The 2017 Nominees for Best Foreign Short Film
The eight nominees for Best International Short Film this year come from seven countries. Our judges and curators reviewed nearly 900 films for this festival. In order to be eligible for consideration as best short film, an entry had to be under twenty minutes in length and completed on or after March 1, 2016 and before May 1, 2017. The eight nominees not only met these requirements, but showed exceptional craft, production, storytelling and acting.
Director: Malo Bara
Country of Origin: Belgium
A young undocumented woman faces physical and bureaucratic barriers at every turn as she tries to reach her father, who has been detained at a closed centre. This superbly acted tale takes place in the space of a few hours, but it captures the desperation felt by one whose circumstances make a minute feel like an eternity. In spite of this, its pacing never drags for audiences, as it inexorably progresses toward a conclusion that makes this day one that determines the course of multiple lives.
Un Soir De Mars (One Night in March)
Director: Joseph Minster
Country of Origin: France
In a dimly lit pub in Paris, director Minster Joseph takes us through overlapping conversations and lives in what appears to be a single, unbroken shot. There is tension from the start as one group of friends discusses a recent violent incident. A pair of young women chat and flirt with the handsome bartender Samir, who seems modest and good-natured, until he receives a message. The tensions and suspicions mount as a visitor arrives asking for him. In the end, the bar patrons and audience alike may see their expectations subverted, based on their experience of noir and thriller genres, and the current political climate.
Wo sie ist (What If)
Director: Linda Gasser
Country of Origin: Germany
Featured in the “Box of Chocolates” film series.
In a future where big data and constant surveillance has made every aspect of life frictionless, it’s easy to find a partner who is agreeable and compatible. Finding real love, however, that challenges and illuminates one’s life…that’s another matter. When a young man goes in search of that spontaneous, authentic connection, he finds challenges at every turn (especially from mother, who is worried he’ll be maimed by his future partner when their incompatibility reaches an inevitable peak). In order for things to go right, a lot has to go wrong first. Who will triumph: amor or the algorithm?
Carta Boca Abajo (Cards Facing Down)
Director: Mateo Nicolau de las Moras
Country of Origin: Spain
A patrician woman deals the cards for a game of Bluff. Her husband is on her right and their longtime acquaintance is on her left. As the game commences, a long burning question is asked and bluffs are called. Soon, buried resentments and secrets are pouring across the table with jaw dropping candor and speed. By the end, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but no matter. There’s still time for another hand.
Director: Toni Morejón
Country of Origin: Spain
A novelist touring his debut book. A journalist with high aspirations. After a press event and reading, circumstances bring them to the same table, and as the lively discussion spans between the nature of romance and the role of their respective forms of writing, director Toni Morejón expertly weaves a parallel narrative in which they are romantically linked, told through muted, intimate vignettes. Are we witness to a parallel world, a future, or just a fantasy? As the title suggests, we are in a liminal space where all of the above could be true, and through not everything may be possible, the peculiar power of cinema lets us explore what could be even while savoring the moment.
Director: Chris Moraitis
Country of Origin: Greece
10-year old Dimitris is the only child of a rich family. Despite the comforts afforded to him, he can only rely on his grandmother and his guinea pig for comfort and care. When the former dies, the fate of Dimitris changes significantly. What is to become of a boy whose parents are too self-absorbed to give him even the slightest attention? And by extension, what’s to become of his pet?
Director: Zohreh Matamedi
Country of Origin: Iran
After a grueling trial regarding her alleged involvement in the death of her husband, Nargol is free to return to her village. Many of its residents and her family members are aboard the same train, and some even testified. But was everyone telling the truth in court? As Nargol unravels the plots surrounding her, the truth may yet come out about her husband’s fate, but what does this portend for her own fate when the train reaches its destination? You will feel the dread from the first frame to the last.
Director: Sylwia Rosak
Country of Origin: Poland
Enigmatic and oneiric, Lethargy offers more questions than answers from the moment it begins, with a young man falling gently through a black void. Based loosely on Quentin Compson in The Sound and The Fury, this man weaves between dream and reality, as he wanders a rural landscape with a young girl. Their banter is charming…until it is unsettling, and grows more so as they near her home. Who is this man, and what is he really after?
The winner of Best Foreign Short Film will be announced at the awards night, Saturday, June 24. See event details here.