|Sundance Institute has unveiled the Short Film Program for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival that takes place from January 20-30, 2022. The 2022 short films will all screen in programs or preceding features in-person in Utah. They also will screen online, and a small collection will screen in person at seven satellite screens venues around the country during the festival’s second weekend.|
Director of Programming Kim Yutani said, “Short films are such a vital part of the independent storytelling culture that Sundance Institute has consistently put its full support behind. We’re all happy for the opportunity this year’s hybrid in-person and online festival model is providing us with: to show the present and future of the form alongside some of the most beloved shorts that have screened at the Festival during its history.”
The 59 short films for the 2022 program, representing 26 countries, were selected from an all-time-high 10,374 submissions, of which, 4,701 were from the U.S., and 5,673 were international.
The 2022 Sundance Film Festival Short Films are:
U.S LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS
Appendage / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Anna Zlokovic, Producers: Alex Familian, Anna Zlokovic, Matthew Green) — A young fashion designer must make the best of it when her anxiety and self-doubt physically manifest into something horrific. Cast: Rachel Sennott, Eric Roberts.
Champ / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Hannah Peterson, Producers: Taylor Shung, Alex Coco) — After basketball practice one night, Genevieve reveals a dark secret about their coach to her teammates. Wielding strategy and grit off the court, Genevieve works together with her teammates to find a way to retaliate. Cast: Eva Noblezada, Lulu Davis, Iris Cook, Madison Holden. World Premiere.
Chaperone / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Sam Max, Producers: Russell Kahn, Sam Max, Lio Mehiel, Patrick Murray, Katie Schiller) — An unnamed figure picks up a young man in his car. As the two drive together, and settle into an austere rental house in the country, the details of their arrangement become guttingly clear. Cast: Zachary Quinto, Russell Kahn. U.S. Premiere.
Close Ties to Home Country / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Akanksha Cruczynski, Producer: Felicia Ferrara) — Millennial immigrant Akanksha waits for her sister’s visit from India — they haven’t seen each other in nine years! Meanwhile, she’s dogsitting the fancy Frenchie of Instagram influencers India and Harry, who themselves are on a trip to India’s namesake. Cast: Akanksha Cruczynski, Bisou [Timothée], Cassie Kramer, Simon Hedger, Sophia Rafiqi.
Daddy’s Girl / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Lena Hudson, Producers: Clea DeCrane, Thomas Matthews, Lena Hudson ) — A young woman’s charming but overbearing father helps her move out of her wealthy, older boyfriend’s apartment. Cast: Tedra Millan, Peter Friedman. World Premiere.
F^¢K ‘€M R!GHT B@¢K / U.S.A. (Director: Harris Doran, Screenwriters: Harris Doran, Emmanuel ‘DDm’ Williams, Producers: Doris Casap, Harris Doran, James Burkhalter, Haley Geffen) — A queer, Black, aspiring Baltimore rapper must outwit his vengeful day-job boss in order to avoid getting fired after accidentally eating an edible. Cast: Emmanuel ‘DDm’ Williams, Kara Young, Catherine Curtin. World Premiere.
Hallelujah / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Victor Gabriel, Producer: Duran Jones) — In Compton, California, two brothers stuck in arrested development have to figure out how to handle their annoying, fried-chicken-hating, bookworm nephew, as he attempts to hang himself with a garden hose. Cast: Bruce A. Lemon, Richard Nevels, Stephen Laroy Thomas, Mariah Pharms, Damon Rutledge, Maelina Gibson. World Premiere.
Huella / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Gabriela Ortega, Producers: Helena Sardinha, Rafael Thomaseto) — When the death of her grandmother unleashes a generational curse, a disenchanted flamenco dancer resigned to a desk job is forced to experience the five stages of grief through a visit from her female ancestors. Cast: Shakira Barrera, Denise Blasor, Carla Valentine.
IF I GO WILL THEY MISS ME / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Walter Thompson-Hernández, Producer: Stuart McIntyre) — Lil’ Ant is obsessed with Pegasus, the Greek mythological character, since first learning about him at school in Watts, California. He begins to notice imaginary airplane people around his home, and yearns to fly with them. Cast: Anthony Harris Jr. World Premiere.
Starfuckers / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Antonio Marziale, Producer: Eli Raskin) — An intimate evening between a film director and an escort is disrupted when a familiar face arrives. Cast: Antonio Marziale, Cole Doman, Jonathan Slavin. World Premiere.
Training Wheels / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alison Rich, Producers: Olivia Aguilar, Bridgett Greenberg, Laura Schwartz, Peter Principato) — A socially inept woman rents one man to prepare for another. Cast: Alison Rich, George Basil, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Zeke Nicholson, Kathy Yamamoto. World Premiere.
While Mortals Sleep / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alex Fofonoff, Producer: Matthew James Reilly) — When a cold case novelist’s career implodes, she seeks refuge at her friend’s remote vacation home. Upon arrival, she encounters a strange couple who claim to be the caretakers. As tensions build, a dark secret begins to emerge. Cast: Carie Kawa, Grace Morrison, Will Brill. World Premiere.
Work / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: April Maxey, Producer: Skylar Andrews) — Unable to move on from a breakup, Gabi, a queer Latina freelance editor, impulsively drops into an old job at an underground lap dance party, where she unexpectedly runs into a friend from her past. Cast: Marisela Zumbado, Elaine Whae. World Premiere.
You Go Girl! / U.S.A. (Director: Shariffa Ali, Screenwriters: Shariffa Ali, Kamilah Long, Courtney Williams) — Audrey, a New York City comedian who can make a joke of any situation, faces a staggering challenge in the beautiful mountains of Oregon. Can this city woman overcome her fears and rise? Cast: Tiffany Mann. World Premiere.
INTERNATIONAL LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS
Breathe / New Zealand (Director and Screenwriter: Stephen Kang, Producer: Mhairead Connor) — At twelve years old, gifted Jaehee uses an unorthodox healing method that propels her into conflict with her overbearing father. Cast: Gloria Zhang, CJ Hwang. World Premiere.
Bump / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Maziyar Khatam, Producer: Anya Chirkova) — A young man’s unwillingness to let go of a trivial encounter leads him to seek retribution. Cast: Maziyar Khatam, Dylan Ray Hatton. U.S. Premiere.
Egúngún (Masquerade) / Nigeria (Director and Screenwriter: Olive Nwosu, Producer: Alex Polunin) — In search of healing, a young woman returns home, to her birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria. Cast: Sheila Chukwulozie, Teniola Aladese.
The Headhunter’s Daughter / Philippines (Director and Screenwriter: Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan, Producer: Hannah Schierbeek) — Leaving her family behind, Lynn traverses the harrowing roads of the Cordilleran highlands to try her luck in the city as a country singer. Cast: Ammin Acha-ur. World Premiere.
Love Stories on the Move / Romania (Director and Screenwriter: Carina Gabriela Dașoveanu, Producer: Carina Gabriela Dașoveanu) — Lili, a taxi driver, is trying to save her marriage with Dani, an amateur fisherman. Her fares expose Lili to several love stories really different from her own. Cast: Ilinca Hărnuț, Andi Vasluianu. North American Premiere.
Maidenhood / Mexico (Director: Xochitl Enriquez Mendoza, Screenwriters: Xochitl Enriquez Mendoza, Samuel Sánchez Tual, Producer: Eréndira Hernández) — Catalina submits to the tradition of her people to demonstrate her purity and worth as a woman to her beloved, but her body betrays her and she fails to demonstrate her chastity. Cast: Emma Aquilar Malacara, Héctor Ortíz Valdovinos, Mayra Sérbulo, Maira Jiménez Desales. World Premiere.
MAKASSAR IS A CITY FOR FOOTBALL FANS / Indonesia/France (Director and Screenwriter: Khozy Rizal, Producers: John Badalu, Bruno Smadja, Khozy Rizal) — In a city where men have to go crazy about football, Akbar has to pretend to love the game in order to prevent rejection from his new college friends. Cast: Sabri Sahafuddin, Muh. Saleh Hasanuddin, Atdriansyah Arismunandar. North American Premiere.
Motorcyclist’s Happiness Won’t Fit Into His Suit / Mexico (Director: Gabriel Herrera, Screenwriters: Gabriel Herrera, Stefanie Reinhard, Producer: Susana Bernal) — There he sits, proudly on his beautiful motorbike, which he would never loan to anyone. He is certain that he alone can explore the jungle. A playful role-reversal reenactment, taking aim at the hubris of colonial conquerors. Cast: David Illiescas, Ángel Morales.
Orthodontics / Islamic Republic of Iran (Director and Screenwriter: Mohammadreza Mayghani, Producers: Mohammadreza Mayghani, Baran Sarmad) — Teenage girl Amitis, who always has headgear as part of orthodontic treatment, suddenly does something strange to her friend, Sarah. Cast: Maryam Hossieni, Yas Farkhondeh, Arezou Ali. North American Premiere.
Precious Hair & Beauty / United Kingdom (Director and Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa, Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager) — An ode to the mundanity and madness of the high street, told through the window of an African hair salon. Cast: Tomi Ogunjobi, Adjani Salmon, Kemi Lofinmakin, Michael Akinsulire. U.S. Premiere. DAY ONE
Reckless / Sweden (Director and Screenwriter: Pella Kågerman, Producers: Eliza Jones, Markus Waltå) — Stockholm, 2121: an underwater city is blasted into the bedrock. In a society on the verge of being crushed by mounting water pressure, Nikki’s highest wish is to get back together with her ex-boyfriend. Cast: ElleKari Bergerud, Amed Bozan. International Premiere.
THE RIGHT WORDS / France (Director and Screenwriter: Adrian Moyse Dullin, Producer: Lucas Tothe) — Kenza and her little brother Mahdi regularly humiliate one another on social media in cruel ways. As they travel by bus, Kenza puts her brother to the test: professing his love for Jada, the girl that he loves. Cast: Yasser Osmani, Sanya Salhi, Aya Halal.
Sandstorm (Mulaqat) / Pakistan (Director and Screenwriter: Seemab Gul, Producers: Abid Aziz Merchant, Seemab Gul) — Zara, a teenage girl, shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend, who begins to blackmail her into meeting him in person. Will Zara give in to this stranger’s increasing demands or will she set herself free? Cast: Parizae Fatima, Hamza Mushtaq.
Shark / Australia (Director: Nash Edgerton, Screenwriters: Nash Edgerton, David Michôd, Producers: Michele Bennett, Lucia Nicolai, Marcello Paolillo) — The continuing adventures of Jack, who loves to prank. But in his latest relationship he may have finally met his match. Cast: Rose Byrne, Nash Edgerton.
Tundra / Cuba (Director: José Luis Aparicio, Screenwriter: Carlos Melian, Producers: Leila Montero, Daniela Muñoz, Gabriel Aleman, Jose Luis Aparicio) — Walfrido dreams of the Red Woman, whose image persists and becomes an obsession. Something tells him she is near. Over the course of a day, Walfrido will follow her trail as he travels through the suburbs of an infested city. Cast: Mario Guerra, Neysi Alpizar. North American Premiere.
Warsha / France/Lebanon (Director and Screenwriter: Dania Bdeir, Producer: Coralie Dias) — A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom. Cast: Khansa. World Premiere.
A wild patience has taken me here / Brazil (Director and Screenwriter: Érica Sarmet, Producers: Lívia Perez, Silvia Sobral, Érica Sarmet) — Tired of loneliness, a middle aged motorcyclist goes to a lesbian party for the first time. There she meets four young queers who share their home and affections. An encounter of generations, a tribute to those who brought us here. Cast: Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro, Lorre Motta. North American Premiere.
U.S. NONFICTION SHORT FILMS
Chilly and Milly / United States (Director and Screenwriter: William David Caballero, Producers: William David Caballero, Elaine Del Valle) — Exploring the director’s father’s chronic health problems, as a diabetic with kidney failure, and his mother’s role as his eternal caretaker. A combination of 3D-modeled/composited characters, with cinema verité scenes from a documentary shot over 13 years ago. World Premiere.
Deerwoods Deathtrap / United States (Director: James P. Gannon, Producers: James P Gannon, Joseph K Gannon, Matt Ferrin, April Gannon, Chris Cipriano, James D Cochran) — Fifty years ago, Betty and Jack were hit by a train and survived. This is their story. Subjects: Elizabeth Gannon, John W Gannon. World Premiere.
Kicking the Clouds / United States (Director: Sky Hopinka) — An experimental documentary centered on a 50 year old cassette tape of a Pechanga language lesson between the director’s grandmother and great-grandmother, and contextualized by an interview with his mother in his Pacific Northwest hometown. World Premiere.
Long Line of Ladies / United States (Directors: Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome, Producers: Garrett Schiff, Pimm Tripp-Allen, Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, Dana Kurth) — A girl and her community prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming of age ceremony of the Karuk and Yurok tribes of Northern California. World Premiere.
The Martha Mitchell Effect / United States (Directors: Anne Alvergue, Debra McClutchy, Producers: Beth Levison, Judith Mizrachy) — She was once as famous as Jackie O. And then she tried to take down a President. Martha Mitchell was the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: a Republican wife who was discredited by Nixon to keep her quiet. Until now. World Premiere.
The Panola Project / United States (Directors and Screenwriters: Rachael DeCruz, Jeremy S. Levine, Producers: Jeremy S. Levine, Rachael DeCruz) — Highlighting the heroic efforts of Dorothy Oliver to keep her small town of Panola, Alabama safe from COVID-19. A chronicle of how an often-overlooked rural Black community came together in creative ways to survive.
Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver / United States (Directors: Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster, Screenwriter: Sara Driver) — In 1982, the completion of Jim Jarmusch’s sophomore film, Stranger Than Paradise, hinged on producer Sara Driver’s willingness and ability to smuggle one of the world’s rarest and most controversial films across the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Premiere.
Sub Eleven Seconds / United States (Director: Bafic, Producers: Chloe Sultan, Mahfuz Sultan, Virgil Abloh) — A rumination on time, loss, and hope, and a poetic imagining of the quest of Sha’Carri Richardson, a young track & field athlete, to achieve her dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games. World Premiere.
ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (Udeyonv) (What They’ve Been Taught) / United States (Director: Brit Hensel, Producers: Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Kavi Pillay, Tracy Rector) — This film explores expressions of reciprocity in the Cherokee world, brought to life through a story told by an elder and first language speaker. World Premiere.
What Travelers Are Saying About Jornada del Muerto / United States (Director: Hope Tucker) — Visitors and residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, site of the first detonation of an atomic bomb, contribute to the production of public memory as they offer reckonings and advice about making “the journey of the dead.”
You’ve Never Been Completely Honest / United States (Director and Screenwriter: Joey Izzo, Producers: Andy Ruse, Jesy Odio) — Through animation and reenactment, bringing to life Gene Church’s original, never-before-heard interview where he recounts harrowing physical torture and brainwashing he endured at a secretive 4-day business seminar in California, 1970. Cast: Phil Burgers, Pat Healy, Max Baumgarten, Bill O’Neill, Ian Bratschie, Demorge Brown, Brian Lee Hughes. World Premiere.
INTERNATIONAL NONFICTION SHORT FILMS
$75,000 / France/Mali (Director and Screenwriter: Moïse Togo) — Highlighting the biological aspect of albinism, a genetic and hereditary abnormality that affects not only pigmentation, but also and above all the physical and moral conditions of people with albinism.
Displaced / Kosovo (Director and Screenwriter: Samir Karahoda, Producer: Eroll Bilibani) — In postwar Kosovo, driven to keep their beloved sport table tennis alive, two local players wander from one obscure location to another carrying with them their club’s only possession: their tables. U.S. Premiere.
Listen To the Beat of our Images / French Guiana/France (Directors: Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Maxime Jean-Baptiste, Producer: Gérard Azoulay) — Sixty years ago, France decided to establish its space center in French Guiana. 600 Guianan people were expropriated to allow France to realize its dream of space conquest. This film gives a voice to a silenced population made invisible.
Prayers for Sweet Waters / South Africa/United Kingdom (Director: Elijah Ndoumbe, Producer: Naeem Dxvis) — Stories intersect across vivid realities and dreamscapes to submerge us into the worlds of three transgender sex workers living in Cape Town, South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lead Artists: Flavirina Nana, Gulam Petersen, Wes Leal.
U.S. ANIMATION SHORT FILMS
the HORK / United States (Director: Nicole Stafford) — In an alternate dimension, the stoic god of Power-Unrecognized waits for unrelenting Greed to come and consume her power. World Premiere.
Meal on the Plate / United States/China (Director and Screenwriter: Chenglin Xie, Producers: Chenglin Xie, Michelle Yu Du) — You are what you eat. In a world where people start to look like the thing they eat most, you can take this quite literally. When a newcomer prefers different eating habits, the visible consequences turn the world upside down. North American Premiere.
Soft Animals / United States/United Kingdom (Director: Renee Zhan, Producer: Jesse Romain) — Two ex-lovers cross paths in a train station. Their animal instincts take over as they reminisce. Cast: Paul Panting, Joanna Ruiz.
We Are Here / United States (Directors: Doménica Castro, Constanza Castro, Producers: Doménica Castro, Constanza Castro) — What is it like to walk this land in the shoes of an immigrant under 30? Reflections of the people that immigrated to the U.S. as children are a reminder to look beyond citizenship. Cast: Dulce Valencia, Deron Ingraham, Valeria Marchesi. World Premiere.
INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION SHORT FILMS
Bestia / Chile (Director: Hugo Covarrubias, Screenwriters: Martín Erazo, Hugo Covarrubias, Producers: Tevo Díaz, Hugo Covarrubias) — The life of a secret police agent during the Chilean military dictatorship. Her relationship with her dog, her body, her fears and frustrations all reveal grim fractures in her mind and in the country. U.S. Premiere.
THE FOURTH WALL / Islamic Republic of Iran (Director and Screenwriter: Mahboobeh Kalaee, Producer: Mahboobeh Kalaee) — Home and family, relationships, desires, wishes: all captured in a kitchen. The stuttering boy is alone there, playing with his imagination. North American Premiere.
Goodbye Jerome! (Au revoir Jérôme!) / France (Directors and Screenwriters: Gabrielle Selnet, Adam Sillard, Chloé Farr, Producer: Moïra Marguin) — Having just arrived in paradise, Jerome sets out to find his wife Maryline. In the course of his search, he sinks into a surreal and colorful world in which no one seems to be able to help him. International Premiere. DAY ONE
Night Bus / Taiwan (Director and Screenwriter: Joe Hsieh, Producers: Wan Lin Lee, Joe Hsieh, Joe Chan) — On a late-night bus, a panicked scream shatters the night’s calm. A necklace is stolen, followed by a tragic and fatal road accident. The series of intriguing events that follows reveal love, hatred, and vengeance. Cast: Shu Fang Chen, Ming Hsiu Tsai, Yu Fang Lee, Shing Ming Wang, Shang Sing Guo, Pi Li Yeh.
Rendang of Death / Indonesia (Directors: Percolate Galactic, Andri “Yujin Sick”, Screenwriter: Ryan S. Jackson, Producers: Percolate Galactic, Michaela C. Levi, Samantha K. Jackson) — In a quaint Padang restaurant, filled with people enjoying their lunch break, two bros put their friendship to the test when it turns out that only one plate remains of their favorite dish: The Rendang of Death. Featuring: Alva “Dom” Delanova, Sandy Octavia G, Muhammad “Adjuy” Fajrur Rahmat, Unit Satuan Bengkel, Angelica Kosasih, PS Jati.
Socrates’ Adventures in the Under Ground / Mexico (Director and Screenwriter: Aria Covamonas, Producer: Aria Covamonas) — A Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revision of the Allegory of the Cave, filled with talking animals who shall be late and bourgeois queens who would like to see you without head, exactly as Plato intended. U.S. Premiere.
Swallow the Universe / France (Director and Screenwriter: Nieto, Producer: Nicolas Schmerkin) — A blood-and-thunder saga of a young child lost in Manchuria’s deep jungles. His sudden presence creates complete anarchy in the fauna’s primitive world, until then perfectly organized.
Sweet Nothing / Switzerland (Directors and Screenwriters: Joana Fischer, Marie-Christine Kenov, Producer: Jürgen Haas) — Rosa is sunbathing in her garden while the gardener is working next door. She watches the gardener, increasingly intoxicated by the tender way he handles the flowers. Voice Actors: Luana Brügger, Michael Lörli. U.S. Premiere.
Zoon / Germany (Director: Jonatan Schwenk, Screenwriters: Jonatan Schwenk, Merlin Flügel, Producer: Jonatan Schwenk) — Residing in a dark swamp at the bottom of a nocturnal forest, a group of gleaming axolotls pursue lustful games. The creatures relish nuzzling one another and nibbling their companions’ limbs. World Premiere.
The festival will also screen online the “From the Collection” program, a line-up of 40 short films in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the institute.
Featured photo: ‘Training Wheels’
Photos Courtesy of Sundance Institute