Film Fest 2020

by THE ARTISTS FORUM

Competitions     >    Film


THE ARTISTS FORUM FESTIVAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE: 2020 (#theartistsforumfilmfest). The festival returned for its fifth year with new, innovative programming. The festival showcased 42 short films, created by independent filmmakers originating from 16 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, North Macedonia, Philippines, Serbia, United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition to its traditional genres, this year’s festival will also feature a special themed category: New York Stories. Originally scheduled from October 16 – November 14, 2020, our 2020 festival screenings were extended until January 31, 2021.

The festival has been divided into four programs:
PROGRAM I: Search for Belonging
PROGRAM II: Agent(s) of Chaos
PROGRAM III: Tales of the Heart
PROGRAM IV: Acute Stress Response

The festival featured a virtual awards ceremony on November 14, 2020.

For the first time, our festival was available exclusively online. To expand our global reach, we proudly partnered with the international screening platform, Smart Cinema USA, whose app is accessible on cross-platform devices including iOS/Android mobile phones and smart TVs. Additionally, the festival was available via Vimeo On Demand.

We encourage everyone to “#discoveryourself” by exploring new interests through the art of cinema.

THE ARTISTS FORUM FESTIVAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE: 2020 was funded in part by a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation.

2020 Festival Sponsors: New York & Company Foundation 2020 Media Sponsor: LinkNYC
2020 Festival Partners: Smart Cinema USA and FilmFreeway
2020 Festival Jury: Ashley Gerst, Stephen Hilyard, Henry Kanegsberg, Cary Patrick Martin, Djordje Radovanovich, David Ranghelli, Jose Carlos Teixeira, Jonathan Ullman, Amos White V, Viktor Witkowski

THE ARTISTS FORUM INC., now in its 22nd year, is a New York City based non-profit arts service organization specializing in events, juried competitions, and media for artists. Its FESTIVAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE is the organization’s flagship program, and provides an unparalleled platform for emerging and mid-career filmmakers to share their stories with the world’s creative, media, and film communities.

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2020 FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM SCHEDULE

PROGRAM I: Search for Belonging

BAMBILAND

19:59 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Danilo Stanimirovic (Serbia)

NARRATIVE (Student) – Strahinja, an acting school grad, works as a clown. In his hometown, Bambiland Park is now an abandoned, creepy place, and represents a metaphor for his generation in Serbia.

SEE TRAILER / SEE WEBSITE

A LETTER TO MYSELF AT 16

3:05 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Claire Tankersley (US)

ANIMATION – I was sexually assaulted by a close friend at a party in high school. Five years later, there is so much that I wish I’d known when I woke up the next morning.

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KEEP ME

14:58 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Evan Cutler Wattles (US)

NARRATIVE – A one night stand becomes far more intimate than either participant could have predicted when ulterior motives and old scars come to light. World Premiere

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SOME THINGS STAY THE SAME

3:57 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Hiroshi Shafer (Japan)

MUSIC VIDEO – Music video created for the band My Favorite Things for their song “Stay a Little While.” A snail travels a great distance to see the lover. World Premiere

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CLOUD GAZING

7:30 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Dianne Diep (Australia/US)

NEW YORK STORIES – After her umpteenth move in NYC, a woman and her best friend embark on a journey through imagination to a place of child-like wonder. East Coast Premiere

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BANANAS GIRL

6:56 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Shayna Connelly (US)

DOCUMENTARY – Seven year old Bananas Girl asserts her independence, perfects the art of the nonsequitur and navigates the boundaries between herself and her mom.

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MUSICIAN

19:35mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Mohsen Mehri Darouei (Iran)

NARRATIVE – Mahmoud is a very short man who wishes he could play an upright bass. But the instrument is too big for him. North American Premiere

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SUSANNA

11:26mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Oksana Mirzoyan (US)

NARRATIVE – In an isolated religious community, a pregnant woman desperate to escape abusive conditions stages a crime. To be found guilty means life outside the gate – a risk she is willing to take to be free. East Coast Premiere

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BETTER THAN NEIL ARMSTRONG

20:00 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Alireza Ghasemi (Iran)

NARRATIVE – Four kids start their journey to the moon with the mission of finding a mysterious place called The Redland but the gates of Red-land are being guarded by a mischievous snake. New York State Premiere

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PROGRAM II: Agent(s) of Chaos

REALIZE YOUR DREAMS

3:02 mins (2019)
Director: Katie Colosimo (US)

EXPERIMENTAL – A personal and political retrospection of American values. World Premiere

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LIMBO

17:20 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Anthony Von Seck (Canada)

NARRATIVE – An intelligence operative meets up with a conspiracy theorist to retrieve his lost notebook. New York State Premiere

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ECHO

7:07 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Barzan Rostami (Iran) 

ANIMATION – Echo is an animated story about wildlife, environmental abuse, and its consequences on the human race. East Coast Premiere

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ME LLAMO JESUS

8:28 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Cherie Song (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – After his father dies, a Mexican immigrant teen must put college on hold to take his place at a horse ranch. He soon discovers how much dad sacrificed for family. East Coast Premiere

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BARBIE DREAM HOUSE

4:38 mins (2018)
Writer/Director: Susan Kouguell (US) 

EXPERIMENTAL – A response to my former employer, Harvey Weinstein, and to all the others.

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KADDISH

14:28 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Razid Season (Bangladesh) 

NARRATIVE – The emotional journey of a young Ashkenazim who attempts to visit his mother’s grave on the anniversary of her death during the holocaust.

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CRAZY

3:30 mins (2019)
Writer: J-Key, Director: Lee Milby (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – A young man awakens in a mysterious warehouse with blood on his face and no memory of how he got there. Stalked by nefarious entities, he slowly remembers his nightmare.

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SOLEDAD

9:49 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Carlos Renaso (US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Narrative) – After arriving in the United States from a Caribbean Island, Soledad makes a phone call to her older sister where she learns her marriage may be a lie. World Premiere

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WAITHOOD

21:48 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Louisiana Mees (Belgium)

NARRATIVE (Student) – 5 youngsters seek fun in luxury Airbnbs that one cleans for little money. They look out over a city in turmoil, daydreaming about a world of possibilities. New York State Premiere

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THE TURNAROUND

27:51 mins (2019)
Writer: Cuete Yesca, Director: Jahmal J. Holland (US)

NARRATIVE – Brothers B and Jay battle habits of a hard upbringing when deciding to leave gangster life. Now overwhelmed, B suffers panic attacks and must find courage to get help or be trapped in a gangster image.

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PROGRAM III: Tales of the Heart

FOR WHILE

1:05 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Jessica Irish (US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Experimental) – Inspired by Emma Lazarus’s poem welcoming immigrants to the US, this film captures small moments of humanity within the quotidian carriage of the NYC subway.

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REMEMBER/TOMORROW

24:39 mins (2019)
Writer: A Veach, Director: Ari Veach/Ryan Shuler (US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Narrative) – Two lovers embark on a journey across time and space. In a dream-like perception of reality, they navigate within alternate possibilities of how their lives may unfold.

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BHC

4:32 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Moira Fett (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – In this one-shot music video for Jeremy Stern’s BHC (Bank Car Heist), we find ourselves drawn into the lives of four strangers via their NYC apartment windows. East Coast Premiere

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ABOVE THE ANGEL

6:17 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Julian Olariu (France)

EXPERIMENTAL – A chronicle of a communist afternoon: The evocation of a father’s 1970s trip to Paris – his broken dreams, search for light and a present he will not see.

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ALIGN

7:22 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: R.E. Wolfe (UK)

EXPERIMENTAL – A conceptual dance film that presents two radically different dance forms: ballet and pole dance… There is more that connects us than divides us.

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SONGS FOR MY RIGHT SIDE

26:46 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Jeffrey C. Wray (US)

NARRATIVE – Rodger Smith is a flawed man in pain who is trying to make things right in his life. Only music can soothe his troubled soul. East Coast Premiere

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ERNEST MESSAGES

16:00 mins (2019)
Writer: Maisa Chiang, Director: Cinder Chou & Ryan T. Perry (US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Narrative) – A 40-year-old comes home from a great date and tries to leave the perfect voicemail.

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RED FLAGS

7:59 mins (2020)
Writer: Ben Weiss, Director: Tess Goldwyn (US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Narrative) – Lauren and Nico weren’t expecting much from a Bumble date. When they hit it off, it was almost too perfect. A dark comedy on politics + millennial dating. NYC Premiere

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CARNIVAL DAYDREAM

2:17 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Kristyna Archer (US)

COMEDY – An ode to first experiences around ones pre-teen crush. East Coast Premiere

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EXTINCTION REBELLION NYC

6:00 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Alexia Oldini & Steven Gray (Italy/US)

NEW YORK STORIES (Documentary) – Features non-violent direct actions undertaken by the climate justice movement during Summer and Fall of 2019.

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A TOUCH ON THE EDGE

6:58 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Yige Seleny Xie (China)

NARRATIVE (Student) – A coming-of-age short film centered around an 8 year old boy struggling with his father’s relationship while growing up in a single-family home that forces him to be
independent. US Premiere

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SLOW JAM GIRL

4:39 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Jack Quint (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – Throwback video parodies: The self-absorption of pop stars and playboys. A song about a girl, with no girls in it.

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PROGRAM IV: Acute Stress Response

QUARANTINE

00:58 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Margarita Mapa (Philippines)

ANIMATION (Student) – The relaxing nature of quarantine grows droning and anxiety-inducing as the days begin to blend together.

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ALONE TOGETHER

7:30 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: David Giardina (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – During the COVID-19 lockdown, a New York City crooner gets a call to travel back in time to perform at a swanky Manhattan night-club in 1932. World Premiere

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FANTASY KILLER

3:21 mins (2019)
Writers: Ivan Anderson, Director: Ivan Anderson & John Marty (US)

MUSIC VIDEO – A music video that’s the sensory equivalent of taking video game drugs.

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HORN

8:00 mins (2018)
Writer/Director: Ghasideh Golmakani (Iran)

COMEDY – A businesswoman tries to find a place to park her car for an important work appointment. Men are disturbing her in the streets of Tehran, but she finds a solution to conclude business.

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THE STREAM X

6:54 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Hiroya Sakurai (Japan)

EXPERIMENTAL – In man-made waterways of rice paddies, water follows artificial rules, giving rise to new forms of beauty: a ballet of sound, motion, algae, and water. New York State Premiere

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IT’S LOOK SUNSHINE

24:15 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Seunghwan Kim (Korea)

NARRATIVE – Young-eun, lives with her mother, a haenyo diver, in fishing village on Jeju Island. She learns eco-friendly photography from her friend Seung-hwan, who is a beachcomber.

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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

5:58 mins (2020)
Writer/Director: Peter Meng (US)

EXPERIMENTAL – Explore galleries after-hours when strange surreal unrest haunts the art. Witness paintings spring to life as you slip into another dimension and into the artist’s subconscious mind.

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THE TIME IN BETWEEN THE SECONDS

26:09 mins (2019)
Writer/Director: Mark Clauburg (US)

NARRATIVE – Wendy’s recovery from a tragic event leads her to make a selfless decision.

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STICKER

18:46 mins (2019)
Director: Georgi M. Unkovski (North Macedonia)

NARRATIVE – After an unsuccessful attempt to renew his car registration, Dejan falls in a bureaucratic trap that tests his resolve to be a responsible father.

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KOPACABANA

13:33 mins (2019)
Writer: Fausto Fawcett (Brazil), Director: Marcos Bonisson & Khalil Charif (Brazil)

EXPERIMENTAL – Experimental film set in Copacabana – an epicenter of intercultural, social, and sensory experiences.

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BROKEN LIKE

2:00 mins (2019)
Writer: The IZM (US), Director: Stephen Rutterford
(UK)

DARK THEMES – Angst in a basement :Music video for The IZM’s “Broken Like.” New York City Premiere

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JUDGES

Ashley Gerst

Ashley Gerst is a 2D and 3D animator living in Brooklyn NY. She holds a BFA in Digital Arts from Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA in Computer Art from School of Visual Arts. In addition to her professorial work at William Paterson, Ashley is a freelance animator working for clients such as AMC, Viacom, Fast Co., Hudson Media, and CBS.

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Stephen Hilyard

Artist/Educator Stephen Hilyard’s work deals with the paradoxical nature of our impulse towards the profound. He often works in extreme locations, including the bottom of an Icelandic lake. His work has been supported by The Huntington Library, The Harpo Foundation, The American Scandinavian Foundation & The McKnight Foundation.

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Henry Kanegsberg

A graduate of Ithaca College, Henry received his MBA from NYU and is a former finance and administration executive in the broadcasting, music, and publishing industries. He held senior positions with NBC, RCA Records and Random House. Currently, Henry is the chair of community organizations for the Mount Sinai Hospital System.

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Cary Patrick Martin

Cary won 2019 Best Director & Audience Award at #theartistsforumfilmfest for his film Coffee and a Donut. He studied directing at Independent Film School and The Barrow Group, and acting at Sande Shurin Acting Studio, T. Schreiber Studio, and The American Globe Theater. Cary has produced cabaret benefits for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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George Radovanovich

George is an independent scholar with a focus on research and writings on art and cultural criticism. Originally from Serbia, George received his US citizenship in 1995 while studying at New York’s School of Visual Arts, earning his BFA in Film and MFA in Computer Arts in 1997. 

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David Ranghelli

David studied filmmaking at Brooklyn College (BA), and Comp. Lit./ Cinema Studies at NYU’s GSAS (MA, MPHIL). He taught film analysis and mentored screenwriters at Tisch School of the Arts for 12 years. He has worked at the Media and Communication Arts Dept. at CUNY for 7 years, where he also educates aspiring filmmakers.

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José Carlos Teixeira

José is an artist, filmmaker, researcher, and educator from Portugal. His work has exhibited internationally in prestigious museums, foundations, galleries, and film festivals, garnering him awards and fellowships. As a Fulbrighter, he earned a Master’s from UCLA, and was in residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude and MacDowell, among others.

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Jonathan Ullman

Jonathan Ullman is a New York-based independent filmmaker.  His debut feature film, Trouble In The Heights, which he wrote, directed and produced, was released by Viva Pictures and garnered two Imagen Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor.  He is currently developing a feature film about the famed Paradise Garage and DJ Larry Levan.

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Amos White V

Amos is an inter-disciplinary multimedia artist, event producer, and exhibit designer. A graduate of the College of Human Ecology at the University of Maryland, College Park, Amos bridges his passion for the arts and human relations with the formation of THE ARTISTS FORUM.

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Viktor Witkowski

Viktor is a Polish-born German-raised painter/filmmaker. After graduating from HBK Braunschweig with a combined Master’s in Studio Art, Art History, and Art Education, he immigrated to the US to earn his MFA in Visual Arts from Rutgers. Currently, he travels abroad creating art and lecturing at Dartmouth’s Studio Art Department.

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PROGRAM & AWARDS LISTING

View or download our 2020 Program and full Awards Listing.

2020 WINNERS
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT: Sticker (Georgi M. Unkovski, North Macedonia)
BEST DARK THEMED SHORT: Broken Like (Stephen Rutterford, UK) + Me Llamo Jesus (Cherie Song, US)
BEST COMEDY SHORT: Carnival Daydream (Kristyna Archer, US)
BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT: The Stream X (Hiroya Sakurai, Japan)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Bananas Girl (Shayna Connelly, US)
BEST FESTIVAL THEME – NY STORIES: Keep Me (Evan Cutler Wattles, US) + Red Flags (Tess Goldwyn, US)
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Echo (Barzan Rostami, Iran)
BEST MUSIC VIDEO: Crazy (Lee Milby, US)
BEST STUDENT SHORT: Bambiland (Danilo Stanimirovic, Serbia)
BEST SOUND DESIGN: Hiroya Sakurai – The Stream X (Hiroya Sakurai, Japan)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hiroya Sakurai – The Stream X (Hiroya Sakurai, Japan)
BEST EDITING: Martin Ivanov – Sticker (Georgi M. Unkovski, North Macedonia)
BEST SCREENPLAY: Claire Tankersley – A Letter to Myself at 16 (C. Tankersley, US)
BEST DIRECTOR: Georgi M. Unkovski – Sticker (Unkovski, North Macedonia)
BEST ACTOR: TJ Riley – Limbo (Anthony Von Seck, Canada)
BEST ACTRESS: Helen Laser – The Time In Between the Seconds (Mark Clauburg, US)
2020 JURORS AWARD: Hiroya Sakurai – The Stream X (Hiroya Sakurai, Japan)

MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

View or download our Official Festival Poster.

View or download our Official Festival Social Media Graphics.

View or download our 2020 Press Release.

Watch our 2020 MEET the Filmmakers Interview Videos.

See our Alternate 2020 Official Trailer.

See our 2020 Sneak Peek Videos: Full Sneak, Program I, Program II, Program III, Program IV.

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