How I Learned to Fly – Sofia heads to Croatia for summer break with Grandma and inadvertently discovers more family than she ever thought she had. A dark past is brought to light revealing painful secrets but start a process of healing. WARNING: This film may lead to you reconnecting with extended family. International award winner! 

 

To animate something is to give it the illusion of having life. The materials animators “bring to life” are unlimited. This year LET’S GET ANIMATED includes a whiteboard that expresses an evolving adoration between two people on a ball team, an ocean filled with creatures that look familiar in shape but whose composition is in opposition to their environment, and a textile-designed dinosaur that swallows a pathogen with a personality! Included on this reel are…

ATHLETICUS: Guides – Two flamingoes find a colorful glove on a ski slope. Of course it MUST be headwear to a flamingo! (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue)

DOG OF MY DREAMS – True love doesn’t always have to be about people. Stop motion collage animation with our original, Ants on a Log song of the same title. (2020 / 2 mins / USA / dirs. Anya Rose , Julie Beth / live action & animation / in English)

FLOREANA – On a remote island in the future, people are training for an important mission. Take a look at the mechanics of this training facility and the creatures within. It’s simply otherworldly. (2018 / 4 mins / Denmark / dir Louis Morton / animation / no dialogue)

COVID BACH – This free-flowing stream of consciousness animation is set to J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. The fully hand-drawn images weave in and out between abstract and nightmarish visions. Then the dream ends . . . but does it?  (2020 / 2 mins / Canada / dir Elizabeth Lewis / animation / no dialogue)

NOS QUEREMOS – Charming scribbled animation is set to an original coming of age song portraying the love of two oddball friends. (2020 / 3 mins / USA / dir Steve Mosqueda / animation / in English)

THE 7 KIDS – A wolf hired to babysit lambs. What could possibly go wrong? Who would hire such a babysitter? (2020 / 5 mins / Russia / dir Marina Karpova / animation / in English)

THE BEAUTY – 2021 Global Awareness Short Film Winner! The Beauty is a poetic journey through a fascinating underwater world, where plastic and nature become one. (2019 / 4 mins / Germany, Egypt, France / dir Pascal Schelbli/ animation / no dialogue)

PUMPER’S PARADISE – In a world populated with fitness addicts the biggest challenge they confront can be boring, everyday situations! (2019 /  2 mins / Germany / dir Eddy Hohf / animation / no dialogue)

OM NOM NOM – One day, a hungry dinosaur came across a weird jumping egg in the forest. He swallowed it, and then felt some strange rumblings in his tummy. Maybe it wasn’t such a good egg afterall… (2019 /  3 mins / Japan / dirs Minato Matsuda, Haruna Ueno, Tomoko Taiga / animation / no dialogue)

A TINY TALE – A dog is abandoned on the side of the road. Attached to a street light, he stays alone until the day he meets a young astronaut wannabe and a professional cyclist who keeps on trying to beat her highest score. (2020 /  7 mins / France / dirs Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Maŷlis Mosny, Zijing Ye/ animation / no dialogue)

THE CHIMAI AND THE STORM – After a great storm, a very old Chimai (spiritual healer) tends to the damage created in the forest and the toppling of a massive tree. She finds an unexpected surprise and a great power is revealed. (2020 /  8 mins / Argentina / dir David Bisbano/ animation / no dialogue)

WILD LEA – Lea is a strong, lonely, and floral cat who discovers the complexity and the perks of friendships after falling from a tree. A very caring ragdoll named Ciro tends to her injuries and introduces Lea to his family of fixed-broken things. Unlike Lea, they have a fear of going anywhere outside the home. The day would come when they would need to overcome that fear to help their friend. Super imaginative animation where forks, toilet paper and napkins come alive! (2019 /  9 mins / Colombia / dir María Teresa Salcedo Montero/ animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

ATHELETICUS: Sled – End of the day for the bobsleigh managers. Which means it’s time to party – and stuff yourself with fish. (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue)

When did you last watch an Iranian film? Or better yet, where is the last time you saw or learned anything about Iran? Odds are the news is where most Americans encounter any stories about Iran and usually, it’s not good news. Well, filmmaking is quite alive in Iran and the stories they tell are not what’s on the newscaster’s minds. They are mostly about the lives of everyday Iranians who experience the joys and sorrows of working hard and getting to tomorrow. Included in IRAN: Axis of People is a documentary about an Iranian girl who just wants to ride her bike on the city street but is reprimanded again and again for doing so as a girl. Gando is another documentary that relates the story of a girl who went to the river to fetch some water but encountered a crocodile?! This is evidently a regular problem for this village. Then there are several stunning animations about the worlds we humans have created around us. Iran truly is an axis around which stories of everyday people’s lives rotate. Films on this reel include…

ONE NICE DAY – An elementary school teacher is given the opportunity to give away one new bookbag to a student in his class. To decide, everyone writes a name on a piece of paper and tosses it into a bag. The teacher will pull out the winner. Little did he know… the fix was in! 🙂  (2014 / 3 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sousan Salamat / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

BORDERLESS – Delaram is a teenage girl who was born with Down syndrome. She is very aware of being treated differently by others and feels that there is a border between everyone she encounters. Delaram has come up with a unique coping mechanism to maintain happiness in her life. The imagination can be a powerful tool. (2020 / 13 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Behrad Sahebgharani / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

GANDO – In the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces of Iran running water is scarce. Villagers must go to local ponds and rivers to get what they need on a daily basis. Once you are on the river bank you must be very careful because gando (Iranian crocodiles) live there as well. This documentary tells the story of a nine-year-old girl named Hawa who lost her arm one-day getting water. It’s also a story about, despite the gando being a threat, the villagers respect the gando because they believe they help bring the water.  (2020 / 8 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Teymour Ghaderi / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)

WOODEN SWORD – Two young boys meet on a park bench while waiting for their fathers to return. Little do they know their fathers have not formed a friendship similar to what they just have. Is what they see next might stay with them forever. (2019 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dirs Behzad Alavi, Sousan Salamat/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

THE ROTATION – There is a war between two tribes over claiming the sun in the sky. As a result of that war, the sun is annihilated and the volcano erupts. Those two tribes perish and a new sun is made by lava. Several centuries pass and the new tribes continue to war over their claim to the sun in the sky. The sad cycle continues.  (2020 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Hazhir As’adi / animation / no dialogue)

RAINBOW – A young flower vendor working a street corner comes across something that is not his. The events that follow show his regret and misunderstanding of other people’s intentions. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Mohammad Khalili/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

A GIRL FROM PARSIAN …is an insightful documentary about a group of young Iranian women who wish to ride their bikes and the resistance they encounter from men of all ages. (2019 / 20 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Parinaz Hashemi Mobarakeh / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)

THE ELEVENTH STEP – A little lion cub, born in a zoo, lives in a cage that is only ten steps long. On the eleventh step he bangs his head against the bars, but one day the zookeeper leaves the cage door open….  (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Maryam Kashkoolinia / animation / Persian w/English subtitles)

RAYA – Raya’s family is having a dispute with the landlord and eviction is on the horizon. She and several of her friends also have a problem with a teacher at school and they decide to take matters into their own hands. Raya learns the hard way how not to deal with problems she might have with other people. Thankfully she demonstrates this knowledge shortly after. (2019 / 14 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sepideh Berenji / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

 

This compilation of four films has multiple, thought-provoking topics to think about, and hopefully after, talk about. They include the struggles of young, Afghani women being musicians in a time when it looks like the Taliban will be coming back to power. Other films from the Netherlands and Argentina follow families who are dealing with children on gender journeys unfamiliar to them. The last film, 2nd Class, is quite relevant to what is happening here in our own country when it comes to reacting to white supremacists. The reel includes the following films…

SOMETHING ABOUT ALEX – A young teenager develops a close friendship with his older sister’s boyfriend, and must confront the depth of his feelings when the couple announces that they will be moving away. (2017 / 18 mins / Netherlands / dir Reinout Hellenthal / live-action / Dutch w/English subtitles)

ORCHESTRA FROM THE LAND OF SILENCE – You’ll defeat the beast with the power of music. Zohra – the first female orchestra of Afghanistan. Girls are preparing for their journey to play a concert in Europe. We see their everyday reality in contemporary Afghanistan through the eyes of 16-year-old girl Marzia. After arriving in Europe unexpected thing happens and four members of the orchestra decide to run away… (2020 / 30 mins / Afghanistan, Slovakia / dir Lucia Kasova / documentary / English, Persian and Slovak w/English subtitles)

THE NAME OF THE SON (El Nombre del Hijo) Lucho, a 13-year-old trans boy, doesn’t usually share much time with his father. When he goes on vacation with him and his younger sister, the new closeness puts their relationship to the test. (2020 / 13 mins / Argentina / dir Martina Matzkin / live-action / Spanish w/English subtitles)

2ND CLASS (2ND CLASS – 2021 Special Jury Award Best Short Live-Action Film!) This is a story about an elementary school teacher who is violently attacked one night by a neo-Nazi. After healing enough to return to the classroom she finds out that the man who attacked her is one of her student’s fathers. What does she do? And why? This film demands a conversation after viewing. WARNING: Graphic scene with profanity. Recommended age 13+ (2018 / 13 mins / Sweden / dir Martina Matzkin / live-action / Swedish w/English subtitles)

 

Community: A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Sometimes you might feel a part of this group and other times not so much. Life in school, with family or even as part of a world community can be challenging at times. In this compilation of shorts, you will see how others try to live in a community that isn’t exactly a natural fit. A Norwegian man creates a song about his favorite Indonesian food. What follows is nothing short of bizarre. Then there is Zara and her zombie family who have all the best intentions but are unaware of other people’s levels of disgust. Finally, when one friend cheats off another’s test, how willing should he be to turn him in? Include on this reel are…

MATHILDA AND THE SPARE HEAD – A girl tries hard to be the smartest student for her mother finds out a brain can only handle so much! (2020 / 13 mins / Lithuania / dir Ignas Meilūnas / animation / in Lithuanian w/English subtitles)

CRAMMING – Close friends Alex and Yan Bo, eighth-graders, cram for a test in a prestigious prep school. Once they’re accused of cheating off of one another, their friendship is threatened. (2020 / 15 mins / USA / dir Dan Perlman / live-action / in English and Spanish w/English subtitles)

LEARNING TO FLY – A young girl, upset that her mom won’t teach her how to ride a bike, meets a young boy who agrees to help her and they spend the day riding and talking about life. (2020 / 10 mins / USA / dir Nicolas Alayo / live-action / in English)

FAMILY BONDS tells the story of the little fox Hugo and his unconventional family to which love is more important than heritage. (2019 / 17 mins / Germany / dir Maria Schmidt / animation / no dialogue)

A SPECIAL GIFT: A Troublemaker’s Story – Lili, Stretch and ZéGordo (aka the Troublemakers) decide to surprise their friend Rosita by decorating her school for the neighborhood’s annual Christmas dinner, but they didn’t expect to deal with Stinky who is a jealous kid and is willing to spoil the decorations and the event altogether. (2019 / 7 mins / Mozambique / dir Nildo Essá / animation / in Portuguese w/English subtitles)

HELP I’VE GONE VIRAL! – A short documentary about Audun Kvitland who makes a love song about an Indonesian food dish called Nasi Padang after having been on vacation in the country. The song goes viral and is immediately heard by millions after he posted it on Youtube. Kvitland is invited back to Indonesia not knowing what to expect, but immediately after landing, he is greeted by a hallway of drummers at the airport. From then on he undertakes a funny, quirky and unexpected journey where people are united across cultures, languages and traditions over food and music. (2020 / 20 mins / Norway / dir Audun Amundsen / documentary / in English, Norwegian and Indonesian w/English subtitles)

ZARA AND THE OTHERS: Miss Miss – Zara has never heard of a “Miss-competition”, she only knows the girls in class say it’s a way to decide who the prettiest girl is. When Zara’s wacky dad brings a bucket of fresh moose poop to the event, things take an unexpected turn… (2020 / 13 mins / Norway / dir Nils Johan Lund & Bjørn Sortland / animation / Norwegian w/English subtitles)

 

 

Once again PCFF is delighted to offer a Spanish language shorts reel. The films of CineEspañol come from Spain, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. A super creative mix of narratives that include a sister who will stop at nothing to bring joy to her brother’s life, a detective team that will remind you of Roger Rabbit, and a live-action film that might make you wonder if he really needs THAT chair…?! Films on this reel include…

BLUE & MALONE: Impossible Cases – Berta visits the old theater where her grandmother used to work on the eve of its demolition and finds out it’s not completely abandoned. Mortando Malone and Big Blue Cat, her old imaginary friends, are there to help with an impossible case — to recapture her capacity to dream. (2020 / 20 mins / Spain / dir. Abraham López / live action & animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

WILD LEA – Lea is a strong, lonely, and floral cat who discovers the complexity and the perks of friendships after falling from a tree. A very caring ragdoll named Ciro tends to her injuries and introduces Lea to his family of fixed-broken things. Unlike Lea, they have a fear of going anywhere outside the home. The day would come when they would need to overcome that fear to help their friend. Super imaginative animation where forks, toilet paper and napkins come alive!  (2019 / 9 mins / Colombia / dir. María Teresa Salcedo Montero / animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

THE SIZE OF THINGS (El tamaño de las cosas) – Diego lives with his father in a house without things, without furniture, without anything. One day he finds a chair deep in the woods. Diego takes the chair back home but the father disagrees and orders him to return it. At night, the father recognizes the boy ́s feeling of disappointment and allows Diego to bring the chair again. Diego returns to the forest but something has happened, something really big. He can ́t bring the chair this time. (2019 / 12 mins / Colombia / dir. Carlos Felipe Montoya / live action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

THE CHIMAI AND THE STORM – After a great storm, a very old Chimai (spiritual healer) tends to the damage created in the forest and the toppling of a massive tree. She finds an unexpected surprise and a great power is revealed.  (2020 / 8 mins / Argentina / dir. David Bisbano / animation / no dialogue)

CROCODILE (Cocodrilo) WINNER 2021 Audience Choice Award Best Short Live-Action Film- As on every other afternoon, Alicia prepares a cup of tea and watches her favorite YouTube channel: VictorGaming, a role-playing video games channel. Victor, the YouTuber, is answering questions from his fans. Alicia has a very important thing to say to him. (2018 / 5 mins / Spain / dir. Jorge Yudice / live-action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

MARIA CAMILA’S GIFT – In a park, nine-year-old Maria Camila gives any passerby a piece of paper with something written by her. Immediately after reading it, people begin to impersonate different animals. What power does María Camila have to transform them?  (2019 / 12 mins / Mexico / dir. Andrés Molano Moncada / live-action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)

 

 

 

In a province in the middle of the Mongolian steppe, 11-year old Amra lives a traditional nomad life with his mother Zaya, father Erdene, and little sister Altaa. While Zaya takes care of the flock, Erdene works as a mechanic and sells Zaya’s homemade cheese at the local market. Their peaceful routine is threatened by the encroachment of international mining companies, digging for gold and devastating the natural habitat. Erdene is the leader of the last nomads opposing them and tries to unite and convince his comrades not to accept the compensations the companies have offered. But after Amra’s father dies in a tragic car accident, his mother wants to give up the nomad life and trade the steppe for the city. But Amra refuses and tries to carry on his father’s David vs. Goliath fight with his cleverness and the tools of an 11-year-old boy.

An unbeatable team of five teenage friends, the Peppercorns, unites to find out who is behind the kidnapping of a missing oceanographer who has discovered a means of getting rid of plastic waste in the ocean. A race against time begins to save her life and their future.

PCFF Winner Audience Choice Award Best Documentary 2020

Microplastic Madness is an inspirational and optimistic take on the local and global plastic pollution crisis as told through an urban youth point of view with a powerful take action message.

Fifth graders from PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn -a community on the frontline of climate change that was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy- spent 2 years investigating plastic pollution. Taking on the roles of citizen scientists, community leaders, and advocates, these 10-11-year-olds collect local data, lead community outreach, and use their impressive data to inform policy, testifying and rallying at City Hall. They take a deep dive into the root causes of plastic pollution, bridging the connection between plastic, climate change, and environmental justice before turning their focus back to school. There they take action to rid their cafeteria of all single-use plastic, driving forward city-wide action and a scalable, youth-led plastic-free movement.

With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in the most cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming, yet charming narrative, conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms with a take action message to spark youth-led plastic-free action in schools everywhere.

PCFF WINNER 2021 Audience Choice Award: Best Feature Documentary

When filmmaker Suzanne Crocker suggests that her family spend a year eating only locally sourced food, her husband and three teenagers are skeptical. What complicates this experiment is that the family lives in a remote Yukon town, less than 300 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle—not exactly an easy place to access fresh-grown food all year round. First We Eat follows Suzanne and her family as they hunt, forage, fish, grow and raise their own food, struggling along the way to create a meal plan with variety and flavor. In perhaps the most bizarre effort to inject some seasoning into her cooking, Suzanne even dries human blood to use as salt. Filmed primarily by the director herself, this challenging look at food security and sustainability is also an intimate study of a family in the midst of a tough but rewarding experiment.