Art.   These are beautiful, kinetic, and affecting pieces—two of which are our award-winning dance films that speak to escape and nonconformity. The others are tender and surreal films starring young, female protagonists in elaborate settings. 
  • edifice


    Irmak Karasu, Turkey
    Honorable Mention, Animation/Experimental

    Edifice is a dance film that tells the story of a woman’s revolt against the moral values which are imposed by society. In the film, all of the characters question the social trauma inflicted upon their bodily memory.

  • Porcelain

    Samantha Smith, USA

    Porcelain, set in the year 1910, follows a little girl, Isabella as she is forced to deal with the fatal illness of her mother. One night, after receiving a very special gift, Isabella falls into a deep sleep and finds herself in a dream world that warns her of an imminent tragedy.

  • The Light and the Little Girl

    Guy Pooles, USA

    A young girl finds herself entranced by a beam of light moving through her home and tries to capture it in a jar, only to realize that there are things she loves that she cannot possess.

  • Sing the Sand into Pearls

    Raquel Claudino, UK
     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    Sing the Sand into Pearls is a contemporary dance film set in Lisbon depicting three women who escape from a self-centered society and celebrate genuinity in a hideaway ritual.

Culture.   This showcase presents contemplative and rich films that dive into nuances of the human experience, often through subtle and moving performances. That the majority of these pieces are student-made is a testament to the field’s up and coming talent—these are certainly filmmakers to watch.

  • The Soft Shelled Crab and the Metal Claw

    Joseph Accardi, USA
     Best of Show, Shorts

    This film follows Wei Tang, a Chinese woman enslaved to an abusive husband in NYC’s Chinatown. She is forced to endure a grueling workday and physical torment. After years of enduring this life, Wei Tang has hatched a plan to escape. Will she get away, or, like the crabs and fish she sells, are there some traps from which we can’t break free?

    student film

  • Greenland

    Oren Gerner, Israel

    Oren comes to his parents’ house to pack his belongings before moving with his girlfriend to their new apartment. During this day, out of seemingly simple interactions, the family dynamic reveals itself and exposes the protagonist’s place–between child and adult, between intimacy and alienation. The house constitutes the space in which past, present and future mix into a chronicle of separation.

    student film


    Harko Wubs, Netherlands

    As people in a city are moving within their own well-known living spaces, which are widely varied, a city-map and a musical score arises, based upon the dynamics of these different ways of life.

  • Pigs

    Laura Mohai, USA
     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Student)

    A young boy attempts to care for a dying piglet in the farm he lives on. His tries to understand his mother who doesn’t quite accept him and grieves a lost child. The death of the pig on the bed of the lost child leads mother and son to a quiet conflict.

    student film

Documentary.   This showcase holds both traditional documentaries that tell stories not often heard as well also novel, dialogue-free films that present information in an artful, nontraditional way.

  • Born in Adana

    David Hovan, Canada

    This film transports us, through the life of an elder, to another time and place where a multitude of human spirits resisted, and a multitude were crushed.  Resilience and kindness appear at random amidst this devastation, reminding us of the potential strength and beauty of the human heart.

  • Particles

    Jesseca Simmons & Rafie Drencheva, USA

    The creative process of stained glass making is captured through silent surreal poetry.

    student film

  • In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan

    Nik Nerburn, USA

    This is a counter-history of the Paul Bunyan myth in Minnesota, tracing the legend through the legacy of the US-Dakota War, the long-lost story of the 1917 Lumberjack strike and the many lonesome fiberglass roadside attractions that dot Minnesota’s highways. Using a wide collection of archival materials, the film is an expedition into the hidden corners of Minnesota.

    made in Minnesota

  • Severt’s Woods

    Phil Aarrestad, USA
    Honorable Mention, Made in Minnesota

    The visual and audio essence of maple syrup season to music without dialog on Severt’s homesteaded land near Brainerd Minnesota.

    made in Minnesota

The Gauntlet.   These films will challenge either your powers of interpretation or your tolerance for heavy themes. Though not suited for the casual viewer or faint of heart, these beautiful and one-of-a-kind films are sure to leave an indelible impression.

  • The Man in the House

    Chris Markwardt, USA

    A man living alone on a dead planet faces inescapable darkness.

  • The West Begins at Fifth Avenue

    Kryssa Schemmerling & Donald Gray, USA

    A tale of birth, death and re-birth set on New York City’s Lower East Side during the mid-19th Century, this film imagines the childhood of one of America’s most notorious criminals. It merges the lost language of silent cinema with modern film sensibility and techniques to create an impressionistic mini-epic.

  • La Gallina

    Manel Raga, Spain

    A child who is not a child anymore, a mother who is gone forever, and a father who never stops possessing her, beyond life. The Hen is a desire that persists over time, it is a devastating routine that gets sick until it becomes death.

Young Drama.  Though nostalgia would persuade us otherwise, it’s just not easy being a kid. These insightful dramas bring you into the lives of several children who find themselves in a variety of predicaments.
  • The Coin

    Fabien Martorell, USA

    Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) portrays an indignant mother who radiates negativity onto her young son. While waiting for his mother, the boy meets a homeless man (Christopher Lloyd) who delivers an important message.

  • Blue Hour

    Kody Cunningham, USA

    A little boy has breakfast with his father and is imparted with a great responsibility.

    student film

  • A Promise

    Saad Nawab, USA

    A silent journey of a 9-year-old homeless girl’s desire to be her own age, away from the burden of responsibility, and the repercussion that follows.

    student film

  • Sunday

    Gina Kawecka, UK

    Jonah sees his absent father once a month at the local pool. A tender observation of a boys burgeoning consciousness, buoyed by beautiful underwater imagery and subtle performances.


    Nicholas J. DeMicco, USA

    Kurt steals the cars, and Larry, a shady chop-shop owner, sells them. But Kurt’s life soon becomes complicated by offbeat romance and professional competition.

    student film

Short & Sweet.  We’ll keep this description appropriately brief: we know you’ll enjoy these fun and light-hearted feel-good flicks.

  • Flowers

    Sabina Sattar, UK

    A man falls in love with a woman who callously rejects his babbling invitation to go out with him until he realizes that she is deaf and mute. Undaunted, the man comes up with a way to communicate his feelings and so win his fair lady’s heart.


    Codey Wilson & Burleigh Smith, Australia

    Jemimah is five years old and desperate for her dog, Tilly, to have puppies. When she learns her parents plan to have Tilly desexed, Jemimah embarks on a quest to get Tilly pregnant.

    student film

  • A Good Ol’ Chap

    Ryan Casselman, USA

    A private investigator helps a woman who is on a search to find her long-lost mother.

  • The Showdown

    Amber Schmiesing, USA

    The Showdown explores the relationship of stop animation and dance through a video game setting. It uses the same choreography and cinematography in different settings to show how location influences the viewer’s perspective.

    student film

  • HTM

    Sachi Ediriweera, Sri Lanka

    An urban bank worker finds his customer base threatened by the presence of a homeless musician begging for money on the street.

  • Chalk Dust

    Will Bowes, Canada

    Through a series of elaborate chalk drawings, a girl who is deaf is able to hear again.

  • The Light at the Laundromat

    Maribeth Romslo, USA
    Best of Show, Made in Minnesota

    A comic-book style narrative about everyday friends with not-so-everyday powers. A computer whiz with special abilities uses her powers to thwart disaster caused by the evil force of The Void.

    made in Minnesota


Solitaire.  Ah, look at all the lonely people…these solitary protagonists are fighting a variety of battles in a compelling collection of films related to individual breaking points, the human need for companionship, and even the surprising feats one can ultimately achieve without interference.

  • Watch Me

    Peter Dahl, USA

    A young artist enters a locked room, agreeing that she will not leave the room until she has finished her masterpiece painting.

    made in Minnesota

  • Winter’s Hold

    Ian Voglesong, USA

    A young farmer in self-imposed isolation must come to grips with a personal tragedy or be consumed by it.

  • Friday

    Alex Cunningham, USA

    In our not-so-distant future, the continents are gone and only mountain ranges exist above the sea. Friday lives alone on her island, in symbiosis with nature. A storm is coming…

  • Man of God

    Chiahao Chou, USA

    Marvin Lee is a non-verbal man living with Autism. During a visit to the Guggenheim Museum, his sister loses sight of him and he wanders off. He finds himself alone and wandering the streets of New York City.


    Brian Zahm, USA

    Marquee is the surrealist tale of a worker on the quest for perfection as she races against an impending thunderstorm while putting letters on a movie theater marquee for the film “Living the Dream.”

  • The Woods

    Remington Smith, USA

    A quiet post-apocalyptic drama, The Woods follows a lone woman struggling to survive in a desolate snowscape, while on a quest to take care of personal business.

    student film

  • Allegro

    Ryan Larkin, USA

    A pianist discovers some mysterious pills that will increase his playing abilities and decrease his nerves on stage. Though the pill has no physical side effects, the rising expectations of his audience create terror once the pills run out.

    student film

Tales of Passion.  These films prove that emotions truly are a double-edge sword. Whether there’s too much passion or not enough, these films bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly—tales of the times our feelings either connect or betray us.
  • Before We Meet

    Randy May, USA

    A man and woman rehearse what they will say in front of a mirror before a big date. As their imaginary conversation unfolds, it becomes clear they’re not quite on the same page.

  • Coffee

    Sam Dunnewold, USA

    A girl working at a coffee shop begins a relationship with a regular customer, but becomes scared when he wants to be more serious.

    made in Minnesota

  • Textisms

    D.Jeremy Bolton, USA

    A 13-year-old girl accidentally sends a text message to a complete stranger–a man in his 30s. We witness the drama intersecting these strangers’ lives–as they’re oblivious to each other’s existence–while it unfolds in real time in split-screen format.

  • By Chance

    Frieda de Lackner, USA

    Neil and Sara meet by chance in a museum and have an instant connection. Upon realizing he may have missed an opportunity that could change his life, Neil searches through the museum to find her.

    • Get Up!

      Michael Lopez, USA

      A looping narrative that mirrors the cycle of violence a young mother finds herself in with an abusive husband.

    • The Struggle of Libations

      Erin Mullally, Ireland

      A man undertakes a night-long odyssey across Dublin as he questions his only meaningful relationship–the one he maintains with his ever loyal post-work pint.

    • Solve for Y

      Landon Brands, USA

      A cerebral architect tries to determine the cause of his attraction to a young woman.

      made in Minnesota

      student film

    • After Lydia

      Nicholas Bradord-Ewart, Canada

      After Lydia focuses on 12 men who have all had their heart broken by the same woman.

    Thriller.  If the suspense doesn’t kill you, the excitement will. These films will keep you on the edge of your seat.
    • Telephone

      Nathan Hoffman, USA

      Lucy gives her daughter a toy telephone made from two tin cans and a string. When they move into a new house and Dani goes missing, a more sinister voice echoes out of the telephone.

      Made in Minnesota

    • Derailed, the Collection

      Ryan Sturgis, USA

      A woman takes a new job as the lone, night-shift security guard in a museum full of model trains. When she learns her employers started the odd collection after a horrible train accident took their only daughter’s life, things move from strange to disturbing, and from disturbing to terrifying.

    • Unheard

      Braydn Walker, USA

      Rose was born with the ability to hear outside of her surroundings, what most would call a gift. However, this is far from it.

      student film

      made in Minnesota

    • Curious

      Dave Krunal, Australia

      A man finds an old Polaroid camera which leads his curiosity to the journey of unexpected encounters.

    • The Pavement

      Taylor Engel, USA
      Honorable Mention, Shorts

      The city at night, a couple alone. A scream from the woman, the smoke of the gun…

    Animation.  You’ll see a range of animation styles and a variety of stories within this kid-friendly showcase of both comedic and serious animated films.

    • Love Bugs

      Teresa Hooper, USA

      What if a battery powered toy bee was shocked into action to try to attract the ladybug of his dreams?  Would he get her?

    • The Belief

      Amir Vahedi, Iran

      The enemy attacked the country and war began. A pair of soldier boots is put on by a man who is invisible for audience. The boots prepare to fight, but refused to go.

    • Junk Girl

      Mohammad Zare, Iran

      There once was a girl who was made up of junk. She looked really dirty, and she smelled like a skunk. She was always unhappy, or in one of her slumps–perhaps ’cause she spent so much time down in the dumps…

    • Pruned

      Lindsay Meissner, USA

      Rocket Man, a retired superhero living in a retirement community, is surprised when his arch nemesis moves in next door. Old rivalries don’t die easily, and Rocket Man soon starts things up again over prizewinning rosebushes.

      student film

    • In Capricious Hands

      Stephan Larson, USA

      Living in a box, life is pretty bleak and boring. And then a window opens…

    • The Leaping Place

      Michelle Ionescu, USA

      An elderly woman journeys to a mysterious tree hidden in an ancient cave. Her journey takes her through the emotional and psychological growth of overcoming fears and insecurities while finding peace and acceptance in the unknown.

    • The Sight of Stars

      Devon Manney, USA

      Based on the latter end of Vincent van Gogh’s tragic life, The Sight of Stars seeks to understand how artists can create such beautiful works in the face of overwhelming sadness. The film uses elements, colors and styles similar to those in Van Gogh’s paintings.

    • T.P.

      Bob Blevins, USA

      A roll of toilet paper awakens in a disgusting bathroom, and is horrified to discover what fate has in store. Inspired by his traumatized companion, he resolves to escape captivity and determine for himself how his destiny will unravel.

    • Currency Affairs

      Zehao Xue, USA

      A lifelong love story between two pieces of paper currency.

      student film

    • Bygone

      Taylor Parrish, USA
       Best of Show, Animation/Experimental

      When the Edwardian Era comes to an end and the roaring twenties emerge, a young woman must choose to either hold onto the past or embrace the uncertainty of change.

      student film

    Experimental.  This is a compelling group of films within a category you don’t often find in Southern Minnesota. These experimental pieces present unusual and innovative imaging and storytelling techniques.
    • MTL Rush

      Mathieu Guimond, USA

      An impression of colors, textures, movements and rhythm on an explosive jazz. The whole thing is painted and scratched on 35mm film.

    • Death Songs & Car Bombs

      Brendan and Jeremy Smyth, USA

      Shot on a 16mm Bolex–edited entirely in-camera. Guided by a ceremonial death song, an attempt to reach the unholy sea transforms into a chaotic place study of Bali’s infamous tourism district–car-bombed one year after 9/11. Osama bin Laden declared the attack to be a direct response to the United States’ War on Terror. Now, a dimly-lit memorial stands amidst a sea of Western signage…

    • Reading in Bed

      Andrew Eckel, USA

      A couple happily reading in bed run into a few problems. This hand-drawn, marker-on-paper animation was lit, in one segment, by flashlights shining through colored crystals.

    • Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Woman

      Eugene Park, USA

      Self-Deportation tells the story of an Asian American woman who crosses into a surreal world after a series of strange encounters on the subway. She becomes lost in the fantastical landscape of “Real America.” Her final act of self-deportation–both literal and figurative–raises questions about our notions of home and belonging.

    • The Votive Cube

      Margaret Polzine, USA

      The Votive Cube is an animation made by incrementally melting a 3 ft by 2 ft rectangle of layered wax in a cardboard mold. This was an exploration of wax as a flesh-like medium, attempting to suggest the body without explicitly stating it.

      student film

      made in Minnesota

    • Cat’s Cradle

      Ray Rea, USA

      Cat’s Cradle combines xerox animation and analog rotoscope techniques with digital effects. Two generations of animation technique collide in this raw film/video. Original soundtrack by Helena Thompson of Purest Spiritual Pigs.

      made in Minnesota

    Visual Music.  Thanks to our sponsor, Ion Concert Media, we are proud to present this innovative showcase that brings visual music into the realm of live music performance as these films will be showcased with accompaniment of the Mankato Orchestra woodwind ensemble.
    • Sabre Dance

      Aleksi Moriarty, Canada

      Visual music set to Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance.

    • Frames of Beauty

      Marcus Ruiz, USA

      Visual music set to Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Claude Debussy.

      made in Minnesota
      student film

    • Funeral March of Nature

      Matthew Fraser, USA

      Visual music set to Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod.

      made in Minnesota
      student film

    • The Witching Hour

      Carl Firth, Australia
      Honorable Mention, Visual Music

      When the clock strikes midnight…The Witching Hour begins. Visual music set to Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns.

    • Rondo Alla Turca

      Witold Giersz, Poland

      Visual music set to Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca.

    • In the Hall of the Mountain King

      Witold Giersz, Poland
       Best of Show, Visual Music

      Visual music set to Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King.

    Features. We’re pleased to present these features from near and far.
    • Summoned

      Katie Travis, USA

      Summoned is an adventure/fantasy short film about Elizabeth, a former rebel, who seizes her chance to return to her King. However, coming out of hiding brings the rebel captain Wolf and his scouts hounding her trail in an effort to stop her at all costs. With the help of a blind woodsman and a mysterious wood elf, Elizabeth must reach the King before the seventh day…or else die in the attempt.
      made in Minnesota

    • The Broken Legacy

      Miguel Garzon Martinez, USA

      While voluntary testing a new drug at a research facility, a lost screenwriter recruits the help of an egotistical philosopher in order to attract the girl of his dreams.

    • Viktoria

      Maya Vitkova, Romania/Bulgaria

      Unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is being born with no umbilical cord and doesn’t need Boryana until the hardships of life bind them together for good.

    High School. These films were written, directed, and produced by high school students.
    • Blindside

      John Cheung, United Kingdom
      Honorable Mention, High School

      Blindside is a character-driven psychological thriller about an isolated teenager living in a seemingly empty boarding school, who must confront his horrible past when it starts catching up with him.

    • The Emotional Dimensions of the James River

      Michelle Marquez, USA

      Marquez used drones for aerial photography to capture infrared images that blend with original music created especially for this film. She is breaking the barrier between art and science to create a unique visual and audio experience of time perceptions and emotional dimensions. She invites viewers to ride this emotional roller coaster while dreaming about a place Where Science Meets Art at the James River.

    • Improbable Comrades

      Ben Shult, USA

      One day, Anthony (jock) decides he wants a friend to do activities with. He decides to ask the first person he sees, a lonely boy with a seemingly different personality. Although it takes Andrew (new friend) a while to get acquainted with the new activities, the two bond together and become friends.

    • Flight

      Gabriel Grey Ingrassia, Canada

      Flight is a short film about a group of 12 year old boys who form a free running, par core group.

    • An Addiction

      Jeffrey Frost, USA

      Alyssa is forced away from her cell and discovers the world beyond her small screen.

    • Offsides

      Tytiana Holliman, USA

      A high school football player is forced to confront his prejudice and own history when he discovers the captain of his new team is gay.

    • Angels to Spare Us

      Aaron Potter, USA

      On Christmas Eve in 1881, Matt Miles is sulking because he didn’t get the rifle he wanted for a present. He is summoned out into the cold by his Pa to go help a neighbor. Matt is shocked by the plight of the widow and her four young children. Will Matt’s attitude change so he can serve the widow before it is too late?

    • Passing the Buck

      Hans Bloedel, USA

      A lost dollar helps out a less fortunate man through a series of events.

    • Convolution

      Benjamin Silverman, Brendan KaplanJack Filgo & Thomas George, USA

      After receiving a mysterious message, possibly from himself, a man must find a way to escape his convoluted prison.

    • Minimum Max

      Joshua Ovalle, USA

      A brief and powerful first-hand account from high school student, Max, who must navigate through the world of ADD and all the medications that come along with it. Ultimately, he must make a choice between medicated better grades, or accepting his ADD and poor grades; but in the end, be happy.

    • Two and a Quarter Minutes

      Joshua Ovalle, USA
      Best of Show, High School

      What goes through one’s mind in the two-and-a-quarter minutes it takes on average for someone to drown?