2016 Official Selections

We are proud to present the official selections for the 2016 Speechless Film Festival.







Features.  We are absolutely delighted to present these feature films—some of which embody visual storytelling fully and directly. Others give voices to the voiceless, and we’re proud to provide an audience.
  • The Seeker (pre-production cut)

    Jeff Johnson & Craig Minowa, USA

     Best of Show, Visual Music

    A daughter’s life is turned upside-down by her father’s untimely death. Her apathy towards her new reality is challenged by a reminder from the past that sets her on a pilgrimage that will define her.

  • The Rainbow Kid

    Kire Paputts, Canada
     Best of Show, Features

    Eugene, a teenager with Down syndrome, embarks on a life-changing adventure to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  • Broke

    Heath Davis, Australia

    A disgraced sports star and gambling addict attempts to turn his life around with the support of his number one fan.

  • Conveyor Belt

    Alexia Roider, Cyprus

    A man lives alone with a turtle. He draws no attention to himself. However, he has a secret passion. He takes home forgotten, unclaimed and lost luggage from the airport where he works. In the safety of his own world, he methodically examines the contents of each suitcase. This ritual has become his life’s purpose. Until one day, a suitcase comes along and changes everything…

Animation.  A festival favorite—you’ll see a range of animation styles and a variety of stories within this delightful showcase of both comedic and poignant animated films.

  • LIMA

    Afshin Roshanbakht & Vahid Jafari, Iran

     Best of Show, Animation/Experimental

    Lima tries to remember his lost father by reliving old memories. Until he, himself, gets old…

  • Obsolescence

    Andrea Cristini, Canada

    This film is about the obsolescence of technology and how it menaces to erase entire generations’ memories from history.

    student film

  • Loopi Gugo

    João Sousa, Portugal

    A story about two monsters, Loopi and Gugo, and the only thing they have in common is their love for ice cream. Loopi, a frenetic and very intelligent little blue monster, does everything she can to steal the ice cream from the big and stubborn Gugo.

  • September Sketch Book

    Ronnie Cramer, USA

    This is an experimental film created using old school animation; over 5,400 drawings made with pen and paper. The film is abstract in nature, with sequences based on flags from around the world.

  • STO[N]ES

    Marcin Gizycki, Poland

    An abstract extravaganza of moving stripes and other patterns found on beach stones. Music by Compagnia d’Arte Drummatica.

  • Missing One Player

    Lei Lei, China

    A bad situation occurs during a Mahjong game. Everyone waits for the last player to arrive. They have no choice but to wait…to sit silently in tears. However, they believe the fourth player will come. They look up to they sky waiting for this miracle to happen.

  • JIBi

    Gregory Chen, USA

    A simple-minded dog befriends a bizarre yet kind family after they save him from a crisis caused by deplorable actions of his previous owner.


    Konstantin Bronzit, Russian Federation

     Award of Merit

    Two cosmonauts, two friends, try to do their best in their everyday training life to make their common dream a reality. But this story is not only about the dream.


    Felix Deimann, Germany

    This film explores the interplay of abstract shapes and motions: how can the substance of motion be visualized? Original footage of athletes in Olympic competitions was digitized into 3D through motion tracking and rotoscoping. The specific character of each sport is reflected in the visual language.


    Dina Velikovskaya, Russian Federation

    This story is about a mother who has given so much that it looks like she has nothing left…but then life opens up new opportunities.

  • The idea thief

    Dani Alava & Juan Lozano, United Kingdom

    A burglar has special goggles that allow him to see other people’s ideas floating in their heads and take them for his own selfish benefit. His misdeeds will end when he encounters a special kid with a powerful and mysterious idea.

    student film

  • What is your brown number?

    Vinnie Ann Bose, India

    This film is about discrimination in India based on skin colour. In India ,everyone wants to be light skinned. There is a sense of idealism and beauty associated with fair skin, whereas it is negativity and repulsion that is associated with dark skin.

    student film

  • Dawn

    Mario Rico, Spain

    Latest news: a walking dead invasion is sweeping the nation.

  • 10 Things You’ll Learn in the First Year of Being a Dad

    Josh Stifter, USA

    Being a dad can be hard. Here are some things that will help you as you adjust to your new life as a dad.

    made in Minnesota

  • Sabre Dance

    Megan Tonn, USA

    This is a collaborative visual music piece completed in the classical style by a group of first-time motion graphics artists.

    student film

    made in Minnesota

Art.   These poetic films use beautiful cinematography and artful choreography to tell emotional stories. As a viewer, you’ll find powerful relationships and a whole lot of heart in this unconventional showcase. 
  • A Love Story

    Annina Roescheisen, France

    A Love Story is a quest. Through an artistic visual experience, Annina Roescheisen asks us to follow along the route of her questioning. She reveals her perspective on us as individuals and our emotions.

  • Little Deaths

    Noel Anderson, USA

    This film visually illustrates a relationship that has turned bitter, but not yet ended. Each interaction between the two women is another brick in the wall between them. Though the film shows the portrait of one specific relationship, the dynamics have the capacity to act as a stand-in for any relationship, ubiquitously.

    student film

  • Blaumar

    Helher Escribano, Spain

    Silvia collapses. She searched everywhere, but there’s no sign…it has disappeared. She never thought this moment would come. Now, enveloped by the sound of the sea, she cries, without strength, waiting for this nightmare to end forever.

  • Pas de Deux

    Adrian Miles, USA

    This story follows a free spirited woman that moves through NYC as a trumpeted “being” accompanies her. She is called to “dance” by a lover, who ultimately does not follow through. But all is not lost as she discovers that the best dance is danced solo. This story is about self-love and reveling in the ecstasy of one’s own company. And yet, are we ever truly alone?

  • duet.

    Katsuyuki Miyabe, Japan

    A man and woman are bound together in a mysterious relationship which unfolds without a word. The film is performed by actors specialized in Corporeal Mime-a theatrical art in which body becomes an expression of mind.

  • Out of Sight

    David Hands, Cyprus

    A visit to a deserted house unveils memories of a Christmas day…

  • the birch grove

    Gabrielle Lansner, USA

    Caught between love and death, two brothers wrestle with their past in a dance towards reconciliation. A poetic film about the power of family ties, inspired by the novella of the same name by Polish author, Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz.

Body Issues. The often overwhelming consequences of bodily trauma and mental duress are front and center in each of these compelling films. You will be fully absorbed in the trials of these sympathetic protagonists as they seek triumph of spirit in the midst of physical and emotional struggle.
  • Frontman

    Matthew Gentile, USA

    When an emotionally self-destructive rock star begins to lose his hearing, his personal and professional lives unravel.

    student film

  • Positive

    Paul Merryman, USA

    When an unfaithful husband learns that he’s HIV positive, he backtracks through his affairs to discover the origin of his infection.

  • Hold Steady

    Jessica Paliza, United Kingdom

    A woman confronts her trauma with the aid of a metronome and her neighbour’s flat-pack furniture…

    student film

  • Margret and Helmut

    Clemens Beier, Germany
     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Student)

    When Margret loses her husband to his diagnosed dementia, she creates a new reality for them.

    student film

Comedy.  There’s not much else we need to say about this lighthearted showcase! Sit back and have a good laugh at these films—some of which are indicative of the everyday experience, most are anything but… 

  • Foos Your Daddy

    Luke Patton, USA

    On the day he’s leaving for college, Billy’s relationship with his overbearing father is tested when they play a heated game of foosball.

  • Failed

    Marina Bruno, Canada

    A driver recklessly races to the finish line.

  • Fish

    Saman Hosseinpuor, Iran

    An old couple are living in an apartment, the man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework. The lady wants to change the fish tank’s water but it slips out of her hand and falls on the ground…

  • The Girlfriend Experience

    Mark Kunerth, USA

    When a broken-hearted guy tries to get over his ex-girlfriend, he gets more than he bargained for and a lesson in expectation vs. reality.

  • Cougar

    Will von Tagen, USA

    A young man meets an older woman in the bar with interesting results.

  • Flush

    Matt Cooper, USA

    It’s man vs. technology in this dark comedy/horror mashup from first-time director Matt Cooper.

  • The Wolf

    Owen Royce, USA

    The Griffin family has more issues than just their social media presence, but today they needed the perfect family photo to finally break 100 likes. Social Media Specialist, Fran a.k.a. “The Wolf” and her unique assistant Steve take on the task of improving each family member’s profile and piece together one beautiful family photo.

    made in Minnesota

  • Maren and the Machine

    Loocis Scott, USA

    After the delivery of a mysterious package, Maren encounters someone eerily familiar.

    made in Minnesota

Coping. Death is an inevitable part of life…and consequently, an inevitable appearance in cinema. These dramas begin or end with loss. You’ll be moved by these stories of people who are simply “dealing with it” in a range of ways. 

  • Little Sticker

    Michael Chaney, USA

    An ordinary icon takes on new meaning as a couple wrestles with different methods of grieving over a tragic loss

  • Cocoon

    Shu-Ting Liang & Jimmy Hsu, Taiwan

    A girl feeling lost, the mother who betrayed the family for love, and a silent man—a cocoon of loneliness and desires is spun under the roof…

    student film

  • 29/6

    Francesco Faralli, Italy

    An old man remembers his childhood and the day his town was attacked by Nazis on June the 29th of 1944.

  • Rosie

    Alex Kohnstamm, USA

    “Rosie is a passion project for me. I wrote this film with my father while he was battling Pancreatic Cancer. The story is based off of one of his first cases as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Minnesota. It was a tragic case that he believes made him a more attentive father.” You can read more about this film soon, including the full director statement.

    made in Minnesota

  • Every Day My Dad Dies

    Steven Rico, USA

    A high school wrestler struggles to maintain his weight in the face of his father’s cancer diagnosis.

    student film

  • Fobia

    Shariff Nasr, Netherlands

    When two city guards inspect a deserted tropical swimming pool, they are both overwhelmed by the different emotions that the place provokes.


Culture.   This showcase holds both traditional and nontraditional documentaries that tell beautiful stories of peace and conflict. You will explore three continents, and three very different worlds, through the eyes of these filmmakers.

  • Yaya The Wise Man

    Ian Frank, Ecuador

    At the core of one man’s greatest conflict lays a conviction to teach his son the ways of his culture. A bad energy is cultivated at the headwaters of the Amazon. The lungs of the world: burned, drilled, and destroyed by an outside force that is beyond the capacity of these peoples ability to adapt to…


    Simon Gillard, Burkina Faso

    Among men and their actions, gross and serious, a soul is freed. It extracts itself from our world into a strange trip, a crossing through the air of this strange village in western Africa. These powerful and evocative images mingle with heady sounds, to give us to see, with no limit, this daydream.

  • RESERVE 107

    Brad Leitch, Canada

     Award of Merit

    Indigenous rights and title to the land remains a taboo topic in mainstream Canadian culture. But in the small town of Laird, Saskatchewan, an old injustice is providing new opportunities for dialogue, friendship and a fierce determination to repair the wrongs of the past.

Documentary.   This informative showcase has a little bit of everything—be prepared to laugh, learn, mourn, and marvel at the beauty of our world and its inhabitants.

  • Ironhead

    Thomas C. Johnson & Neal Abbott, USA

    Ironhead documents the creative work of ironmonger Kelly Ludeking and the happenings at his Down on the Farm Iron Pour, a yearly communal gathering of artists collaborating to make cast iron art at the Ludeking family farm in Decorah, Iowa.

  • The soul is wandering

    Guillaume Vandenberghe, Belgium

    On June 29, 2009, the painter Philippe Vandenberg decided to leave this world. He was in his apartment in Brussels. His son returns there…

  • Tapes from the Revolutionary

    Scott Willis, United Kingdom

    What is it like to see the world through someone else’s eyes? Filmmaker, Scott Willis discovers Andy, a self-proclaimed communist revolutionary that documents his life on a Hi-8 camcorder…

    student film

  • The Smell of Cedars Steeped in Rain

    Eliza Goode, USA

    A wordless love letter to Olympic National Park, with original score by the band Rabbit Wilde.

    student film

  • The Gourd, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Christy Westad, USA

    A brief documentary exploring a unique art from field to finished piece.

    student film

Dreams & Nightmares.  Escape from banality in this showcase of films that take us to other-worldy places, for better or for worse. You’ll find magic in every one of these dazzling pieces.
  • The Caretaker

    Kirsty Mather, United Kingdom

    The Caretaker is a movement film that blurs the lines between fantasy, memory and reality. It tells a mysterious tale of love, regret and redemption.

  • The Starmaker

    Matteo Piccinini, United Kingdom

    If we are all made of stars, what are stars made of?

  • Little Dreams

    Wilkie Branson, United Kingdom

    Little Dreams is an independent dance animation about dreams, fears and aspirations.

  • Paperous

    Miles Carby, USA

    Michael, unnoticed, but ever observant, is going through a
    transformation brought on by the divorce of his parents. In this coming of age adventure, he fights to preserve the only life he knows.

    student film

  • Normies

    Leen Issa, Canada

    Daisy’s alter ego, Bunny, is always distracting her with vivid daydreams. Frustrated with her spaciness, she visits an eccentric clinic hoping for some answers. But help would come only at a very high cost.

    student film

  • Reverse Continuity

    Pooria Shojaei, Iran

    A young man wakes up in his room and finds himself locked in. He begins a search for the key, but it seems that something is behind the door…

    student film

  • Boy

    Brian Hollars, USA

    A little boy and his dog travel through ruins of a fallen city to a place he will never forget.

  • Autumn Leaves

    Saman Hosseinpuor, Iran

    Autumn Leaves is about little girl who is going to school…and something happens.

  • Cannibal King

    Nathan Wold, USA

    In the aftermath of a bloody battle, the sole surviving knight searches for a missing king.

    made in Minnesota

  • Morgan Pickett’s Charge

    Christopher Lawrence Chapman, USA

    This is the story of a young girl’s fight to keep what is rightfully hers in the lands of the wild west.

  • Monster Face

    Heather Hamilton, USA

    A young girl’s vivid nightmares of her mother transforming into a hideous monster may be coming true.

    made in Minnesota

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.
  • Sky Park View

    Jinsub Kim, South Korea

    The skyline is changing everyday and everywhere in Korea, because the whole country is under construction with apartments and new buildings. In the mean time, a rooftop park seems to be the only place you can meditate and find comfort. Ironically the meditative opportunity only makes us aware of our repetitive behavior of constructing buildings.

  • Division Avenue

    Anne-Katrine Hansen & Janna Kyllästinen, Canada

    This film is about one of the most prominent yet often ignored landmarks of Brooklyn, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The film examines the architecture and fabric of the BQE through poetic imagery and experimental ambient sound recordings, inviting viewers to encounter urban landscape in a unique and curious way.

  • 10/9

    Michael O’Donnell, USA

    10/9 is a study in memory, age, and identity. The film comprises nine contemplations regarding a man in his tenth decade, revealing the emotive layers of reflection and anticipation. The score uses both modern and 17th century solo voices to evoke the timelessness at the edge of existence.

  • Here Delay

    Monica Thomas, Jason Chiu, USA

    Here Delay takes a post-structuralist perspective on presence and the self. With each of the two dancers possibly being part of a single whole, it follows these two characters as they navigate through three distinct viewpoints, heading towards an enlightenment whose existence is uncertain.

  • Cannot Predict Now

    Kimberly Burleigh, USA

    Cannot Predict Now is a short experimental 3D computer animation. It features a spherical form that continuously evolves to perform its function as a predictor of the future.

  • Arising from the Surface

    Roland Graf & Robert Platt, India

    Shot entirely in slow motion, this film shows seven scenes from a taxi ride in the heart of Mumbai. Both camera movements and subjects are intrinsically orchestrated by the traffic flow and rhythm of city life. The camera’s focus on peripheral imagery and lateral visions creates complex narratives and fluid urban panoramas that go beyond perceptual limits and generalizations produced by the eye.

  • The Stream 6

    Hiroya Sakurai, Japan

    This work is a ballet using the sound and the movement of the algae and water. I filmed the choreography of the algae that flows in the water. In the man-made waterways of rice paddies, the water in nature must follow artificial rules. In that way, nature is made abstract, giving rise to a new form of beauty distinct from the natural state. The theme of this work is the liveliness of the water as it follows the man-made course.

  • Witness

    Michael O’Donnell, USA

    Comprising multilayered images intimately paired with a postmodern flamenco score, Witness is a wordless, contemplative film essay regarding the nature of atrocity. It asks only that you look, listen, and feel what is actually happening.

  • Cinepoem #1

    Jack Nortom, USA

    This is the first of a planned series of short, experimental, free-form visual films.

    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 fantastically strange and one-of-a-kind films are sure to leave an indelible impression.

  • Adelmo

    Gianluca Fedele, Italy

    Adelmo is a lonely man, a sweeper at his city hospital, and lives alone in a house that belonged to his mother. One day, he has an accident and his poor and sad life changes completely.

    student film

  • Voyage of the Galactic Space Dangler

    Evan Mann, USA

    A space man meets a cave man.

  • City Crush

    Mia Forrest, Australia

    A lavish thug poaches an exotic young trophy-boy and smuggles him into City Crush. When our would-be ivory concubine escapes he must navigate the desolation, boredom, and deviant lust of the locals. This visually rich film experiments with the conventions of slow cinema.

  • Screener

    Adrian Ramos & Oriol Segarra, Spain

    A Finnish experimental film. A boyfriend who is always late to the movies. A film fanatic who can´t stand that people talk during projection. The drama is served.

Mystery.  You can expect some ambiguity, some confusion, some discovery, and a whole lot of drama in this compelling group of films that are sure to puzzle, challenge, and reward you.
  • Anxiety #5

    Jesse Foster, Canada

    A man’s fate is sealed within a Brooklyn tenement housing bathroom in 1983.

  • Broken Basket

    Roberto Ruiz Céspedes, Spain

    A stunned woman gets off the bus in a big city starting again a profound descent to her personal hell born a decade ago.


  • Oasis

    Carmen Jimenez & Chris Boyce, USA

     Best of Show, Shorts

    After her husband dies, Nieves inherits his job as the super of a decaying apartment complex in New York City. But the job becomes more difficult than she anticipated when she discovers a young girl locked in one of the units.

    student film

  • Fatum

    Radoslaw Pietruczuk, Poland

    During the night journey on a long-distance train, Adam meets a mysterious person who will change his life for ever.

    student film

  • Hope

    Aleix Buch, Spain

    Claudia Recher is a young woman who has lived a horrible situation. Her identity becomes an illusion as she struggles to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked life.

Romance.  The striking settings you’ll see in each of these films are just as romantic (or pointedly not so) as the stories that occupy them. Is some degree of impassioned demise truly part of every romance? Watch and see. 
  • For Anna

    Andrea Zuliani & Francesca Scanu, Italy

     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    Two kids, a small Sardinian town, a magic meeting they will never forget.

  • Eighty-Sixed

    Alex Kohnstamm, USA

    A waitress at a mafia run bar discovers a secret that threatens her life.

    made in Minnesota

  • Champion

    Måns Berthas, Sweden
    Award of Merit

    Harsh midwinter. A frozen marriage in a remote cabin. A man from the past returns to seek revenge, and long lost feelings come alive. A wordless battle begins and the eternal triangle finally comes to an end.

  • La Voce / Voiceless

    David Uloth, Canada

    Edgar works in a slaughterhouse. He loves opera and Ginette, the stripper of his dreams. Edgar is about to ask her to marry him when he finds her bedding her boss. In shock, he unfortunately finds himself with the voice of a pig…

Made in Minnesota (A).   This is the first showcase consisting entirely of films that were created right here in our backyard. 
  • Oracle

    Braddon Olson, USA

    A young designer must reconcile with a new holographic technology that could give his new wife and baby the future that they deserve. Thrown into a spiral of obsession over the possibilities & brilliance of the technology, his family begins to tear apart.

    made in Minnesota

  • Veritas

    Stephen Kane, USA
     Best of Show, Made in Minnesota

    In the near future, a man carefully curates his social media feed using the latest technology.

    made in Minnesota

  • Concourses and Megastructures

    Stefanie Toftey, USA

    Q) Why “Concourses and Megastructures”?
    A) Because love is a collision. Followed by an erection…of giant walls.

    made in Minnesota

  • Not Titled

    Katie Travis, USA

    Two playwrights are literally locked in a room until they can create a story that will save both of their wavering careers. However, two creative minds could not have more different approaches.

    made in Minnesota

  • Good Birthday

    Alexander Kohnstamm, USA

     Award of Merit

    A son arrives at his mother’s birthday party late to find that she is eager to show him one of her unconventional gifts.

    made in Minnesota

  • Daytimers

    Jack Beranek & Steven Sherman, USA

    A group of strangers’ lives come close to colliding at a roadside motel.

    made in Minnesota

Made in Minnesota (B).   We were quite pleased to receive enough films to fill two showcases with local work. Enjoy this second showcase of Minnesota-made submissions! 
  • Last Supper

    D. Wilmos Paul & Ryan J. Gilmer, USA

    Gee wakes up from a nightmarish dream only to find himself slowly living out the dream minute by minute… Was it just a dream? Or a glimpse into the future of himself, his family,

    made in Minnesota

  • Lapse

    Sam Dunnewold, USA

    Mona is still adjusting to living with a chronic illness that has changed her relationship with her sister from friend to caretaker. After making a choice to try and relive the days before she was sick, Mona’s health and relationship with her sister are put to the test.

    made in Minnesota


    Sean A. Skinner, USA

    The correction of the incorrect story of “Rock Paper Scissors.”

    made in Minnesota

  • Mister Massive and the Super Squad

    David Mair, USA

    A father comes to understand his son through his son’s photos of a superhero wedding.

    made in Minnesota

  • The Couch

    Doug Phillips, USA

    Tara and Jake aren’t getting along very well. The problems seem to be connected to him spending too much time on the couch.

    made by a Minnesotan crew

  • Looking Down

    Ryan Becken, USA

    After Dan has an epically bad day he decides to end it all, until he meets Grace, who convinces him to save himself…or does she?

    made in Minnesota

  • Recalibrate

    John Gigrich, USA

    A young assassin attempts to find out why her former employer is trying to kill her.

    made in Minnesota