The Las Vegas Film Festival today announced the shorts, labs and special screening for the upcoming 12th edition to take place April 28 through May 5, 2019 around Downtown Las Vegas, as well as the Brenden Theatres and Palms Casino Resort.
Making up this year’s shorts jury are Shari Frilot, Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival; Trevor Groth, Executive Producer, 30WEST; and Amanda Salazar, Programmer, SFFILM Festival. The shorts jury will select the Best Fiction, Best Documentary, Best Animation and Best Local Film. Winners will be announced on the last day of the Festival on Sunday, May 5, with the winner of each category receiving $500.
Adams (Director: Tom Stern) – One of the first film adaptations of Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders’ work, this examination of white male rage against “the other” tells the story of Roger (Patton Oswalt) and Adams (Fred Armisen), two neighbors locked in an escalating conflict.
Akado (Director: Kim Belov) – A cable guy comes to customer’s apartment and meets his fate.
Boxed (Director: Wanjiru Njendu) – A fictionalized short film based on the true story of the terrifying daring escape of Henry “Box” Brown, who used creativity to escape from slavery in 1849 by mailing himself to freedom.
Boyana (Director: Traiana Nescheva) – IVANA and LILI sneak out from under the protective watch of Ivana’s father, Bulgarian crime boss, DRAGANOV for a night of fun. The night starts out with handsome men and drinks, but suddenly there is a turn of events.
a Cactus Story (Directors: Mike & Jerry Thompson) – A cactus breaks down how life works.
Getting in a Van Again (Director: Jonny Look) – In order to extract real emotions out of his new song, Eric D. Johnson of the Fruit Bats has teamed up with an Emotional Engineer to help record his new record. The engineer uses impractical but seemingly effective methods to infusing the song with the essence of old soup and toilet plungers alike.
Hello Darling (Director: Anais Thomassian) – A fed up woman transforms after she finds something in an old woman’s closet.
Jay (Directors: Angela Chen & Ayinde Anderson) – Jay is a tone poem about the unspoken effects of a deteriorating union between a boy’s mother and father and how it impacts his own journey in becoming a man.
The Katy Universe (Director: Patrick Muhlberger) – Katy went to a wedding and developed superpowers.
Las Vegas Bender (Director: Danny Corey) – Tucked away in a dusty valley within the Mojave Desert sits Las Vegas. Once an unassuming watering stop along the Southern Pacific Railroad line, Las Vegas has grown to become the epicenter of excess, the center of sin, and the perfect place for pleasure. But to many who live there, Las Vegas represents much more than the adult playground where millions of people from around the world visit each year. To them, Las Vegas is home. Through the eyes of a neon artists, this short film will aim to better understand Las Vegas. It will be a study of art, family, the meaning of home, and the intersection at which they all collide. Through flashback storytelling techniques, we’ll see Leticia’s story unfold from a young girl enamored by the glitzy neon of Las Vegas Blvd to her inspired work as a neon bender. In addition, we’ll have a look at Leticia’s other influence, her mom – burlesque legend Gypsy Louise.
Lexical Gap (Director: Yoko Okumura) – LEXICAL GAP is a wild lady-punk musical short film about redefining the meaning of virginity. Purity is a myth!
Loneheart (Director: T.J. Penton) – After losing his wife & child to tragic events, a successful attorney falls deep into depression and then finds himself homeless with nothing left to live for. And all the remains from his past is a letter written to him by his daughter.
Miller and Son (Director: Asher Jelinsky) – A transwoman mechanic lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, until an unforeseen event threatens the balance of her compartmentalized life.
Moth (Director: Shu Zhu) – CHRISTINE is a working actress fading into obscurity. Day by day, she works tirelessly with the futile hope of her career getting a second wind. As countless others in Los Angeles, she blindly follows her dream like a moth to flame, taking a toll on her family and herself. We observe the banality of Christine’s daily routines like a fly on the wall. Through her tasks, we get a glimpse of Christine’s deteriorating mental state and an impending transformation.
The Night Shift (Director: Yumeng Guo) – THE NIGHT SHIFT is a short film about an extraordinary ordinary night shift worker, Clemencia Cardoza, a Mexican American woman who works in the city of San Francisco. While the city sleeps Clemencia and many others like her work hard to realize their dreams for a better life.
One in a Million (Directors: Ross Kauffman and Jeremiah Zagar) – By the time Tyler turned 10, he lost his ability to walk, see, and hear, but the cause remained a mystery. His family eventually discovered a rare disease diagnosis program, where scientists searched Tyler’s DNA for clues to his condition. What they discovered led to a life-changing treatment.
Razzle My Berries (Director: Heather Aradas) – A 1950’s beauty shop holds the town’s secret to youth in a pretty little jar. Sarah, the new holiday hire, learns what some women will do to keep themselves looking razzled and dazzled!
Steve and Cruz Have a Talk (Directors: Ryan & Cody LeBoeuf) – Steve and Cruz have a talk.
Sundowners (Director: Lisa Steen) – Ali and her father cook, drink, and ignore what’s going on in the next room.
The Toll Road (Director: Tom Riley) – On the eve of their ninth anniversary, a sweet but naive young couple face a boorish adversary who threatens to ruin their big day. Written by Screen International Star of Tomorrow Richard Galazka, actor-turned-director Tom Riley’s debut short stars Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), Billy Gardell (Mike and Molly), and Anthony Carrigan (Barry).
un(feeling) (Director: James A. Heim) – After a devastating break-up, Josh suddenly loses his ability to feel… ANYTHING. He ventures back into the world searching for something to re-spark his feelings and mend his broken heart, finding the cure when he least expects it.
The Velvet Underground Played at My High School (Directors: Robert Pietri and Tony Janneli) – This animated documentary is the story of the Velvet Underground’s disastrous first public performance. While on stage for merely 20 minutes, The Velvet Underground performed three songs “There She Goes,” “Venus in Furs,” and “Heroin.” The Summit High School audience responded with, as a band member recalled in 1983, a murmur of surprise that greeted the appearance that “increased to a roar of disbelief as the band started to play which swelled to a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment…” Half the audience walked out.
VULTURE$ (Director: Mark Bricker) – vul·ture /ˈvəlCHər/: A contemptible person who preys on or exploits others.
Water Horse (Directors: Sarah Wisner and Sean Temple) – The sudden appearance of an abandoned boat turns the last day of summer into a Mother’s nightmare.
WESTSIDE (Directors: Johann Rucker & Vince Briscoe) – Most people don’t associate segregation with the West Coast, let alone one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Why is that? Institutional racism has had its tendrils in Vegas for decades, the effects of which are still being felt today.
Returning this year for the sixth time is the Music Video Lab, a collaboration between musicians and filmmakers in Las Vegas to produce music videos. Each team receives a $500 grant from the Las Vegas Film Festival to fund their project. The Music Video Lab premiere party will be held at the Downtown Container Park on Friday, May 3 at 10 p.m.
This year’s teams are: Daulton Hopkins and Vincent Briscoe, BLSS and Diana Sheik Yosef, Sonia Barcelona and Cody LeBoeuf, Zelly Vibes and Leslie Gomez, Damaris and Shane Gallo, DrumBots and Matthew Quiatchon, and DrexLizard Abraxel and Ryan LeBoeuf.
Another favorite local program, the Young Cinema Lab, returns for a fifth year. Children are taught how to write a screenplay with the assistance of UNLV film students, who each receive a $300 grant. The Las Vegas Film Festival then helps the UNLV filmmakers bring the screenplay to life with a special screening event at the Festival, to be held Sunday, April 28 at 3 p.m. at Brenden Theatres at the Palms Casino Resort. This year’s films include:
The Best Advice (Director: Chris Ramirez; Screenwriter: Lucy Foster)
David and the Talking Dog (Director: Alec D. Espinoza; Screenwriter: Aaron Casanova)
Little Miss Supreme (Director: Ky Guerrero; Screenwriter: Edie Foster)
Magical Friendship (Director: Itxel Garcia; Screenwriter: Chloe Sligar)
The Magical Place (Director: Tanis Tamberella; Screenwriter: Aoife Decker)
Shoot or Fly (Directors: Hylarie H. Aguilar and Johana Martinez; Screenwriter: Paige Alyssa)
Vampire Zombies Will Never Hurt You (Director: Sophie Van; Screenwriter: Sarai Alvizo)
Zombie World (Director: Alexander Ray; Screenwriter: James Pitzler)
New in 2019 is the Del Sol Lab. The Las Vegas Film Festival has collaborated with Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts by connecting UNLV Film students with Del Sol’s Cinematic Art students to produce two short films. The high school students will discover the process of filmmaking through a short film mentorship program led by college filmmakers. Each team receives a production grant to fund their short film and access to equipment provided by the UNLV Film Department. The lab takes the students through pre-production, production, and post-production, and offers them an opportunity to connect with a network of industry professionals by screening their work with a festival audience.
The UNLV Film Student Producers for the Del Sol Lab are Aaron Lockhart, Mikayla Viloria and Christian Islava. This year’s two films are:
First Day, by Del Sol Cinematic Art students Jeffrey Wallitsch, Timothy Burford, Alma Muñoz and Julieta Aldrete.
The Tire, by Del Sol Cinematic Art students Felicia Zito, Joshua Mathisen, Valeria Tellez and Julieta Aldrete.
Another new lab for 2019 is the Community Doc Lab, a collaboration between local documentary filmmakers and a group of seven high school students. The students are introduced to the fundamentals of service-oriented non-fiction filmmaking. By the end of four weekly sessions, the students will have each produced their own documentary short film which will premiere collectively at the Las Vegas Film Festival. Specific focus is placed on ethics, research, and social responsibility. This year’s participants are Monserrath Sanchez, Aracely Hernandez-Canizalez, Marycarmen Sanchez-Barba, Aida Garcia-Lopez, Nyree Walton, Gabriela Ocampo and Natalie Maldonado. Each student is awarded a $200 grant to fund their project.