2022 VIFF LINE-UP
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Director: Nick Richey
Cast: Dallas Dupree Young, Gerrison Machado, Mylen Bradford, and Ali Richey
Produced by Vashon’s own Zach Mann and Mark Mathias Sayre, 1-800-Hot-Nite follows 13-year-old Tommy (Dallas Dupree Young) after he loses his father to a drug raid, embarking upon an urban odyssey guided by a phone sex operator (Ali Richey) and with the help of his two best friends, O’Neill (Gerrison Machado) and Steve (Mylen Bradford).
A film festival favorite (Santa Barbara International Film Festival/Deadcenter) and the 2022 Dances with Films Audience Award Winner for Fusion Features, writer/director Nick Richey’s follow-up to the hit indie Low Low (2019) has been revered by critics as “… a great tale of redemption and growth” (Movie-Blogger.com) that is “surprisingly heartfelt and realistic” (Film Threat), and star “[Dallas Dupree] Young is a revelation.” Fans of coming-of-age stories won’t want to miss this special film.
Director: Pierce Berolzheimer
Cast: Dylan Riley Snyder, Allie Jennings, Jessica Morris, Bryce Durfee, Robert Craighead, Chase Padgett
A horde of murderous crab monsters descends on a sleepy coastal town during prom night, and only a ragtag group of outcasts can save the day.
The reviews speak for themselves:
“Stupid, ridiculous, inept… AMAZING!… Feeling like a product of 50s creature-feature B-movies… Crabs! is a film lover’s dream… It’s like watching a horror movie version of Power Rangers…” – Phil Wheat, Nerdly
“Some films are created with such a passion for genre cinema that they literally blow up the screen… nothing can prepare you to discover this film… an improbable but successful cross of Goonies vs. giant monsters.” – Mulderville
“Outlandish, offbeat, and almost exhausting in just how many sharks (or crabs?) it threatens to jump. By the credits, it feels like Berolzheimer and co. have surpassed the B-movie pantheon of “so bad it’s good” many time overs.” – Ben Robins, Heyuguys
Director: Brett Smith
Cast: Gerran Howell, RJ Cyler, Ewen Bremner, Carol Sutton, Afemo Omilami, Steven Swadling, Harrison Gilbertson, Thomas Jefferson Byrd
William (Gerran Howell), a Union soldier, flees from battle and is serendipitously rescued by Kitch (RJ Cyler), a black man. Risking everything, Kitch takes William to the seclusion and safety of his adopted home: a community of freed slaves who run a portion of the Underground Railroad. But when a ruthless and desperate slave catcher (Ewen Bremner) discovers the network, he conspires to bring it burning down to the ground…and everyone with it.
VIFF’s Saturday night headliner, discover why early audience reactions have been littered with praise of the highest order for Freedom’s Path: “Oscar potential”; “Deeply emotional”; “Original, powerful, and beautiful film”; “This is poetry on screen”; “Best film I’ve seen in years”; “A MUST WATCH!!!”
Director: Sarah Elizabeth Mintz
Cast: Rain Spencer, Patrick Gibson, Odessa A’zion, Eloisa Huggins, Jules Lorenzo, Olan Prenatt, Diego Chiat, Shakewell, Yeek, with Gale Harold and Andie MacDowell
Failing to find intimacy in her broken home, a lonely young girl falls hard for a charming drug dealer and becomes entangled in his meth ring run by LA teens.
The winner of both the Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature and Best Performance (Rain Spencer) for a U.S. Narrative Feature at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, this “… gritty character study is punctuated by moments of poignancy” (We Got This Covered) as “[director Sarah Elizabeth] Mintz’s intense and bracing gaze… allows her to chart her own singular path” (The Playlist). The Independent Critic’s Richard Propes notes: “Good Girl Jane announces the presence of Rain Spencer in a way that should have Hollywood knocking on her door.”
Director: James Morosini
Cast: James Morosini, Patton Oswalt, Claudia Sulewski, Lil Rey Howery, Rachel Dratch, Amy Landecker, Ricky Velez
Inspired by writer/director/star James Morosini’s true life experience, I Love My Dad follows Chuck (Patton Oswalt), an estranged father who desperately wants to reconnect with his depressive son, Franklin (Morosini). Blocked on social media and concerned for his son’s life, Chuck impersonates a waitress (Claudia Sulewski) online and starts checking in with Franklin. But things begin to spiral when Franklin falls for this imaginary girl and wants nothing more than to meet her in-person, as Chuck inadvertently ‘catfished’ his own son.
The winner of SXSW 2022’s Grand Jury Award in the Narrative Feature Competition and boasting a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I Love My Dad showcases “terrific performances” (Austin Chronicle) as “[Morosini] takes an embarrassing thing that happened to him and turns it into a squirm-inducing (albeit surprisingly accepting) father-son comedy” (Variety) that “has moments that are downright hysterical, while others [are] cringe-worthy and disturbing in the best of ways. It is both funny and tenderhearted, and [there is no] film quite like it” (Awards Daily). Critic Andrea Thompson concludes: “That [Morosini] pulls this off so successfully is doubtless an indicator of a filmmaker at the cusp of a long career” (A Reel of One’s Own).
Director: Katherine Dudas
Cast: Madison Lawlor, Decker Sadowski, Olivia Blue
Mack (Madison Lawlor) attempts to spiritually connect with her recently deceased sister by escaping to her family’s rustic cabin. But her seclusion is cut short when her type-A childhood bestie, Alex (Decker Sadowski), crashes the private grief retreat with her own offbeat friend, Dylan (Olivia Blue). Emotions run high as Alex attempts to bond with an increasingly resentful Mack, and tensions mount as Dylan’s true feelings for Alex begin to show.
Premiering at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival early this year, Juniper is “a solid entry into the mumblecore genre… [it] excels in the performances, particularly that of the lead trio… Another strength is that [the film] is thoroughly and unapologetically a female-centered film, with the leads, writers, producers, editors, and directors almost all being women. Key themes include the delicate balancing act women face between being themselves and pleasing others and all the shades in between rivalry and support” (Film Threat). Bello echoes this sentiment about Juniper: “It’s time to feel EMPOWERED. It’s time to be feel BOLD. It’s time to feel FREE.”
Director: Bernard Rose
Cast: Tony Todd, Danny Huston, Stephen Dorff, Matthew Jacobs, Olivia d’Abo, Duke Nicholson
Set against the isolation of the Covid lockdowns, Uber driver Caddy (Tony Todd) searches for his missing son, who has been living on the streets. He crosses paths with Harry (Danny Huston), a cult leader holding a bizarre happening/ceremony on Mulholland Drive where Todd (Stephen Dorff) and Mary (Olivia d’Abo) are attending as acolytes.
The latest entry from renowned writer/director Bernard Rose (Candyman, Immortal Beloved), and executive produced by Oscar nominee and Seattle native S. Leigh Savidge (Straight Outta Compton), Traveling Light is funny and frightening in equal measure; a Bunuelian satire of bourgeoisie life in Los Angeles and the irreverent madness of the pandemic.
Director: Parker Seaman
Cast: Devin Das, Parker Seaman, Wes Schlagenhauf
After learning that their best friend Wes Schlagenhauf is dying, filmmakers Parker Seaman and Devin Das decide to document their journey to see Wes one last time… all in the name of Hollywood success.
A mockumentary film about filmmaking set during the pandemic, Wes Schlagenhauf is Dying recently premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, where its “laugh-out-loud bluntness” (Hammertonail) had audiences in stitches: “Seaman and Das have made a feel-good buddy comedy that never tries to make itself self-important, and ends up having you believe in the power of friendship. Whether they disagree on what shots to get or squabble over the other’s Disney+ password, Parker and Dev have got each other’s backs. Audiences are in for a short but hilarious and very gratifying road trip.”
Director: Dru Holley
Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts explores the often-contradictory role played by Black soldiers throughout American history, with particular emphasis on the settling of the American West and colonialism abroad.
Fresh off the heels of its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, The Stranger’s Charles Mudede hails the documentary as “expertly edited and researched,” further confirmed by Film Threat’s Josiah Teal: “[The film] asks questions of its audience and holds a mirror to the world… one cannot help but acknowledge its sheer historical value.”
Director: Warren Pereira
When a wild tiger kills men who enter his territory, he is declared a man-eater and locked up in a zoo. This galvanizes massive social uproar and activists take their cause to the streets, online, and all the way to the Supreme Court.
Living in a space between nature and true crime documentary, Tiger 24 is in a class all its own. Counting Tiger King’s Carole Baskin among one of its most vocal advocates, it “… is a compelling and dramatic story for animal lovers and fans of crime procedurals” (Film Threat). “Even shorn of its subtexts, Tiger 24 contains intimate, unguarded footage of large predators that would make David Attenborough green with envy” (Oregon Arts Watch).
Directors: Mathias Nordli Eriksen & Matias Rygh
Cast: Jakob Lasse Fengen, Hannah Fiedbraaten, Henrik Mestad, Marian Saastad Ottersen, Margit Hellum
Teenagers Ingrid and Noah declare their love for each other in her bedroom. Downstairs, her parents are splitting up.
Thoughtful, dramatic, strange, and downright hilarious, this dysfunctional family affair views the implosion of a longtime marriage from the perspective of first love, and the end result is a comedy classic. Nominated for the Best Nordic Short Film at the 2021 Nordisk Panorama.
Director: Mathieu Grimard
Cast: Oleksander Rudinskiy, Dasha Plahtiy, Maria Stopnyk
When home is a hopeless place, is it more courageous to stay—or go? For Ian Golovin, his father’s death is an emancipation. Suddenly untethered, he is determined to leave behind the old man’s word, abandon the desolate high-rises, and get out from under his old life to start over.
Screening at over 15 international film festivals, Goodbye Golovin was awarded Best Ukrainian Short Film at the Odesa International Film Festival 2020, as well as a Youth Jury’s Special Mention at Berlinale 2020.
Director: Oliver Goodrum
Cast: Richard Crehan, Mariona Tena, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Gary Beadle, Samantha Seager
Michael is on the brink of a new start in life: a new relationship and a stable job in a town where no one knows him. But his name returns to the news and his dream of anonymity start to crumble, leaving him scrambling to keep his past hidden—and his new life safe.
The Jury Award Winner at the British Short Film Awards and nominated for a Golden Unicorn at Alpinale, Iniquity also swept Beeston Film Festival for Best Drama, Best Performance, Best Directing, and Best in Fest. The sequel to the highly-touted short film This Is Vanity, this deeply emotional and powerful film examines—and even questions—notions of good and evil, bullying, and forgiveness.
Director: Ève Saint-Louis
Cast: Ève Saint-Louis, Claude Laroche, Catherine Chabot
After a year away from home, Chantale, who now lives and studies in Paris, returns to Quebec City to spend the holidays with her mother and sister. Against all odds, her estranged father has offered to pick her up at the airport and drive her there. Hesitant to see him again, she accepts his offer nonetheless.
Winner of the Award of Excellence at Global Shorts 2021 and nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Shorts at SXSW 2021, The Journey tells the story of their reunion: a path strewn with obstacles, where nothing goes as planned. As night falls and her father deviates from the planned route, Chantale will be faced with the hold he has on her, and will need to take action.
Director: Seyed Payam Hosseini
Cast: Asiah Moradi-Zar, Osman Pira, Karo Qavami, Kimia Khaledeian, Amir-Mohammed Kad’xodaie, Karo Hassani, Ramiar Ghavami
A young boy must discover a solution when a young girl’s kite ends up on the opposite side of a mine-laden divide. With the help of friends and an elder, the boy embarks upon a mission to return the kite in one piece.
Vimeo Staff Pick curator Blaire Barnes notes that “… In many ways, this slice of life is symbolic of a sort of radical imagination: the palpable care for one another, the innovation in problem-solving, the courage to reconcile what is lost… ..[director Seyed Payam Hosseini] manages to image a film that feels like such a ray of active hope despite the nearness of a conflicted past.” Nominated for Best Short Film at Berlinale 2020.
Director: Brett Smith
Cast: Malakai James, Raz Simone, Ben Leiataua, Sonny Golden, Cierra Jackson, Renee Rudge
Never Land tells the story of an inner-city foster boy with nothing but himself and his imagination to keep him company. His only escape comes through his daydreams of Neverland, where all little boys without parents go to be loved as Lost Boys.
A compelling emotional tale of loss and love, this highly-acclaimed short film has swept the film festival circuit, taking home Best Short Film from five separate festivals, including Black Hills, Doc Sunback, Julien Dubuque, Phoenix, and Siouxland.
Directors: Larry Ketang & Liam White
Cast: Barry Ward, Corin Silva, Babeth Diamantidis
In a café in Marseille, a man’s life begins to unravel when his lunch is disturbed by a chatty stranger.
An international festival darling (Manchester Film Festival/Raindance/Zinebi/Aesthetica) and the 2022 BAFTA Longlist for Best Short film that counts legendary British director and screenwriter Ken Loach (The Wind that Shakes the Barley) among its outspoken fans, Punch-Drunk is a(n almost) one-taker wonder from the directors that brought you Doughnut, featuring the duo’s established trademarks: realistic-sounding characters in plausible yet heightened situations, an entertaining moral conundrum, big questions, and a dollop of black comedy.
Director: Eddie Alcazar
Cast: Bill Duke, Baadja-Lynn Odums, Maurice Compte, Thomas Hildreth, Harry Goaz, Abbey Lee
Set in a world not unlike mid-20th century America, The Vandal centers on Harold, whose tormented search for peace from traumatic loss results in an unexpectedly destructive awakening after he undergoes a lobotomy.
Executive produced by Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan) and released by The New Yorker, The Vandal uses state-of-the-art Metascope techniques mixing live action and stop motion animation that are simply hypnotizing. Nominated for Best Short Film at both the Chicago International Film Festival and the Philadelphia Film Festival in 2021, this is one short film that audiences will be discussing for a long time!
Director: Franck Pickell
From her bedroom window, Melissa Simpson looks out at the highest peaks in Colorado. Despite being so close, the mountains have always been worlds away for Melissa, who was born with cerebral palsy. With the help of her friend and mentor, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, Melissa sets out to conquer something far greater than a summit. Through humility and grace, Melissa proves that what is within us is stronger than what’s in our way.
An official selection at over 15 film festivals worldwide and the winner of Best Short Film at the 2021 BANFF Mountain Film and Book Festival.
Director: Travis Rummel
The misty forests above North Vancouver, British Columbia, are hallowed ground for mountain biking, a place so harrowing it’s influenced every aspect of the sport for over 30 years. It’s also where Betty Birrell, at age 45, picked up mountain biking after a career as a mountaineer and professional windsurfer. Still off-road three decades later (now 73!), the single mother is a role model for her son, her friends, and anyone she’s met along the way—and proof that you’re never too old to send.
Executive produced by Patagonia Films.