Aspen Film releases 2018 Shortsfest lineup |

Aspen Film releases 2018 Shortsfest lineup

Staff report
"Home Shopper," a short film directed by Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel and starring Sophie Kargman (pictured) and Armie Hammer, is among the 77 selections for Aspen Shortsfest.
Courtesy photo |

Aspen Film on Thursday announced its program for the 27th annual Aspen Shortsfest. The short film festival will run from April 3 to 8 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

The festival will host 11 programs featuring the newest and most innovative works of short form cinema. More than 2,500 films were considered and 77 chosen for the Oscar-qualifying festival.

The 2018 slate of films includes four world premieres, four international premieres, nine North American premieres and six U.S. premieres from filmmakers representing 29 countries.

It marks the first Shortsfest under new director of programming Landon Zakheim, who also works as a short film programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.

“Landon and his team of programmers from the international festival circuit have woven together a program rife with engaging, entertaining and moving stories—all sure to transport viewers from Aspen around the world,” Aspen Film executive director Susan Wrubel said in the program announcement.

The nonprofit film society has partnered with the online video platform Vime for the festival. The company will present its new Vimeo Staff Pick Award, a live iteration of the platform’s Staff Picks laurel, as part of the official Shortsfest awards ceremony. Shortsfest is the second major film festival – after SXSW – to receive the designation from the creator-first platform. The winning film will be available for viewing on the Vimeo Staff Picks channel the day after the Shortsfest awards dinner.

“We’re excited to partner with Aspen Shortsfest, one of the premier shorts festivals in the world, to present our second-ever live Staff Pick Award and to honor another great creator,” said Sam Morrill, Director of Curation, Vimeo.

Intimate in scale, Shortfest affords the chance for attendees to meet guest filmmakers and industry experts at program Q&As, panels and receptions.

The festival is an industry-recognized destination for discovering breakthrough talent. Notable alumni whose short films first screened at Aspen Shortsfest include Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell”).

“I am thrilled to present this incredible program for one of the world’s greatest showcases for short film,” Zakheim said. “From award-winning festival favorites to fresh discoveries, the talent of these filmmakers presenting their work demonstrates great hope for the future of film that we can’t wait to share with you.”

Tickets will go on sale to the public Friday, March 23. Advance tickets are available for Aspen Film members beginning Wednesday, March 21.

Tickets are available through the Wheeler Opera House box office and New this year, Aspen Film will offer a “Super Screener” pass ($150) for young professionals aged 35 & under, which includes access to all programs, panels and receptions.

The full lineup of Shortsfest 2018 selections:


An afternoon in the life of teenage Aria in Athens. (Myrsini Aristidou, Cyprus, 14 min.)

Atlantic City

Two south Texas drifters – brothers in spirit, if not blood – come at odds when one wants to head north to look for his estranged mother. (Miguel Alvarez, USA, 15 min.)


Imbued with mystery, soul-searching and sly humor, Atelier tells the story of a woman seeking peace and quiet at a modern studio utopia. Her stay is jarringly interrupted by a sound artist while mysterious sheep close in on the house. (Elsa María Jakobsdottir, Denmark, 30 min.) US Premiere


#barewithme is a comedy about female empowerment and friendships that stay with you forever. (Ulla Heikkilä, Finland, 9 min.) International Premiere


After a cherished heirloom breaks, a grandfather and granddaughter must accept the deeper loss that binds them in order to restore music to their lives. (Cristoforo Magliozzi, USA, 7 min.) World Premiere


Leila, who is singularly androgynous, works at a casino in a predominantly male environment. A croupier by night, she returns to her hotel in the early hours of the morning while Camil, who occupies the room next to hers, disappears at dawn. (Lora Mure-Ravaud, Switzerland, 22 min.) North American Premiere

Blind Mice

A con within a con. (Nicholas D’Agostino, USA, 9 min.)


A garden-center employee fears his possible infertility and realizes that sometimes you have to swallow your pride to let love overcome. (Noël Loozen, Netherlands, 14 min.) US Premiere

Brian and Charles

A comedy about two friends who share a cottage in the English countryside. Brian is a poorly groomed, gravelly voiced farmer who suffers with depression and loneliness. Charles is a robot. (Jim Archer, United Kingdom, 12 min.)

The Burden

A dark musical is enacted in a modern market place, situated next to a large freeway. The employees of the various commercial venues, portrayed as animals, deal with boredom and existential anxiety by performing cheerful musical turns. The apocalypse is a tempting liberator. (Nikki Lindroth Von Bahr, Sweden, 14 min.)

Careful How You Go

A darkly comic three part short film about malevolent women. (Emerald Fennell, United Kingdom, 12 mins)

The Caregiver

After a short home-leave in India, Raj returns to his 85-year-old employer only to find out he’s been replaced by a Filipino caregiver named Joy. While trying to earn back his job and home, Raj realizes that the truth has many faces. (Ruthy Pribar, Israel, 12 min.) North American Premiere


When plans fall through, a six-year-old is faced with a big responsibility on a hot Texas day. (Logan George, Celine Held, USA, 12 min.)


An undocumented Brazilian immigrant living in the Boston area decides to buy a car in an effort to better his life before returning home. (Gustavo Rosa, USA/Brazil, 12 min.)

Cat Days

A film for children and adults about identity. (Jon Frickey, Germany/Japan, 11 min.)

The Climb

Kyle is feeling depressed and a weekend bike ride with his best friend, Mike, should help. Fresh air. Camaraderie. Exercise. But Mike has something to say that might ruin the ride. (Michael Covino, USA, 7 min.)


A coyote loses his wife and children from an attack of wolves. Anguished from human emotions, he’s trying to process the experience. Alongside grief and delusion, evil begins to take up more and more space. (Lorenz Wunderle, Switzerland, 10 min.) North American Premiere

Counterfeit Kunkoo

In a city that houses millions, Smita finds herself fighting beasts of a different kind as she discovers a strange pre-requisite to renting a house in middle-class Mumbai. She would make an ideal tenant – except for one glaring flaw. She is a middle-class Indian woman without a husband. An intimate perspective on the ‘ideal Indian female’ in urban India. (Reema Sengupta, India, 15 min.)


Deep inside the jungle, a group of teenage girls are being kept under supervision. Despite abandonment and hostility, Damiana hopes she can get in touch with her father. (Andrés Ramírez Pulido, Colombia/Brazil, 15 min.) US Premiere

The Day the Dogs Disappeared

A story about fear and its insidious rhetoric. (Boris Kuijpers, Ruth Mellaerts, Belgium, 20 min.) International Premiere

The Day of Your Day

Blaise is 10 years old. Blaise is in love. Blaise like to eat. Blaise is going to die. At least, that’s what he thinks. (Steve Archiepo, France, 22 min.)

Death Metal Grandma

Death Metal Grandma follows 97-year-old Holocaust survivor Inge Ginsberg’s final attempt at being recognized as a Death Metal Singer by auditioning for America’s Got Talent. Inge redefines what it means to grow old and reminds us it’s never too late to try anything. (Leah Galant, USA, 13 min.)


A couple are forced to sell their infant while in the middle of the deal it appears that the baby has respiratory problems. (Azadeh Moussavi, Iran, 15 min.) International Premiere

The Driver Is Red

Argentina, 1960: a true crime story of how secret agent Zvi Aharoni hunts down one of the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. (Randall Christopher, USA, 15 min.)

The Earth is Humming

A magnitude-7 earthquake is predicted to hit Tokyo at any moment within the next 30 years. In preparation, Japan has developed a unique relationship to disaster readiness and its implementation in daily life. (Garret Bradley, USA, 14 min.)


Faced with an emergency situation, a group of young Black and Latino friends carefully weigh the pros and cons of calling the police. (Carey Williams, USA,12 min.)


Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer. (Jeremy Comte, Canada, 17 min.)

The Full Story

Toby is selling his childhood home, but the empty house is full of memories. Fleeting happiness, a world shattered by divorce and all the rage and helplessness of being a child—can he piece together the full story before closing the door on a life? (Daisy Jacobs, United Kingdom, 7 min.) US Premiere

A Gentle Night

In a nameless Chinese city, a mother, with her daughter missing, refuses to go gently into this good night. (Qiu Yang, China/France, 15 min.)

Hair Wolf

In a black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn, the local residents fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture. (Mariama Diallo, USA, 12 min.)

Hedgehog’s Home

In a lush and lively forest lives a hedgehog. He is at once admired, respected and envied by the other animals. However, Hedgehog’s unwavering devotion to his home annoys and mystifies a quartet of insatiable beasts: a cunning fox, an angry wolf, a gluttonous bear and a muddy boar. (Eva Cvijanovi, Canada, 10 min.)

Home Shopper

In a loveless marriage, Penny finds solace in the hypnotic escape of the home shopping channel. When things take an unexpected turn, the channel proves to be her saving grace… or perhaps it was the origin of the problem all along. (Dev Patel, Singapore/USA, 17 min.)


When marine wildlife has to adapt to the pollution surrounding it, the rules of survival change. (Florian Brauch, Romain Thirion,Matthieu Pujol, Kim Tailhades, Yohan Thireau, France, 6 min.)


”I’ll give you 100 bucks” he suggests, and jokingly she agrees, and neither of them see the gravity of the situation. When a sexual boundary is transgressed, and the balance of power is shifted—what will happen to their peaceful and normal relationship? (Jonatan Etzler, Sweden, 10 min.)


A father and a son both have the same big birthmark on their butt. Believing that the two birthmarks are connected, the son scrubs his father’s birthmark to remove it, but he just can’t get rid of its trace. (Kangmin Kim, USA, 4 min.)


A hybrid between documentary, dance and fiction that poses the question: what is femininity, JUCK depicts the all-female dance group who made a name for themselves in 2013 with a video that became a viral hit all over the world. (Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, Ulrika Bandeira,Sweden, 17 min.) North American Premiere

Judith Loves Martha

A wily 87-year old New Yorker, Judith Goodwin, is one of the rare women from the 1950’s Abstract Expressionist Movement. This highly successful artist describes a creative awakening in college that led her to produce the brilliant gestural paintings she continues to make today. (Anna Gaskell, USA, 10 min.)


In 2010, a chaplain from Cheshire set up a helpline for gay farmers. Landline journeys into the world of the people who called. (Matt Houghton, United Kingdom, 12 min.) North American Premiere


Shai used to be a tough commander and Kedem used to be his tormented rookie. Things change. (Assaf Machnes, Israel, 17 min.) US Premiere

Lonesome Willcox

Willcox, Arizona is a country music town that isn’t what it used to be. The town’s only radio station has but one employee – a local pariah who lives in the studio, and who has a complicated and difficult relationship with the music he plays every day. (Ryan Maxey, Zack Wright, USA, 12 min.)

Loser Leaves Town

Jose, an eleven-year-old luchador, uses his vivid imagination to make it through the toughest weekend of his life. (Mark Nickelsburg, USA, 12 min.) World Premiere

Lost Property Office

Sometimes people get lost in their work. (Daniel Agdag, Australia, 10 min.)

Magic Alps

When an Afghan refugee arrives in Italy with his goat to seek asylum, an Italian immigration officer finds himself in a difficult position because he doesn’t know what to do with the animal. Based on a true story. (Andrea Brusa, Marco Scotuzzi, Italy, 15 min.) North American Premiere


Manivald, a fox, is turning 33. His unhealthy co-dependence with his mother is about to collapse when the washing machine breaks down, and a sexy and adventurous wolf repairman arrives. (Chintis Lungren, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, 13 min.)


14-year-old Marlon is visiting her mother in jail for the first time since her imprisonment. The young girl, protected by her family and relatives, stubbornly believes that her mother is still her childhood heroine. (Jessica Palud, Belgium/France, 20 min.)


Faced with the challenges presented by her daily routine, Ramona tries to take refuge in the relationship that unites her to her daughter and granddaughter. (Alvaro Gago, Spain, 20 min.)


Teeny thought it was just another routine babysitting job until she’s shocked to meet the client. As the day goes on, Teeny decides to become the woman she had no idea she always wanted to be…until she gets caught. (Anna Margaret Hollyman, USA, 10 min.)


A young employee of a rural dairy farm is experiencing anxiety regarding her unexpected pregnancy. She finds it difficult to ignore her feelings as she is surrounded by pregnant cows on the farm whose milk she helps to collect after they give birth. (Heather Young, Canada, 14 min.)

Mother’s Day

An annual bus service that takes children to visit their mothers in prison explores the impact of mass incarceration on a generation of youth (Elizabeth Lo, RJ Lozada, USA, 9 min.)

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes

Filmmaker Charlie Tyrell seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late-father through the personal belongings he left behind… including a stack of VHS dirty movies. Narrated by David Wain. (Charlie Tyrell, Canada, 13 min.)

Negative Space

My dad taught me how to pack … (Ru Kuwahata, France, 6 min.)


A young couple’s romantic weekend getaway is interrupted by a birth control mishap in this stop-motion animated comedy. (Emily Ann Hoffman, USA, 12 min.)

Nursery Rhymes

On the side of a rural highway, a bizarre encounter with a metal head takes a profound turn. (Tom Noakes, Australia, 5 min.)


Nuuca is an evocative meditation on Indigenous women’s integral connection to land and the ways in which the extractive industries rape of the earth is directly linked to the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls. (Michelle Latimer, USA/Canada, 12 min.)

The Passage

Phil, wide-eyed and mute, is on the run after escaping captivity. His childlike ineptitude keeps getting him into trouble, and the agents who’ve been hired to recapture him are always one step behind. The result is a series of globe-trotting misadventures and surprising new friendships. (Kitao Sakurai, USA, 22 min.)

Personal Truth

Inspired by “Pizzagate,” the director re-examines a conspiracy from his youth and uncorks a sometimes funny, sometimes serious meditation on skepticism. (Charlie Lyne, USA/United Kingdom, 18 min.)


Javier fights against the prejudices of small farming community to win his place in it. (Leticia Akel, Chile, 13 min.)

Poles Apart

In a harsh Arctic landscape, a hungry and solitary polar bear has to decide if a naïve Canadian grizzly bear is her food or her friend. (Paloma Baeza, Singapore, 12 min.)


Possum is a tale of two young brothers who accompany their lumberjack father to a forest campsite. At odds with each other, their relationship meets the ultimate test when they venture into the woods, hunting a notorious possum named Scar. (Dave Whitehead, New Zealand, 15 min.)


The drawn dog Rouff awakens and he goes on an adventure together with his paper folded friend. (Benjamin Brand, Johannes Engelhardt, Markus Eschrich, Johannes Lumer, Julius Rosen, Germany, 6 min.)

Salamat from Germany

Desperate to escape Lebanon and settle in Europe, Lillo buys himself a Syrian passport and is ready to appropriate the Syrian identity to obtain asylum. However, what he might not be ready for yet, is everything that comes along with being a Syrian refugee today. (Una Gunjak, Rami Kodeih, France/Lebanon, 17 min.) North American Premiere


Made as the result of a conversation with Werner Herzog on a park bench in Cuba and shot in the small town of San Antonio De Los Banos, Salon examines a local woman’s unusual motives for visiting the beauty salon every day. (Bob Gallagher, Ireland, 2 min.)

Sam Did It

Sam is about to meet his celebrity idol … the only problem is, Sam works in a morgue, and his idol is dead. (Dominic Burgress, USA, 10 min.)

Solar Walk

Solar Walk shows a journey through space and the process of creation within an animated cosmic chaos. (Reka Bucsi, Hungary, 21 min.) North American Premiere

Still Water Runs Deep

A father’s concealed emotions begin to stir when faced with the portent of a mission son. (Abbesi Akhamie, USA, 15 min.) US Premiere

The Tesla World Light

New York, 1905. Visionary inventor Nikola Tesla makes one last appeal to J.P. Morgan, his onetime benefactor in this tragic fantasy about the father of alternating current, inspired by real events. (Matthew Rankin, Canada, 8 min.)

An Uncertain Future

In Austin, Texas, two expectant mothers—one undocumented and one US citizen—must contend with increased ICE raids and mounting hostility towards immigrants under President Trump. (Chelsea Hernandez, Ilana Sosa, USA, 11 min.)


Sasquatch has always remained elusive in photos—but not for the reasons we think. (Sara Litzenberger, USA, 3 min.)


Zuzia, 12, has been training for two years and has an extraordinary role topping the acrobatic pyramid. At the start of a new season, it’s clear that she’s lost some grace and lightness. A growth spurt may be the culprit. (Monika Kotecka, Karolina Poryzala, Poland, 14 min.)

War Paint

A young South Los Angeles black girl experiences a series of events that intersects racism and sexism during the Fourth of July holiday. (Katrelle Kindred, USA, 17 min.)


A man wakes from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognizable language, baffling linguistic experts from around the globe. As he tries to navigate his way through the world, online bullies become the hardest thing he has faced yet. (Benjamin Cleary, TJ O’Grady Peyton, United Kingdom, 14 min.)


A young boy shuffles between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal, dream-like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken-up family in this hand-animated film set in 1980’s Toronto. (Trevor Jimenez, USA, 16 min.)

While I yet Live

Five acclaimed African American quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, talk about love, religion and the fight for civil rights as they continue the tradition of quilting that originally brought them together. (Maris Curran, USA, 15 min.)

Wicked Girl

A little 8-year-old girl relives the happy moments of her life lying in her hospital bed, but she is quickly caught up by the horrible memories of the events she has endured. (Ayce Kartal, France, 8 min.)

Wild Wild West: A Beautiful Rant by Mark Bradford

Where do artists come from? An answer explored through paper, percussion and one provocative artist. (Dime Davis, USA, 6 min.)

Wren Boys

On the day after Christmas, a Catholic priest from Cork drives his nephew to prison. (Harry Lighton, United Kingdom, 11 min.)


A portrait of Zion Clark, a young wrestler who was born without legs and grew up in foster care. (Floyd Russ, USA, 10 min.)


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