2020 Official Selections
We are proud to exhibit the following films, presented in themed showcases, during the 2020 Speechless Film Festival. The screening and event schedule will be available soon.
Animation. You’ll find a range of animation styles and a variety of stories in this stunning assemblage of animations from around the globe.
Lah Gah (Letting Go)
Cécile Brun, Switzerland
Lah gah dives into sunny childhood memories as a girl sings and cooks with her father. In this intimate moment they are swept into the emotional depths of loss and disappearance. Helpless, the child tries to grasp what is not tangible.
Serena Abraham, India
In Asha (“hope” in Hindi) a young girl finds herself resorting to pure hope and faith at a time of desperation.
Robin Lochmann, Germany
In a forgotten village where everyone is cut from the same cloth, a new, self-proclaimed leader arrives to change the local way of life. Dividing lines are carved out as the once unified society is torn and segregated…
He Can’t Live Without Cosmos
Konstantin Bronzit, Russian Federation
Award of Merit, Animation/Experimental
This is a story about mother and son, love, and human destiny.
Laurent Leprince, Belgium
An old man of Māori origin relives, between dream and reality, the distant journey made by his grandfather during the first world war.
Coeur de Plomb
Guillaume Martin, France
A fallen soldier falls in love with a paper dancer, but fate takes him away and puts him to the test.
How and Why Don Jose Dissipated
Moshe Ben-Avraham, Israel
Best of Fest, Animation/Experimental
After becoming emotionally attached to a bee who is suddenly devoured by a duck, Don Jose embarks on a surrealistic journey into the depths of his consciousness.
Art. These wonderfully unconventional and often bewildering films feature characters with distinct and unsettling obsessions.
Kyriakos Rontsis, United Kingdom
Before the curtain falls, a young man weeps without remembering why. How long does a birdsong last? How much silence descends with a caress? How much black is needed to contaminate white? A drop will do.
I Grew a Statue
Aaron Arens, Germany
Oskar is having an affair with the artist Hermione. Out of love and devotion he builds a perfect replica of her. The line between reality and fantasy slowly blurs as the replica becomes more alive. When Hermione’s husband suddenly visits Oskar, Oskar finds himself flabbergasted—both men look disturbingly alike…
Mimi and Ben
Eva Rini May Cragg, USA
Mimi cares for her husband Ben, who refuses to permanently remove the washcloths tied to his hands. Suppressed by his weakness, she misses the outside world. Mimi secretly opens a window and allows a caterpillar to enter their home. Getting closer to the animal, she slowly rediscovers a more primal, free, and almost mystical side of herself.
The Act of Devouring
Emir Ziyalar, Czech Republic
A troubled man is forced to repeat a grim task in 1940s Czechoslovakia. Over time, a grotesque secret leads him to fail at his job. The fear of his secret being discovered slowly becomes unbearable…
Samiramis Kia, Canada
In this family drama, a Russian immigrant couple do all they can to provide help to their daughter while facing their differences.
Nikola Duravcevic, USA
Alone in New York, Somali rideshare driver Abdi begins his nightshift with the news of a tragedy back home. The faces in the backseat change as he wrestles, unable to connect, with whether the unthinkable can be true—until a vision provides the clarity he seeks.
Simon Maria Kubiena, Austria
A man and his daughter drive through the countryside to bring his mother private items after her stroke. The man is confronted with the fear of losing his mother. His daughter watches this realization through a child’s eyes.
Besim Ugzmajli, Kosovo
It’s after midnight when Lena meets Genti in an underpass at the center of the city. They discuss their reasons for waiting there and their respective head wounds.
Zoe Salicrup, USA
Marisol strives to make a life for herself and her daughter. She poses as her friend and borrows her car to take fares on a ride-sharing app. When the last passenger of the day accuses her of being undocumented, her worst nightmare comes to life.
Comedy. These are quirky and explosive tales of characters who are all searching for something—blood, tortillas, answers, and Goblin wine.
In the Blood
Regina Banali, USA
In the old west, Sartana rides into town to score some cash from a gang and settle a score. His ex Dolores has been hiding out with an unwitting suitor. Her secrets are catching up with her. She means to skip town but her beau confronts her. She doesn’t make it out before a shootout ensues.
Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden; USA
A chef at a fine dining restaurant in New York City asks a Mexican dishwasher to find good tortillas.
For the Goblins
Hypnus Yao, USA
An ordinary college student gets kidnapped by goblins on his way home from a party. He makes a deal with the goblins to bring home a young goblin and teach him the ways of human society in exchange for goblin wine.
Maciej Kawalski, Poland
This story takes us to a remote psychiatric hospital that receives a curious patient. The man doesn’t move or speak; he spends his days standing with his hands up. The only thing known is his nickname—“Atlas”. In a word, he is a riddle, and a riveting one at that.
Confinement. Relationships grow, change, and end in these heartbreaking films about children who are trapped. You’ll see powerful displays of both vulnerability and strength from these young protagonists who find themselves in regrettable circumstances.
Sean Wirz, Switzerland
The world of twelve-year-old Isaf is turned upside down when he discovers Yara hiding in his attic. Despite some initial distrust, the boy and the traumatized Syrian refugee girl become friends. Eventually, the authorities arrive and destroy any hope for a happy future together.
Lake of Happiness
Aliaksei Paluyan, Belarus
In a small Belarusian village where time seems to stand still, 9-year-old Jasla deals with her mother‘s death. Her father sends her to an orphanage. One day, she decides to return home…
In This Land We’re Briefly Ghosts
Chen-Wen Lo, Myanmar, Taiwan
Based on actual events, this human tragedy follows a child soldier and her mute brother who are imprisoned after deserting their first combat mission. Su Su Myat is forced to choose between killing her seriously ill brother for her own survival, or risk dying with him.
Connections. You’ll find a number of unexpected connections—familial, metaphysical, and more—in this moving collection of dramas.
Benji Inniger, USA
Best of Fest, Made in Minnesota
A tedious routine is interrupted by an unexpected source of artistic inspiration.
made in Minnesota
Letters to God
Yves Cohen, Israel
Since his daughter’s death, Moshe lives alone. He rejects his wife who he blames for this tragedy. In order to escape his confinement, he accepts a job from the Jerusalem post office, unaware that it is for a very special division: The Department of Letters to God.
The German King
Adetokumboh M’Cormack, USA
Set in 1914, The German King is the unbelievable true story of King Rudolf Douala Manga Bell; a German raised African prince. Upon returning to Cameroon, he sees his people oppressed under colonial rule. The only way to end to this suffering is to lead a rebellion against the man he once considered his brother.
Josh Mruz, USA
A visual and sonic representation of the ups and downs of dealing with depression.
made in Minnesota
Per Kasch, South Africa
It is a coincidental discovery that tears a broke private detective out of his daily routine and turns his life upside down. He embarks on a search into the past to change his future.
The Dakota Family
Toni Hilgersson, Belgium
A strange, deathlike creature roams around grandpa Dakota. The patriarch knows it’s time to call the members of his tribe. Will his atypical and dismantled family arrive in time to share a final moment with their clan chief?
Dreams & Nightmares. These are imaginative films that employ stunning visual effects and distinctive art direction to evoke the fantastical and incite a sense of wonder.
Steffen Geypens, Belgium
The forest is suspiciously quiet. The wind rustles softly through the leaves, the sun reflects on the moist soil, no animals can be seen. The only thing that disturbs this peace is the panting of two jogging teenagers. When they reach an open space, tension suddenly arises.
Berthold Bock, Germany
Colonna is a reclusive art-historian who stumbles upon a mysterious woman and a series of landscape paintings washed up on the beach. The shipwrecked woman eerily resembles his late wife, but her attire and face seem to stem from the 19th century. And so the reality and the world beyond begin to blend.
Faryarsadat Hosseini, Iran
When a couple enters the mysterious house of the woman’s childhood, she mysteriously disappears. In searching for her, the man finds a baby wearing his wife’s necklace. He becomes convinced that the baby is his wife and she has repeated this loop countless times.
Luca Zuberbühler, Belgium
A theatre is about to be demolished. A construction worker checks if there is anyone left in the building. The old rooms are filled with a strange atmosphere. He immerses deeper and deeper into this fragile world until he encounters the soul of the theatre.
Sebastián Grisales, Mexico
XX and XY were born in captivity. Each existed in their own room, taught to survive by animations played on a screen. What distinguishes humans from animals? What will happen when they meet?
A Picture in the 21st Century
Stefan Pecher, Austria
Award of Merit, Speechless Shorts (Student)
A painter stands in front of a blank canvas. People are trapped in a system and tied to screens. The actors of the 21st century are screaming. When the painter surrenders, it suddenly becomes quiet and he begins to paint.
Dust and Ashes
Joshua Palmer, USA
On the outskirts of a utopian city where only perfect health and wholeness are accepted, a mute cripple and his autistic brother smuggle resources to an outcast community.
made in Minnesota
Farhad Pakdel, Canada
A smart city tracks and analyzes a woman walking through the city. Things she does are interpreted and logged by the city system, but are they drawing an accurate picture of the woman?
When You Grow Up
Max Baggermann, Netherlands
Best of Fest, Speechless Shorts (Student)
This documentary shows a day in the life of the working man and the routine and grind that comes with it. The film examines people during the workday and the meaning of labor.
Osirika – Black Champagne
Jeremiah Williams, USA
Suraya and Jamari are the leaders of the magical Nemanyo civilization. When the Nemanyo fall under siege by the Czar of Chezidak, Suraya and Jamari rise from their war-torn city to reclaim their power and set their beloved people free.
Zachary Howatt, USA
An experimental look into the feeling of playing the explosive 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Sky Blue Skin
Marion Castera, France
The official music video for Sky Blue Skin by artist Jeff Buckley.
Christine Jezior, Germany
Perfect pictures are given to us every day: the optimal body, the optimal nutrition, the optimal life–everything within reach. The message is that all we have to do is make an effort and show some discipline. Self-tuning is necessary. And caution: don’t show any weakness.
I, Wretched Man
Bastian Wilplinger, Austria
A man, caught in a vicious circle of self-accusation and self-pity, tries to find relief by surrendering to a higher entity.
Martinus Klemet, Estonia
The inspiration for this film is the plant Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia). One of its many breeds can be pollinated solely by a very long billed hummingbird.
You’re the Kinda Guy
Joshua McGrane & Michelle Rose, USA
The official music video for You’re the Kinda Guy by artist Michelle Rose.
made in Minnesota
Rain Kencana, Germany
Two brothers embark on a soulful journey through their own world of childhood memories in Anatolia. They dance between this world and the beyond and reveal a dark secret.
Lili & Valere Amirault, France
In a strange Orwellian world, where a robotic militia controls different universes, a star tears through the sky. This heavenly body holds a dangerous upcoming power for the militia.
Vanessa M. H. Powers, USA
This music video tells the story of an entire relationship, exhilarating start to heartbreaking end, through the medium of dance.
made in Minnesota
I Have No Home
Volodymyr Vlasenko, Ukraine
Best of Fest, Music Video
This is the tale of a young boy who travels with his imaginary friends in search of the way home. Will he find a place to stay, or is life more about the journey?
Martin Winter, Austria
On her son’s birthday, Kathi is given leave from a Viennese prison. She finds her son, who lives in a small apartment with her overwhelmed mother, in neglected condition. Kathi searches for a new home for her son in a race against time and a struggle with personal needs.
Nataliya Ilchuk, Ukraine
A film about the fatigue of a mother of two kids who lives constantly in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion.
Koya Kamura, Japan
Best of Fest, Shorts
Two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Murai braves danger and wanders through the no-go zone in order to spend time with Jun, his eight-year-old son.
Diego Di Iorio, USA
Award of Merit, Speechless Shorts (Student)
An innocent young girl journeys by candlelight through a dark spiral of terror and buried secrets.
Till Death Do Us Part
Maria Luiza Munhoz, United Kingdom
A married couple is dead. Lying lifeless on her dining room floor, a woman regains her breath, blood flows back into her husband’s body, and a broken table is back on its feet. How did they die?
Somebody and Nobody
Joscha Douma, Germany
Award of Merit, Shorts
A calm, reserved cowboy wants to avenge his murdered brother—to finally step out of his shadow and prove his own manliness to their father. But the enemy seems to be one size too big…
Sonic Barometer, Ireland
A developer comes across the artifacts of previous occupants in a house he is renovating; one is a childlike drawing depicting a malevolent force, an ominous portent of what could be his doppelgänger? Caveat Emptor…
Ioachim Stroe, Romania
A man and a woman wake up to find themselves at an abandoned beach. They try to remember what brought them to this place and how they are related.
Orson Cornick, United Kingdom
As a girl drops from the sky onto a crowded beach, a mysterious man drives at breakneck speed towards her. Choker is a unique narrative take on one of the biggest challenges facing our planet.
Nicole Scherer, Austria
Best of Fest, Speechless Shorts (Professional)
For two alpinists, the hike up to a mountain cabin turns into a life-threatening battle between reality and illusion.
Soraya Milla, France
Being from mixed cultures means going through constant waves of doubt. Vitiligo invites you to experience the mindspace of two women, both plunged deep in an internal questioning of their external appearance.
David Aufdembrinke, Germany
A young man escapes his routine to find out what he truly wants in life. His friends refuse to participate in his endeavor, so he goes alone and arrives further than he ever would have dared to dream.
Seth D. Myers & Sarah Stolar, USA
A young female dancer travels on an emotional journey through psychological and physical landscapes to discover a crucial truth that lives within her.
Piotr Sulkowski, Poland
A man consumed by guilt because he did not dare to defend his mother plays the role of a murderer and forces his ten-year-old self to face his original trauma…