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)

 

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)

 

 

Who or what do you care for? Sometimes those who care for others are not whom you would think. The stories told on this reel include a witch’s attempts to placate a baby she originally cared for in quite a different way, a fox who takes a baby bird “under his wing”, and a mother who decides it’s time to tell her daughter about her birth mother. They all share a theme about someone caring for another who is quite unlike themselves. Included on this reel are…

THE MAGIC FOREST AND THE THINGS – A six-year-old narrator teams up with an illustrator to tell a story about a land that has apple, chocolate, and dog food trees. (It’s not on any map!) Things go awry when a giant is asked to pick these trees for people to build their houses with. The giant was all too obliging to the point of picking almost all the trees! The people then realized you MUST be more efficient with the way you use these resources if everyone is going to have a home to live in. They adjust their ways and high fives all around! (2020 / 4 mins / USA / dir. Dave Russo / animation / in English / all ages)

THE PROMISE (PCFF 2021 Winner Children’s Hospital Jury Prize!) – The Promise is an urban fairy tale that plays out on the mean streets of a suffering city. Here, a young thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag but she cannot have it without giving something in return: “the promise”. It is the beginning of a journey that will change her life and a chance to change the world for good. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Chi Thai / animation / in English / all ages)

THE LEAF – A larger than life sailor gets an autumn leaf from a small girl. It reminds him of his home and for how long he has not been there. He runs home to meet his old parents. What will he find? (2020 / 6 mins / Belarus / dir. Aliona Baranova / animation / non-dialogue / all ages)

THE FOX AND THE BIRD – A solitary fox finds itself improvising fatherhood for a freshly hatched baby bird. Two paths cross and a family is formed until fate reminds each of the life it is meant to lead. (2018 / 12 mins / Switzerland / dirs. Sam and Fred Guillaume/ animation / non-dialogue / all ages)

THE WITCH AND THE BABY – An aging witch needs a baby for a spell to make her young again. But when she brings home a recalcitrant infant things don’t go according to plan. (2020 / 5 mins / Russian Federation / dir. Evgenia Golubeva/ animation / in English / all ages)

AURORA – Once upon a time, there was a little girl who fell in love with a beautiful horse named Aurora. This expressive animation evokes children’s drawings and the texture of storybook illustrations. Aurora is a bittersweet story about love, friendship, and growing up. (2020 / 5 mins / USA-Canada / dir. Jo Meuris / animation / in English / all ages)

TOBI AND THE TURBOBUS is a heartwarming story about growing up in a wolf pack and finding the right place for yourself. Sometimes this requires leaving old friendships behind in order to start new, more supportive ones in the future. (2020 / 7 mins / Germany / dir. Verena Fels / animation / in English / all ages)

REHAK – A young girl discovers Rehak, a magical drawing hidden behind her bedroom wallpaper. She thinks she has found a new friend when in fact someone else has found an old one. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Pierre B / live-action & animation / in English / all ages)

TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE – A young girl is old enough to start to learn about her adoption story. Her mother’s explanation shows she has given this conversation a lot of thought! (2020 / 6 mins / USA / dir. Alyce Vest / animation / in English / all ages)

MAÏJA – In the Nordic Islands, Maïja, a young girl, waits for the return of her father, away at sea. But the weather is worsening and her father is not coming back. (2019 / 7 mins / France / dirs. Arthur Nollet, Maxime Faraud, Mégane Hirth, Emma Versini, Julien Chen, Pauline Charpentier / animation / no dialogue / all ages)

ROSE – Rose’s life-long security blanket represents her mother’s love, which she clings onto as a toddler, tosses aside as a teen, and realizes she desperately needs at the start of adulthood.  (2020 / 3 mins / USA / dir. Emily Kimes / animation / in English / all ages)

ATHLETICUS: The Encounter – A turtle “meeting” a puffin leads to the birth of an epic figure skating couple! (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir. Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue / all ages)

STOLEN KISSES – “When my grandmother had to move to an elderly home because she had dementia, I thought things would go downhill from there. But on the contrary. She met a man there, Rinus also diagnosed with dementia, and they fell in love. Unfortunately, he got mentally worse than her and had to move away to another home. I was shocked that nobody asked my grandmother and their feelings were so easily dismissed. Although my grandmother forgot a lot of things, she kept on asking me where Rinus was. Her feelings for him she did not forget.  I wanted to tell this story. But since there are already many films with the theme of dementia, I thought it would be enlightening to see the story through a child’s eyes. Children also experience these sorts of things and can give us a fresh, sometimes funny, perspective. My grandmother died on October 20th, 2020 aged 96. She hadn’t yet seen my film, but I’m proud to have this also in loving memory of her.” – Lidi Toepoel (Director)  (2020 / 14 mins / Netherlands / dir. Lidi Toepoel / live-action / in Dutch w/English subtitles / Ages 8+)

 

We are delighted to be able to re-present this Festival Flashback from five years ago!

Cathy’s tenth birthday is tough enough without her eccentric father giving her an egg as a gift along with a warning: “Be there when it is born so the bird recognizes YOU as its mother.” After a game of hide-and-seek goes awry, Cathy’s friend Margaux unknowingly becomes the “mother.” Unfortunately for the bird and Margaux, her parents believe Margaux is unable to care for this pet from her wheelchair. It takes a duckling, a great friend, and a temporary flight from home to alter everyone’s understanding of life’s limitations.

2016 Festival Flashback!! Five years ago we invited this thought-provoking documentary to our festival. With the situation in the Middle East still far from resolution, this film speaks volumes about the hurdles people face to live in peace.

ALMOST FRIENDS is a documentary about two Israeli girls—an Arab and a Jew—who live only 40 miles away but in many ways live worlds apart. Participating in an online program that fosters educational exchange and friendship, the two girls correspond with caution and eventually meet face-to-face. The experience is profoundly moving for them, their families, and the audiences who see this touching film. But when conflict spans generations, change is slow and “almost” anything might be a start…

 

What happens when a diverse group of LGBTQ youth dares to be “out” on stage to reveal their lives and their loves? THE YEAR WE THOUGHT ABOUT LOVE goes behind the scenes of one of the oldest queer youth theaters in America, with a camera crew slipping into classrooms, kitchens, subways and rehearsal rooms. Boston-based True Colors OUT Youth Theater transforms daily struggles into performance for social change. With wit, candor and attitude, this cast of characters captivates audiences who may be surprised to hear such stories in school settings. THE YEAR WE THOUGHT ABOUT LOVE introduces a transgender teenager kicked out of her house, a devout Christian challenging his church’s homophobia and a girl who prefers to wear boys’ clothing even as she models dresses on the runway. When real bombs explode outside their building, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city. Brave, encouraging, and funny…these are the inspiring LGBTQ youth leading us into the future.

Cathy’s tenth birthday is tough enough without her eccentric father giving her an egg as a gift along with a warning: “Be there when it is born so the bird recognizes YOU as its mother.”  After a game of hide-and-seek goes awry, Cathy’s friend Margaux unknowingly becomes the “mother.” Unfortunately for the bird and Margaux, her parents believe Margaux is unable to care for this pet from her wheelchair. It takes a duckling, a great friend and a temporary flight from home to alter everyone’s impressions of life’s limitations.

 

What if you found something that made you wonder if you really know your dad? In tracing Kattaka’s quest to answer this question, “Wintertochter” unfolds into a road movie (from Berlin deep into Poland) about friendship between different generations and nations and the courage to face life’s difficulties. Through her inspiring trip, she comes to realize that history can shape identity, family isn’t always biological and the choices we make now can affect our future for the better.

Set in scenic but strife-ridden Kashmir, “Tahaan” tells the story of an eight-year-old boy who tries to gain back his beloved pet donkey that has been sold along with his family’s possessions to pay the family debt. He wanders village and countryside, navigates border checkpoints, negotiates with merchants and money lenders on his quest – and is recruited to hurl a grenade into an army compound. Lush cinematography and a recurring chorus of Sufi singers add texture to this tender fable.