The PBS Online Film Festival returns for a seventh year July 16-27 featuring 25 short-form independent films from multiple public media partners and PBS member stations. The PBS Online Film Festival is part of a multi-platform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent films, and to provide a showcase for diverse storytelling that inspires and engages.
This year’s lineup features films from the Black Public Media, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Independent Television Service (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcasting, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, To The Contrary, Vision Maker Media and World Channel, as well as PBS local member stations, including DPTV (Detroit), KLRU-TV Austin PBS, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, NET (Nebraska), Twin Cities Public Television, UNC-TV, Vermont PBS, WNET (New York) and WSIU (Illinois).
“Every year, PBS and its member stations challenge ourselves to elevate the breadth and depth of innovative storytelling through our work with the PBS Online Film Festival,” said Ira Rubenstein, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer. “The world of filmmaking is changing, and filmmakers can make as much of an impact on small screens as they do on big screens. The festival amplifies unique stories from an exciting collection of filmmakers across the country, reaching viewers on platforms as diverse as the films themselves.”
Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite film to win the “Most Popular” award, and a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize.” This year’s jury members include International Documentary Association Executive Director Simon Kilmurry, Black Film Critics Circle Founder Mike Sargent, WGBH Educational Foundation Executive Producer Judith Vecchione, Firelight Media & Films Documentary Lab Manager Chloe Walters-Wallace, Digital Media Executive Adnaan Wasey, Senior Director of Programming & Development at PBS Pamela Aguilar, FRONTLINE Producer & Editor Michelle Mizner and American Experience Producer Eric Gulliver.
Short films featured in the 2018 PBS Online Film Festival include:
Black Public Media
“Heroes of Color”
An educational video series highlighting the outstanding achievements of people of color.
“Flip the Record”
In this 1980s coming-of-age story, a Filipino American teen flips the narrative by teaching herself how to DJ.
A dark family secret opens up a young child’s eyes to a sobering reality, but also love.
“Hungry for Love”
Two down-and-out foodies embark on an all-night dining adventure through Sapporo, Japan.
“The Book Club”
A sequel to the stop-motion short film “The List,” “The Book Club” is, at heart, a love story, but carries a deeper message about staying true to oneself.
“Pops Ep. 1 “La Guardia Adjusts to Fatherhood””
Pops tells three stories of African Americans from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and regions, all deeply engaged in the beautiful struggle of fatherhood.
“The F Word Ep. 1 ‘F Is for: Foster Care’”
A queer Bay Area couple bumble through a bureaucratic maze as they seek to form their family by adopting from foster care.
“Animal Facts Club Presents – Endangered Rituals”
The curious mating rituals of the endangered Attwater Prairie Chicken and Houston Toad.
Latino Public Broadcasting
A Costa Rican girl decides if she will bring her pet turtle across the U.S. border.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting
“Mr. United States”
Today, Avery D. Wilson appears to be a confident pillar of his community, but in this uplifting story, he reveals otherwise. Avery was bullied as a child and later questioned how being gay would affect his faith. As an adult, he feared how his parents would react to his secret. It wasn’t until years later that Avery learned to accept himself – to love himself – and become Mr. United States.
“Desde el principio”
In the darkness of a soundproof recording studio, a conversation sparks between two voice actors dealing with a shared tragedy.
“The Melancholy Man”
“The Melancholy Man” tells the story of the world’s saddest man who meets the world’s saddest woman. Through a fantastical lens, these characters come together in their harmonious misery and find something that surprises them both.
“Total Eclipse of the Heartland”
From sky to prairie, relive the Great American Eclipse of 2017 in 360 degrees.
When his girlfriend dies during childbirth, Makana, a young Native Hawaiian man, must perform a traditional birthing ritual with his girlfriend’s overbearing father.
A Muslim hospital chaplain honors his Southern heritage while challenging white supremacy.
To The Contrary
“Ties That Bind”
A personal and heartfelt documentary on one family’s experience with gender transition.
Twin Cities Public Television
“I Am a Refugee”
There are 64 million refugees in the world. This film explores their experience.
“Women in Sports Leadership”
Explore why having women coaches matters, hear some of their barriers and celebrate a few successes.
A cowgirl from Natchez, Mississippi pursues her lifelong dream to become the first African American female in the National Finals Rodeo.
Isolated, desperate, and haunted by his coal-stained birthright, Father continues his daily descent into the accursed Maplemine — even after it has crippled his ancestors and blinded his youngest son.
Vision Maker Media
“A Redemption Story”
See how Leo Yankton (Oglala Lakota) contributed in efforts to protect the water on the Standing Rock reservation and continues to find ways to have a positive impact with Native Country and the rest of the world.
“Black Muslim Woman”
Against a rhythmic score, Mikel Aki’leh delivers a powerful poem on beauty and blackness.
“Stronghold of Resistance: Sable Island & Her Legendary Horses”
This short film takes viewers to the shores of Sable Island, a remote strip of land less than a mile wide, whose only full-time inhabitants are a herd of near-mythical wild horses; no human attempts at colonization have ever succeeded.
A sealed door divides a little boy from his mother. He will go to great lengths to be with her, but when that barrier breaks down, the boy will have to become an adult.
“Super Predator: Preludes of the Black Fish”
Parallels the predator-prey relationship of a black man and social boundaries.