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Life Is Short! So Make It Entertaining...

The 46th Chicago International Film Festival announces a stellar line up of short films, from homegrown talent to weird and wonderful animated tales to the striking debut work of actor-turned-filmmaker, James Franco. Also featured are documentary shorts White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug, (audience choice award winner at Tribeca and South by Southwest Film Festivals), Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s first short film Roots in Water, and animated mini-masterpiece A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation, featuring the voice talents of Ian McKellen and Joseph Fiennes.  Other highlights include Maggie Kiley’s Boys Don’t Leave, starring Jesse Eisenberg, and 2010 Academy Award®-winning Best Live Action Short, The New Tenants. 18 country’s most talented new filmmakers are represented in a diverse program which truly has something for everyone, from aspiring writers and directors to those just looking for something a little different from their festival experience.

“The Short Film Program is always a vibrant part of the festival, offering a glimpse at talented new voices in filmmaking and providing opportunities to push cinematic boundaries. This year’s program showcases some truly bold and original works, with the most exciting aspect being the level of talent emerging from local film schools and first-time directors. The future of filmmaking is in good hands!” says Penny Bartlett, Associate Programmer

Short Film Competition


A young Polish girl is faced with having to kill a beautiful fish for dinner in Fish Food.
A demanding customer’s request for A Perfect Manhattan brings a bartender to breaking point. Manbird is a poetic ode to the folkloric “pigeon man” of Chicago’s Lincoln Square. A bad-ass female bike messenger runs roughshod over everyone in her path in Faster! Three is definitely a crowd in Commencement. In Son of None, Joshua, a seven year old Liberian war orphan must realize where his true priorities lie. Two blocked screenwriters find inspiration in the sound of a typewriter from an adjoining office in Typing. Surreal encounters on a long drive across Iowa help Grant come to terms with his feelings of guilt in Refuge.


In a mysterious, sinister hospital, modification of physical beauty is not at all what you would expect in The Wonder Hospital. (USA/South Korea.) 20 year old Stanley’s uneventful life with his clockwork family is turned upside down by a beautiful young lady in Stanley Pickle. (UK) A young man goes on a powerful emotional journey through time and space in A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation (Germany), featuring the voice of Joseph Fiennes. In A Family Portrait (UK) a family photograph goes horribly wrong as jealousy and suspicion bubble to the surface under the photographer's relentless gaze.   What you see is invariably not what you get in Moskito Bravo (France). Colorful concertinas march and swirl across the screen in The Bellows March. (USA) Sam lives a relaxed life in the forest with his hot dog van and his bear buddy in Sam’s Hot Dogs. (UK) Seed (Czech Republic/USA) features a surreal stop-motion world where an egg and an apple build competing broadcast towers that vie for the attention of a transistor radio. Lipsett Diaries (Canada) is a moving, expressionistic portrait of the troubled life of filmmaker Arthur Lipsett. Two young men named Tord spend some quality time together in the whimsical Tord and Tord. (Sweden)


Two brothers attempt to hide from their tyrannous father in the shadows of a dark basement in Catafalque (Austria.) We enter a surreal slaughterhouse in the bizarre and deeply disturbing world of MRDRCHAIN. (Czech Republic.) A couple who are settling into their new home are in for some very nasty surprises in the pitch black comedy The New Tenants. (Denmark/USA). In Faces (USA), a man consumed by insecurity uses masks to grant himself different identities.   A little boy builds an unusual contraption in Delmer Builds a Machine. (USA) Life is brutal and short onboard a Russian submarine in Deeper than Yesterday. (Australia.) An alcoholic transient makes a gruesome discovery in the chilling Off Season. (UK/USA.)


In Zero, (New Zealand) a volatile teenager struggles to detach himself from his imprisoned father. A taxi driver flirts with his passenger only to have the tables dramatically reversed in The Cassava Metaphor. (Cameroon, France.)  Three estranged siblings reunite following the death of their mother in Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s Roots in Water. (USA) In Grandmothers (Brazil) 10 year old Leo receives a super 8 camera for his birthday and finds out that Monica Lewinski is Jewish, that the numbers on his grandparents’ arms are responsible for him being chubby, and that his old camera is worthless. The experience of life in exile is explored through one man’s surreal nightmares and illusions in Shadows of Silence. (France, Sri Lanka) Multiple-award winning documentary White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug (USA) recalls the Bronx in the early 1980's, the old-school days of hip-hop and the dangerous underworld at the legendary Disco Fever.


Millie is a testosterone-driven 14 year old girl who wants to be a body builder in Muscles. (Australia) On a journey to find materials for their son's tombstone, a family's repressed feeling of loss come to the surface in The Descent. (Israel.) The break up has happened but the break has not in Some Boys Don’t Leave. (USA) A ten year old blind girl has a mysterious encounter that leads to a rare moment of freedom in the claustrophobic Rita (Italy.) James Franco’s The Feast of Stephen (USA) is an atmospheric tale of one boy's brush with forbidden adolescent desire paying homage to the work of Kenneth Anger. Sara prepares a surprise for her wife Katarina’s birthday, but all does not go to plan in Birthday. (Sweden/Poland.) A swimming instructor teaches children to swim in a little town in Havana – the only problem is the pool is empty in The Swimmers. (Cuba)


Moth follows the story of Sophie, a beautiful starlet, caught up in drugs and stardom, who flies into Los Angeles from New York for a job. A young catholic sister is dealing with her desire for something she has never experienced in If I Leap. 8 year old Hawa meets her African refugee mother for the first time in six years in Say Grace Before Drowning. In Stag & Doe a young engaged couple decides to put their relationship to the test at a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. Will the search for a child's bicycle unite a fragile community or ignite a conflict that could blow it apart in The Cycle?  In Sisters, Charlie has no idea her diva of a baby sister is about to reveal life-changing issues that have rocked her normally carefree life.


Film Festival passes for the 46th Chicago International Film Festival are now on sale at or call the Cinema/Chicago offices at (312) 683-0121.  Individual tickets and Gala Presentation tickets go on sale September 24th.

Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 46th Chicago International Film Festival’s sponsors to date include: Premiere Partners - American Airlines, Buick; Producing Partners- Stella Artois, DePaul University, AMC Theaters; Major Partners – Allstate, WBBM and theWit as the returning Headquarters Hotel.