No Easy Answers – Life can be hard at any age. These challenging stories include homelessness, bullying, immigration and the effects of war. Each powerful film offers a perspective where solutions are not so apparent. How do you cope with such uncertainty? Your answer might be different than the person sitting next to you.  (Multi-national / English or w/English subtitles / 90 mins / 

FILMS AND FILM LINE-UP ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

AMANI – In this tale, halfway between reality and fantasy, a mysterious narrator tells us the story of Amani, a young boy passionate about dance. Amani’s innocence and joie de vivre open the narrator’s eyes to the humanity he had never really cared about before. But as the night begins to rumble, Amani’s joie de vivre disappears to give way to his pain, which echoes in the silence of the plain.  (2021 / 17 mins / Chad, Canada / dir. Alliah Fafin / French w/English subtitles)

AROUND THE CORNER (Za vogalom) – There are times when you think you are witnessing a bullying situation but there is so much more you don’t know. Wanting to do the right thing might end up being very wrong. Life is complicated that way.  (2022 / 13 mins / Slovenia / dir. Martin Turk / Slovenian w/English subtitles)

BURROS – In southern Arizona, twenty miles from the Mexico border, a young Indigenous girl discovers a Latina migrant her age who has been separated from her father while traveling through the Tohono O’odham Nation into the United States. Her story is a microcosm of what needs our attention and action at our southern border.  (2021 / 14.5 mins / USA / dir. Jefferson Stein / Spanish and Indigenous language w/English subtitles)

LETTER TO A PIG – Riveting and chilling, writer/director Tal Kantor’s animated short Letter to a Pig (Israel/France, 2022) finds a Holocaust survivor (voice of Alexander Peleg) telling a group of young students about his harrowing experience of a pig saving his life from pursuers, and how he lived with those animals in a desperate bid to stay alive. His story is met with indifference from some of the students, but as he tells of a letter of thanks that he wrote to the pig, the imagination of one girl named Alma (voice of Moriyah Meerson) sends her on a surreal journey. Stark, black-and-white animation is blended with live-action visuals to create a marvelous dreamscape that is a visual feast while driving home some serious food for thought.  (2022 / 16.5 mins / Israel / dir. Tal Kantor / Hebrew w/English subtitles)

ME, MAHMOUD and the MINT PLANT – In the war-torn city of Mosul, Iraq, Canadian nurse Trish develops an unlikely friendship with Mahmoud, a local man who takes his beloved mint plant wherever he goes. As Trish discovers the mystery behind Mahmoud’s precious plant, she learns the importance of keeping your promises to the people you love.  (2022 / 5.5 mins / Canada / dir. Cat Mills / in English)

SPARE PARTS (Du hast viele Teile…) – Eight-year-old Lina is in urgent need of a new heart. She figures out that in order for her to have a new heart another must lose theirs. This inspires Lina into action. She finds a junkyard to look for parts in order to build herself her own heart. There, she meets Kalle who initially opposes her being there until told about the plan. A story about life, death, and true friendship. (2021 / 24.5 mins / Germany / dir. Niva Ehrlich / German w/English subtitles)

WHAT YOU’LL REMEMBER – Through a raw love letter to their children, two young parents reframe their experience of homelessness in WHAT YOU’LL REMEMBER, an achingly beautiful short portrait about home, family and security.  (2020 / 13 mins / USA / dir. Erika Cohn / in English)

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)

 

Two orphaned siblings (ten-year-old Pari and her brother, eight-year-old Chotu) leave an abusive aunt in search for medical help to bring back Chotu’s eyesight. In a mystical tale they encounter the best and the worst of Indian society on their search for a Bollywood star who offers financial assistance. During their quest you can feel the heat, smell the curries, enjoy the colors and music from the other side of the world.

Winner BEST FILM Generation KPlus Berlin Crystal Bear 2015

Aylin, age 17, finds herself caught between worlds: A world of accepting her mother’s death or not. A world of struggling to survive as a Turkish family in Germany or returning home. Most importantly, a world of facing her fears at school to succeed or to remain in violent isolation. She finds answers in the story of Hördur (the horse): an Icelandic pony is never allowed to return once it leaves its homeland. By developing the courage to challenge her status in the world, Aylin develops a bridge to self-discovery, and like Hördur, never looks back.

This futuristic film, with BLADE RUNNER-esque grit, depicts a world where robots are as prolific as cell phones are today. Since his mother passed away, Tibor, age 11, has relied more strongly than ever on his lifelong friend T.I.M. (The Incredible Machine). T.I.M. is in need of a major overhaul, and so Tibor’s father trades T.I.M. in for an upgrade. But how do you upgrade a “friend”? A peril-filled quest, Tibor’s search for T.I.M. puts his friendship to the ultimate test.

How do children born into poverty find hope? This documentary follows the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from Cateura, Paraguay. In this slum, they create musical instruments entirely out of garbage: first out of necessity, but the project became so much more. LANDFILL HARMONIC brings us on their journey from local village orchestra to world traveling (internet fueled) troupe whose trajectory of success is enhanced by their trash-into-music message.

Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award SXSW
Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award AFI

Dylan, age 12, copes pretty much on his own in small Western Australian town while his father is in a state of oblivion following the death of Dylan’s mother. One day at school he discovers an odd gift: the ability to craft a paper plane that flies longer and faster than any of those of his peers. So begins this charming and near-irresistible crowd-pleaser that follows Dylan as he folds his way toward the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan (and more importantly, emotionally closer to his father).

Thanks to the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact, Poltava, Ukraine, in 1941 was still a place where the fruits of civilization—in the case of Wunderkinder, music—flourished. Of course, all that changed when the Nazis invaded, and Marcus O. Rosenmüller’s achievement is to evoke those pre- and post-invasion times through the eyes of three children, all of them gifted musicians.

Pianist Larissa (Imogen Burell) and violinists Abrascha (Elin Kolev) and Hanna (Mathilda Adamik) share a great love of music and a friendship based on the joy they take from constant discovery—all three dream of playing Carnegie Hall one day. When the Nazis invade, the three of them—Larissa and Abrascha are Jewish, Hanna is German—find their friendship torn apart and their worlds collapsing through no fault of their own.

Lovingly directed as a poem to lost innocence, Wunderkinder is not a “children’s film.” It is a film from a child’s perspective that may help some families talk about the loss and destruction of World War II and the horror of the Holocaust.

Having lost his left leg to bone cancer, Ka is left with only one leg to jump with. When he is discharged from the hospital, Dr. Chen gives him a present: a child’s picture book titled “Rolypoly.” The doctor tells him, “Jump five million times, and you’ll see Rolypoly.” Thus begins a story of a boy, an aging children’s book author wishing to correct a past misdeed (theft) and a Chinese village that embraces them both.

The film took three years to make due to the difficult process of combining live action with animations. All the stories (the animation parts) in the movie were bedtime stories the director told to his son 15 years ago. The main actor playing the author, Tien Bien, is a famous stage actor in Taiwan. All the children are non-professional actors.