EXCLUSIVE: Now in its 31st year, the American Pavilion is moving with the times and bringing inclusion and representation to the forefront with its showcase of films by emerging filmmakers. This year, 29 films will make their debut on the Croisette. The global stories include 17 female directors, six documentaries and 11 LGBTQ narratives that are relevant to the times.
The new films will be featured in five showcases: Student Short Films, Student Documentaries, Emerging Filmmaker Short Films, Emerging Filmmaker Documentaries and Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ Showcase Films. All are part of the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase series. Some of the films feature actors including M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple, Blade Runner), Wallace Langham (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Social Network), Michelle Davidson (House of Cards, Halt and Catch Fire), among others.
“We have such great diversity amongst the films and international filmmakers, with more than half of this year’s films directed or co-directed by women,” said AmPav founder Julie Sisk. ” Our showcases offer a voice to filmmakers from around the globe and that is something we are simply thrilled to be able to offer.”
The showcase is not only inclusive, but also includes diverse storytelling including stories focusing on victims of communism, social issues permeating throughout South Korean culture, the aftermath of human rights violations in the LGBTQ community, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor as well as narratives from the Muslim, Syrian, Japanese and Hasidic perspective.
Four student films this year are showcased as winners of the KCET Fine Cut Series including One Small Step directed by Aqsa Altaf, University Southern California; Al Imam directed by Omar Al Dakheel, University Southern California; Raccoon and the Light directed by Hanna Kim, California Institute for the Arts; and Where I Was Born directed by Jungmin Cha, California Institute for the Arts.
The unveiling of the diverse Emerging Filmmaker Showcase comes shortly after the American Pavilion announced the first-ever Colin Higgins Ambassador Scholarship for LGBTQ students interested in participating in The American Pavilion’s Worldwide Student Program. world. The Colin Higgins Foundation is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youth in underserved communities and the programs and organizations that foster and build their leadership and empowerment. The foundation is named after founder and filmmaker Colin Higgins, who wrote and produced the cult classic, Harold and Maude. He also wrote and directed the iconic films Foul Play, 9 to 5 and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He died in 1988 from HIV-related illnesses.
Read the full lineup of the American Pavilion’s Emerging Filmmaker Showcase below.
Emerging Filmmaker Documentaries:
Death Metal Grandma
2018, 13 min., USA, Documentary
Director: Leah Galant
Writer: Leah Galant, Sean Weiner
Producer: Sean Weiner, Elizabeth Pauker, Christine Wexler, Clifford Miu, Linhan Zhang
Cast: Inge Ginsberg, Lucia Caruso Pedro DaSilva
Death Metal Grandma follows the story of 96-year-old Holocaust survivor, former WW2 spy and famous songwriter Inge Ginsberg as she decides to pursue a new career: Death Metal.
My Grandfather’s Memory Book
2018, 5 min., USA, Documentary/Animation
Director/Writer/Producer: Colin Levy
Cast: Colin Levy, Ron Levy, Byron Levy
A personal reflection about an unusual sketchbook that captures a lifetime of memories, connecting three generations through drawings, writings and dialogue.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Short Films:
10 Syllables [Un-Con-Scious/In-Tox-I-Ca-Ted/Fe-Male]
2019, 16 min., USA, Drama
Writer/Director: Emily Skyle-Golden
Producer: Ryan Golden, Alphonse Polito, Tyler Bourns
Cast: Evan Faunce, Jasmeet Baduwalia, Riley McKinney
After the justice system fails her, Parker sets off on an inspiring journey to turn everyone’s #metoo into #nomore.
2018, 16 min., USA, Drama
Director: Thiago Dadalt
Writer: Thiago Dadalt, Dru Miller
Producer: Thiago Dadalt, Dru Miller, Ekin Ergen, Bruna Nogueira, Andre Chesini
Co-produced: Dawnella Trammell
Line Producers – Tuna Erturk, Mehmet Gungoren, Damaris Pinheiro
Cast: Robert Solomon, Piercey Dalton
When a nonverbal autistic teen’s family is falling apart, he must find his voice to keep them together.
2018, 5 min., USA/Canada, Animation/Music
Writer/Director/Music: Carolyn Downie
Dark jazz in a dark sociopolitical climate with a vision of a transformed, brighter future.
2018, 16 min., USA, Drama/War/Social Justice
Writer/Director: Derek Quick
Producers: Derek Quick, Lucy Quick, Nicholas Nathaniel
Cast: Daniel Joo, Jeff Seid, Bejo Dohmen, Louie Chapman, Aramis Merlin.
An Asian American soldier is thrown into a Nazi work camp on a farm in Germany as his family back home in America are forced into an American Japanese Concentration camp in Manzanar California.
Let’s See How Fast this Baby Will Go
2017, 15 min., Australia, Drama/Comedy/Biography
Writer/Director: Julietta Boscolo
Producer: Eva Di Blasio
Cast: Liv Hewson, Tara Morice
Pregnant and in labor, a teenager decides to buy a new car to take her to the hospital and ultimately take control of her life for the first time. Based on Gloria Harrison’s true story of the same name as first heard on This American Life.
Sorry, Not Sorry
2018, 7 min., USA, Comedy
Writer/Director: Monique Sorgen
Producer: Monique Sorgen, Darryl Pugh Jr.
Cast: Jessica Oyelowo, M. Emmet Walsh, Wallace Langham
A couple’s one-upmanship reaches unbelievable heights after a man eats his wife’s plums.
2018, 16 min., United Kingdom, Drama
Writer/Director: Richard Prendergast
Producer: Rachel Prendergast
Cast: Jolie Lennon, Benjamin Hartley, Maisie Prendergast, Gaynor Fraser, Evie Prendergast, Mick Fryer-Wesley, Willow Major
A car. A family. An unwanted destination.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Student Short Films:
2018, 18 min., USA, Drama, Ohio University School of Film
Writer/Director: Wenting Deng Fisher, Luke Fisher
Producer: Patrick Reasonover, Matt Edwards, Victoria Hills, Michael Arter, Curt Chatham
Cast: Arthur Welch, ViviAnn Yee, Shu Lan Tuan, Gabriel Tsai, Zhan Wang
A boy and his new friend hunt their village’s last sparrow for a reward to save his sick Grandma during Communist China’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1961).
Note: 2018 Student Academy Award finalist
Esta Es Tu Cuba (This Is Your Cuba)
2018, 20 min., USA, Drama/Historical (subtitles), Chapman University
Director: Brian Robau
Writer: Dan Klein
Producer: John Sayage
Cast: Mauricio Alemany, Amber Rivera, Roy Sanchez, Isabella Gandulla
In the wake of Fidel Castro’s rise to power, over 14,000 unaccompanied children fled to the United States in hopes of a better life. Inspired by their stories, Esta Es Tu Cuba follows Anton, a young boy who is thrust into adulthood as revolution tears his family apart.
Note: 2018 Student Academy Award winner; 2019 TV Academy College TV Awards winner
One Small Step
2017, 13 min., USA, Drama, USC
Director: Aqsa Altaf
Writer: Travis Rush
Producer: Alexandra Christenson, Derek Tonks
Cast: Charlie Reddix, Destiny Toliver, Avanna King
A 9-year-old girl attempts to juggle the responsibilities of school and her younger siblings after her mother goes missing.
Raccoon And The Light
2018, 4 min., Animation, USA, California Institute of the Arts
Director: Hanna Kim
A raccoon finds a flashlight in the woods.
Note: 2018 Student Academy Award winner
2019, 14 min., USA, Drama, Orange County School of the Arts
Director: Adrian Delcan
Writer: Gavin Conlon, Adrian Delcan, Tim Jaehyung Park
Producer: Isabel Mansour, Gavin Conlon
Cast: Tim Jaehyung Park, David Pulido, Pia Smith, Keith Giles, Triniti Rowe,
When a humanoid robot is assigned to look after a troublemaking orphan, the two grow to form a touching friendship.
Where I Was Born
2018, 5min., USA, Animation, California Institute of the Arts
Director: Jungmin Cha
Through short, humorous vignettes, one presents a critique of the diverse social issues permeating throughout South Korean culture.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Student Documentaries:
2017, 19 min., Documentary, University Southern California
Director: Omar Al Dakheel
Cast: Ani Zonneveld
Despite controversy and threats, a Muslim woman takes a stand for justice through a progressive practice of Islam.
The Flip Side
2018, 8 min., USA, Documentary, Florida State University
Producer/Writer/Director: William Stead
Cast: Doug Allen, Michelle Allen, Taylor Hammersla
Journey to the largest record store in the world to discover whether the vinyl record can escape its seemingly inevitable extinction.
Hold The Sun In Your Hands: The Erika Jacoby Story
2019, 8 min., USA, Drama, Harvard-Westlake School
Director/animators: Talia Abel, Xenia Bernal, Ian Kim, Alejandro Moses, Hank Schoen, India Spencer, Eva Suissa, and Michael Zambrano
Producer: Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Cast: Erika Jacoby
Hand-drawn animation illustrates Holocaust Survivor Erika Jacoby’s memories of surviving Auschwitz.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase LGBTQ Films:
2019, 6 min., USA, Drama/Youth/LGBTQ, The Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Jim Fall
Writer: Jim Fall, Nathan Adloff
Producer: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer
Cast: Skylar Ellis, Kenny Johnston, Halsey Williamson, Maddie Thorpe, Elizabeth Nelson, Judge Cantrell, Seith Weinfeld, Isa Martinez-Moore, Karen Moore
On her birthday, Brynn (formerly Brian) is surprised by her mother and friends. Will her father show up to the party or continue to miss out on seeing his daughter grow up?
2018, 15 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ
Director: Sarah Smith
Writer: Phillip Guttmann
Producer: Yaniv Rokah, Loriel Samaras, Phillip Guttmann
Cast: Adam Silver, Shelly Kurtz, Sebastian Velmont
At first blush, Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man leading a fairly simple life. By day he dutifully prays at the local synagogue and manages a busy dry cleaner. But when his wife and daughters leave town for a few days, Shmuel will step out of his daily life and into a more complex world lit by the night. When he misplaces his black hat along the way, Shmuel’s two lives will interconnect in a way he never expected.
Elwood Takes A Lover
2018, 16 min., USA, Comedy/Drama/LGBTQ, University of Southern California
Director: John Ira Palmer
Writer: Youthana Yuos, John Ira Palmer
Producer: Gracie Corapi, John Ira Palmer
Cast: Sarah Lilly, Warren Sweeney, César Carmona, Alex Egan
Cancer patient Hannah fears her husband Elwood will have no one to care for him after she’s gone. Long suspecting Elwood had feelings for another man in his youth, Hannah sets out to find his unrequited love in hopes of reuniting them.
2019, 6 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ, Florida State University
Writer/Director: Alex McFry
Producer: Billy Kalstrom
Cast: Thomas Bretz, Larry Kastner, Bijan Adili, Xia Orozco
When another random hookup leaves Ethan with more than he bargained for, he’s forced to face the unfortunate realities that come with anonymous, unprotected sex: HIV. Once he is diagnosed, his life is flipped upside down as he learns to cope with his diagnosis and the stigma the virus carries.
2019, 8 min., USA, Drama/Youth/Coming of Age/LGBTQ, The Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Writer/Director: Shawn Ryan
Assistant Directors: Monica Jeon, Sadie Scott, Emily Doran
Producer: Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Valerie Dohrer
Cast: Tucker Gold, Kelton Jones, Sadie Scott, Emily Doran, and Karen Moore,
Maya Mendoza, Katy Denebeim, Xaia Leith, GraceAnn Lesser, Leia Figueroa, Chiya Newman, Monica Jeon, Spencer Davis, Caryn Thomason, Paityn Stephan, Eliza Aiken
Fourteen-year-old Henry Murphy is trying to come out to his father just before Christmas. What will happen when Henry asks Santa for the most important thing — acceptance?
Hiding In Daylight
2018, 15 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ
Director: Cheryl Allison
Writer: Gregory G. Allen
Producer: Carina Rush, Gregory G. Allen, Cheryl Allison
Cast: Judy McLane, Julee Cerda, Jim Newman, Gary Hilborn
After a gay purge, four best friends are surviving by living in fake marriages to each other. They secretly meet once a week to see their true spouse and play a “game” where they reminisce about their former openly gay lives. After 3 years of weekly gatherings, they must determine if their clandestine meetings are worth risking their lives. In one night, emotions run high, friendships begin to unravel, and everything changes in an instant.
2018, 18 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ
Director: Adetokumboh M’Cormack
Writer: Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Matt Feit
Producer: Adetokumboh M’Cormack
Cast: Abubakr Ali, Jack Lowe
Strangers from opposite ends of the earth: Nizar, a Syrian refugee and Eric an Irish tourist, meet in the City of Angels and embark on a journey of trust, abandonment, tragedy and privilege. The consequences of their encounter will stay with them long after the night is over.
2019, 11 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ
Director: Ayman Samman
Writer: Ayman Samman
Producer: Mico Saad, Ayman Samman
Cast: Ayman Samman, Mico Saad, Rasha Mohamed
A depressed Crisis Negotiator is called upon to talk a Jumper off the ledge.
2018, 2 min., USA, Animation/LGBTQ, NYU Tisch
Writer/Director: Zale Zheng
Driving alone through a snowy night, a man starts to think of his late lover Leon.
A Normal Girl
2018, 13 min., USA, Documentary, LGBTQ
Director: Aubree Bernier-Clarke
Producer: Pidgeon Pagonis, Shawna Lipton
Cast: Pidgeon Pagonis
1.5% of people are born with anatomy that doesn’t fit typical definitions of female or male
1.5% of people are born with anatomy that doesn’t fit typical definitions of female or male. It is common practice for doctors to perform genital surgeries on intersex infants—often with disastrous results. A Normal Girl brings the widely unknown struggles of intersex people to light, through the story of intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis.
Queen For A Day
2019, 4 min., USA, Comedy/LGBTQ
Producer/Writer/Director: Savannah Rodgers
Cast: Michelle Davidson, Joe Carey
Queen for a Day is a short comedy about marriage and drag queens.