween Kisses
Writer: Veronica Cooper

I See Her Everywhere
Writer: Isabella Rodriguez

Las Maldecidas (The Cursed Ones)
Writer: Alycya Magaña

Moments to Midnight
Writer: Paulina Manseau

Writer: Ben Tedesco

Please Stand By
Writer: David Michael Sutera

Reality Bytes
Writers: Jonathan Brandon Hammond, Ryan Thomas Roach

The Roll
Writer: James Franklin McQueen II



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