LAKE COUNTY FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SLATE OF 101 SHORT FILMS
Today, The Lake County Film Festival announces the in-competition slate for their 11th film festival. At least 100 short films will compete for jury and audience awards.
All short films will play multiple times at the Grayslake campus of The College Of Lake County. Some will play in front of feature film selections, and some will play in fifteen different short film programs, separated into genres (Science Fiction, Music Documentaries), topics (Visual Arts, Dating, Immigration), and themes (Guns, Guns, Guns, Criminal Justice). Other programs revolve around mental health issues, late stage capitalism, and father figures. We Love Short Shorts and OMG! WTF! are popular program titles from previous years. Returning filmmakers include Chicagoan Will Schneider, who has two new short films playing, and Kyle Taubken, who has had three previous short films play at the festival in the last two years. Some alumni’s history with the festival dates back over a decade, like Derrick Scocchera, whose short film A Perfect Place, world-premiered at The Lake County Film Festival in 2008, and Patrick Hogan, whose feature film Pope Dreams played at the 2007 Lake County Film Festival.
Below is the list of selected short films for the 2020 Lake County Film Festival.
Narrative Short Films
7am Wednesday (d. Julie Herlocker)
A normally prompt teen shows up late at his therapist’s office totally freaked-out. Can she gain his trust to find out what happened, or is her life in jeopardy?
A Moment In Time (d. Brandon Russell)
Jerry McDonald falls in love, only to have his mind wiped at the end of every month.
Adam’s Hands (d. Gregg Jaffe)
When Adam’s relationship reaches a crossroads he opens himself up to new adventures and new …hands. This is a story about seeing what life has to offer with no strings attached.
Adjustment Of Status (d. Josh Deal)
An immigration officer has a surprise revelation during a not-so-routine Green Card interview.
All These Men That I’ve Done (d. Lorraine Nolan & Mark Daly)
Four women explore the constructs that have helped shape their sexual confidence.
The Archivists (d. Igor Drljača)
In a dystopian future, a travelling trio of musicians discover an abandoned house – a relic from the old world. As the bandmates explore the ruin, they stumble upon a hidden room full of precious artifacts of a bygone era.
Away From It All (d. Mason Thorne)
Held hostage by her insurance company’s automated call tree, Shannon heads to the beach in a futile attempt to get away from it all.
BiFF (d. Lucia Helenka)
BiFF is a comedic and emotional ride following teenage Amy as she faces her fears about branching out and leaving behind her childhood life. Unfortunately this means it’s time to also leave her best friend Chloe, who is more involved and interwoven with Amy than your average ‘best friend forever’.
BJ’s Mobile Gift Shop (d. Jason Park)
A young Korean-American hustler runs throughout the city of Chicago making sales out of his “mobile gift shop”.
Boys (d. Luke Benward)
Two boys let their imagination run wild in a barren desert, but the fun and games come to a shocking halt.
Break Any Spell (d. Anton Jøsef)
When April sets off to battle in the world of live-action-role-playing, her mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s reaches a breaking point.
Brief Survey (d. Dava Whisenant)
A good-hearted hiker finds himself overcome by nature’s majesty, only to be drawn into a cosmic nightmare.
Bystander (d. Mahmut Akay)
A bystander struggles to intervene when an Asian woman is racially abused by a white man in a grocery store, years after the pandemic.
Catharsis (d. Lawrence “LAW” Watford)
A Black woman in mourning confronts the ambitious District Attorney that refused to prosecute the NYPD officer responsible for her son’s death.
The Chocolate Shop (d. Ian Walker)
A woman with Alzheimer’s starts to remember who she is when she walks into a Chocolate Shop.
Cricket (d. Chris Suchorsky)
A man wakes from a nightmare, only to be haunted by the sounds that inhabit his dreams.
Denzel (d. Michael Gamarano Singleton)
Denzel follows the dating life of a young man with downs syndrome on his journey to self-acceptance. He uses an alter ego to navigate through his social issues and self worth until finally reaching the perfect conclusion.
Disconnected (d. Daniel Sheahan)
Kathy receives a text from her daughter that there is a shooter at her school, then the line goes dark. Kathy will spend the next few hours desperately trying to contact her daughter, or she may never see her again.
Duality Derby (d. Mark Miller & Dave Fanzese)Local racing legend Victor Elaine squares-off against his greatest rival. Their opposing philosophies and impending destruction leave them wondering: Who is really behind the wheel?
Eight Months Later (d. Chris McNeany)
A recently widowed father gets ready to pick up his younger boyfriend at the airport, if he can survive lunch with his son.
The End Of History (d. Mehdi Akbar)
A scientist is confronted by a detective, and discuss the fate of the world.
The Escape (d. Liudmila Komrakova)
A patient in an insane asylum is given an injection to calm her down. She is left alone lying on the bed in a straitjacket overwhelmed with her hallucinations and memories.In the ward, another girl unexpectedly appears trying to bring the first one to consciousness.
EXT. LOS ANGELES (d. Matthew T. Price)
An aspiring actress decides to escape the script of her life, and writes her own ending. In a visual experiment, the text of the script is on screen for the entire film, interacting with the characters and world.
The Flexed Arm Hang (d. Findlay Brown)
A boy attempts to get a silver medal in the most daunting of gym class challenges, the flexed arm hang.
The Following Year (d. Miguel Campaña)
The day of his anniversary, a widow farmer receives the clone of the woman he lost years ago under tragic circumstances.
Frank & Emmet (d. Carlos F. Puertolas)
“Frank & Emmet” tells the story of two life-long friends and show-business partners who, after weeks of drifting apart, sit together to have a much-needed conversation. Their friendly dialogue takes a turn when they address head-on the one thing they’ve never talked about: One of them is a puppet.
Free Fall (d. Emmanuel Tenenbaum)
Tom is a young trader at a London bank, but his recent results have put him in the hot seat. When the first plane hit the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, Tom is convinced it is a terrorist attack, not an accident.
Galileo (d. Ryan Gentle & Austin Quarles)
Alexander, a space-loving day dreamer hopes to pass that love on to his son Galileo. As he grows up, Galileo realizes he needs to break away from his father’s hope to find his own path, but his path is closer to his father’s dreams than he ever thought.
Goodbye Janet (d. Will Schneider)
A young woman confesses her love for a close friend during a drunken karaoke night.
Harmonia Solid (d. Jake Hart)
While cleaning house, a woman discovers an area rug that disposes of literal and figurative trash in a beautiful and magical way.
Hidden City (d. Karen Elizabeth Price)
Mary Portman, a travel writer who explores lesser-known features of US cities, stumbles upon a voting-related crime in progress. In an effort to expose the scandal, she joins with a prominent journalist before realizing that her quest for truth has been a hall of mirrors. Starring Annabeth Gish.
Horse Girl (d. Lua Borges)
Evangeline sees her life in the vast country and the image of her horse differently once a rupture between her mom and dad is formed.
Imago Diabolus (d. Abraham Mike Yousaf)
While chasing a serial killer, a police officer receives a package with mysterious clues in form of photographs. He follows the clues and makes his way through the city and reaches an abandoned hall where he finds himself facing an unnatural element of his investigation.
The Impatient Man Who Made His Life Considerably Shorter (d. Louis Norton Selzer)
When his compressed gas keyboard cleaner does not arrive on time, Mr. Guthrert Vratrol decides to take matters into his own impatient hands, rapidly hastening his own demise.
In A Bad Way (d. Kyle Taubken)
A blue-collar gambling addict reaches a new low on Christmas Eve.
It’s Always Something (d. Derrick Scocchera)
Through a series of vignettes, the often inexplicable behaviors of contemporary humans are observed and commented upon by a droll narrator. No matter how outlandish or senseless the action, one thing is certain: “It’s Always Something.” Narrated by Stephen Fry.
Jeanne (d. Fabien Remblier)
Arriving illegally on a French beach, Abdel understands he is on his own. He eludes the gendarmes and takes refuge in a garden. Luckily, the house seems deserted. But alas, he is startled awake by a woman with a gun, Jeanne. Both lives will be forever changed.
Killing Time (d. P. Patrick Hogan)
When a woman attracts the attention of a mysterious figure who slips inside her isolated home and lies in wait, she must confront her past in this horror/sci-fi short film with a twist.
Landscape 4 (d. Damian Fitzsimmons)
Three mysterious, armed men set off up a deserted road.
Last Summer (d. Asha Bynum)
Two brothers find themselves alone in the world after their eldest sibling dies in an encounter with the police. They plan a memorial in his honor.
Last Summer With Uncle Ira (d. Gary Jaffe & Katie Ennis)
Summer, 1991. Before he leaves for his last year at summer camp, closeted teenager Daniel is nudged by his mother Rachel to share a moment and a glass of lemonade with his Uncle Ira, who is dying of complications from HIV/AIDS. Ira wants to talk about their shared identity together before time runs out, but Daniel may not be ready to take that step. Starring Emmy-nominee Wayne Wilcox (“Gilmore Girls,” “Only Children”), Igby Rigney (“Blue Bloods”) and Tony Award-winner Stephanie J. Block (“Rise,” “Madam Secretary.”)
Lemonade Party (d. Alexander Minas)
A scientist has discovered the “interdimensional hop.” On a mission, she lands in an alternate universe where the world feels like an idyllic 1950’s lemonade party but she soon discovers something sinister lies beneath.
Matched (d. Zack Kron)
A young woman explores an apartment during a blackout with nothing more than a box of matches. But she’s not alone…
Medusa’s Cage (d. Christian Martinez, George Whitehall)
A short film about reality.
Miss Responsibility (d. Clint Till)
A super-rich party girl has to prove to her Daddy that she can be a more mature adult.
Must Love Pie (d. Patrick Clement)
A lonely man finds a love connection.
My Dinner With Werner (d. Maverick Moore)
Based on real events, real people, and real things they actually said, My Dinner With Werner is a wildly bizarre and wacky farce about a 1987 dinner date with a murder plot as the main dish.
Noor & Layla (d. Fawzia Mirza)
Noor and Layla are breaking up. Is it the end of the road for these two Muslim women… or is it the beginning?
Our Mine (d. Shayna Strype)
Through animation and live puppetry, Our Mine tells the story of a mine from the mountain’s perspective. In this ecofeminist tragicomedy, the female body transforms into the landscape and characters and the lines blur between fable and reality.
Paper Geese (d. Elizabeth Chatelain)
After an unsuccessful goose hunt, a young girl grapples with seeing her father in a new light.
Parricide (d. Will Schneider)
Just a routine sleepover at Jeffrey’s house. Or is it?
Pawsea (d. Tom Gentle & Rupert Clague)
Rocky certainly has a lot on his mind – questioning his purpose and attempting to fortify himself against existential angst as he searches for meaning – quite a lot for a French Bulldog to master.
Persistence (d. Leo De Haan)
At a marina in France, Joe and Ivan, father and son, prepare to head back to the UK. When an immigrant father and son approach them desperate for passage to the UK, a spiral of events challenges all of their morals.
Photo Op (d. Dava Whisenant)
A humorous cautionary tale about the perils of trusting a stranger with your phone. Written by Steve Young (Letterman, Simpsons) and directed by Dava Whisenant (Bathtubs Over Broadway), this unsettlingly funny short film was itself shot on an iPhone.
Please Hold (d. Kristen “KD” Davila)
In the near future, a young working-class Latino is wrongfully arrested. Realizing he has no means of recourse in the fully automated, fully privatized justice system, he attempts to reach a human being who can set things right.
Raymond (d. Scott Ashby)
Needing cash to get his horn out of hock, a young musician gets caught up in a drug heist.
Red (d. Katia Koziara)
A first date gets steamy as desire, consent and power dynamics are discussed in the most unlikely of places.
The Seashell (d. Ron Kahlon)
A lonely young girl finds a seashell and holds it to her ear, expecting to hear peaceful ocean waves. Instead, she hears Mother Nature’s disappointing son, who’s filling in for his busy mom.
Self Tape (d. Michael Kunicki)
At his school’s black box theater, stuttering Roman struggles to self-tape an audition, his manic Hamlet. Nearing success, his dreams are shattered by nightmarish figures.
The Spinning Man (d. Jordan Rosenbloom)
In the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, a lone radio DJ seeks connection.
Swiped (d. Edward J Douglas)
When Melody decides to swipe a few hot guys on her augmented reality dating app, she meets her match in a man who may be more—or less—than meets the eye…
They Salivate (d. Ariane Boukerche)
This is the story of a kiss. A couple kiss each other in their deserted living room. The party begins and one guest drinks the couple’s last kiss.
US MX (d. Joseph O Hooten)
In the not too distant future, a mother and her 7 year-old daughter race against the clock to immigrate across the U.S./Mexican border before sunrise.
The Wind And The Kite (d. Robert Machoian & Keely Song)
A tale of marital strife, represented by the dance of the wind and a kite.
Wolf In Dude’s Clothing (d. Solmund MacPherson)
A starving wolf finds a suit of human skin, crawls inside, and becomes a man.
Documentary Short Films
First Week Out (d. Charles Fristchner)
Larry Williams spent the last 42 years in prison. We follow his first week of freedom.
The Girl Inside (d. Jason Knade)
The Girl Inside is a poignant look at the stories of incarcerated women within Cook County Jail and a life-changing academic course taught by Dr. Laura Biagi called, “Storytelling as a Healing Art.” This short documentary reunites Dr. Biagi with five of her former students for a special one day course on the transformative power of our stories and our voices.
Marcellus Hall An Artist In New York City (d. Justin Joseph Hall)
An Artist in City Series captures a reflection on a creative person’s career through their distinct point of view. Each creative person’s career story is told chronologically by interview and simultaneously from the artist’s work. The documentary series shares a creative freelancer’s life experience in less than 10 minute segments. Each episode represents major artistic outputs by accomplished artists.
Matchbox Man (d. Gorman Bechard)
The story of one man’s obsession with cars…really really small cars.
Miss Alma Thomas (d. Cheri Gaulke)
Alma W. Thomas lived a life of firsts: the first Fine Arts graduate of Howard University (1924), the first Black woman to mount a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1972), and the first Black woman to have her paintings exhibited in the White House (2009). Yet she did not receive national attention until she was 80. “Miss Alma Thomas” is the first documentary film that explores Thomas’ incredible life through the lens of curators, art specialists, scholars, her family, and award-winning actress Alfre Woodard as the voice of Miss Thomas.
Takeover (d. Emma Francis-Snyder)
Takeover explores the twelve historic hours on July 14, 1970, in which fifty members of the Young Lords Party stormed the dilapidated Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, drove out their administrative staff, barricaded entrances and windows, and made their cries for decent healthcare known to the world. They raised the Puerto Rican flag atop the building, as well as a banner reading “The People’s Hospital” – a nom de guerre still used today. Through archival footage, seamless reenactments, and modern-day interviews, we follow the Young Lords’ resistance against institutions curated by wealth and white supremacy, and their fight for the most basic of human rights: the right to accessible, quality healthcare.
Tictoc (d. Mark Waters)
In the sixteen years that Felix has grown up he’s had to contend with the unpredictable and consuming nature of Tourette’s Disorder, all whilst navigating the usual tribulations of adolescence. He wants to share his story and break the stigma.
Where Should We Go (d. Che O’Grady)
The Albina neighborhood was the center of Black life in Portland, Oregon. In the 1950s and 1960s, the urban renewal rooted in racist policies destroyed houses, churches, and schools in favor of freeways and sports venues. Thousands of residents were displaced and never returned to live in their community. The painful displacement tore apart their cultural home, squashed their sense of place and connection, and Black families were prevented from building generational wealth. The impact of those actions is felt today, and the hurt is deep. Understanding the past and finding healing is the only way forward.
Animated Short Films
A Tiny Tale (d. Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Maÿlis Mosny, Zijing Ye)
A dog gets abandoned on the side of the road. Attached to a street light, he stays alone until the day he meets a young astronaut wannabe and a professional cyclist who keeps on trying to beat her highest score.
Death And The Lady (d. Geoff Bailey & Lucy Struever)
On a dark and stormy night, Death pays a visit to a very old lady and her dog.
Homebird (d. Ewa Smyk)
Struggling to make it in a big city, a young artist finds herself retreating into the rose-tinted memories of the village she left behind.
In The Shadow Of The Pines (d. Anne Koizumi)
Drawing on childhood memories, Anne Koizumi explores her upbringing with her Japanese immigrant dad, who was also the janitor at the elementary school she attended. The film explores the idea of shame and how it can shape and define us while also concealing who we can truly become.
It’s Okay (d. Aiman Samat)
A man second-guesses his career choice until he was shown appreciation by his old friend.
Lines (d. Claire Fleming)
Six poems written by six young prisoners animated to tell their stories, thoughts, fears and hopes.Read by Letitia Wright, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jodie Turner-Smith, Adepero Oduye and Riz Ahmed
Maggie May (d. Donna W. Guthrie)
A four-minute, family-friendly, musical animated film about Maggie Mae, a constant shopper who buys things she doesn’t need. When she gets buried in styrofoam, tissue, and silly purchases, she learns to recycle and reuse.
Migrants (d. Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, Lucas Lermytte, Zoé Devise)
Two polar bears are driven into exile due to global warming. They will encounter brown bears along their journey, with whom they will try to cohabitate.
Roberto (d. Carmen Córdoba González)
15 years have passed and Roberto is still in love with his neighbor, but she prefers to hide ashamed of her body. With his art and an old clothesline as the only ways of communication, Roberto has a plan to push his beloved for face her monsters at once.
Sisyphus Rocks It! (d. Ron Fleischer)
This animated short is a humorous take on Greek mythology’s Sisyphus, a king who cheated death twice. Sisyphus was punished for this by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this task for eternity. In a cruel twist, Sisyphus learns the dangers of celebrating too soon… too late.
Unnecessary Things (d. Dmytro Lisenbart)
Could a robot adopt a pet in the near future? – Sure, why not. – Could this pet be a human? – Well, it could be possible in the future. – Could they become friends? – Probably yes. – …And what would become of the robot afterwards? – Listen, to hell with your questions!
The Weather Is Lovely (d. Lien Chun-chien)
Claude, the cloud maker, accidentally drops his cloud-making gadget and it’s picked up by Yin. A thundercloud that Yin has made releases a thunderbolt on the radio and causes a fire. As the gadget turns into a huge water-thirst cloud monster, Claude has to stop it from becoming a total disaster.
Rockin’ The Suburbs Short Films
Am I Next? (d. Kay Rufai)
Based on true events, the poetically narrated film follows the experience of a young black boy as he fights against the clock to navigate the stark realities of a pandemic-exacerbated set of challenges, growing up in a London council estate ridden with serious youth violence.
Bloom (Christopher B. Derrick & William A. Derrick III)
Ambitious underdog, Darnel, will go great lengths to obtain respect. But he may lose more than that when he takes on notorious battle rapper Yung Ammo. With a bit of apprehension, and a lot of courage, Darnel steps foot into the gangster rapper’s ring to claim the one thing he wants most.
Bridge City Revival (d. Josh Brine)
Filmed during the quarantine of summer 2020, Bridge City Revival is a new soul music supergroup from Portland, Oregon. It brings together some of the city’s most cherished musical artists to create a record inspired by the sounds of the 1960’s. This collective is a statement on Portland’s music scene; an archive of the past, paving the path forward for the future of soul, funk, blues, and motown music in Portland. This film sets out to document their process creating a record, and the heartbeat of this band: friendship, collaboration, and community.
Come On Time (d. Chris Vernon)
The story of Clive Kennedy, a music documentary about a performer who can’t perform. A story of incredible talent gone unrealized turns into a joint effort between subject and filmmaker to battle Clive’s mental health and find catharsis in his songs.
Covid Bach (d. Elizabeth Lewis)
This free flowing stream of consciousness animation is set to J. S, Bach The Well Tempered Clavier
Covidependency (d. James Rivard)
A short musical comedy about the struggles of dating and relationships during a pandemic.
Cyn (d. Ben Desmond)
Liverpool 1960. Art students, Cyn and John, find their blossoming romance in a state of flux as music and fame starts to overtake their passion.
Dear Lily, Love Patrick (d. Jennifer Bartels)
A luminous bond forged on a 1960s college campus between two friends whose lives will soon radically diverge, while their friendship remains impervious to time and distance. Patrick heads to San Francisco, where the thriving queer community welcomes him, and where his prodigious and visionary musical talent will take him to the brink of stardom. Lily follows a more seemingly conventional path of marriage and children. Dear Lily, Love Patrick is a poignant look at the power of true connection, a young life ended by tragedy at the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and a love that still endures.
Fugazi’s Barber (d. Joe Tropea & Robert A. Emmons)
In Washington, DC, legendary punk rockers get cleaned up by an old-school Italian barber.
Junior (d. AJ Wilhelm)
Gifted as a teenager, Jérôme “Junior” Simeon was recruited by top Haitian roots music group Racine Mapou de Azor and spent 20 years touring the world. When the lead singer of his band dies unexpectedly Junior’s high-profile career comes to a shocking halt and he suddenly faces an uncertain future for himself and his legacy.
Night Music (d. Lukas Huffman)
In 1933, John and Alan Lomax, a legendary father and son musicologist team, travel through the American South recording unheard folk songs. They bribe their way into the country’s most oppressive penitentiary. In order to record a chain gang singing, the father must confront his own personal traumas.
Resurrection! Airto Moreira & the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (d. Dale Djerassi)
Two powerful forces in the world of jazz come together in this lively film. Airto Moreira, a world renowned percussionist from Brazil meets the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Mardi Gras morning in New Orleans. The musical alchemy of this meeting reignites the acclaimed musician’s passion to play and from there they “laissez les bon temps rouler”. This is music as medicine for the soul!
Space Rocks! (d. Damien Donnelly)
Join Morgan Space Dude as he introduces us to the importance of music throughout NASA’s exploration of space.
The Westbound Eastbound Remix (d. Rohan Bader)
The Westbound / Eastbound Remix is a multicultural dance film, edited and scratched directly on 16mm celluloid with an original all-vocal soundtrack.