2017 Official Selections

We are proud to present the following short and feature films during the 2017 Speechless Film Festival. We will continue to add trailers and reviews as the event approaches.

 

 

 

 

 

Features include Apricot Groves, Oxenfree24 Hour Comic, and Viral Beauty.


Altered States.  These isolated protagonists move in and out of reality as the filmmakers play with memory, time, and the drifting psyche.
  • Manuel

    Maria Martin, Spain

    An old couple eats quietly until someone knocks at the door…

  • Villa Mnemosine

    Ruben Salazar, Spain

    Auguste lives alone. Every day she grows more concerned over the phenomena that occur in her increasingly strange house.

  • Post Scriptum

    Ata Man, Azerbaijan

    A paragraph from a lonely writers wandering mind.

  • The Feeling

    Leo Canali, Italy

    A boy works in a hotel cleaning rooms. Each room retains its own story, told from the traces of those who have stayed.



Animation.  The characters in these poignant animations find themselves in a number of difficult situations. You’ll join them on the search for light in the darkness.

  • Kukuschka

    Dina Velikovskaya, Russian Federation

     Honorable Mention, Animation/Experimental

    Kukuschka is a bird who follows the sun. Her quest becomes more difficult when she is suddenly joined by another.

  • Shadows

    Isaac Kerlow, Singapore

    Life as usual is interrupted when a band of intruders decide to destroy the centuries-old rain forest. The villagers are unable to protect the forest until an unexpected ally uses her powers to help.

  • My Life I Don’t Want

    Nyan Kyal Say, Myanmar

    My Life I Don’t Want is about the life of a Myanmar girl. The animation is inspired by true stories from Myanmar.

  • Alto El Juego

    Walter Tournier, Uruguay

    In the middle of a war, a boy and a dog try to protect themselves. An innocent game.

  • Hope

    Michael Scherrer, Switzerland

    Hope tells the story of a little boy who is condemned to spend the time he has left in a prisoners’ camp. The memories of his mother are the only thing keeping him alive.

  • Au revoir Balthazar

    Rafael Sommerhalder, Switzerland

    A scarecrow, a storm, a broken leg. The resonant sound of a sea shell. Looking back. Leaving forever.


Animation (Family).  You asked…we listened. Enjoy our first-ever family-friendly showcase of delightful animations for the young and young at heart! 
  • Quitting Time

    Robert Dollase, USA

    A stubborn and impulsive time traveler refuses to learn the lessons of his future.

  • Farmer Glorp

    Timothy Keebler, USA

    Farmer Glorp tends his field of solar power sunflowers until it is unexpectedly invaded by Flip, an excitable creature seeking food. He must stop Flip’s accidental chaos before his crops are destroyed.

    student film

  • Notorious Corn

    Mallory Grolleau, France

    Notorious Corn is the story of a small grain of corn who dreams of glory. He finds success, until…

  • When I’m With You

    Robert M. Charde, USA

    A father and son brave a world of nearsighted elephants and two timing snakes in this tender years anthem.

  • Time for Pizza

    Emma Hislop, USA

    A college student is required to create a piece of pizza by noon. Will she be able to beat the time?

    student film

    made in Minnesota

  • Sonata at Blossom Bridge

    Connor Calvin, USA

    Two cherry blossom samurai meet on their descending journey towards the ground and attempt to prove who is more honorable.

    student film

  • The Moth Effect

    Haley Vallandingham, USA

    Anh, a tidy young woman, believes everything has a place. One day, she meets her new roommate, a party-loving moth. Anh immediately realizes that she and this moth are opposites.

    student film

  • Lion Dance

    Tim Pattinson & Zheng Kang, USA

     Best of Show, Animation/Experimental

    Lion Dance is a romance set during a traditional Asian parade during which an acrobatic dance is performed to bring good luck.

    student film



Art. As beautiful as they are poetic, these films use movement, color, and unconventional storytelling to provide meditative emotional experiences you won’t soon forget.
  • Emerald Ice

    Jesseca Ynez Simmons, USA

    Emerald Ice is a cinematic journey exploring the mind of American poet Diane Wakoski. This short film brings to the screen the sprawling beauty that is Diane’s emotional spectrum.

    student film

  • Eventide

    Muriel Paraboni, Brazil

    A man and woman relive moments of their lives transfigured on the landscape of a beach. Past, present and future merge in the cadence of the waters, which come and go revolving memories and old silences.

  • Endless Waltz

    Zachary Richardson, Canada

    What awaits us after death? What is our purpose? Why do some leave too soon while others live long lives? While life is a mystery, death is often viewed as the ultimate act of destruction.

  • Elijah

    Fanny Béguély, France

     Honorable Mention, Speechless Shorts (Student)

    Forced to run away, Elijah wanders among the horizons of a seemingly endless plateau. In another era, a widow and her sick daughter try to survive amidst an abandoned industrial area.

    student film



Experimental.  You’ll see a variety of unusual and innovative imaging techniques in these nonnarrative films and animations. This dynamic showcase is a must-see for film and animation students!

  • London NGC 6744

    Joshua Benson, USA

    The natural elements of the urban space broken down into their core components—light patterns, errant sound, and constant movement. A representation of city life at its most elemental.

    student film

  • Truthful Innards

    Margaret Polzine, USA

    An experimental animation approaching the idea of the layers a body builds when it has been harmed.

    student film

    made in Minnesota

  • Adam

    Evelyn Jane Ross, USA

    In the beginning of them She created us.

    student film

  • The Trader

    Manuel Alvarez Diestro & Sergio Belinchon, Spain

    A successful stock trader decides to start a journey far from the trading floor. He searches for the perfect place where he can liberate himself from the world to which he belongs.


  • A Narrative Film

    Michael Edwards, USA

    The most narrative narrative never narrated. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is at once both a three-act assault on the conceit of the traditional narrative, as well as a futile attempt to escape the narrative impulse of cinema.

    student film

  • Auto

    Conner Griffith, USA

    Cars dance on highways, crowds of people wash across sidewalk shores.

    student film

  • Beat the City

    Claudinho Andres Gomez, USA

    Having faced a terrible loss in his personal life, a man fights his agoraphobia seeking for liberation through spirituality.

    student film

  • Shenzhen Saturday Morning

    Koonwah So, China

    One early morning in Shenzhen, a security guard eats breakfast in the village inside the city. His soul detaches from his body, flees to the air, and crosses the crowded street. In the end, the man returns to reality.

  • Progress

    Otto Alder, Switzerland

    Thousands of photographs of an old building from the archives of Otto Alder are brought to life in this animated document of impermanence and recommencement.

  • Overcame the Sun

    Julian Clark, Matt Twohig & Adam Hersko, USA

    The music video for Overcame the Sun by artist Cloudy Busey.

    student film



Family Matters. The delicate relationships between parents and their children are pushed to their limits in this engrossing trio of French dramas.  

  • Breathe

    Just Philippot, France

    Lizon was amazed by her friend’s birthday party. For her own ninth birthday, Lizon wants the same thing—a birthday with a cake—at her home…in her car.

  • The Stripes of the Sergent

    Emmanuelle Cuau, France

    It’s Christmastime. A young boy of eight receives a military uniform. His father wants him to be a perfect little para.

  • Saïd’s Cremation

    Julien Sicard, France

     Best of Show, Shorts

    Elias returns home after the death of his father Saïd, a former Harki (Algerian soldier loyal to the French Army). Some family members want to bury Saïd according to their religion, others want to respect his last wishes by incinerating him.



Fantasy.  Escape from banality with these films that transport you to other-worldly places. There’s magic in each one of these dazzling pieces.

  • Dryad

    Thomas Vernay, France

    The wind blows, noises of armor resound. A knight escorts a woman athwart plains. The thunder begins, clouds invade the landscape. The knight, worried, stares at the castle. The end is near.

  • Ryker

    Alexandre Pulido, USA

    A Viking peasant embarks on a journey of destiny to rescue his beloved from a creature out of nightmare.

  • Dust

    Leah Gallegos, USA

    An earthly man living in the jungle inadvertently creates a beautiful sea woman by the dust from his hair. All logic is lost when he meets her and is lured into the ocean by her beauty, which becomes his demise.

  • Inside

    Jonás Nudi, Mexico

    A fantasy story about a student who tries to understand how to hear beyond the impossible, and a teacher willing to show something inside him.

  • The Prologue

    Andy Kastelic, USA

    To realize his dream of life in the American West, a man journeys home to avenge his wife’s murder at the hands of savage prairie pickpockets.

    student film

  • Through

    Josh Mruz, USA

    A modern trippy take on Alice in Wonderland and the other stories of Lewis Carroll.

    made in Minnesota

  • Requembarren

    Román Rubert Bernat, Spain

    Beatrice is a young woman who leaves home to look for Requembarren. After listening to the sad man, to the profaner, and to the incestuous man, she reflects on what happens to her on the journey until she finds her creator.



Features.  Although these films originate from different places—near and far—they are connected by a common interest in what it means to be human in 2017. You’ll ponder challenges of identity as well as internal and external forces in each of these stories.
  • Apricot Groves

    Pouria Heidary Oureh, Armenia

     Best of Show, Features

    Aram, an Iranian Armenian youth who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, returns to Armenia to propose to an Armenian girlfriend. Aram sees many cultural, religious, and national differences on this day trip, but harder obstacles are ahead.

  • Oxenfree

    Dan Glaser, USA

     Best of Show, Made in Minnesota

    Three foster brothers reunite at their old lake cabin following the death of their father, where the now-estranged adults relive a shared childhood by uncovering the ruins of their make-believe kingdom, ‘Oxenfree’…and face down the monster living within.

    made in Minnesota

  • 24 Hour Comic

    Milan Erceg, USA

    Eight artists confined to a comic book store partake in Scott McCloud’s 24 Hour Comic Challenge. Each attempts to write, draw, and complete a 24 page comic in 24 hours.

  • Viral Beauty

    David Tyson Lam, USA

    An international comedy about social media.

    student film


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


  • Apocalypse

    Justyna Mytnik, Poland

    A young couple lives together in a tower block infested with surreal pigeons. A baby pigeon advises them to look into each other’s eyes, or else they will die. Susie believes the bird, but Maurice wants to kill it. Apocalypse is a dark fairytale about loneliness.

    student film

  • Little Boy Blue

    Nathan Keene, Australia

    On a rural farm, a lonely girl must face her own dark desires when she discovers a boy held captive in a neighbouring farm’s barn.

  • Brainbloodvolume

    John M. Carter, Germany

     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    Based on the bizarre actual life events of Dutch librarian and medical student, Hugo Bart Huges, Brainbloodvolume is an interpretation of the moments at which Huges completes an operation he theorized would lead to a state of higher consciousness.


Hidden Histories.   This special screening includes two narrative shorts from a series of films about Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Each film tells a personal story dramatizing a different period of this history, starting from Executive Order 9066 (which authorized the confinement sites) to the present-day legacy for younger generations. Erika Street (director of The Orange Story, Vintage Showcase) will lead a discussion on this film series.


  • Tadaima

    George, Akiko, Kaori, and Kazuo return to their former house following the end of World War II and the closure of the Japanese American confinement sites. Arriving home, they find the house ransacked by vandals and in a state of disrepair, but there is a glimmer of hope that the future holds better days.

  • Seppuku

    Seppuku is a cinematic folk tale that chronicles the ritual death and rebirth of Mari Yoshimori. It looks through the lens of a psyche molded through generations by the legacy of internment. It’s a soul-searching journey to recalibrate a spiritual compass and find new purpose in life.


Journey.  A kimono, a currency note, and two young boys embark on three very different journeys. You’ll savor the stunning sights from around the globe as you follow them on their travels.
  • Digpa Ning Alti

    Bor Ocampo, Philippines

    Along with a few families, migratory birds find home on the wetlands inside the vast Pampanga dike. Two brothers make their way to town for a bottle of petrol on a quiet afternoon.

  • Mon Kimono Rouge

    Françoise Desbois, France, Japan

    A kimono’s poetic journey between France and Japan.

  • RM10

    Emir Ezwan, Malaysia

     Honorable Mention, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    The nocturnal adventures of a currency note.



Lost.  Something is missing in these dramas. For many of the characters, it’s someone they love. Others have lost perspective or possessions; control or capability.
  • Submergence

    Yohahn Ko, USA

     Best of Show, Speechless Shorts (Student)

    A bereaving mother relives an agonizing memory of her son through a fishbowl.

    student film

  • For Mum Who Made Me Sad

    Natascha Zink, Germany

    A little boy. A depressed mother. The ghost of a little girl. How can you comfort someone you love?

    student film

  • Lily

    Arón Holden, United Kingdom

    Matt and Lily are home alone, and Matt seizes this opportunity to pressure the notion of sex. This film wrestles with the boundaries of consent.

    student film

  • Creator

    David Tabor, USA

    A young web celebrity suddenly goes missing. An isolated fifteen year old fan is left to cope with his disappearance and the subsequent investigations.

    student film

  • La Vie

    Javi Muñoz, Spain

    An old married couple embarks on a journey that causes them to relive forgotten memories, even those deeply buried.

  • Rise

    Benji Inniger, USA

    A driven woman faces a challenge that has come between her and her dream.

    made in Minnesota

  • Home, Sweet Home

    Carlos Polo, Spain

    After 50 years of marriage, Amelia and Emilio find themselves in a very delicate situation. Amelia, far from resigned, finds a creative solution to their problem.



Mind Games.   It’s manipulation, chicanery, and funny business in these intriguing dramas—all of which invoke tension and mystery.

  • On Trial

    Pablo De Aramburu, Spain

    Marta, who is in a probationary period in the border guard, experiences how a simple traffic ticket on the border can turn into blackmail. This makes her question everything.

  • George

    David Coudyser, France

    What would you do if a couple rang your doorbell and announced the arrival of George? Who is George, and who is this mysterious couple? This is what happens to the unsuspecting Marion who, by opening her door, falls into a trap.

  • Risky Game

    Stefan Plepp & Christine Kabisch, Germany

    17 year old Melanie gets beaten by her father when she has bad grades. So when she fails a test, she tries to blackmail her teacher. But he doesn’t respond the way she expects. Who’s the victim, who’s the offender?

  • Marginalia

    Matthew Levi Rowley & Paul Gall, USA

    After a messy divorce, a young man must deal with his mounting depression by facing a mysterious doppelganger and the notes he leaves behind.



A Silent Homage.  You’ll be delighted by the these tributes to the early days of cinema. These filmmakers play with the format of silent film to transport you into the past or bring the past into the present.
  • Le Chat Doré

    Nata Moreno, Spain

    Inside an old cabin, a group of musicians try to create art under the pressure of a mean director. This short was made to defend creative freedom and artistic expression.

  • War, One Afternoon

    Jason Sklaver, USA

    A young woman enjoys a playful stroll in the woods with her lover until an unsettling turn forces her to face a harsher truth, revealing that nothing is black and white.

  • Duel Projection

    Avery Herzog, USA

    A washed up silent film character battles to feel relevant against a modern blockbuster action hero.

    student film

  • Empathy is the Devil

    Carey Ryan, Australia

    An overly generous man with an addiction to giving finds that charity is not always a two-way street.

    student film

  • Mime Games

    David Larsen & Anthony Berk, USA

    In this silent film comedy with a modern action twist, a rivalry between two mimes escalates into an extravagant mime fight.



Short & Sweet.  Take a break from heavy issues with these lighthearted dramas, several of which offer a fun take on romance. 
  • 1+1

    Rubén Pacheco Rondero, Spain

    Victor is a mathematician working in a coffee shop. When he becomes distracted by a woman outside the window, he begins to calculate their chances of success.

  • Fully Furnished

    Tanner Duncan, USA

    This lighthearted film explores the ways in which a newlywed couple deals with the challenges of furnishing their first apartment, and the lesson they learn along the way.

  • Four

    Russell Thomas, USA

    Mr. Four loves the number four, but when he finds he only has three eggs, he sets out to get another egg to complete his set…

  • Cuba Libre

    Félixe de Becker & Colin Bates, Cuba

    A young business man journeys to Havana, Cuba, for work, only to find a beautiful distraction…

  • Choices

    Rick Hamilton, USA

    Deborah relies on chance to avoid making any choices in her life, but then faces a decision that can’t be left up to fate.

    student film

  • No Questions Asked

    José Andrés López de la Rica, Spain

    On their way to throw out the garbage, the owners of a bar discover that the trash has been rummaged through.



Vintage.   Travel back in time with these period pieces. You’ll be immersed in conflicts of the past at a quaint corner store, an unassuming neighborhood party, and a famous artist’s workshop. 
  • The Orange Story

    Erika Street, USA

    In 1942, President Roosevelt authorized the forced “relocation” of 120,000 ethnic Japanese into incarceration camps. Koji is the proud owner of a grocery store, but his belongings and business must be sold or left behind. The lone bright spot during this turmoil is the friendship he develops with a young girl. On the day of his departure, Koji learns that even this friendship has been tainted by wartime hysteria.

  • Richard’s 32nd

    Drew Britton, USA

    A time capsule of footage from the 1960s reveals what was supposed to be a birthday party for one of the neighborhood husbands. But when a new couple on the block arrives, the filmmaker becomes less interested in small talk, and more voyeuristic; capturing flirtations between the neighborhood’s new wife and an opposing husband.

    student film

  • Azurite

    Maud Garnier, France

     Honorable Mention, Shorts

    Salome works in the workshop of her father, a painter famous for his blue color. But her father has grown too old to make his famous blue, jeopardizing his workshop. Salome begins to hope that the secret will be hers, until…


Minnesota Loud.  Bold storytelling choices mark these locally made films with extreme situations, strong aesthetics, or boisterous characters. 
  • Stuck in Limbo

    Brian Michael, USA

    Eva is hunted by demons,  and must face them in order to protect and save Megan.

    made in Minnesota

  • Illegal Aliens

    Justin + Kristin Schaack, USA

    Due to the recent arrival of undocumented immigrants, the city of Simpletown holds a special session city council meeting to determine if the town should officially ban the newcomers.

    made in Minnesota

  • The Car Pool

    Mike Sorenson, USA

    It’s not the job at the bank that Randy hates, it’s the people he works with. Unfortunately, those people are also in his carpool.

    made in Minnesota

  • Therapy for the Unlawful

    Jasmine Navy, USA

    A therapist must deal with his personal judgements (issues) around what it means to be criminally insane, as he tries to save an unlawful patient from the electric chair.

    made in Minnesota

  • Between the Fire and the Stars

    Kyle Ensrude, USA

    Plagued by inexplicable occurrences, one man learns that the past will not be forgotten when you’re caught between the Fire and the Stars.

    made in Minnesota

  • Bobby’s Run Off

    John Kaiser, USA

    Grace searches for her abusive, brother-in-law after he fails to come home one evening. The deeper she digs into the town she left behind the more she learns that everyone has secrets.

    made in Minnesota



Minnesota Quiet.  Tension builds gradually in these contemplative films with highly personal stories. All are artfully handled and full of nuance. 
  • Ave Maria

    Allan H. Johnson, USA

     Honorable Mention, Made in Minesota

    An old man finds comfort in listening to a record. For a brief moment he is not alone.

    made in Minnesota

  • Half Smile

    Joe Kessler, USA

    A favor for a friend becomes a bonding moment for two men as Charlie confronts the past he long forgot.

    made in Minnesota

  • Under One Roof

    Maribeth Romslo & Cristina Pippa, USA

    Sarah can’t sleep after her husband’s death, and the sounds of footsteps in the attic are no help. She seeks solace in playing her son’s guitar and then leaves the house for the first time since the funeral to procure the makings of a Thanksgiving feast in July.

    made in Minnesota

  • Below

    Anders Nienstaedt, USA

    A modern fairy tale of loss and love below the surface of a frozen lake.

    student film

    made in Minnesota

  • The B Side

    Alec Schwandt, USA

    Steve is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Erica. She tells him that she got into medical school and that she’s moving away with her boyfriend and needs Steve’s help. The film is about being happy for the people you used to love.

    made in Minnesota

  • Son of Man

    Josh Cisewski, USA

    In the aftermath of a controversial superhero’s death, his brother mourns and recounts memories of growing up beside him.

    made in Minnesota

  • The Door

    Allan H. Johnson, USA

    Sometimes life changes in an instant. Sometimes that instant happens on the other side of a familiar door.

    made in Minnesota

  • Audition

    Michael Kuznar, USA

    John is a washed up middle-age actor waiting nervously in a dingy hall for an audition that could salvage his career. When a younger actor with a eerie resemblance suddenly appears, John’s confidence and sanity will be tested. Things are not as normal as they appear.

    student film

    made in Minnesota