Film Guide 2021

Section
Short Films

Expect the unexpected in HIFF’s dynamic short film programs. Running the gamut from social impact drama to compelling documentaries to off-the-wall delights, there’s definitely something for everyone.

ALE LIBRE

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 17 min Alejandra is a criminalized organizer and unapologetic immigrant. As she prepares for one of the biggest moments of her life—her deportation case—she is forced to reckon with a past mistake and …

Directed by Maya Cueva

ANITA

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 18 min New York Premiere Having returned to India for her sister’s wedding, Anita (Aditi Vasudev) is counting on her husband’s support to announce some exciting news to her family.

Directed by Sushma Khadepaun

BAD OMEN “Bad Shagun”

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 19 min New York Premiere In Kabul, a tailor widowed by the Afghan war must find the means to purchase her prescription glasses in order to save her job.

Directed by Salar Pashtoonyar

BUZZKILL

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 11 min New York Premiere A young girl desperately tries to fit in with a group of South Florida teenagers.

Directed by Kathy E. Mitrani

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 11 min East Coast Premiere A single woman’s feelings of loneliness begin to stir when an eccentric African couple temporarily moves into her building.

Directed by Abbesi Akhamie

THE CRIMINALS “Les Criminels”

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 23 min In a small Turkish town, a young couple tries their best to find a hotel room in which to spend the night together.

Directed by Serhat Karaaslan

DON’T GO TELLIN’ YOUR MOMMA

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 34 min 50 years after the development of the Black ABCs, visionary artist Topaz Jones debuts his second album and offers a view into personal and national Black Identity through 26 individual scenes.

Directed by Topaz Jones, rubberband.

EGÚNGÚN (MASQUERADE)

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 15 min US Premiere In search of healing, a young woman returns to her hometown in Nigeria—delving into her past and revealing new truths about the people and experiences that shaped her into the person she is today.

Directed by Olive Nwosu

THE GLASS

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 20 min World Premiere When rising sea levels drive his family to relocate from their home, 19-year-old Del (Matthew Courson) develops a new relationship with his hometown on the eve of their move.

Directed by Tom Van Scoyoc

GOOD GRIEF

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 11 min East Coast Premiere On a road trip to scatter her father’s ashes, Nora’s (Stella Baker) family does a substandard job of paying their respects.

Directed by Nastasya Popov

HAPPINESS IS A JOURNEY

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 12 min US Premiere On the night before Christmas, a warehouse of workers in Austin, TX, rush to process newspapers for delivery.

Directed by Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan

IN FLOW OF WORDS

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 22 min Three interpreters of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia reflect back on when they were tasked with translating the shocking testimonies from witnesses, victims, and perpe …

Directed by Eliane Esther Bots

LIKE THE ONES I USED TO KNOW “Les Grandes Claques”

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 18 min New York Premiere It’s Christmas Eve: Julie (Lilou Roy-Lanouette) and her cousins have eaten too much sugar, Santa Claus is late, and Denis (Steve Laplante), alone in his car, is anxious at the idea of setting foot …

Directed by Annie St-Pierre

LOVE, DAD

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 13 min East Coast Premiere When a filmmaker rediscovers the letters her dad used to write her from prison, she decides to write back in hope to find connection once again.

Directed by Diana Cam Van Nguyen

THE MOHEL

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 14 min Following the birth of his first son, a young father arranges to have a Mohel to perform the circumcision—forcing him to confront his faith and the realities of maintaining old traditions in a mod …

Directed by Charles Wahl

NEURIM “נעורים”

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 31 min A young wheelchair user’s daily routine of physical therapy becomes her unique source of excitement after a relationship develops between her and the new physiotherapist.

Directed by Shaylee Atary

NOIR-SOLEIL

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 20 min East Coast Premiere Following an earthquake in Naples Bay, the body of a man who disappeared 40 years ago is discovered. To confirm his identity, authorities summon Dino (Marc Barbé) and his daughter Victoria (Clémen …

Directed by Marie Larrivé

PRAYERS FOR SWEET WATERS

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 16 min World Premiere A submergence into the vivid realities of three Transgender sex workers living in Cape Town, South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Directed by Elijah Ndoumbe

PURE

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 12 min New York Premiere On the eve of her cotillion ball, a young Black girl grapples with her identity and questions her purity.

Directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris

THE QUEEN OF BASKETBALL

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 22 min She is one of the greatest living women’s basketball players, winning three national trophies, scoring the first basket in women’s Olympic basketball at the ‘76 Olympics, and getting draft …

Directed by Ben Proudfoot

RADICAL LOVE

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 20 min An exploration of the subversive political activism and deep connection of husband-and-wife legal team Michael and Eleanora Kennedy.

Directed by William A. Kirkley

Sidéral

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 15 min East Coast Premiere In Natal, a small community in the north of Brazil, the historic first launch of a Brazilian rocket is about to take place.

Directed by Carlos Segundo

SNOWY

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 13 min Family pet turtle, Snowy, has lived an isolated life in the basement. What would it take for him to be happy?

Directed by Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis

SOME KIND OF INTIMACY

2021 Short Films | documentary short | 6 min A filmmaker attempts to communicate with the flock of sheep living on the ground where his parents are buried.

Directed by Toby Bull

THE SOUL OF A FARMER

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 35 min Patty Gentry, a local farmer who grows vegetables on her three-acre Long Island farm for top chef clients, reveals the harsh realities behind the farm-to-table lifestyle.

Directed by Roger Sherman

SUMMER ANIMALS

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 22 min East Coast Premiere Living out of a motel, taking care of her younger siblings, and longing for freedom, 15-year-old Tommy makes a radical decision in an attempt to escape the sweltering Texas heat.

Directed by Haley Elizabeth Anderson

TRUMPETS IN THE SKY

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 14 min US Premiere Boushra (Boushra Matar), one of the Syrian potato-picking girls in Lebanon, returns from a long day of work in the field only to learn that today her childhood will come to an end.

Directed by Rakan Mayasi

UN DIABLE DANS LA POCHE

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 6 min A group of children are bribed into remaining silent after witnessing a crime, but the burden may be too heavy for the youngest to bear.

Directed by Antoine Bonnet, Mathilde Loubes

UNITY MOSQUE

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 7 min New York Premiere Based in Toronto, the Unity Mosque is one of the world’s first Queer-affirming and gender-equal mosques in the world. Despite facing threats and obstacles, it forges on to play a lifesaving role i …

Directed by Nicole Teeny

WAVELENGTHS

2021 Shorts Program | documentary short | 11 min Exhale, a hotline for women seeking help processing their abortion experiences, remains in service during the COVID-19 lockdown, with volunteers lending an ear all across the Bay Area.

Directed by Jessie Zinn

WE WON’T FORGET

2021 Shorts Program | narrative short | 14 min A woman’s frustrations boil to the surface while hosting a party for her friends.

Directed by Edgar Morais, Lucas Elliot Eberl