2021 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. AmPav’s Emerging Filmmaker Showcase provides an opportunity for filmmakers to have their works seen by Cannes Festival and Film Market attendees. Any Finalist Films prevented from screening in person in 2020 and 2021 will be screened at the next “live” Showcase in Cannes, currently planned for May 2022. In the meantime, these exceptional and diverse films will be showcased to our American Pavilion audiences for a limited time virtually. Each of our four categories of films (Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, LGBTQ+ Showcase, Student showcase and High School Film Showcase) can be viewed on demand during the screening window for each category, with each showcase followed by a live filmmaker Q&A.
Below are the 2021 Jury Award winning films and the live Q&As.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Films: February 4–6, 2022
WATCH FILMMAKER Q&A!
BEST SHORT FILM – GIRL WITH A THERMAL GUN directed by Rongfei Guo
BEST DOCUMENTARY – DEAR LILY, LOVE PATRICK directed by Jennifer Bartels
Emerging Filmmaker Student Showcase: November 12–14, 2021
BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM – BROKEN LAYERS directed by Niccolo Rolim
BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY – BECOMING WONDER WOMAN directed by Chase Davis
Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ+ Showcase: October 15–17, 2021
WATCH FILMMAKER Q&A!
BEST LGBTQ+ SHORT FILM – THE TAILOR directed by Nathalie Therriault
Emerging Filmmaker High School Showcase: September 24–26, 2021
WATCH FILMMAKER Q&A!
BEST HIGH SCHOOL SHORT FILM – HITMAN directed by Devan Fujimaka
2021 OFFICIAL SELECTION OF FILMS
EMERGING FILMMAKER SHOWCASE
2020, 6:20 min., USA, Animation/Documentary
Writer/Director: Jaime Sunwoo
Cast: Jaime Sunwoo
Original score: Matt Chilton
Based on a 1895 suffragist anthem by Augusta Gray Gunn. Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and The Laundromat Project for 100 Years | 100 Women. Throughout America, women organized tea parties for meetings and fundraisers to support the suffrage movement. The Woman’s Suffrage Party sold ceylon, young hyson, gunpowder, and oolong tea under their charitable brand “Equality Tea.” Yet the history of tea is steeped in inequality, driven by colonialism, war, and appropriation. In her short film, Equality Tea, Sunwoo brews tea while drawing parallels between the fraught histories of the tea trade and the suffrage movement.
1, 2, 3, ALL EYES ON ME
2020, 15 min., USA, Drama
Director: Emil Gallardo
Writer: Emil Gallardo, Derek Ho
Producer: Emil Gallardo, My-Hahn Lac, Derek Ho
Cast: Farelle Walker, Blanca Ordaz, Armand Munoz
When a crisis suddenly engulfs an elementary school campus, Ms. Leena, a determined art teacher, tries everything she can to save her frightened class.
GIRL WITH A THERMAL GUN
2020, 11:44 min., (subtitles), China, Musical
Writer/Director: Rongfei Guo
Producer: Du Yating
Cast: Li Chao, Hu Jie
During the pandemic, a grocery delivery man is busier than ever. He receives orders, fills shopping carts, and delivers packages. Receive, fill, deliver; from dawn to dusk, day in and day out. He navigates strange streets and knocks on unfamiliar doors. As he grows tired, a feeling of loneliness washes over him and he begins to feel defeated—until he suddenly finds a thermal gun pressed to his forehead.
2020, 15:55 min., United Kingdom, Drama/Fantasy
Writer/Director: Richard Prendergast
Producer: Rachel Prendergast, Max Mason
Cast: Maisie Prendergast, Albert Clogston, Solly Mcleod, Lauren Harris, Cailean Galloway, Gaynor Fraser, Phil Reeve, Earl Ling
One young warrior’s fight for his life, told through the eyes of his little sister. Infused with imagination, tragedy and magic, Maximus is a journey seen through the lens of a child.
ROCK A BYE BABY
2020, 5:32 min., USA, Action/Dark Comedy
Writer/Director: Monique Sorgen
Producer: Monique Sorgen, Sean Akers, Jessica Oyelowo
Cast: Mo McRae, Scott Krinsky, Jessica Oyelowo
A drug deal goes wrong when instead of cocaine the dealers find out they have a live baby, and one of them refuses to give it back.
2019, 16 min., USA, Drama/Thriller/Sci-Fi
Writer/Director: Joseph O. Hooten
Producer: Liliana Granados, Don Ohmer, Connor Hall, Chase Block
Cast: Atala Arce, Casey Lopez, Jay Phoenix
In the not too distant future, Leah and her daughter Ariel race against the clock to immigrate across the U.S./Mexican border before sunrise. As officers close in, the direction they run becomes less and less clear.
A WORK OF ART
2021, 17:36 min., USA, Drama
Director: Kristoffer Polaha
Writer: Sylvie Maris, Kristoffer Polaha
Producer: Kristoffer Polaha, Barrie Wise, Stephan Pratt, Emily Skyle-Golden
Cast: Kristoffer Polaha, Sylvie Maris
While her Uncle works on his greatest masterpiece, a young girl battles depression – both unaware their unlikely family of two is running out of time.
EMERGING FILMMAKER LGBTQ+ SHOWCASE
DEAR LILY, LOVE PATRICK
2021, 16:34 min., USA, Documentary
Producer/Writer/Director: Jennifer Bartels
Cast: Lily Bartels
A luminous bond forged on a 1960s college campus between two friends whose lives will soon radically diverge, while their friendship remains impervious to time and distance. Patrick heads to San Francisco, where the thriving queer community welcomes him, and where his prodigious and visionary musical talent will take him to the brink of stardom. Lily follows a more seemingly conventional path of marriage and children. Dear Lily, Love Patrick is a poignant look at the power of true connection, a young life ended by tragedy at the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and a love that still endures.
2020, 10 min., (subtitles), Puerto Rico, Drama/LGBTQ
Producer/Writer/Director: Ariel Orama López
Cast: Ariel Orama López, Jonathan Cardenales
Two brothers from the Caribbean discover the quintessence that unifies them, in the midst of the pandemic. In a [zu:m] conversation, anything can happen. It Is an ethereal story that alludes to the metaphorical “shield” -or “armour”- of Covid-19, even on an emotional level, as well as the stigma of HIV/AIDS. Today we are one voice, without races: a new universe of masked beings.
THE GREAT ARTIST
2020, 23 min., USA, Drama
Director: Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri
Writer: Matthew Postlethwaite, Sunny Vachher
Producer: Sunny Vachher, Matthew Postlethwaite
Cast: Matthew Postlethwaite, Marimar Vega, Rain Valdez, Benjamin Patterson
A gifted artist finds himself in a broken balance between creating world class art and the all too silent struggle of self care as his life begins to unravel because of his Dissociative Identity Disorder.
JACK AND JO DON’T WANT TO DIE
2020, 19:25 min., USA, Sci-Fi/Drama
Writer/Director: Kantu Lentz
Producer: Roja Gashtili, Erica Fishman, Kate Bolger
Executive Producer: Shannon Gibson, Amy Emmerich, Adrienne Becker, Christy Spitzer Thornton, Melina Lizette
Cast: Justin Kirk, Olivia Edward, Moses Storm, Hemky Madera
Jack, a man disillusioned with life, works the night shift at a suspension facility where people choose to halt their lives. His life takes a turn on the night he chooses to suspend his own life when he meets Jo, a terminally ill girl being re-animated early due to lack of funds.
2020, 12:20 min., USA, Drama/Coming-of-age/LGBTQ, New York
University Tisch School of the Arts
Writer/Director: Natalie Jasmine Harris
Producers: Alexyss Robinson, Natalie Jasmine Harris
Director of Photography: Khalea Ross Robinson
Cast: Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, Josca Moore, Jacob Daniel Smith,
Aaron Casey, Jamon Adams, Renée Harrison, Tianne K. Johnson, Jonathon
Muñez, Yohance Barton, Kyle Price
On the eve of her cotillion ball, a young Black girl grapples with her queer
identity and questions her purity.
2020, 16:24 min., Canada, Drama/Romance/LGBTQ
Writer/Director: Nathalie Therriault
Producer: Mike Johnston, Andy Alvarez
Cast: Megan Danso, Hiro Kanagawa
A gender non-conforming person struggling to assert their identity unexpectedly finds courage in an aging master tailor.
EMERGING FILMMAKER STUDENT SHOWCASE
Trailer | Website | Facebook | Instagram
BECOMING WONDER WOMAN
2019, 7:36 min., USA, Documentary, Florida State University
Producer/Writer/Director: Chase Davis
Cinematographer: Taylor Ross
Cast: Heather Abbott
A determined woman utilizes the symbol of Wonder Woman to rally herself, her family, and her community in her fight against stage four breast cancer.
BETWEEN THE LINES: LIZ AT LARGE
2020, 4:32 min., USA, Documentary, The George Washington University
Director/ Producer: Abi Cole
Writers: Abi Cole, Meghan Shea
Executive Producer: Meghan Shea
Associate Producer: Fiona Chong
Cinematographers: Abi Cole, Mike Rogers
Editors: Abi Cole, David Flood
Cast: Liz Montague
Liz Montague first emailed The New Yorker’s cartoon editor out of frustration that all of the illustrations featured white subjects. She began contributing to the magazine in 2019 and became the first Black, female cartoonist in The New Yorker’s near century run. Montague’s cartoons push the publication’s boundaries through focussing on the intersection of self and social awareness in an accessible style with clean lines and representative subjects. Montague sketches a world in which Black women are the main characters.
DHIVARAH: A WAY OF LIFE
2020, 12:12 min., (subtitles), India, Environmental/Documentary,
Full Sail University
Producer/Director: Giridhar Nayak K
‘dhīvaraḥ’, is a short documentary based on the unpredictable livelihoods of fishing communities struck by climate change and overfishing in Karnataka, India.
2020, 20:38 min., Taiwan (Subtitles), Comedy/Drama, NY Film Academy (KCET Fine Cut award winner)
Writer/Director: Yueh-Tzu Sun
Producer: Yueh-Tzu Sun, Yia-Chu Tsai
Cast: Chi-Wei Cheng, Shao-hua Lung, Jaxton Lin
A freelance taxi driver can’t stand a big 5-Star taxi company snatching customers so he forms a protest
A BEAUTIFUL NIGHTMARE
2020, 9:15 min., USA, Drama, University of Southern California
Writer/Director: Kevin Lee Maxwell
Producer: Madison Holbrook
Associate Producer: Bishal Dutta
Cast: Antwone Barnes, Kelechi Okoro
Daniel, a highly accomplished dancer, comes home from college only to find himself entangled in a battle between himself and his concerned father.
2021, 24:46 min., USA, Drama, Santa Monica College
Writer/Director: Niccolo Rolim
Producer: Olivia Phillips, Nicholas Uneputty
Cast: Rawan Hage, Esther Pidal, Nick Faltas, Scott Davies
A humanist portrayal of the Iraq war and its aftermath as experienced by Rosa, a half-Latina, half-Arab U.S. Marine.
2021, 4:27 min., USA, Animation, School of Visual Arts
Director: Daniela Dwek, Maya Mendonca, Chrisy Baek
Writer: Daniela Dwek
Producer: Jimmy Calhoun
A young Israeli girl is oblivious to the historical conflict she lives in. On a trip to the market, her mother reinforces her fear of “the other”. However, when chaos strikes she finds that the people she was once afraid of are not so bad.
2020, 19:24 min., USA, Drama, University of Southern California
Director: JLee MacKenzie
Writer: Mitchell Graham Colley
Producer: Mitchell Graham Colley, Shardé Miller
Cast: Lily Oliver, Leah Zhang
As a young girl grapples with her mother’s absence, a chance encounter with a woman coping with the loss of her son creates an unlikely friendship.
2020, 14:52 min., USA, Drama/Historical/Music, University of Southern California
Director: Tayo Amos
Writer: Joi Elaine, Matt Mitchell
Producer: Julia Dillard, Matt Mitchell
Cast: Lex Scott Davis
In 1950s Las Vegas, a black singer is on the verge of her big break, but she risks it all when she learns her audience won’t be integrated.
EMERGING FILMMAKER HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE
2020, 5 min., USA, Drama, ʻIolani School
Producer/Writer/Director: Kunwoo Kim
Cast: Kunwoo Kim, Min Kim
Told through the eyes of a high school teen, this film depicts the lonely reality of studying abroad layered with the spoken and unspoken nuances communicated between a mother and son. Set during the backdrop of the global pandemic, the film portrays the acute ripple effects of Covid-19 that impact lives, shatter families, and alter commonplace routines once taken for granted. The film takes place in idyllic Hawaii, yet nothing is ever as it seems.
FEMINISM: THE FIFTH WAVE
2020, 22:34 min., USA, Documentary, Montverde Academy
Producer/Writer/Director: Molly E. Smith
Cast: Anna Bird, Martha Nolte, Patricia Haletz, Sandra Luckow, Sheryl Carbonell, Katherine Murphy, Lori Smith, Stephanie Wahnish, Lily Calary, Allie Derry, Ellen Sallin, Aleah Polite
A young filmmaker discovers the true meaning of feminism and its impact on Generation Z. Feminism is a dirty word. At least that is how some women see it. It has been weaponized, becoming closely associated with political ties and radical behavior. The media paints this picture of polarization between generations particularly regarding feminism, but these few loud opinions do not make up the whole. In this film, we take a closer look at the evolution of feminism through the generations, reveling a surprising similarity. Are we really different in our ideas of feminism, or is this just a perception? With Generation Z on track to being “most diverse, best-educated generation yet” according to the 2018 study by the Pew Research Center and having access to smart phones since their time of birth, there is no question that Generation Z will forever impact the feminist movement. This film is a culmination of a year long research study to determine the future of feminism. Welcome to the fifth wave.
2021, 5:36 min., USA, Drama, High School
Writer/Director: Paxton Stadler
Producer: Emily Skyle-Golden
Cast: Jasmeet Baduwalia, Hunter Holt, Jacqueline Fisher, Gregory Klino
A young teen wrestles with his obsessive urges, while his family struggles to understand his compulsive behavior.
2020, 25 min., USA, Sci-Fi/Drama/Crime, ʻIolani School
Writer/Director: Devan Fujinaka
Producer: Devan Fujinaka, Alex Ching
Cast: Grey Buxton, Keenan Chung, Mor Ben Haim, R. Duval, Dylan Tamamoto, Michael Colon, Sheri Tamamoto
A 2045 bounty hunter frantically races against the clock to free his childhood best friend from jail, leading him to a decision that could destroy his conscience forever.
I AM A TRAISTER: THE SARAH MOSKOVITZ STORY
2020, 8:27 min., USA, Animation/Documentary, The Righteous Conversations Project, Harvard-Westlake School
Director: Alexa Biggs, Veronica Howard, Izadora Kashper, Ella Levkowitz, Asher Meron, Bella Rahi, Henry Ullendorff, Olivia Uzielli, Lincoln Weinstock
Producer: Lynn Tomlinson
Executive Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Sarah Traister Moskovitz
I Am A Traister: The Sarah Moskovitz Story is an animated film that tells the story of an unsung hero now in her 90s. In 1980s Los Angeles, Flo Kinsley and Moskowitz founded the first Child Survivors of the Holocaust therapy and support group which went on to be a worldwide phenomenon. For the first time this generation of child survivors, in their 60s and 70s, could name their experience, find community and begin to heal.
2020, 7:25 min., China, Documentary, Orange County School of Arts
Producer/Director: Maggie Ding
Cast: Qiuxiu Wu, Zhengguo Liu
Left Behind is about a nine-year-old left-behind child from a rural village of China, who badly needs love from her divorced parents. The left-behind children in China are children who are left behind in rural areas by their parents who leave to work in urban areas. According to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, as of August 2018, there were 6.97 million left-behind children in rural China. Many of these children face developmental and emotional challenges because of the lack of parental care. The film explores the lives of the left-behind children through the eyes of a village girl from Guizhou Province of China.
A SHIP CALLED LILI: THE LILLIAN TRILLING STORY
2020, 9:34 min., USA, Animation/Documentary, The Righteous Conversations Project, Harvard-Westlake School
Writer/Director: Natasha Clement, Alexa Druyanoff, Ian Kim, Dovely King, Eve Levy, Idalis McZeal, Ella Moriarty, Gracie Sandman, Hank Schoen
Producer: C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Lillian Trilling
A Ship Called Lili: The Lillian Trilling Story is an animated film about Holocaust survivor and activist Lillian Trilling which chronicles her life at age 12 of escaping the Warsaw Ghetto, surviving a #MeToo experience, working as a nanny in a German castle, and her eventual liberation and journey to America.