The 71 short films screening at The Sundance Film Festival next month have been announced, and it looks like we'll be getting a little taste of everything -- including one film that stars real-life lovers Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal. (Hmm, I wonder if Sarsgaard seduced her with his creepy, quiet charm?) Directed by Andrew Zuckerman, High Falls features Sarsgaard and Gyllenhaal as a husband and wife whose relationship runs into trouble after the two confess something (that they both despise Grey's Anatomy and cannot, for the life of them, understand why anyone watches the damn show?) to their best friend.
The 71 shorts were chosen amongst a whopping 4,445 submissions, and in total there are 19 countries represented. The shorts were then separated into two categories, U.S. and international, and broken down into three sub-categories: dramatic, documentary and animated. Perhaps the greatest news to come from this announcement is that 50 of the 71 shorts will be available online at the Sundance website for free from January 18 through April 18. How cool is that? I mean, how fricking cool is that? Of course, this means I shall be dedicating a few Eat My Shorts columns to those shorts playing Sundance, picking out my favorites and discussing them with you. As always, Cinematical will have a team of writers at Sundance where we'll be bringing you everything from reviews to interviews to photoblogs to, well, that last one is a surprise (but I will not count out James suddenly taking off his shirt and serenading the camera with his rendition of You've Lost That Loving Feeling).
A full list of shorts playing this year's festival is waiting for you after the jump, courtesy of the official Sundance Film Fest website ...
U.S. SHORT FILMS
This year's short films reinforce the genre as one which represents creativity and technological innovation. These films are diverse, eclectic and stray from the norms of creative film production. This year's U.S. shorts include a collection of films that grapple with such issues as a seemingly perfect mother who is addicted to drugs, the dilemma of what to do with a store-bought box of happiness, and a portrait of a notoriously anti–gay singer from the 1970s.
A NICK IN TIME (Director: Be' Garrett)–An old school barber recounts a story from his past to teach a lesson to a troubled young man.
AFTERMATH ON MEADOWLARK LANE (Director: David Zellner)–While on their way to a mariachi recital, a devastating car crash forces a mother and her two sons to confront the truth about their past.
BITCH (Director: Lilah Vandenburgh)–A tough girl with a predilection for quality vinyl and a hard jab soon finds herself falling for a jerk with poor social skills and bad taste in music.
BLACK AND WHITE TRYPPS NUMBER THREE (Director: Ben Russell)–The transformation of a rock audience's collective freak–out into a trance ritual of the highest spiritual order.
BOBBY BIRD: THE DEVIL IN DENIM (Director: Carson D. Mell)–Aging rock musician Bobby Bird explains the origins of his many tattoos with the aid of flashbacks.
BOMB (Director: Ian Olds)–What starts as an innocent flirtation between teenagers on the edge of an old bombing range turns askew when a trip home reveals a chaotic adult world that seeks to subvert their friendship.
CONVERSION (Director: Nanobah Becker)–Christian missionaries make a catastrophic visit to a Navajo family.
THE DAWN CHORUS (Director: Hope Dickson Leach)–Seven years since their plane crashed, Bonnie and Lloyd are still searching the wreckage of the event that marked their parent's demise.
DEATH TO THE TINMAN (Director: Ray Tintori)–A dark story of how the OZ Tinwoodsman lost his limbs, his lover, and how he tried to get his life back.
DER OSTWIND (Director: Kohl Glass)–In search of a worthy opponent, a German WWI ace pursues a mysterious and invincible American pilot only to discover the true cost of honor.
DOORMAN (Director: Etienne Kallos)–A Latino doorman of a New York apartment building begins to unravel emotionally when he is seduced and then dumped by a privileged college kid who lives in the building.
FOR A SWIM WITH THE FISH (Director: Tara Autovino)–A child who believes that her mother has relocated (literally) to the Gulf of Mexico, skips school to pay her mother a birthday visit.
THE GRASS GROWS GREEN (Director: Jesus Beltran)–A Marine's complicated relationship with life and death, from behind the recruiting office desk.
HAPPINESS (Director: Sophie Barthes)–One evening after work, Iwona buys a box of happiness in a strange discount store and has to decide what to do with it.
HIGH FALLS (Director: Andrew Zuckerman)–Over a weekend at a country home, a man and his pregnant wife each tell their secrets to their best friend – placing both him in an awkward position and their own relationshiop in jeopardy.
INFINITE DELAY (Director: Kadet Kuhne)–A restrained subject surrenders herself to a sublime state of waiting in a mysterious underwater world.
INTERVIEW (Director: Charles Burmeister)–After a failed job interview, Mark must face his girlfriend and defend his decision to wear a wrinkled shirt.
KING (Director: Caran Hartsfield)–The older woman in apt.# 3B has unusual plans.
LIGHT WORK I (Director: Jennifer Reeves)–Found images from 20th century educational films are sewn together with melted down pharmaceuticals affixed directly to the film, forming a concentrated fusion with pulsating electronic sounds, bass clarinet and organ.
LITTLE FARM (Director: Calvin Reeder)–A family moves to a small farm for a fresh start, things change for them.
MAGNETIC POLES (Director: Maria Rosenblum)–Realizing her relationship is in trouble a waitress seeks to re–attract her boyfriend by shaking up their normal life with a bizarre trip to a magnetic hill.
MOVE ME (Director: Jonathan Pulley)–Over the course of his last evening with his dad, Graham must find a way to say goodbye before his relationship with his father slips away completely.
THE OATES' VALOR (Director: Timothy Cahill)–After several attempts to appease his father's militant demands, Boyson Oates finally runs away from home, only to be lured back in hopes of one last chance at reconciliation.
POP FOUL (Director: Moon Molson)–A boy sees his father attacked by a local thug on the way home from a Little League game and agrees to help his father hide the incident from his mother.
SONGBIRD (Director: John Thompson)–A delicious tale about marriage, revenge, household pets and unusual eating habits.
WINDOWBREAKER (Director: Tze Chun)–When a string of break-ins occurs in a mixed-race suburb, residents are abuzz as to who is responsible.
ZARIN (Director: Shirin Neshat)–Overcome by her feelings of guilt and shame, Zarin, a young prostitute in Iran , attempts to escape her life in a desperate search for salvation.
FREEHELD (Director: Cynthia Wade)–In the last weeks of her life, Lieutenant Laurel Hester has one goal – to leave her hard–earned pension to her life partner Stacie.
GOD PROVIDES (Directors: Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky)–A look at the varied and unexpected responses to natural disaster.
I JUST WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY (Director: Jay Rosenblatt)–Part document and part poem, this film brings us back to the late 1970s and reflects on Anita Bryant's life and the impact she had.
MOTHER SUPERIOR (Directors: Alex Mack & Diana Montero)–A mom is supposed to be perfect, but that is often far from the truth in this examination of mothers who are addicted to methamphetamines.
SCAREDYCAT (Director: Andy Blubaugh)–This film examines the inevitable and justifiable fear the filmmaker experiences following a physical assault at the hands of five young men.
SPITFIRE 944 (Director: William Lorton)–An 83-year-old World War II pilot views 16mm footage of his 1944 Spitfire crash for the first time.
THE FIGHTING CHOLITAS (Directors: Mariam Jobrani, Kenny Krauss, Teresa Deskins)–A group of bold, female, Bolivian wrestlers push the limits of their culture by performing the acrobatic maneuvers of Lucha Libre every Sunday.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN (Director: Mitch McCabe)–A photographer chronicles her life over five years of political events, comically interweaving protest footage with her photographic diary of self-portraits to tell a modern tale about art, change, hope, and futility.
DESTINY MANIFESTO (Director: Martha Colburn)–An exploration between the visual and psychological parallels between the American western frontier and the conflict in the Middle East .
DUCT TAPE AND COVER (Director: Yong–Jin Park )–A satirical response to the Department of Homeland Security's recent advice for Americans to ready themselves for possible chemical and biological warfare.
EVERYTHING WILL BE OK (Director: Don Hertzfeldt)–A series of dark and troubling events force Bill to reckon with the meaning of his life – or lack thereof.
GOLDEN AGE (Director: Aaron Augenblick)–The shocking true stories of the world's strangest fallen cartoon heroes.
HOW SHE SLEPT AT NIGHT (Director: Lilli Carre)–A man tries to remember his wife, but only comes up with scant details as his memory starts to stray.
ONE RAT SHORT (Director: Alex Weil)–A tale of a subway rat who is led by the mesmerizing ballet of a discarded food wrapper into an adventure of love and loss on a dark Manhattan night.
PAULINA HOLLERS (Director: Brent Green)–A religious zealot mother commits suicide to try to find her dead son in hell and escape with him.
PHANTOM CANYON (Director: Stacey Steers)–A curious woman encounters enormous insects and an alluring man with bat wings in a surreal recollection of a pivotal journey.
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILMS
This year's collection of shorts offers a compelling look at stories from around the world. These include films about gang initiation, sexually active parents, love in the Paris metro, a strange substitute teacher, and a disastrous video diary.
A DAY OUT / South Korea (Director: Jong Yoon Lee)–Repressed sexual longings between a stern military sergeant and his submissive private come to a violent boil when the two spend a night with a prostitute in a motel room.
ASK THE INSECTS / Canada (Director: Steve Reinke)–Part homemade science (before it became doctrine and law), part animated video reverie, Reinke's brief and episodic compression is an incendiary release which opens by announcing the death of the reader, and ends with the death of the author.
CUBS / UK (Director: Tom Harper)–Ben is desperate to join a gang of inner city kids, but when he's finally given the chance, he discovers that initiation comes at a price.
DAD / UK (Director: Daniel Mulloy)–A husband and wife remain sexually active in later life to the disgust of their son, but who is it that has the problem?
FAMILY REUNION / Iceland (Director: Isold Uggadottir)– New York lesbian, Katrin, struggles to come out to her relatives back in Iceland , but revelations at a family reunion challenge all her assumptions.
GOODBYE MR. SNUGGLES / UK (Director: Jonathan Hopkins)–What could possibly go wrong when two elderly gentlemen go for a day's painting in the beautiful English countryside?
GRACELAND / Thailand (Director: Anocha Suwichakornpong)–One night in Bangkok , Jon and a mysterious women embark on a journey to a foreign land – the human heart.
HARD TO SWALLOW / UK (Director: Mat Kirkby)–Three couples share Sunday lunch...and certainly don't drink too much, fight or swear at each other.
I WANT TO BE A PILOT / Kenya (Director: Diego Quemada–Diez)–Deep in the slums of East Africa , Omondi has only one dream.
INDUCTION / Belgium (Director: Nicolas Provost)–The unexpected meeting of a shaman, a lonely woman and a young boy whose paths will cross and slip away in a labyrinth of unresolved mystery.
MAKE A WISH / Israel (Director: Cherien Dabis)–A young Palestinian girl will do anything it takes to buy a birthday cake.
MEN UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER BETTER / Iran (Director: Marjan Alizadeh)–A man gets a call from a friend seeking comfort when his wife hasn't arrived back home.
PEACE TALK / Sweden (Director: Jenifer Malmqvist)–Little Jonna and her friend Emilie play at being soldiers, but Jonna's mother doesn't approve of the course their game takes.
PENPUSHER / France (Director: Guillaume Martinez)–An unexpected spark of hope in the gray and ordinary Paris metro.
SALT KISS / Brazil (Director: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa)–On a secluded island off of Rio, the carefree 45–year–old Rogério struggles to bring his recently engaged best friend back to the good life.
SOPHIE / Denmark (Director: Birgitte Stærmose)–After a pregnant wife asks her husband if he's ever been with a prostitute, their night takes a radical change.
THE SUBSTITUTE / Italy (Director: Andera Jublin)–The new substitute teacher in class is acting pretty strange.
THE TRAGIC STORY OF NLING / Canada (Director: Jeffrey St. Jules)–In his struggle to survive beyond the walls of slum city, a man soon finds that he is no more humane than his animal friend.
THE TUBE WITH A HAT / Romania (Director: Radu Jude)–A boy from a small village wakes up his father and persuades him to go to the city to fix their TV.
TROUT / UK (Director: Johnny Barrington)–A bizarre chain of events shakes up the otherwise quiet life between a young couple in the Scottish Highlands.
WILLIAM / Australia (Director: Eron Sheean)–On his taxi ride home, an indigenous sideshow magician encounters an unwelcome passenger forcing him to revisit a past he would rather forget.
THE FENCE / Spain (Directors: Ricardo Iscar & Nacho Martin)–Every year, thousands of tuna fish migrate to the Mediterranean Sea where men chase them in a ritual of blood and death.
MASTER OF REALITY / UK (Director: Matthew Killip)–Now 19, Ronny reflects on the phantasmagoric childhood he obsessively documented.
MOTODROM / Germany (Director: Joerg Wagner)–The world of the hellriders in their wooden barrel: men and motorbikes, speed and stunts, gasoline and adrenaline.
TANJU MIAH (Director: Sadik Ahmed)–A young Bengali boy, forced to grow up in a world where he must fend for himself, awaits the return of his mother.
IN PASSING / UK (Directors: Christopher Thomas Allen & Robert Rainbow (The Light Surgeons))–An exploration of the psycho–geography of Manchester , England , through the experiences of a local woman who is partially blind.
DREAMS AND DESIRES – FAMILY TIES / UK (Director: Joanna Quinn)–Upon acquiring a new digital video camera, Beryl becomes obsessed with the filmmaking process, using it to articulate her dreams & desires in a video diary with disastrous results.
T.O.M. / UK (Directors: Tom Brown & Daniel Gray)–A journey of a young boy with an affinity for a little extra exposure.