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2024 Sundance: Palme d’Or Winner Flóra Anna Buda, The Procedure’s Carlos A.F. Lopez & Malia Ann Among Short Films Selections

2024 Sundance: Palme d’Or Winner Flóra Anna Buda, The Procedure’s Carlos A.F. Lopez & Malia Ann Among Short Films Selections

The chances of having your short film selected for Sundance Film Festival’s Short Film program is 0.004 percent – which means the lucky 53 short film selections from over 12,000 short film submissions (5,323 were from the U.S., and 6,799 were international) will truly have the new (or added) opportunity to shine. Among the names that stick out, we find Palme d’Or winner Flóra Anna Buda (“27”), Calvin Lee Reeder’s The Procedure producer Carlos A.F. Lopez‘s “Dream Creep” and Malia Ann (daughter of the former U.S president) who was selected for TIFF back in September and will now head over for a Park City premiere to “The Heart.” Here are the 53 short films:

U.S. FICTION SHORT FILMS

Bay of Herons / U.S.A. (Director: Jared James Lank) — Calling on the strength of his ancestors, a young Mi’kmaq man reflects on the pain of bearing witness to the destruction of his homelands.

Boi de Conchas (The Shell Covered Ox) / U.S.A., Brazil (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Daniel Barosa, Producers: Nikolas Maciel, Bruno Alfano) — While mourning her missing sister, Rayane balances helping her fisherman father and practicing for the school’s music festival — provided she doesn’t become an ox first, a misfortune assailing several teenagers in the area. Cast: Bebé Salvego, Daniela Dams, Walter Balthazar, Bianca Melo, Giulia Sposito, Kaique Martins De Paula, Kyuja Ohanna, Maitê Dias, Tainara Corrêa, and Thiago Klein. World Premiere.

Border Hopper / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Nico Casavecchia, Screenwriter: Mercedes Arturo, Producers: Blaine Morris, Robin Spears, Gabriela Ortega) — When a Latinx filmmaker is offered a dream job abroad, she discovers a supernatural way to navigate the U.S. immigration system and get the coveted travel permit she needs. But what seems like a magic solution soon shows unexpected consequences. Cast: Gabriela Ortega, Santiago Reyes MacAllister. World Premiere.

BUST / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Angalis Field, Screenwriters: Angalis Field, Eliza Barry Callahan, Producer: Drake Burnette) — A trans cop with the New York City Police Department goes undercover to make a drug bust. Cast: Lux Pascal, Nicky DeMarie. World Premiere.

Didn’t Think I’d See You Here / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Dylan Guerra, Producers: Yaron Lotan, Laura Dupper) — Rory thinks there’s a ghost haunting his shower and decides to investigate its origin. But when he goes to a party and meets a romantic interest, his spectral mystery begins to unravel. Cast: Yaron Lotan, Holly Settoon, Marquis Rodriguez, Jose Useche.

Dream Creep / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos A.F. Lopez, Producers: Megan Leonard, Bobby McHugh, Jonathan Caso, Zeus Kontoyannis) — A couple awakens in the night to sounds emanating from an unlikely orifice. Cast: Ian Edlund, Sidney Jayne Hunt. World Premiere.

Flail / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ben Gauthier, Screenwriter: Allie Levitan, Producers: Jack Forbes, Maddie Thomas) — It’s her boss’s birthday, and Allie is trying as hard as she can. Cast: Allie Levitan, David Brown, Natalie Rotter-Laitman, Isabella Gerasole, Krista Levitan.

Grace / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Natalie Jasmine Harris, Producers: Samiyah Wardlaw, Julia Kennelly, Latavia Young, Morgan B. Powell) — Sixteen-year-old Grace prepares for her baptism in the rural 1950s South. When she learns she must repent before the ritual, she begins to question the budding romantic feelings she has toward her best friend, Louise. Cast: Jordan Rayanna Wells, Alexis Cofield, Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, C L Simpson, JeVon Blackwell. World Premiere.

guts / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Margaux Susi, Screenwriter: Jan Rosenberg, Producers: Grayson Propst, Angela Giarratana) — Desperate for help, a woman in recovery asks an unlikely stranger on a dinner date. Cast: Kate Burton, Angela Giarratana. World Premiere.

The Heart / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Malia Ann, Producer: Ayesha Nadarajah) — A lonely man grieves the death of his mother after an argument about groceries and an odd request in her will. Cast: Tunde Adebimpe, LaTonya Borsay.

The Looming / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Masha Ko, Producers: Caroline Gluck, Andrey Nikolaev, Kolten Horner) — When a virtual home assistant speaker, Luna, picks up the strange noise Chester has heard in his house, he realizes that it may not be a symptom of dementia. Cast: Joseph Lopez, Kolten Horner, Brianne Buishas, Alyssa Nicole.

The Looming Cloud / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Matthew Tyler, Producer: Connie Shi) — Three siblings return home after their mother’s death and face their most daunting task: figuring out how to post about it on social media. Cast: Mitzi Akaha, Jason Amerling, Connie Shi. World Premiere.

The Lost Season / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Kelly Sears) — Winter is over. Continue watching. Cast: Skinner Myers. World Premiere.

Pasture Prime / U.S.A. (Director and Producer: Diffan Sina Norman, Screenwriter and Producer: Carolyn Purnell) — A widow falls for a younger man she meets at the Cowboy Church. Cast: Gail Cronauer, Patrick Kirton, Chris Alan Evans, Susan Kirton, Joshua Ogden-Davis. World Premiere.

Pathological / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alison Rich, Producers: Bridgett Greenberg, Ingrid Haas, Avtar Khalsa, Peter Principato, Todd Ruhnau) — A woman who’s a pathological liar wakes up one day to discover her lies have become true. Cast: Alison Rich, Meaghan Rath, Luke Cook, Adam Lustick, Heather Pasternak, George Kareman. World Premiere.

The Rainbow Bridge / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dimitri Simakis, Producers: Suki-Rose, Michael Scott) — Tina and her elderly dog MeeMoo discover a clinic promising human-to-pet communication. However, two sinister doctors uncover a bond between them so strong, it transcends time and space. They might be the key to something greater, but at what cost? Cast: Thu Tran, Heather Lawless, James Urbaniak, David Brown, Fat Tony. World Premiere.

Say Hi After You Die / U.S.A. (Director: Kate Jean Hollowell, Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, Producer: Miranda Kahn) — A grieving woman believes her deceased best friend has come back to visit her… as a port-a-potty. Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil. World Premiere.

SHÉ (SNAKE) / U.S.A., U.K. (Director and Screenwriter: Renee Zhan, Producer: Jesse Romain) — Fei is the top violinist in her elite youth orchestra. When another Chinese violinist arrives to challenge her place, Fei’s internal demons take external form. They whisper to her, urging her to be the best, no matter the cost. Cast: Xiaonan Wang, Alina Lew, Simon Paisley Day, Elizabeth Chan, Leslie Ching, Grace Fan. U.S. Premiere.

Thirstygirl / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alexandra Qin, Producers: Brooke Goldman, Alexandra Qin) — On a road trip with her younger sister, Charlie struggles to hide a secret sex addiction. Cast: Samantha Ahn, Claire Dunn.

INTERNATIONAL FICTION SHORT FILMS

Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy / Indonesia (Director and Screenwriter: Khozy Rizal, Producers: John Badalu, Sue Turley) — A married couple who own an Odong-Odong spend their days entertaining other people’s children. Between relatives, self-doubt, and an explosive confrontation, they uncover why they have not been blessed with a child. Cast: Arham Rizky Saputra, Rezky Chik, Hj. Sugiati, Alghifari Jasin, Alif Anggara, Sri Eka Putri.

Bold Eagle / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Whammy Alcazaren, Producer: Alemberg Ang) — Trapped at home with hallucinogenic drugs and his talking cat, an “alter” anonymously performs lascivious acts on the Internet, seeking refuge in the strong arms of strange men, hoping to masturbate his way to true happiness. Cast: Brian, Monty, Gio Gahol, Ricky Davao.

Bye Bye, Bowser / Austria (Director: Jasmin Baumgartner, Screenwriter: Lorenz Uhl, Producer: Dominic Spitaler) — Luna rebels against the indifference of her artsy friends by writing a punk song about Laugo, the construction worker from across the street. Will the clashing worlds of affluent neglect and working life lead to the collapse of their romance? Cast: Luna Jordan, Laurence Hadschieff. North American Premiere.

Dreams like paper boats / Haiti (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Samuel Frantz Suffren) — Edouard and his daughter live with a cassette received from his wife in the United States, a long time ago. After years of absence, what can we expect from a distant love? Cast: Kenny Laguerre, Zaraina Ruth-Amma Suffren, Clorette Jacinthe. World Premiere.

Essex Girls / U.K. (Director: Yero Timi-Biu, Screenwriter: Busayo Ige, Producers: Angela Moneke, Simon Hatton) — After an incident at her high school pulls her into the orbit of the only other Black girl in her year, “Essex Girl” Bisola is plunged into a journey to discover a whole new side of herself. Cast: Busayo Ige, Corinna Brown, Maisie Smith, Adrianna Bertola, Krysstina Frempong, Rebecca Dike.

Lea Tupu’anga / Mother Tongue / New Zealand (Director: Vea Mafile’o, Screenwriter: Luciane Buchanan, Producers: Alex Lovell, Eldon Booth) — A young speech therapist disconnected from her Tongan heritage lies about her Tongan language skills to get a job. Out of her depth, she must find a way to communicate or risk her patient’s life. Cast: Luciane Buchanan, Albert Rounds, Mikey Falesiu, Michael Koloi, Elizabeth Thomson.

The Masterpiece / Spain (Director and Producer: Alex Lora Cercos, Screenwriter and Producer: Lluis Quilez, Screenwriter: Alfonso Amador, Producers: Sandra Travé, Josemari Martínez, Néstor López) — Leo and Diana, a wealthy couple, meet Salif and Yousef, two scrap dealers, at a recycle center. Offering them more junk, Diana invites them to their mansion, but the immigrants actually might be the ones with something she wants. Cast: Daniel Grao, Babou Cham, Melina Matthews, Adam Nourou, Guido Grao. World Premiere.

Phoebe / Greece, Cyprus (Director and Screenwriter: Vaggelio Soumeli, Producers: Janine Teerling, Marios Piperides, Romana Lobach, Paul Typaldos) — Having been recently discharged from rehab, 26-year-old Phoebe takes her young son on a road trip that will determine their future. Cast: Athina Pavlou Benazi, Nikolas Drosopoulos, Orestis Raissis. World Premiere.

Pisko the Crab Child is in Love / Japan (Director and Screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa, Producer: Yasuo Suzuki) — Pisko’s father is a crab while her mother is human. Pisko falls in love with her teacher but is heartbroken when he leaves her because she is half-crab. Pisko finally finds love and companionship with her friend Kubokayo. Cast: Aiko Kano, Saya, Maki Fukuda, Kanta Sato. U.S. Premiere.

Shalal / Iran (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Amir Ali Sisipour, Producer: Rostam Sisipour) — Mehran and his mother, Ziba, don’t have shadows, so they use a black fur to catch the shadows of people and drink them. One day, Mehran decides to catch someone’s shadow alone. Cast: Masomeh Emamai, Amir Reza Sisipour, Javad Ansari, Fataneh Imani.

The Stag / Taiwan (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: An Chu, Producer: Tzu-Yuan Wang) — At a deer farm in Changhua County, a middle-aged man is asked to cut off a stag’s antlers in front of his two kids. Cast: Yung-He Chen, Wei-Jen Chen, Si-Kai Chen. International Premiere.

Terra Mater / Rwanda (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Kantarama Gahigiri) — Technology and waste in our lands, systems, and bones. Here she stands, confidently, like a goddess surrounded by endless mountains of plastic, stench, and rare earths. She cannot help but wonder, where is the space for healing? Cast: Cheryl Isheja.

Viaje de Negocios / Mexico (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Gerardo Coello Escalante, Producers: Amandine Thomas, Nahim Abuxapqui, Rodrigo Solano) — Daniel arrives at school wearing brand-new sneakers from America, gifted to him by his father. When he sees another boy wearing the same sneakers, he begins to suspect that their shoes are the key to a terrible secret. Cast: Rodrigo Mota, Pablo Torres, Gerardo Saldaña, Lila Urbina. World Premiere.

Voice Ever / France (Directors and Screenwriters: Céline Perreard, Pauline Archange, Producer: Anne Luthaud) — Over the course of an evening, Romane, Sarah, Emmanuel, and Boris connect on Voice Ever, a new dating app where you choose your date based on their voice. Their weaknesses and vulnerabilities will surface in their desire to meet. Cast: Alexandra Desloires, Kelly Bellacci, Vincent Pasdermadjian, Xavier Lacaille, Maya Raad, Edith Baldy. North American Premiere.

ANIMATION SHORT FILMS

27 / France, Hungary (Director and Screenwriter: Flóra Anna Buda, Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron, Gábor Osváth, Péter Benjámin Lukács) — Alice is 27 years old today. Even though she is suffocating a bit, she still lives with her parents and tends to live in her dreams to escape her dreary everyday life.

Baigal Nuur – Lake Baikal / Canada, Germany (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Alisi Telengut) — The formation of Lake Baikal in Siberia is reimagined, featuring the voice of a Buryat woman who can still recall some words in her endangered Buryat language (a Mongolian dialect). U.S. Premiere.

The Bleacher / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Nicole Daddona, Adam Wilder, Producer: Zeus Kontoyannis) — The disappearance of her sock at a local laundromat sends a fragile Rita over the edge. Hellbent on finding it, she searches deep and gets sucked into a washing machine, entering an otherworldly cycle from which she may never escape. Cast: Kate Micucci, Ben Sinclair, Sky Elobar. World Premiere.

Bug Diner / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Phoebe Jane Hart) — A dissatisfied marriage, a secret crush, and workplace fantasies come to a head in a diner run by a mole with a hot ass. Cast: Jacob Levy, Phoebe Hart. World Premiere.

Dona Beatriz Ñsîmba Vita / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Catapreta, Producer: Miriam Rolim) — Kimpa Vita fulfills the prophetic mission of leading her people in a racist and unequal society. Set in contemporary Brazil and inspired by the true story of Kimpa Vita, a 17th-century Congolese religious leader. North American Premiere.

Drago / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Daniel Zvereff) — A young boy’s dream of becoming a doctor is challenged when war forces him and his mother to flee their village and start a new life in New York City. World Premiere.

Larry / U.S.A. (Directors: Takeshi Murata, Christopher Rutledge, Screenwriter: Takeshi Murata) — A dog loses its grasp of shape and time while balling like Shaq.

Martyr’s Guidebook / Poland (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Maks Rzontkowski) — Tony is the ultimate good guy, sometimes to a fault. From nabbing the smallest slice of cake in grade school to guiding lost strangers in the city, his kindness knows no bounds. He also lives with an angel. Cast: Maks Rzontkowski, Julia Woronowicz, Jaś Dąbrówka. International Premiere.

Matta and Matto / Switzerland (Directors and Screenwriters: Bianca Caderas, Kerstin Zemp, Producer: Joder von Rotz) — In a time when all interpersonal closeness is forbidden, the hourly hotel Vaip offers wondrous rooms where guests snuggle up to devices built with great skill and let themselves fall into the perfect illusion of human touch. Cast: Bianca Caderas, Kerstin Zemp, Etienne Mory, Amélie Cochet, Danay Gijzen, Martine Ulmer. North American Premiere.

Miisufy / Estonia (Director: Liisi Grünberg, Screenwriter and Producer: Aurelia Aasa) — Digital pet cat Miisu gets tired of her owner and starts to revolt. Inspired by Tamagotchi — observing the world through the eyes of digital pets. Cast: Maria Ehrenberg.

NONFICTION SHORT FILMS

14 Paintings / China (Director and Producer: Dongnan Chen, Producers: Jiaqing Lin, Chongjun Li, Jisong Li, Heying Chen) — A field study of 14 paintings from China’s Dafen village, as the government rebrands the copy-painting district as a hub for original art. North American Premiere.

ALOK / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Hedison) — A compelling portrait of Alok Vaid-Menon, acclaimed nonbinary author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. Executive-produced by Jodie Foster. World Premiere.

Bob’s Funeral / U.S.A (Director, Screenwriter, Animator, and Producer: Jack Dunphy) — Searching for the root of generational trauma, the director sneaks a camera into his estranged grandfather’s funeral. World Premiere.

Ekbeh / U.S.A. (Director: Mariah Eli Hernandez-Fitch) — While learning to make gumbo, the creator shares personal stories about their grandparents as a way to honor and preserve their Indigenous history and life.

Merman / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Sterling Hampton IV, Producer: Monica Lawless) — A 58-year-old Black Queer man speaks the truth about his life as an emergency nurse, a leather enthusiast, husband, and civil rights advocate.

Object 817 / Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Olga Lucovnicova, Producers: Frederik Nicolai, Annabel Verbeke) — A poetic journey to the heart of the Ural, where the discovery of an alien creature uncovers a haunting secret. World Premiere.

Salone Love / U.S.A., U.K., Sierra Leone (Director: Tajana Tokyo, Producers: Tabs Breese, India Wadsworth) — A scrapbook of opinions and advice about love in Sierra Leone.

The Smallest Power / Iran (Director and Producer: Andy Sarjahani, Producer: Daniel Lombroso) — During the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising in Iran, in the aftermath of the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, a medical resident finds her voice when the chaos in the streets comes to her hospital floor.

To Be Invisible / U.S.A. (Director, Screenwriter, and Producer: Myah Overstreet) — Every week for the past three years, Alexis and Kellie have stood outside Durham County’s child welfare agency, demanding the return of their children. Together, they embark on a journey to bring their children home. World Premiere.

Winding Path / U.S.A. (Directors: Alexandra Lazarowich, Ross Kauffman, Producer: Robin Honan) — Eastern Shoshone MD-PhD student Jenna Murray spent summers on the Wind River Indian Reservation helping her grandpa anyway she could. When he suddenly dies, she must find a way to heal before realizing her dream of a life in medicine. World Premiere.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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