Shorts Program 8 – Virtual Screening

The Ripple

Based around concepts of collective storytelling and mass hysteria, The Ripple focuses on the 2015 incident in which forty pupils simultaneously fainted during a school assembly. As no specific cause was identified, there was an immediate torrent of assumptions and speculation. The film uses local children to retell the story.

“It’s based on a true story of mass hysteria in 2015 – pleased to have made it last year as this year it wouldn’t be possible to have 29 teenagers in a studio together. A timely re-telling.” – Alex Culshaw

YEAR 2019 RUNTIME 12 minutes COUNTRY United Kingdom PREMIERE International Premiere

FILMMAKER Alex Culshaw

Field Resistance

“The seed for this project was planted when I began researching the environmental situation I encountered in Iowa, where I lived from 2015 to 2018. Between the years 1830 and 1910 Iowa lost 97% of its prairie, its predominant ecosystem, to industrial agricultural production. Less than 0.1 percent of the original prairie remains, scattered in small pockets across the state. At present, nearly every acre of Iowan land has been privatized.

I began driving around Iowa in search of remaining pockets of prairie life, talking to ecologists, farmers and conservationists and collecting footage from many locations across the state – a university herbarium, karst sinkholes inhabited by primordial flora and fauna, and a telecommunication tower job site, to name a few. I also saw that in many ways, Iowans today are faced with conditions that evoke the apocalyptic: toxic blue-green algae blooms pollute Iowa’s lakes, fumes from hog-manure pits are so noxious that they can kill people who work near them, hundreds of native species face endangerment.

Though I still didn’t know what the project would be, I was in effect immersing myself in my surroundings and constructing an archive of sorts, united by my interests in communication, technology, and ecology. The more I shot, the more immersed I became in the Iowan landscape, the more it seemed to me that the footage was inherently ambiguous: it was both documentary, showing the very physical and mundane realities of the environment in Iowa; but it also evoked a sense of dread, of a grim, technological future. The footage didn’t just exist in its present sensory details, it also suggested a futuristic narrative.

What emerged is a document of the daily and the mundane in Iowa that is imbued with a speculative narrative – with science fiction. The film is implicitly divided into two parts – a first section that toys with the conventions of narrative and continuity, and an anti-narrative second section – but narrative and anti-narrative impinge on each other constantly throughout. With careful use of sound that ties the disparate footage together, I created an ambient narrative of plant expansion and humanity’s retreat. Scenes of the present are charged with dystopian speculation – the genres are blurred.” – Emily Drummer

YEAR 2019 RUNTIME 16 minutes LANGUAGE English COUNTRY United States

FILMMAKER Emily Drummer

My Own Landscapes

A former military game designer was spotted in a video game competition organized by the army. Before going to war, he made video game scenarios that prepared soldiers to cultural shocks and healed trauma. Once back from the war, his relationship with his identity, with life and with the video game changed.

YEAR 2020 RUNTIME 19 minutes LANGUAGE English COUNTRY France PREMIERE Midwest Premiere

FILMMAKER Antoine Chapon

Neither Buddha Nor God

“Neither Buddha Nor God” touches on the fragility, ephemerality and instability of human existence and attempts to relate the human body as a physical material to the soul, spirit and divinity of the world. This film employs scanned raw meat and bones, a medical report, photography, cell phone video and stop motion.

YEAR 2019 RUNTIME 12 minutes LANGUAGE English COUNTRY United States, Taiwan PREMIERE World Premiere

FILMMAKER Cherlyn Hsing-Hsin Liu

Blessed Land

In the dune landscape of a cemetery, or is it golf course? Past and present converge in the search for a grave.

YEAR 2019 RUNTIME 19 minutes LANGUAGE Vietnamese COUNTRYViet Nam

FILMMAKER Ph?m Ng?c Lân