The Oscar®-qualifying HollyShorts film festival revealed its impressive opening night line-up featuring Sir Steve McQueen’s prostate cancer documentary Embarrassed which stars Idris Elba who shares “the stats are shocking”, fellow star Morgan Freeman insists “get on your duff, and go and get your exam”, and Chiwetel Ejiofor CBE adds “it’s really important to get the message out there”. Double Oscar® winner Ben Proudfoot’s MINK! tells the story of Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Rory Keenan’s Bump stars British fan favorite Gemma Arterton, Frank Chi’s 38 And The Garden is produced by Oscar® winner Travon Free and revisits an Asian American athlete’s story. Mike Kearby’s comedy The Problem With Time Travel touches on climate change, whilst Tara Westwood’s Triggered stars Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Law and Order’s SVU Robert John Burke. Coral Amiga’s Crosshairs shares the story of two boys whose friendship is derailed, whilst Evan Miller’s Thoughts and Prayers all-star cast includes Adrianne Palicki and Zachary Levi.
The Epic/Dread Horror Program opens with Kelsey Bollig’s Kickstart My Heart, Russell Goldman’s Return to Sender starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Allison Tolman. Alexandra Magistro’s Love You, Mama starring Madeleine Arthur (ABC’s The Family), Samantha Sloyan (Midnight Mass) and Matt Biedel (Midnight Mass). More exciting films in this strand include Alexander Thompson’s Black Dragon (Rồng đen), Kantu Lentz’s Coche Bomba and Nuhash Humayun’s Moshari.
Nicole Castro, Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont said in a joint statement: “It’s truly a pleasure to announce this year’s official selections for HollyShorts as we embark on our 18th anniversary of the Oscar-qualifying festival with 2 Academy Award winners this past year and 6 nominees. This year, we have a record of 41 countries represented in the official selections, which truly speaks to the global impact short films are having. We can’t wait to share these incredibly talented short films at this year’s festival and thank all the filmmakers who have submitted along with all of our amazing staff and incredible sponsors for supporting us.”