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Peace By Chocolate directed by Jonathan Keijser
Peace By Chocolate directed by Jonathan Keijser

The 13th Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) will be held October 21-24, 2021, featuring a return to in-person screenings. The festival will include 67 films (12 narrative features, 11 documentary features, 44 short films) from 20 countries. A central theme of this year’s edition of NIFF will be a celebration of the art of making the short film, including the first time the festival has showcased a specially curated shorts program for its Opening Night Film experience. The film festival will close with a special presentation of Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future featuring a live performance of John Williams’ classic score by the Naples Philharmonic, conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly.

On Thursday, October 21, the Opening Night shorts program at Hayes Hall will feature: Anton Dyakov’s Russian short Boxbalet, about a fortuitous meeting between a delicate ballerina and a rough, surly boxer; Annie St-Pierre’s Canadian short Like the Ones I Used to Know, about a Christmas filled with tension and anticipation in 1983; Cheri Gaulke’s short documentary Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color, about Alma W. Thomas, a Black woman artist who broke color barriers on and off the canvas; Dava Whisenant’s comedy Photo Op, about the perils of trusting a stranger with your phone; and Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s British short Roy, about a reclusive widower who accidentally calls an adult hotline worker.

Hayes Hall will also be the location for the special presentation of Zemeckis’ classic crowd pleaser Back to the Future (1985) on Sunday, October 24. The Naples Philharmonic, led by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, will perform Alan Silvestri’s classic score live with the film.

On Friday and Saturday night, Artis—Naples will present “Screenings Under the Stars” in Norris Garden on Artis─Naples’ Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus, with two films that are part of this year’s juried competition. The documentary feature Holy Frit will screen on Friday night, and the narrative feature Women Is Losers will screen on Saturday night.

The Narrative Features Juried Competition slate includes the Florida Premiere of Jonathan Keijser’s Peace by Chocolate, about a young Syrian refugee who struggles to settle into small- town life in Nova Scotia, Canada, after his family’s chocolate factory is destroyed during the war. Christopher Kahunahana’s Waikiki is a cinematic allegory of love and loss, where a hula dancer fights for survival—and her sanity—in the shadows of Waikiki, and Lissette Feliciano’s award- winning Women Is Losers tells the story of bright and talented Catholic schoolgirl Celina Guerrera in the ’60s, who survives a difficult home life by following the rules, until an act of indiscretion creates a series of devastating consequences.

The three titles making up NIFF’s Documentary Features Juried Competition include the East Coast Premiere of Christopher Chambers’ A Fire Within, about three Ethiopian women who flee to the U.S. after surviving torture in their home country only to discover that the man responsible for their torture now lives in America and works at the same hotel as one of them. Bernadette Wegenstein’s The Conductor takes audiences into the heart of classical music and into the soul of one of its top artists, internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop. Justin Monroe’s Holy Frit focuses on talented yet unknown L.A. artist Tim Carey, who bluffs his way into winning the commission to create the largest stained-glass window of its kind. The problem is: He doesn’t know how to make it. However, he might just be saved after he finds a famous glass maestro by the name of Narcissus Quagliata.

Additional highlights among the narrative feature selections include the North American Premiere of Martin Copping’s Australian drama, The Dunes, in which a renowned journalist returns to his beachside hometown to investigate the disappearance of the tenant in his childhood home. Three films making their Florida premieres are Roshan Sethi’s romantic comedy 7 Days, about an Indian couple—set up on a date by their traditional Indian parents—who are forced to live together for a week, which in turn forces them to learn some things about each other; Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe’s The Beta Test, about a soon-to-be married Hollywood agent whose life is turned upside down after accepting a mysterious invitation for an anonymous sexual encounter with a secret admirer; and Josef Kubota Wladyka’s Catch the Fair One, about a Native American boxer struggling to pick up the pieces of her life while staying in a women’s shelter, until she takes on the human trafficking network responsible for abducting her younger sister two years ago.

Additional documentary feature highlights include the East Coast Premiere of Robin Hauser’s $avvy, which investigates women and money, questioning why women often take a backseat to managing their finances. Two films making their Florida premieres include Douglas Tirola’s Bernstein’s Wall, a portrait of famed composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein; and Scott Gawlik’s Set! which focuses on a group of highly competitive table setters as they vie for the Best of Show ribbon at “The Olympics of table setting.”

Themes for the curated short film programs include Growing Pains, Family Affair, True Stories, Discoveries, Around the World, Florida Films and the Student Filmmaker Showcase.

All screenings will be in-person, marking a return to Hayes Hall, Daniels Pavilion, Norris Garden and Silverspot Cinema. The highest priority of Artis—Naples is the health and safety of patrons, staff, filmmakers and the community at large. In order to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone, Artis─Naples COVID protocols will be observed for all NIFF events.

Artis─Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen said, “We are so pleased to return to theaters as well as viewing films together, and we very much look forward to welcoming filmmakers back safely to our cinema-loving community here in Naples and Southwest Florida. The Naples International Film Festival is an important part of our multidisciplinary cultural offerings each season, and we are thrilled to be able to share these films.”

“This year’s edition of the Naples International Film Festival will have another outstanding lineup of incredible films from all over the world, including a variety of dynamic and thought-provoking short films that we are delighted to highlight on opening night and throughout the program,” said Festival Producer Shannon Franklin. “We pride ourselves on having something for everyone and can’t wait to enjoy all of these films on the big screen together with our wonderful Naples audiences.”

Films in the Naples International Film Festival’s competition categories will be vying for more than $10,000 in prizes, including the Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and Best Short as well as the Focus on the Arts Award, given to a Narrative or Documentary film with an emphasis on one or more of the visual or performing arts. For the third year in a row, there will also be juried awards in the Narrative and Documentary features categories.

Through a special collaboration with Avow, a local non-profit that provides hospice, palliative care and grief support, the Naples International Film Festival will also showcase a special world premiere screening of Renee Stoll and Joel Collazo’s Avow Presents: Life Lessons Learned in the Military on Saturday, October 23 in Daniels Pavilion. The film features stories and interviews with several Southwest Florida’s military veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines. Though the veterans come from different backgrounds and served in different situations as part of different generations, the film shows the commonality of their experiences and the lessons that have stayed with each of them to this day.

In addition to the remarkable film lineup, there will also be two Panel Discussions at Silverspot Cinema moderated by renowned book and film critic Elaine Newton. On Friday, October 22 Newton and five filmmakers will discuss The Importance of Independent Film, while on Saturday, October 23, Newton will lead a conversation about Artists Through the Lens that will focus on films that examine the lives and works of visual and performing artists.

2021 Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) official selections

OPENING NIGHT SHORTS PRESENTATION

Boxbalet
Director: Anton Dyakov
Country: Russia; Running Time: 16 min
One day, a delicate ballerina named Olya meets the rough, surly boxer Evgeny. The contrast between their worlds and their philosophies is so sharp that even the possibility of their paths crossing seems incredible.

Like The Ones I Used to Know
Director: Annie St-Pierre
Country: Canada; Running Time: 18 min
Christmas, 1983. Julie and her cousins ate too much sugar, Santa is late and Denis is outside in his car, anxious at the idea of picking up his children at his ex-in-laws’ house.

Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color
Director: Cheri Gaulke
Country: US; Running Time: 20 min
Alma W. Thomas, a Black woman artist, broke color barriers on and off the canvas, yet she did not receive national attention until she was 80.

Photo Op
Director: Dava Whisenant
Country: US; Running Time: 3 min
A humorous—yet cautionary—tale about the perils of trusting a stranger with your phone.

Roy
Directors: Tom Berkeley, Ross White
Country: UK; Running Time: 16 min
When a reclusive widower accidentally calls an adult hotline worker, an unlikely friendship is born.

SPECIAL SCREENING

Avow Presents: Life Lessons Learned in the Military
World Premiere
Directors: Renee Stoll, Joel Collazo
Country: US; Running Time: 60 min
After conducting interviews with 17 of Southwest Florida’s military veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines, Avow presents a compilation of their stories. Avow Presents: Life Lessons Learned in the Military chronicles the lives of these veterans and the life lessons they learned during their time in the military. Though they come from different backgrounds and served in various generations, each of them has carried those lessons have stayed with each of them to this day.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

JURY COMPETITION

Peace By Chocolate
Florida Premiere
Director: Jonathan Keijser
Country: US; Running Time: 96 min
After the bombing of his father’s chocolate factory, Tareq Hadhad, a charming young Syrian refugee, struggles to settle into his new small-town life in Nova Scotia, Canada. Still intent on pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor, Tareq finds himself caught between forging his own path and joining his family in rebuilding their legacy as chocolate makers.

Waikiki
Director: Christopher Kahunahana
Country: US; Running Time: 88 min
In this cinematic allegory of love and loss, a hula dancer fights for survival—and her sanity—in the shadows of Waikiki, offering an unflinching glimpse into paradise where there remains hope through human connection and reconnection to ʻaina (nature).

Women Is Losers
Director: Lissette Feliciano
Country: US; Running Time: 124 min
In 1960s San Francisco, bright and talented Catholic schoolgirl Celina Guerrera survives a difficult home life by following the rules, until an act of indiscretion creates a series of devastating consequences. As Celina faces the compounded obstacles of being young and alone, she sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future that sets new precedents for the time.

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

7 Days
Florida Premiere
Director: Roshan Sethi
Country: US; Running Time: 86 min
Ravi and Rita are set up on a date arranged by their traditional Indian parents. When unforeseen circumstances force them to live together for a week, Ravi discovers that Rita is not quite the traditional girl of his dreams—but her “bad influence” might be just what he needs. As irritation gives way to intimacy, they are forced to confront what they have been hiding from each other, from their families, and from themselves.

The Beta Test
Florida Premiere
Directors: Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe
Country: US; Running Time: 94 min
A soon-to-be married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious invitation for an anonymous sexual encounter with a secret admirer and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, murder and infidelity in this scintillating satire.

Catch The Fair One
Florida Premiere
Directors: Josef Kubota Wladyka
Country: US; Running Time: 85 min
Kaylee “K.O.” Uppashaw, a Native American boxer, struggles to pick up the pieces of her life as she spends her days working at a diner and her nights sleeping in a women’s shelter, dreaming of the life she once had. But after a clandestine rendezvous with a private investigator, Kaylee embarks on the fight of her life as she takes on the human trafficking network responsible for abducting her younger sister two years ago.

The Dunes
North American Premiere
Director: Martin Copping
Country: Australia; Running Time: 85 min
Nicholas Rice, a renowned journalist for the Los Angeles Times, returns to his beachside hometown of ‘The Dunes’ to investigate the disappearance of the tenant in his childhood home. While he’s there, a mysterious figure from his past reemerges and threatens his entire existence.

Final Set
Director: Quentin Reynaud
Country: France; Running Time: 105 min
Thomas was once renowned as a young tennis prodigy, but he never had the career he hoped for. At 37, despite his declining physical fitness, he decides to compete in the qualifying rounds of the French Open for one last shot at glory.

Hive
Director: Blerta Basholli
Country: Kosovo/Switzerland/Macedonia/Albania; Running Time: 84 min
Hive is a searing drama based on the true story of Fahrije, who has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo. In order to provide for her struggling family, she pulls the other widows in her patriarchal village together to launch a business selling hot pepper preserves. Together, they find healing and solace—but their will to begin living independently is met with hostility.

The Humans
Director: Stephen Karam
Country: US; Running Time: 108 min
When Erik Blake gathers three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter’s pre-war duplex in lower Manhattan, not all goes according to plan. As darkness falls outside the crumbling building and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake family’s deepest fears are laid bare.

One Moment
Director: Deirdre O’Connor
Country: US; Running Time: 155 min
One Moment is the humorous, heartwarming story of middle-aged siblings struggling to manage their own lives while also caring for their recently widowed, aging father. Although the family is at odds over how best to care for their father, they are united in their desire to ensure his well-being and peace of mind—without them losing their own. Welcome to the Sandwich Generation.

Risks And Side Effects
Director: Michael Kreihsl
Country: Austria; Running Time: 92 min
When a routine check-up reveals that Pilates trainer Kathrin is suffering from kidney disease and needs a transplant, the fragility of the relationships within and between two couples is laid bare. Eventually, the question can no longer be avoided: What is true love?

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

JURY COMPETITION

A Fire Within
East Coast Premiere
Director: Christopher Chambers
Country: US; Running Time: 85 min
This is the incredible true story of three Ethiopian women who flee to the U.S. after surviving torture in their home country, only to discover that the man responsible for their torture now lives in America… and works at the same Atlanta hotel as one of them. A Fire Within is an inspiring, timely story about three resilient survivors taking a stand to make their voices heard and courageously attempting to bring their torturer to justice—right here in America.

The Conductor
Director: Bernadette Wegenstein
Country: US; Running Time: 90 min
The Conductor takes audiences into the heart of classical music and into the soul of one of its top artists, internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop, giving viewers backstage passes to the artistry and energy that rewards her audiences and inspires her students. With unprecedented access, the director and film crew accompany Alsop to concerts around the world, from São Paulo, Lucerne and Baltimore to her opening concert in Vienna.

Holy Frit
Director: Justin Monroe
Country: US; Running Time: 120 min
In this three-year race against time, talented yet unknown L.A. artist Tim Carey bluffs his way into winning the commission to create the largest stained-glass window of its kind. The problem is: He doesn’t know how to make it. After a desperate search, he finds someone who might have the answer: a famous glass maestro by the name of Narcissus Quagliata.

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

Bernstein’s Wall
Florida Premiere
Director: Douglas Tirola
Country: US; Running Time: 100 min
Douglas Tirola’s thrilling documentary portrait of famed composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein uses the maestro’s own voice with an incredible visual language that has the rhythms of a symphony to create an intimate, complicated, heartbreaking and passionate life story that ultimately inspires us to make a change in our society today.

Blues On Beale
Director: Larry Lancit
Country: US; Running Time: 78 min
Blues acts come from around the world to compete for top honors in the 36th Annual International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the last event of its kind before Covid 19 put the world on hold. Experience 5 days of rocking, crowd pumping Blues competition packed with passion, music, and suspense. Discover the people who keep The Blues alive and the powerful international impact of America’s musical gift to the world.

In Balanchine’s Classroom
Director: Connie Hochman
Country: US; Running Time: 88 min
In Balanchine’s Classroom transports audiences back to the glory years of George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet through the remembrances of his former dancers and their quest to fulfill the vision of a genius. Opening the door to his studio with never-before-seen archival footage of Balanchine at work and interviews with the dancers who carry on his legacy today, this is Balanchine as viewers have never seen him.

Me To Play
Director: Jim Bernfield
Country: US; Running Time: 72 min
Two actors suffering from debilitating, incurable Parkinson’s disease undertake an act of bravery as their swansong to their decades-long careers—putting up an off-Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s comic yet difficult masterpiece Endgame, which Beckett wrote after his own mother passed away from effects brought on by Parkinson’s. Endgame makes the case that there is nothing funnier than unhappiness. Me to Play proves it.

$avvy
East Coast Premiere
Director: Robin Hauser
Country: US; Running Time: 79 min
$avvy investigates the historical, cultural and societal norms around women and money. With incisive humor and captivating honesty, $avvy questions why women often take a backseat to managing their money—and reveals why it is increasingly critical for women to take the reins of their financial futures.

Set!
Florida Premiere
Director: Scott Gawlik
Country: US; Running Time: 105 min
Table setting: For most of us, it’s a chore. But for some, it’s a sport. Once a year, a group of highly competitive table setters vie for the Best of Show ribbon at the Orange County Fair competition, often referred to as “The Olympics of table setting.”

Try Harder!
Director: Debbie Lum
Country: US; Running Time: 85 min
San Francisco’s Lowell High, one of the best public schools in the country, draws high achievers—nearly 70% of whom are Asian Americans—from across the city into a fiercely competitive universe. The camera follows seniors through the hallways and into classrooms as the pressure intensifies to impress admissions officers at elite universities with their report cards, test scores and overall awesomeness. The students proudly own their identity as nerds and tell their stories with candor and humor despite the stress. Will they achieve their dreams? And what happens if they fail?

SHORT FILMS

SHORTS PACKAGE #1: GROWING PAINS

Dọlápọ̀ Is Fine
Director: Ethosheia Hylton
Country: UK; Running Time: 15 min
Soon to leave her very British boarding school, Dọlápọ̀ is pressured to conceal her natural hair and change her name in order to get a job in the city.

Enjoy
Director: Saul Abraham
Country: UK; Running Time: 19 min
As Michael seeks novel ways to halt his spiraling depression, a moment of hope arrives via an unexpected source.

Ganef
Director: Mark Rosenblatt
Country: UK; Running Time: 14 min
Spooked by a dark tale from her mother’s childhood, a 6-year-old girl begins to imagine the adored family cleaner is a thief.

Snowy
Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis
Country: US; Running Time: 13 min
Snowy, a 4-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. What would it take for Snowy to find happiness?

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Director: Shiyue Xu
Country: China; Running Time: 12 min
Tommy grew up with a love for music, and his journey through life is mirrored by changes to the first song he learned to play: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

You Sold My Roller Skates
Directors: Margaux Cazal, Jeanne Hammel, Louis Holmes, Sandy Lachkar, Agathe Leroux, Léa Rey-Mauzaize
Country: France; Running Time: 6 min
Treachery! Lou’s mother sold his beloved roller skates at the garage sale. But when he goes looking for them in the buzzing crowd, a series of strange and revealing encounters ensues.

SHORTS PACKAGE #2: FAMILY AFFAIR

Elza
Director: Walter Mirkss
Country: Latvia; Running Time: 22 min
A young woman juggles her dreams of becoming an artist and the harsh reality of her daily life with her mother.

The Kicksled Choir
Director: Torfinn Iversen
Country: Norway; Running Time: 18 min
Ten-year-old Gabriel loves to sing and has one desire: to sing in the local choir. The group rides kick-sleds through the snowy landscape of northern Norway and is renowned for their kindness and charity towards the village refugees. But when Gabriel’s father gets into a fight with one of the local refugees, Gabriel’s dream of joining the Kicksled Choir faces a new challenge.

Pain
Director: Anna Rose Duckworth
Country: New Zealand; Running Time: 9 min
A young girl is confronted with the earth-shattering realization that her father is not invincible when he suffers an injury while playing cricket.

Safe
Director: Ian Barling
Country: US; Running Time: 16 min
On a winter night in Atlantic City, the manager of a defunct casino must reckon with his parental failures when his unruly son needs help out of an illicit bind.

Sisters
Director: Jess Brunetto
Country: US; Running Time: 17 min
Tensions rise when two estranged sisters are forced to confront each other while preparing for their ailing mother’s death.

SHORTS PACKAGE #3: TRUE STORIES

Golden Age Karate
Director: Sindha Agha
Country: US; Running Time: 5 min
A high school student helps a group of senior citizens get through a vulnerable time by teaching them karate.

How to Fall in Love in A Pandemic
Director: Michael-David McKernan
Country: Ireland; Running Time: 11 min
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, romance accelerates as two filmmakers are forced to move in together only two weeks after meeting each other.

The Queen of Basketball
Director: Ben Proudfoot
Country: US; Running Time: 22 min
She is one of the greatest living women’s basketball players. Three national trophies. Scored the first basket in women’s Olympic basketball at the ’76 Olympics. Drafted to the NBA. But have you ever heard of Lucy Harris?

When We Were Bullies
Director: Jay Rosenblatt
Country: US; Running Time: 36 min
A mind-boggling “coincidence” leads the filmmaker to track down his fifth-grade classmates and teacher to examine a bullying incident from 50 years ago.

SHORTS PACKAGE #4: DISCOVERIES

A Roll in The Hay
Director: Geoffrey Fighiera
Country: France; Running Time: 18 min
Laurent takes his mistress to his country vacation home for the weekend, leaving his wife, Isabelle, bedridden and in the midst of a nervous breakdown. But Isabelle makes a surprise appearance, armed with a revolver and determined to make them face the price of betrayal…

Brief Survey
Director: Dava Whisenant
Country: US; Running Time: 3 min
A good-hearted hiker on a mountaintop finds himself overcome by nature’s majesty… only to be drawn into a cosmic nightmare.

The Criminals
Director: Serhat Karaaslan
Country: France/Romania/Turkey; Running Time: 24 min
Late at night in a small Turkish town, a young couple tries to find a hotel room to spend the night together, but without a marriage certificate, they are rejected by every hotel. After coming up with a trick that they think will work, the situation gets out of hand.

Kitchen By Measure
Directors: Sólrún Ylfa Ingimarsdóttir, Atli Arnarsson
Country: Iceland; Running Time: 13 min
After seeing his wife struggle with mundane tasks, the inventive Ingólfur gets hooked on the idea of building her the perfect kitchen.

Mutiny!
Director: Matthew Gratzner
Country: US; Running Time: 17 min
A progressive, swashbuckling captain must deal with a crew set in their old ways, confronting gender inequality and disregard for their own overt masculinity.

SHORTS PACKAGE #5: AROUND THE WORLD

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run
Director: Maria Brendle
Country: Switzerland; Running Time: 39 min
A young Kyrgyz woman is kidnapped and forced to marry. A drama about the desire for freedom in the clutches of tradition.

The Best Orchestra in The World
Director: Henning Backhaus
Country: Austria; Running Time: 14 min
Ingbert, a sock, applies for a position as double bass player at the Vienna State Orchestra. Bad idea.

Don Vs Lightning
Director: Big Red Button
Country: UK; Running Time: 13 min
When Don, an elderly Scottish grump, finds himself the victim of multiple lightning strikes, he begins to worry that his quiet, orderly life may never be the same again.

Step Into the River
Director: Weijia Ma
Country: China/France; Running Time: 15 min
Lu and Wei are two young girls living in a village nestled on the banks of a river. Because the one-child policy and the preference for having boys has led some families to drown baby girls, they both have a special relationship with this river, which looks like a cradle of tragic stories.

SHORTS PACKAGE #6: FLORIDA FILMS

The Best Show in Town
Director: Amity Hoffman
Country: US; Running Time: 42 min
Over the course of nine months, a theater troupe of 50+ actors, all with special challenges and abilities work to put together one of the most engaging theater performances you will ever see.

The Keys, A Cat, And A Black Fish
Director: Gonzalo Mejía
Country: US; Running Time: 18 min
Ilford is a positive and happy man who is emotionally abused by his wife. One day, some strange occurrences steer him into making an unlikely decision.

When She Flies
Director: Daniel M. Rodriguez
Country: US; Running Time: 16 min
A dorky college student falls for a free-spirited musician and is faced with a decision: Let her fly away to follow her dreams, or follow his heart.

SHORTS PACKAGE #7: STUDENT FILMMAKER SHOWCASE

Anopsia (K-12)
Director: Joshua Bowen
Country: US; Running Time: 10 min
In the wake of a recent accident, Selia must overcome her physical challenges in order to achieve mental serenity.

Breaking Vanilla (College)
Director: Hollis Rosenkranz
Country: US; Running Time: 8 min
Vanilla may be the world’s favorite flavor, but its story is anything but plain.

Down Seafaring Way (K-12)
Directors: Roxy Morris, Sophia Lee, Shiva Kansagara, Meia Voss
Country: US; Running Time: 8 min
On a cool evening, two sisters walk down an empty street when they realize everything is not as it seems.

Escalation (K-12)
Director: Jake Yun
Country: US; Running Time: 2 min
Engaged in an epic battle that seems limitless, two determined competitors up the ante until we wonder where it will end.

Gretel & Hansel: A New Musical (College)
Director: Alex Preston
Country: US; Running Time: 9 min
When Gretel is discovered stealing her witch stepmother’s spell book, she and her skeptical brother, Hansel, set out on a quest to find their mother—and to uncover the mysterious truth about their family.

Legend Of the Claw (College)
Director: Shailyn Farmer
Country: US; Running Time: 2 min
A young girl saves a plushie from a monstrous claw machine.

Miss Fortune (K-12)
Director: Samiksha Thakur
Country: US; Running Time: 12 min
Jane lands a date with a boy—a typical high school romance. But come date night, Jane receives a mysterious handwritten note in a fortune cookie…

Nai Nai (College)
Directors: Hsiu Hsiu Lin, Minori Uemura
Country: US; Running Time: 7 min
When a Chinese grandmother is introduced to her granddaughter’s Japanese fiancé, memories of trauma suffered at the hands of Japanese soldiers resurface, and she is forced to face her past.

Namak (College)
Director: Surya Ranganathan
Country: US; Running Time: 22 min
Imprisoned after uniting to protest against the British salt tax in India, several inmates are left to fight their internal struggles of class and caste.

Perennial (K-12)
Directors: Grace Shao, Shailee Sankhala
Country: US; Running Time: 4 min
The story of how Laurie and Mary Ellen Park saved their beloved plant nursery during the 2020 Bond Fire in Southern California—and how the power of family held them together.

Ruff And Buff (College)
Director: Mee Huh
Country: US; Running Time: 3 min
Harmony dreams of winning a dog show with her tiny dog, Thor. Unfortunately, Thor has something else in mind.

Stay On the Line for Further Assistance (College)
Director: Ashlynn Judy
Country: US; Running Time: 5 min
When a lazy telemarketer accidentally calls an active kidnapping case, confusion and chaos ensue as he tries his best to save the hostage.

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