2020 Finalists: Emerging Filmmaker Showcase
About the Showcase:
Since 1989, The American Pavilion has offered unparalleled experiences in Cannes to film students and emerging filmmakers from around the world. The Emerging Filmmaker Showcase provides an opportunity for filmmakers to have their works seen by Cannes Festival and Film Market attendees. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Finalist Films will be screened at a future Festival in Cannes. In the meantime, we will virtually showcase these exceptional and diverse films to our American Pavilion audiences for a limited time. Each of our four categories of films (Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, LGBTQ Showcase, Student showcase and High School Film Showcase) will be followed by a scheduled live Q&A with the filmmakers.
THE AMERICAN PAVILION
EMERGING FILMMAKER SHOWCASE
Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ Showcase: October 17–18, 2020
BEST LGBTQ SHORT FILM: ACUITZERAMO
Emerging Filmmaker Student Showcase: November 6–8, 2020
WATCH STUDENT SHOWCASE Q&A HERE!
BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY: UNCONVERTING
BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM: UNDER DARKNESS
Emerging Filmmaker High School Showcase: November 20–22, 2020
WATCH HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE Q&A HERE!
BEST HIGH SCHOOL FILM: DIAMOND GAME
HONORABLE MENTION: STITCHING A LIFE: THE STORY OF TRUDIE STROBEL
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase: January 15–17, 2021
with Q&A on Sunday, January 17 at 2PM (PT)
REGISTRATION COMING SOON
2020 FINALIST FILMS
EMERGING FILMMAKER SHOWCASE
January 16–17, 2021 with Q&A on Sunday, January 17 at 2PM
2020, 11:22 min., USA, Coming-of-Age/Comedy/Drama
Writer/Director: Jenn Shaw
Producer: Jenn Shaw, YJ Meira
Cast: Briana Roy, Molly Jackson, Debra Wilson, Sharifa Oliver, Lee Bingham
After multiple encounters with a popular bully and a little academic inspiration, an African-American teen finally stands up for herself against classmates that question her cultural identity.
BRING MY OWN CHAIR (IO LA SEDIA ME LA PORTO DA CASA)
2019, 13:44 min., Italy, Romantic Comedy
Director: Aurora Deiana
Writer: Aurora Deiana, Elena Briata
Producer: Aurora Deiana, Zone 6 Films, Open Fields Productions
Cast: Ornella Lorenzano, Gianni Alvino
A writer, Stefania, is a finalist in a literary contest. After the first celebrations it turns out that also Mrs Durante, her bitter rival, is among the favorites. Who will be ranked first?
THE GERMAN KING
2019, 20 min., USA, Drama/History
Writer/Director: Adetokumboh M’Cormack
Executive Producer: Pauley Perrette
Producer: Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Constance Ejuma, Hanna Sturwold, Chris Freeman
Cast: Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Scottie Thompson, Constance Ejuma, Raphael Corkhill, Markus Jorgensen
Set in 1914 at the start of World War I, The German King is the unbelievable true story of Rudolf Manga Bell; a German-raised African prince who becomes King after his father’s death. Upon returning home to Cameroon, he sees his people subjugated and enslaved under Kaiser Wilhelmʼs II oppressive colonial rule. He realizes the only way to put an end to his peopleʼs suffering, is to lead a rebellion against the man he once considered his brother.
2019, 22 min., USA, Drama
Director: Matthew Bonifacio
Writer: Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio, Matthew Bonifacio
Producer: Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio, Matthew Bonifacio
Cast: Lorraine Bracco, Neil Jain, Kenan Thompson, Chris Henry Coffey, Brian Dennehy
A celebrity acting coach is interrupted by an unknown actor begging for her help for a TV audition. What follows is an unexpected journey for the both of them.
MY FATHER’S HOUSE
2019, 16:30 min., USA, Documentary
Director: Rob Shearer
Producer: Rob Shearer, Amanda Blaurock
Cast: Marcel Narucki
A pastor comes to terms with faith and failure as he witnesses the transformation of his house of worship into a home for the downtrodden.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE
2019, 6:55 min., USA, Drama
Writer/Director: Amy Barham
Producer: Jamielyn Lippman
Cast: Kate Burton, Nicole Bilderback, Eric Womack, Barbara Lee Bragg, Amber Hodgkiss, Elizabeth Laime, Alexis Jacknow
A retired housewife fills her days with chores and errands as she deals with a growing sense that she has become un-necessary to the world. One day she realizes that her ‘invisibility’ could be a power in itself. But as she uses this revelation to liberate herself from her unhappy life, she starts a chain of events with darker consequences than she could have imagined.
2019, 17:29 min., USA, Horror
Writer/Director: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling
Producer: Janina Gavankar, Snehal Patel
Cast: Janina Gavankar, Debra Messing, Colton Haynes, Michael Ealy, Deborah Ann Woll, Rutina Wesley, Aisha Tyler, Emmy Raver Lampman, Amy Forsyth, Leslie Odom Jr., Rafael Casal, Roby Attal, Bel Powley
J is trying and failing to move forward as the scars of old relationships keep her trapped inside her new home. While hanging a piece of art, she knocks a hole in her wall that reveals what might be a hidden room. Her mind races to think what could be on the other side as she continues to unravel.
2020, 10 min., USA, Comedy/Drama/Satire
Director: Nino Aldi
Writer: Andy Marlett
Producer: Jake Hunter, Jeion Green, Adam Waheed, Patricia Chica, DeStorm Power
Cast: Adam Waheed, Destorm Power, Jake Hunter
The themes of identity and discrimination unfold during a train ride between two stations as an African American, an Arab-American and a white man try to rob a train. However, no one wants to rob their own race.
2020, 4:44 min., USA, Animation/Documentary,
The Righteous Conversations Project
Director: C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman, Liran Kapel
Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman, C. Lily Ericsson
Cast: Maya Savin Miller, Trudie Strobel
When a young girl preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual, befriends a Holocaust survivor elder both lives are changed forever as they journey from darkness to healing through the power of art. Based on the life and art of Holocaust survivor Trudie Strobel.
EMERGING FILMMAKER STUDENT SHOWCASE
November 7–8, 2020 with Q&A on Sunday, November 8 at 3PM
2020, 25 min., USA, Drama, Santa Monica College
Writer/Director: Daniel Despart
Producer: Michael Lazovsky, Olivia Shapiro
Cast: Ara Woland, Arya Desai, Anne Bedian, Paul Chepikian, Mariam Vardanyan
Set in 1921 post-World War I Berlin and based on a true story, “The Attempt” follows Soghomon Tehlirian, a young man who is given the mission to assassinate the chief orchestrator of the Armenian genocide. During the attempt, Soghomon realizes that killing another man is not easy and contemplates starting a new life with the woman he loves. Can Soghomon reconcile morality with preserving the historical memory of his people?
A COLORFUL RED
2019, 12:06 min., USA, Documentary, Florida State University
Director:Costa Karalis, Jack Owen
Producer: Costa Karalis
Cast: Meagan Bourne, Jordan Hammond, Scott Johnson
Accepting a job for a high-profile client, an amateur photographer travels to Indonesia and becomes part of a plot affecting hundreds in the freelance industry.
THE MOON AND THE NIGHT
2018, 19:25 min., USA, Drama, Chapman University
KCET Fine Cut Award Winner
Director: Erin Lau
Writer: Erin Lau, Justin Omori
Producer: Olivia Gray
Cast: Bella Shepard, Jason Quinn
Set in rural Hawaii, a Native Hawaiian teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dog fight. Through the journey the film explores undercurrents of personal, cultural, and socio-economic strife in Hawaii, but at it’s heart, it is a coming-of-age tale of a young woman who must make the difficult realization that to save her family, she must stand on her own.
Trailer | Website| Facebook
A MOONLIGHT’S TALE
2019, 6:21 min., USA, Animation, School of Visual Arts
Director: Ron Spivak, Andrew Noh, Elena Spina, Aarif Attarwala, Tony Gaeta
Producer: Jimmy Calhoun
In a celestial ballroom where the stars gather every night to dance their way across the sky till morning comes, the dark, lightless Moon appears every night and is rejected every time by the stars around him. That is, until one night the Sun appears at the celestial ball, and now the Moon has to overcome his fear of rejection to earn the love he desires.
2019, 19:50 min., USA, Drama/Comedy/Family, American Film Institute
Director: Omer Ben-Shachar
Writer: Omer Ben-Shachar, Sydney Meadow
Producer: Iris Yang
Cast: Lior Malka, Eva Du, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Ryan, Rita Zohar
After he’s been cast (again!) as a background tree in his annual school play, an ambitious and imaginative immigrant boy leads a revolution on stage that his intolerant drama teacher will never forget.
2019, 20 min., USA, Drama, University of Southern California
Writer/Director: Caroline Friend
Producer: Merissa Jane Lee, Michael Orion Downing, Caroline Friend, Nick Benjamin
Cast: Kally Khourshid, Edgar Erenhart, Daniel Dasent, Eugene Alper, Dimitry Rozental, Martin Harris, Henning Fischer, Gabriel Palma
Based on a true story in World War II Poland, a young Jewish woman struggles to survive after her family is murdered. Refusing to give up, she joins the Soviet resistance, and realizes that through photography she can remember the past while documenting for the future.
2019, 20 min., Ecuador/USA, Drama, University of Southern California
Writer/Director: Tiffany Kontoyiannis Guillen
Producer: Tiffany Kontoyiannis, Roy Arwas, Karly Perez-Arevalo
Cast: Joselyn Gallardo, Marina Lalama Noboa, Diana Aboujian
After being deported back to dangerous and communist Venezuela, Rosa and her daughter must find a way to escape to a nearby town in Colombia.
EMERGING FILMMAKER LGBTQ SHOWCASE
October 17 – 18, 2020 with Q&A on Sunday, October 18 at 3PM
2019, 15 min., USA/Mexico, Subtitles, Drama/LGBTQ
Producer/Writer/Director: Miguel Angel Caballero
Executive Producer: Luis Aldana
Cast: Sal Lopez, Luis Aldana, Matias Ponce
Salvador, a gay Mexican elder who has lost his partner of 15 years, calls his partner’s estranged son, Anthony, to tell him of his father’s passing. Unaware of their relationship, Anthony travels from Chicago to a small rural town in Mexico to attend his father’s funeral. As family secrets are exposed, identities and perceptions are challenged.
Trailer | Website| Facebook
2019, 18:25 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ, Chapman University
Director: Christian Walsh
Writer: Christian Walsh, Ryan Beene
Producer: Vokee Lee, Christian Walsh, Yifu Li
Cast: Adrian Anchondo, Dylan Wayne Lawrence
A gay couple’s once-perfect relationship is turned upside-down as they deal with the loss of their daughter in completely opposite ways.
2019, 7:19 min., USA, Drama/Comedy/Coming-of-Age/LGBTQ, Florida State University
Writer/Director: Tyler Knutt
Producer: Raymond Knudsen
Cast: Steven Scot Bono, Bryson JonSteele, Jonathan Yaskoff
Robert must open up to his young son about the truth behind his divorce, and the man he really is.
I KNOW HER
2019, 2:55 min., USA, Comedy/LGBTQ
Producer/Writer/Director: Fawzia Mirza
Cast: Fawzia Mirza, Kausar Mohammed
In the afterglow of a seemingly fated hookup, two women realize that perhaps they have a little too much in common.
JACK AND ANNA
2019, 15 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ, Columbia College Chicago
Director: Ksenia Ivanova
Writer: Ksenia Ivanova, Savannah Oakes
Producer: Eva Herndon, Mika Santiaguel
Cast: Kate Smith, Brookelyn Hébert, Joe Chapleau
Jack and Anna is based on true events that happened in the early 1900s in Colorado. It tells a story of a young couple who live a happy life on their farm when suddenly a man from the past reveals Jack’s biggest secret – that he is, in fact, a woman named Helen. After the revelation, Helen is put on trial for cross-dressing and same-sex marriage.
2019, 9:05 min., Australia, Drama/LGBTQ
Director: Stef Smith
Writer: Stef Smith, Jonny Hawkins
Producer: Belinda Dean, Morgan Benson-Taylor
Cast: Jonny Hawkins, George Holahan-Cantwell, Paul Capsis
Based on a true story, Joy Boy is a moving and fractured retelling of the defining moments in the life of a young gay man, Jonny, caught between his conservative family, an evangelical church and his emergent sexuality.
Trailer | Website| Facebook
2019, 20:19 min., USA, Documentary/LGBTQ, Chapman University
Director: Rachel Bickert, Emily Tapanes
Producer: Rachel Bickert, Emily Tapanes, Lidieth Arevalo
Cast: Mallory Parish
A young queer woman in the American south comes to terms with her sexuality, shattering her deep-rooted religious beliefs and cultural stereotypes within her conservative community, family and self.
THE LAST SUMMER
2019, 7:40 min., USA, Historical/Drama/LGBTQ, Florida State University
Writer/Director: William Stead
Producer: Tony Ashley
Cast: Weston Warren, David Benne
In Nazi Germany, the young, closeted Ben fears for his own safety as he learns that the world he lives in is about to become even more dangerous for him and his openly gay best friend.
2020, 11:30 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ
Writer/Director: Gregory G. Allen
Producer: Gregory G. Allen, Laurie Chock
Cast: Ed Delia, Nefertiti Warren
An elderly Holocaust survivor is being interviewed by an African American grad student for her thesis on REPARATIONS. As her questions unearth his secrets the bond between them deepens.
2020, 8:16 min., USA, Comedy/Drama/LGBTQ, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Writer/Director: Sav Souza, Logan Thomason
Producers: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer
Cast: Leia Figueroa, Linnea Martinez, Jeremy Pitzer, Seth Weinfield, Kira Cullinan, Sydney Cook, Ava Frances, Tucker Masnik, Maddy Black, Zoe Green, Sophia Lemieux
Non-binary teenager Jax, exhausted by always having to take the high road, makes a bid for homecoming court in a race against their former best friend.
2019, 8:30 min., USA, Documentary/LGBTQ, Florida State University
Producer/Director: Taylor Ross
Cast: Danny Cords, Deb Cuny
Through the personal stories of two LGBT individuals, they reveal the horrors of their experience in conversion therapy and trauma that comes with the aftermath.
EMERGING FILMMAKER HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE
November 21–22, 2020 with Q&A on Sunday, November 22 at 3PM
2020, 7:08 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Nathan Adloff, David Barkley
Writer: David Barkley
Producer: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer
Cast: Samuel Cousins, Ethan Politzer, Riley Brown, Lauren Socolow, Cooper Miller, Brynn Stuart, Cayden Feely, Reed Wiley-Chaney
A young man is bullied into taking an aggressive action during a routine camp activity. A choice that will change the rest of his life.
Trailer | Website| Facebook
DAVID ISN’T HERE ANYMORE
2020, 13:42 min., USA, Horror/Comedy, Harrison School for the Arts
Writer/Director: Josh Ceranic
Producer: Riley Stamper, Gwyn Brarman
Cast: Andy Gion, Tracy Wiu, Jarron Webster, Jim Serrano, Nikole Rossitter, Dean Deck
Driven to sell a notoriously haunted home, a struggling realtor must confront the malevolent forces that prevent him from doing so.
2020, 9:51 min., USA, Drama/Comedy, Orange County School of the Arts
Writer/Director: Nolan Hieu Trifunovic
Producer: Nolan Hieu Trifunovic, Maya Pacheco
Cast: Leila Perry, Joon Paul Kim, Brian Ray Thompson, Hope Lagos, Johnny Benson, Tove Jegeus, Riley Fluhrer
Three high school teens have gathered to write a script about a 70s cop show but the fictional characters they have created live in a digital world that requires them to act out the story. As the script takes an unexpected turn, one of the fictional characters begins to question his masters.
INSEPARABLE: THE STORY OF ELLY AND LYA
2019, 9:10 min., USA, Documentary, Harvard-Westlake School/Righteous Conversations Project
Director: Gabriela Barrett, Alexander McDaniel, Idalis McZeal, Noa Nelson, Grace Sandman, India Spencer
Producer: Song E. Kim; Exec Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Lya Frank, Elly Rubin
Dutch sisters, born on the same day but years apart, are separated by the Holocaust and raised in hiding by two very different families. They couldn’t be more different but once reunited they form a bond that can’t be broken.
2020, 5:40 min., USA, Drama, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Karen Moore
Writer: Elizabeth Popov
Producer: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer
Cast: Charli Woodfall, Dylan Arie, Marc Johnson, Josh Ehrlich, Ben Meltzer, Judge Cantrell, Zoe Arnold, Alyssa Triona, Chris Linney, Christian Eble
A young girl pleads with the ghost of her dead brother to set her free.
2020, 8:44 min., USA, Drama, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Suzan Jones
Writer: Kelton Jones
Producer: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer, Kelton Jones
Cast: Emily Doran, Caitlin Driggett, Eva Colliou, Madison Goffney, Skylar Ellis, Theo Marvin, Monica Jeon, Kate Cornyn, Trudy Shelf, Kelton Jones, Brian Levin, Reed Wylie-Chaney, Karen Moore, Jordan Eichhorn
A high school student is prevented from giving her presentation on inspiring women due to a minor dress code violation, which leads her to take a stand against systematic oppression based on gender.
PETER DANIELS: A CHILD SURVIVOR OF THERESIENSTADT
2019, 8:30 min., USA, Animation/Documentary, Harvard-Westlake School, Righteous Conversations Project
Director: Alexandra Ankai,Fiona Fortunato, Theo Heron, Keila McCabe, Idalis McZeal, Anahy Portillo
Producer: Ruah Edelstein, Masha Vasilkovsky; Exec Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Peter Daniels
A survivor of the Holocaust shares personal testimony of being one of a hundred or so children to survive Theresienstadt, the concentration camp for children.
2019, 10:09 min., USA, Drama, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts
Writer/Director: Dusan Brown
Producer: Joyce Kelly-Brown, Tracy Brown
Cast: Bentley Green, Dante Brown, Myles Brown, Dusan Brown
With increasing violence in his neighborhood, a young man, Reece, fights for his community regardless of the consequences.
SEEDS OF PARTNERSHIP: THE SARDARI AND MORADY STORY
2019, 5:51 min., USA, Documentary, Harvard-Westlake School, Righteous Conversations Project
Director: Vanessa Chermak, Sabah Damji, Serra Demirci, Ali Desai, Tamar Farahnik, Hanna Gootin, Talya Havivi, Sanam Ismail, Sam Knoll, Jonathan Nourafshan, Sarah Pretsky, Abdullah Rafique, Akiva Rubin, Yael Rubin, Chloe Saba, Inara Shamji, Amina Tariq, Layla Waller, Zeynep Yildirim,
Producer: C. Lily Ericsson; Exec Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Mostafa Hussein
Muslim and Jewish teens come together to animate the story of two men, Abdol Hossein Sardari and Ibrahim Morady, a Muslim and a Jew in Paris during the Holocaust. Their friendship and advocacy saved Jewish lives and the generations who would follow them.
Trailer | Website| Facebook
2019, 3:15 min., USA, Animation, Palisades Charter High School
Director: Sydney Geiger
Writer: Sydney Geiger, Annabelle Grandy, Sammy Sachs
Cast: Sammy Sachs, Annabelle Grandy
A tragic story of a love that can’t be erased.
STITCHING A LIFE: THE STORY OF TRUDIE STROBEL
2019, 8:18 min., USA, Animation/Documentary, Harvard-Westlake School, Righteous Conversations Project
Director: Spirit Avedon, Natasha Clement, Lila Dworsky-Hickey, Ian Kim, Miranda Lewis, Alexander McDaniel, Jaaziah McZeal, Hank Schoen, Coleman Weintraub, Jocelyn Vega, Fernanda Zaragoza
Producer: C. Lily Ericsson, Exec Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Trudie Strobel
A child survivor of the Holocaust receives a packet of beads in a Displaced Persons camp after the war. Her mother tears off a piece of her skirt and the child embroiders a goose. Thus begins her life-long journey with thread and needle not knowing that someday this simple act will save her life again. Based on the life and art of Holocaust survivor Trudie Strobel.