2018 Official Selections

We are proud to exhibit the following films, presented in themed showcases, during the 2018 Speechless Film Festival. We will add trailers and reviews as the event approaches.


Features: Twin Cities Best of Fest, Made in Minnesota

Animation.  You’ll see a range of animation styles and a variety of stories within this stunning collection of animations from around the globe.
  • Borderline

    Seishi Irimajiri, Denmark

    This animation tells the story of a boy who creates borders on Earth. When these borders start moving without his consent, it fills him with rage…

    student film

  • An Idea

    Juan Paulín, Mexico

    All sorts of things can happen in the search of an idea…

  • Airport

    Michaela Mueller, Switzerland

    Airports—the pinnacle of modern society, places where the limits of borders, security, and tolerance are constantly tested. For some the journey starts, for others it ends.

  • Winston

    Aram Sarkisian, USA

    A man is driven mad by his obsession and paranoia…

  • Stretch

    Stephan Larson, USA

    Stretch depicts a machine that is based on the design of surgical robots, but further refined specifically to stretch things. The machine does not care what it is stretching as long as its purpose is fulfilled.

  • Alphabet

    Kianoush Abedi, Iran

     Best of Fest, Animation/Experimental

    The people of this town have long since forgotten letters, words, and knowledge. They cannot see, hear, or speak… but the words are impatiently waiting to be sung again.

Baggage.  The characters in these dramas are all en route. We won’t reveal their destinations, but we’ll itemize their accoutrements: an outlaw, a bomb, a frozen fish, and a decade of regret.
  • Lawman

    Matthew Gentile, USA

    In 1875, Bass Reeves is the first African-American to be deputized by the U.S. Marshal service. His encounter with two outlaws results in one carrying the other’s corpse across the desert. Bass Reeves is the greatest hero of the Old West you’ve never heard of. This is his story.

    student film

  • The Outsider

    Yudhajit Basu & Prithvijoy Ganguly, India

    Against the mountainous terrain and misty landscape, this is a contemplative return of a man to his village after a decade away.

  • Vest

    Lesley Manning, United Kingdom

    A story of regret featuring a man in rush hour. Unbeknownst to anyone he is wearing a suicide vest. While walking through the crowds, he is disturbed by unexpected glimpses of humanity. Will he complete his mission?

  • Burning

    Slimane Bounia, Algeria

    Burning is a tangled story of contemporary Algerians caught in the struggle…much like the frozen fish that passes from hand to hand from the Kabyle mountains to the fishing coast.

Borderline.  Geographical borders are the catalyst for drama in these heart-wrenching stories of those looking to cross over and those who already have.

  • Baka

    Arvid Klapper, Germany

    The life of 7-year-old Milica changes drastically when her grandmother falls ill. Milica’s uncle, Goran, is to bring her to Germany, but due to the strict border regulations, Milica will have to pass as Goran’s son and use his passport. Goran will have to gain Milica’s trust, who resists.

  • Achieve

    Mohammad reza Minapour, Iran

    Problems arise as an Afghan couple seeks to emigrate to Europe through Iran’s border.

  • Jacob and Malika

    Vahan Bedelian, USA

    A Muslim girl moves to the U.S. and falls in love with a boy next door. The star-crossed pair attempts to keep their relationship alive despite disapproving family and a hostile culture. This film is intended to promote compassion and understanding in a divisive political climate.

  • Forgive Me

    Besim Ugzmajli, Kosovo

    Bujar, a youngster, is manipulated by a kosovar Imam and joins the terrorist groups fighting in Syria. He asks his older brother, Agron, to send his wife to Syria. Agron, horrified by his brother’s actions, asks Bujar to return to Kosovo and tries to prevent his wife from going to Syria…

  • Are You Volleyball?

    Mohammad Bakhshi, Iran

    A group of Arab-speaking asylum seekers arrive at an English-speaking country border. They clash with border soldiers until a deaf child becomes a catalyst for better communication.

Comedy. There’s not much else we need to say about this light-hearted showcase! Sit back and have a good laugh at these quirky and insightful films.
  • Pop

    Caden Douglas, USA

    In this off-beat comedy, Carol has to face the one thing she fears the most. It lies in wait behind a mysterious door at the end of the hall. Can she face her fear, go through the door, and burst through her crippling phobia?

  • El Amor Ciego

    Pablo Martin Torrado, Switzerland

    He walks in one direction, and she in the other…until they crash into each other’s arms. Love blossoms from this fortunate collision. But all of a sudden, her mask jams…

  • One Picture

    Faustino García Zamora, Argentina

    Joaquín, a clumsy photographer, walks through a park looking for an inspiring picture. He never imagined the picture would find him.

  • Please Hold…

    Paul Gall, USA

    A big corporation puts a man on hold.

  • For the Birds

    Eric Henry Emma, USA

    A weathered everyman builds birdhouses to pass the time. When a tarantula makes its nest in one of his precious homes, he is determined to get rid of it…even if it means destroying his creation.

  • Maelstrøm

    Carlos Gómez-Trigo, Spain

    Karl spins the spoon from his coffee. Something spins even faster inside Tony’s head…

  • The Being Who Fell from the Stars

    Jacob Padilla, USA

    An innocent alien crashes on Earth, bringing sound to a silent world.

    student film

Decisions. The delicate relationships between parents and their children are tested in these dramas dealing with the physical and emotional consequences of their decisions. These are poignant stories of struggle and remorse.
  • Deadbeat

    Jesse R. Tendler, USA

    After over 20 years with no contact, Ryan discovers that his absentee father is terminally ill and decides to confront him on his deathbed about his past transgressions.

  • Snow

    Alex Murawski, Australia/USA

    Award of Merit, Shorts

    After an accident, Sam leaves an injured girl in a barren, snowy farmland. The weight of his departure presses upon him and he sets back out to find her—before it’s too late.

  • My Mom Was a Junkie Too

    Justine Prince, Canada

    A drug dealer spends a night with the young son of one of his clients.

    student film

  • Tracks

    Elina Fessa, Greece

    Alexia is on her way to class. An accident is waiting to happen. Dimitra is trying to cope.

Discovery.  This is a charming collection of fables, myths, and fairytales in which magical apparitions lead the way to profound revelations.

  • The Luck Bird

    Sadam Wahidi, Afghanistan

    Adam is a naive young man who fights with everyone. After losing his job, he seeks a solution from a wise man. The sage sends him to the desert and gives him forty days to hunt down the bird that brings good luck.

  • The Merciless Beauty

    Michael Groom, United Kingdom

    Johnny is a farmhand in the splendour of the English Lake District. His life of introspection is interrupted by the strange and mysterious appearance of a beautiful woman. Unsure if she’s a figment of his imagination, Johnny succumbs to obsession.

  • Misappropriation

    Ana Maria Ferri, Spain

    Coco is Sergio’s inseparable friend since Carla left. One day Coco takes him to Carla’s favourite shop, which seems to emit a powerful magic. This is a dark tale about how everything that makes you happy can disappear in the blink of an eye.

  • Ovum

    Luciano Blotta, Argentina

    Award of Merit, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    Far off in the recesses of a secluded coast, an isolated fisherman makes a discovery that will change his life forever.

Documentary. You’re likely unfamiliar with the subject matter of these beautifully shot and eye-opening documentaries from near and far.

  • The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara

    Macgregor, Mauritania

    The Mauritania Railway is a 704-kilometer line linking the iron-mining center of Zouerat with the port of Nouadhibou. We journey through vast Saharan landscapes with the people who rely on the train for their survival.

  • La Cumbre

    Dana Romanoff, Ecuador

    La Cumbre unveils the reality of life as an amputee in the developing world. In partnership with the Range of Motion Project, we join world class mountaineer and wounded warrior Chad Jukes on a heartfelt journey to shed light on a public health issue.

  • Marieke

    Thomas C. Johnson, USA

    Marieke explores the life and craft of Marieke Penterman, acclaimed Dutch Gouda cheesemaker from Thorp, Wisconsin.

  • Cowboy Town

    Jennifer Boles, USA

    An impressionistic film about a replica roadside ghost town with automatons in rural South Dakota.

    student film

  • Nobody Dies Here

    Simon Panay, Benin

    In Benin’s Perma gold mine, some dream to find something while others realize there is nothing to be found. Some dig relentlessly hoping to become rich, others die in the process. And a few of them say that here, nobody dies.

Experimental.  Leave your expectations at the door—these experimental pieces present unusual and innovative imaging and storytelling techniques.

  • Eve

    Filippo Tagliati, USA

    An artist and a model go through a journey of renewal, transformation, and self-discovery in this non-narrative short inspired by the creative universe of French sculptor August Rodin.

  • Come In! (RC#01-BDJ)

    Klaus Pamminger, Austria

    Klaus Pamminger meticulously explores the symbolic motive of a film sequence from Luis Buñuel’s classic “Belle de Jour” (1967). White construction beams mutate from the abyss of an undefined black space into the abstraction of a staircase whereon the legs of Séverine Serizy ascend from the ‘monde’ into the ‘demi-monde’.

  • Wilderness Series

    Karel Doing, United Kingdom

    By using plants, mud, and salt in conjunction with alternative photochemistry, images are ‘grown’ on motion picture film. What at first glance is perceived as abstract turns out to be a concrete precipitation from phenomena that surround us in everyday life. The ‘aliveness’ of the images is underlined by Andrea Szigetvári’s evocative sound-design.

  • Untitled Painting #12

    Carolina Jonsson, Sweden

    A series of digital offsets in landscape painting create an abstract and sensual description of nature as both beautiful and hostile, recognizable and alienated. Untitled Painting #12 raises existential questions that may be about change—the space in between reality and dream and the alienation ahead of existence and circumstances.

  • A Journey to from Love

    Abdullah Al-mulla, Qatar

    Ashiq’s surreal adventure into his inner being from the loss of his love and his journey to acceptance.

  • Silence

    Sigin Ojulu, USA

    In this experimental narrative, wannabe model Séma is tortured by Silence (personified as hands). Will Séma be able to express her voice at a crucial moment?

    student film

  • House

    Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson, USA

    A meditation on emigration and immigration. Score by Icelandic noise artist, AMFJ.

  • My Heart is a Lure

    Patrick Moser, USA

    An experimental work about finding life in the unliving.

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

    Monica Thomas, USA

    An experiment in gesture, light, and form.

  • Drop Out Bodies

    Ludivine Large-Bessette, France

    In the silence and monotony of a residential suburb, men and women fall in a random and irrevocable way.

  • Another Winter

    Francisco Javier Gomez Pinteno, Spain

    A couple celebrates their tenth anniversary through a deep retrospective exercise. This dialectical, sincere, and bare confrontation renews desires, passions, and feelings towards another winter together…

  • The Girl in the Snow

    Dennis Ledergerber, Switzerland

    A day in the life of a foley artist.

Made in Minnesota.  We’re proud of these student-made and professional films that hail from our home state. A heightened sense of emotion unites this otherwise varied selection.
  • Suspect

    Davar McGee, USA

    In the midst of a neighborhood power struggle between police and pedestrians, an innocent victim is treated as a suspect because of his appearance.

    made in Minnesota

  • In the Red

    Abby Cherney, USA

    Step into an average man’s shoes when his life is turned upside down and all he can see is red.

    student film

    made in Minnesota

  • Wallflower

    Caleb Curran, USA

    No amount of time and space can separate you from the people you are meant to be with in your life.

    made in Minnesota

  • Inside

    Tony Perkins, USA

    A psychological thriller about a girl wrestling with her past as the lines between reality and what goes on inside her head are blurred.

    made in Minnesota

    student film

  • Skinned

    Vanessa M. Powers, USA

    Paeder finds a Selkie, Aisling, and the two start a relationship. They’re happy, but there’s something wild in Aisling that may never be tamed.

    made in Minnesota

    student film

  • Shatter

    Austin Swain, USA

    Shatter takes place in a quiet, desolate room where a determined writer grapples with his passion and his past. Delving deeper into his own memories, he discovers haunting truths and long lost pain.

    made in Minnesota

    student film

Music & Movement.  This lively and kinetic showcase begins with a motley crew of music videos and dance films and closes with two narrative shorts about those who make the music.

  • Paprika

    Gwen Francois, Luxembourg

    In the mid sixties, a beautiful lady invites men to her stylish apartment. Her actions are spied upon by a man in black.

  • Rain

    Martin Gerigk, Germany

    Rain is an audiovisual synaesthetic study that attempts to present various aspects of human perception in a concrete and abstract sense. The concept for the representation of these facets is a rhythmicised auditive and visual web of sounds from 12 cellos, natural sounds and video sequences that express the miracle of sensorial experience and make the poetry of perception visible.

  • Gotterfunken

    Bertrand Polivka, Australia

    In the blinding daylight, characters stand immobile and mute. As the darkness approaches, they begin to move…

  • Terraform

    Sil Van Der Woerd & Jorik Dozy, Indonesia

    This music video tells the true story of the hardships and sacrifices made by the sulphur miners of Kawah Ijen, Indonesia, in order to provide for their family.

  • Justice

    Marion Castéra & Kelzang Ravach, France

     Award of Merit, Animation/Experimental

    This music video begins in a retrofuturistic urban jungle, in black and white, where humans are lost in their everyday actions. A gap appears between two hands and plunges us into the color that invades the city as if to resuscitate its inhabitants. Justice is a suspended moment that expresses the desire to see the whales emerge from our screens.

  • Stopgap in Slow Motion

    Stephen Featherstone, United Kingdom

    Photographs of performers in a disabled and non-disabled dance company come to life. The individual artists dance out of the photos and across table tops until the whole company meets and performs in unison.

  • Business is Brutal

    Jack Thomson, United Kingdom

    The norms of business negotiations are challenged to the limit in this thrilling and energetic dance film from choreographer and filmmaker Jack Thomson.

  • The Can Can

    Michaela Schultz, USA

    A visual music piece completed by students in the 2018 motion graphics class at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota.

    made in Minnesota

  • Singer

    Paloma Lopez, USA

     Best of Fest, Speechless Shorts (Student)

    An isolated peasant girl immerses herself in singers of the past. When she stumbles upon an open call singing audition, she jumps at the chance to be a star.

    student film

  • Two Seconds of Silence

    Felipe Sanz, Spain

     Best of Fest, Shorts

    Javier is an exemplary pianist, admired by the jury. Isabel plays according to her intuition and is praised by the audience. When the two pianists meet in a final, their understanding of music changes the way they understand life.

Romance.  These enchanted tales of love and longing are as beautiful as they are compelling. You don’t want to miss the art direction in this stunning trio of fantasies.
  • Nimmer

    Lieven Vanhove, Belgium

    Award of Merit, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    The fragile world of a couple is torn apart by the turbulent sea. Orville is stuck in the house on a cliff while Imme struggles to survive on a rock in the lighthouse. Orville’s time is running out…

  • Voice

    Takeshi Kushida, Japan

    A lonely man falls in love with a woman’s shadow that appears on his apartment’s wall.

  • Robot & Scarecrow

    Kibwe Tavares, United Kingdom

    Best of Fest, Speechless Shorts (Professional)

    A fairytale set against the backdrop of a heady summer music festival, where a robot and a scarecrow meet and fall in love.

Trauma. Your perceptions of reality will be tested in this intense showcase of films in which each protagonist suffers a disturbing experience.
  • A Father’s Day

    Mat Johns, United Kingdom

    Unexpectedly reunited with his daughter amongst the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead.

  • Disfluency

    Laura Holliday, USA

    A narrative case study and in depth look at rape culture and the aftermath.

  • An American Attorney in London

    Darrell Alden, United Kingdom

    When a criminal defence attorney visits the US Embassy in London, his appointment with a clinical consular official leads him down a dark and uneasy path to the last place on earth he wants to be.

  • Transmission

    Varun Raman & Tom Hancock, United Kingdom

    Welcome to Britannia. Together, we stand alone.

  • How to Build a Cloud

    Carlos Barquín, Spain

    Juan, while looking for his father´s watch, finds a box with a set of instructions on how to build a cloud out of thin air.

Family-Friendly.  These fun and silly children’s films (animated and live-action) are perfect for the young and young at heart.
  • Corky

    Ty Primosch, USA

    A corkscrew with a screw loose battles a giant glass bottle to uncork seven magical lightning bugs trapped inside.

  • Rag Dolls

    Justin + Kristin Schaack, USA

    Playtime turns into uncontrolled shenanigans when a child discovers rag dolls in an antique chest. Her imagination runs wild, but for the dolls’ real-life doppelgängers, self-control is out of their hands.

    made in Minnesota

  • Monday Day

    Jayden Peterman, USA

    A young boy named Nervin Jones lives through a less-than-exciting day with his brothers.

    student film

    made in Minnesota

  • Barking Brave

    Matthew Kirkman, USA

    A 6-year-old girl, armed with her wild imagination, must battle the bite of her confining cynophobia.