Anna | Dekel Berenson, Director

Anna

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Anna

Directed by Dekel Berenson
Narrative Short
United Kingdom | 15 min | 2019


Cannes Official Selection 19′ – Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. Nominated for a short Palme d’Or, BIFA award winner for Best British Short Film, was shortlisted for a BAFTA, more than 200 selections and dozens of awards. Thank you for considering our film!!


Anna, poster | Dekel Berenson, Director

I first visited Ukraine in 2012, while traveling across Europe in a van. It was an important step for me personally as my grandmother was born in Khust, a small Ukrainian border town. She witnessed how Ukraine, like the rest of Eastern Europe became a part of the USSR, and then later gained its independence, which is now once again threatened. When I went, I was fascinated by the mixture of Eastern and Western traditions, by the people, and was heartbroken by Ukraine’s poverty and the rampant corruption that plagues its institutions.

In the nightclubs of Odessa, on a hot summer evening, I witnessed events similar to the ones depicted in Anna. These clubs are notorious for being hot spots for the type of men and women who seek others while harboring secret agendas. The men ogle women as if they were the pieces of meat hanging in Anna’s workplace. The women size up the men according to the perceived value of their shoes.

The men, hoping to take advantage of the women’s despair and desire to move abroad, try to seduce them with promises of a possible relationship. The women, pretending to be unaware of the obvious scheme, make promises of their own and scam free drinks, expensive dinners, and gifts from the men. The savviest and most determined women will, in turn, seduce naive men with promises of love and everlasting marriage, only to quickly divorce them once they set foot in their new home country. So, each side attempts to take advantage of the other and more often than not fails at it but then returns the next evening for more of the same. For underneath the cynicism and objectification there is the driving force of hope, that on one of these evenings an interaction will lead to something deeper and more meaningful – a real connection based on genuine feelings, a relationship that will lead to a better life.

After observing what went on at the nightclubs of Odessa I discovered the existence of the “love tours” that are depicted in Anna and found the subject compelling enough to return to Ukraine six years after my original visit, and capture it on film. In Anna the backdrop is wintry and cold, but regardless of a country’s regions everyone ultimately harbors dreams and aspirations. These international dating events, which have been organized since the fall of the Iron Curtain, continue to take place, with groups arriving in Ukraine many times a year. The mass parties in which men are usually outnumbered 1 to 10, now take place almost exclusively in East Ukraine, the industrial and more impoverished part of the country.

Ironically, Svetlana Barandich who portrays Anna, participated in such an event more than 20 years ago. And, an actress that we auditioned for the role of the translator told us that she was recently hired as a translator for one of these events. She said that, similarly to the corresponding scene in Anna, she would make up conversations and that “All men and women were always Leo,” for it was the only astrological sign for which she knew the English word.

This is an important story of hope and despair, one which I have attempted to capture as authentically as I could.

Dekel Berenson, Director | Anna

Dekel Berenson
Director

Dekel Berenson is a writer, director, activist and graphic designer. Drawing inspiration from traveling to more than sixty countries, Dekel explores real-world social and humanitarian issues. His second short film, “Ashmina” won several prizes, including Best Short Film award at the 59th Krakow Film Festival and Best Live Action Short at the 36th Jerusalem Film Festival, qualifying the film for Academy Awards consideration. His third film, “Anna”, premiered as Official Selection in Competition at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival and won the Best British Short Film award at the 22nd BIFA awards.

Film Information


Director: Dekel Berenson
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2019
Language: Ukrainian
Runtime: 15 min.
Rated: PG

Credits


Writer: Dekel Berenson
Producers: Dekel Berenson, Merlin Merton, Olga Beskhmelnytsina

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Behind The Glasses | Mehdi Irvani, Director

Behind the Glasses

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Behind The Glasses

Directed by Mehdi Irvani
Narrative Short
Iran| 3 min | 2019



A skyscraper windshield wiper encounters a strange occurrence on a dull work day and dissatisfied with repetitive work every day



The moderated Q&A session with filmmakers from:



Behind The Glasses, poster | Mehdi Irvani, Director

I first visited Ukraine in 2012, while traveling across Europe in a van. It was an important step for me personally as my grandmother was born in Khust, a small Ukrainian border town. She witnessed how Ukraine, like the rest of Eastern Europe became a part of the USSR, and then later gained its independence, which is now once again threatened. When I went, I was fascinated by the mixture of Eastern and Western traditions, by the people, and was heartbroken by Ukraine’s poverty and the rampant corruption that plagues its institutions.

In the nightclubs of Odessa, on a hot summer evening, I witnessed events similar to the ones depicted in Anna. These clubs are notorious for being hot spots for the type of men and women who seek others while harboring secret agendas. The men ogle women as if they were the pieces of meat hanging in Anna’s workplace. The women size up the men according to the perceived value of their shoes.

The men, hoping to take advantage of the women’s despair and desire to move abroad, try to seduce them with promises of a possible relationship. The women, pretending to be unaware of the obvious scheme, make promises of their own and scam free drinks, expensive dinners, and gifts from the men. The savviest and most determined women will, in turn, seduce naive men with promises of love and everlasting marriage, only to quickly divorce them once they set foot in their new home country. So, each side attempts to take advantage of the other and more often than not fails at it but then returns the next evening for more of the same. For underneath the cynicism and objectification there is the driving force of hope, that on one of these evenings an interaction will lead to something deeper and more meaningful – a real connection based on genuine feelings, a relationship that will lead to a better life.

After observing what went on at the nightclubs of Odessa I discovered the existence of the “love tours” that are depicted in Anna and found the subject compelling enough to return to Ukraine six years after my original visit, and capture it on film. In Anna the backdrop is wintry and cold, but regardless of a country’s regions everyone ultimately harbors dreams and aspirations. These international dating events, which have been organized since the fall of the Iron Curtain, continue to take place, with groups arriving in Ukraine many times a year. The mass parties in which men are usually outnumbered 1 to 10, now take place almost exclusively in East Ukraine, the industrial and more impoverished part of the country.

Ironically, Svetlana Barandich who portrays Anna, participated in such an event more than 20 years ago. And, an actress that we auditioned for the role of the translator told us that she was recently hired as a translator for one of these events. She said that, similarly to the corresponding scene in Anna, she would make up conversations and that “All men and women were always Leo,” for it was the only astrological sign for which she knew the English word.

This is an important story of hope and despair, one which I have attempted to capture as authentically as I could.

Mehdi Irvani, Director | Behind The Glasses

Mehdi Irvani
Director

Mehdi Irvani, born on July 4, 1985 Education of free filmmaking and editing courses In 2007, he entered the cinema profession as a director of short films and then as an assistant editor.

During this period, he collaborated with prominent editors of Iranian cinema, including Shirin Vahidi, Shahrzad Pouya and Hossein Zandbaf, and then as an editor in many projects.

He worked in cinema and television, including the movie “Perseus in Lajevardi” directed by Mohammad Ali Najafi and the movie “Lalaken” directed by Mostafa Ghorbanpour (selected by Isfahan International Children’s Festival) and the movie “Description of a Photo” directed by Satiar Emami (Selected by the World Film Festival of Truth) and …. pointed out Statement: In this strange and unpredictable period of learning the corona virus (Covid 19), Bashirit feels the need for empathy with each other more than ever. The message of this film is a good sense of empathy in one word.

Director’s filmography :
Truth – 2007
Remember those days well – 2009

Film Information


Director: Mehdi Irvani
Country: Iran
Year: 2019
Language: No Dialogue
Runtime: 3 min.
Rated: G

Credits


Writer: Pegah Emami
Producers: Reza Taherkhani, Mehdi Irvani

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Caramel

Caramel

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Caramel

Directed by Shange Zhang
Narrative Short
USA | 14 min | 2020


Caramel is a coming-of-age story about an 18-year-old teenager, Eric, who inadvertently discovers his mom’s immoral past — that she was a 90s adult film star — on the day before his grandfather’s funeral. Shocked and embarrassed, he does not know how to process the news, both internally with his own feelings, and externally as he deals with his schoolmates who crash the funeral. More importantly, his relationship with his mom seems forever changed — will he embrace her past and stand up for her?


Caramel

Signing on to direct this film was an easy “yes” for me. The team behind this female written, directed, and produced short film set out to create a story on screen that reflects the diverse world we live in, while staying true to our comedic roots. The comedic timing each performer brought to set was just *chef’s kiss.* And we are proud our cast and crew represent a variety of individual backgrounds, including African American, Middle Eastern, LGBTQ, Latinx, and Asian.

Caramel -Shange ZhangShange Zhang
Director

Born and raised in China. Shange Zhang found his passion for filmmaking and started to work as a film director since 2015. His recent short film, The Five Minutes was selected by several International Film Festivals including Florida Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival, Foyle Film Festival and won the best Sci-fi Short film in 2019 Los Angeles Film Award and Asian On Film Festival.

Film Information


Director: Shange Zhang
Country: USA
Year: 2019
Language: English
Runtime: 14 min.
Rated: PG-13

Credits


Writers: Sam Hobson
Producer: Vivian Ip, Queen Kim
Director of Photography:  Hark Xu
Editor: An Shu, Dun Jin
Music: Jesper Ankarfeldt

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Haunt

Haunt

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Haunt

Directed by Siamak Kashefazar
Narrative Short
Iran | 17 min | 2020


Reza and Tooba are young couples that have a house in the mortgage bank. Reza enters the gambling game to pay the bank installments, But he lost her wife without knowing it. Now, he comes back home and understands the depth of the tragedy and looks for the way to escape and running away from gamblers, But it’s too late and they are behind the door. Tooba realizes the facts, little by little.


Haunt - Poster

Gambling addiction is obvious in most countries around the world, But in the third world, countries become serious dangers in the lower layers of society.

Haunt - Siamak KashefazarSiamak Kashefazar
Director

Like kids my age and during my studies, Seeing school plays, I became interested in theatre and acting. Of course, my interest in cinema came from watching two films and a serial. AMIR NADERI’S memorable film “Runner” and “HAMOON” by DARIUSH MEHRJUIE. KHOSRO SHAKIBAEI’S playing in the film “HAMOON” and a few years later, his brilliant playing in“Green House” series interested me in directing in cinema. I make a double effort to works in my films. Although he died very early but it gave me hope and motivation to work to create lasting and profound works

Film Information


Director: Siamak Kashefazarr
Country: Iran
Year: 2019
Language: Persian
Runtime: 17 min.
Rated: PG-13

Credits


Producer: Siamak Kashefazar

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 

Don’t miss the moderated Q&A session with filmmakers from:

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Philanthropy

Directed by Alison Turner
Narrative Short
USA | 12 min | 2020


At an annual brunch, five wealthy benefactors suddenly find themselves covered in blood when their sushi model takes a chopstick to the jugular. Now two detectives, one a seasoned pro and the other a Patrick Swayze superfan, must cut through this motley gang’s self-centered attempts to manipulate the truth, and get to the bottom of this utterly first world crime. In this absurd dark comedy, Detectives Parker and Parker (no relation) try to answer the questions everyone is asking: Who killed the victim? Why are none of the suspects nervous? And why do they eat sushi like that?


Philanthropy - Poster

Signing on to direct this film was an easy “yes” for me. The team behind this female written, directed, and produced short film set out to create a story on screen that reflects the diverse world we live in, while staying true to our comedic roots. The comedic timing each performer brought to set was just *chef’s kiss.* And we are proud our cast and crew represent a variety of individual backgrounds, including African American, Middle Eastern, LGBTQ, Latinx, and Asian.

Philanthropy - Alison TurnerAlison Turner
Director

Alison Turner is a 2017/18 Sony Diverse Directors Program Fellow. Her short films and digital series have been featured on WhoHaha and Funny or Die. She began her career as an acting teacher and on set acting coach, working with Sean Giambrone on the first four seasons of The Goldbergs. Alison has shadowed multiple television comedy directors including Lew Schneider, Pam Fryman, Phill Lewis, Richie Keen, and most recently Andy Ackerman on the CBS multi cam comedy Happy Together. She is currently developing her own female-driven comedic series, and continues to coach on set for multiple network comedies.

Film Information


Director: Alison Turner
Country: USA
Year: 2020
Language: English
Runtime: 12 min.
Rated: PG-13

Credits


Writers: Lisa Linke
Producer: Caity Ware
Director of Photography:  Mariscela Beatríz Méndez

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Samaritan

Samaritan

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 

Don’t miss the moderated Q&A session with filmmakers from:

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Samaritan

Directed by Dustin Curtis Murphy
Narrative Short
United Kingdom | 12 min | 2020


An immigrant doctor, fearing deportation and living off grid, stumbles upon the unconscious body of a racist politician whose been kidnapped and left for dead.


Samaritan - Poster

After my first collaboration with producer Addy Raja (NORA, premiered August 2018 at BFI IMAX, TEDxNHS), we were eager to work with each other again. In early 2019 we were brainstorming ideas for the Uncertain Kingdom grant which was open to projects that specifically dealt with the uncertainty around UK’s future. Being passionate about climate change activism, we took this as our main theme, blending in Raja’s medical background as an NHS doctor, to create SAMARITAN – a dramatic sci-fi-esque short film about a Brexit-style vote, where citizens and politicians fight over the decision to leave or remain on planet earth. Whilst we did not receive the grant money, we were so passionate about getting this project made that we self-funded the production utilising the profits from our corporate work.

Rather than focus on an overly preachy narrative, the goal of SAMARITAN was to facilitate conversation around climate change. As artists we felt it our small contribution to use our voices to raise questions around this daunting topic, hopefully sparking conversation within audience members after the end credits roll.

Once production was complete, we were fortunate enough to have our project accepted to the Climate Story Lab (Doc Society, Exposure Labs, BFI Network), where we attended a 5 day intensive conference about utilising creative projects to combat climate change. Since then SAMARITAN had gone on to screen at BAFTA & BIFA qualifying films festivals and was a Semi-Finalist at the Academy Award qualifying Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Samaritan - Dustin Curtis MurphyDustin Curtis Murphy
Director

Dustin Curtis Murphy is an award-winning writer/director with over two decades of experience in the film industry. Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in London.

His background includes several microbudget short films which focus on sociopolitical issues. Currently available on Amazon Prime is NORA, a short film about healthcare which premiered at the BFI as part of a TEDTalk. It has won over 20 awards, including Best Director. His previous Best Short Drama winner, AVERY ROAD, combined the issues of women’s rights and gun violence, to focus on the polarisation of American values. BOTTOMLESS, which is currently wrapping up its festival tour, is an award winning comedy about redefining masculinity in the dystopian present. His current project: BLAKE BYERS BROUGHT A CIGARETTE TO A GUN FIGHT is a documentary which focuses on police brutality in the US.

He has written and sold several feature screenplays, and successfully crowdsourced four seasons of the web-series HAPPY HOUR SKETCH COMEDY. He is also the key organiser for Kino Short Film – a London based indie filmmakers collective of 1400 strong. Kino offers open-mic screenings, workshops & classes, networking opportunities, short film production support and sponsors The People’s Film Festival.

Film Information


Director: Dustin Curtis Murphy
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2020
Language: English
Runtime: 12 min.
Rated: PG-13

Credits


Writers: Dustin Curtis Murphy
Producers: Addy Raja, Nicci Brighten

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Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Short Slot 2


Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 19th

 


Thu Feb 27, 2020 – 7:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
Sat Feb 29, 2020 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande



Santa Claus

Directed by Jieun Lee
Narrative Short
South Korea | 26 min | 2019


On Christmas Eve, Jae-Yul has to give gifts to children in a rich village and a poor village in time as Santa Claus, as a part of a senior employment welfare program. In the meantime, he faces an unexpected event


Santa Claus poster | Jieun Lee, Director

Everything you do in the film industry leads to your next project… all roads lead to future collaborations… or so they say. “Rent Do” is exactly that and more. I met writer/producer/actor Jonathan Dubsky on my feature film “The Scarehouse”. He had a small part in that film but we became friends and loved discussing cinema. Jonathan switched from acting to crew on a music video that I directed that starred Sarah Booth (also in The Scarehouse). I’ve heard Jonathan’s ideas for shorts and television shows over the years and liked what he was creating. It was great to see Jonathan spend more time turning from actor to actor/creator (along with Daniel), which I believe is crucial; for actors to put themselves and their abilities out into the world. I was thrilled to be asked to direct “Rent Do”. I don’t get to do a lot in the comedy world, I’m known as the “horror” or the “heartbreak” guy. BUT I love comedy and what better way to flex those creative muscles than with a short! They also asked Sarah to star alongside the two of them. A match made in heaven – a casting trifecta I knew would be fantastic. Then we were able to round out the cast with Montreal’s best and brightest film and tv characters actors – a real treat.
There is a lot I could say about the production of the film but I feel like these are things everyone has to say about the creation of their baby. I think I’d rather spend the remainder of this note speaking to the heart of collaboration and working amongst friends. Talented folks in all departments from my frequent cinematographer, Karl Janisse to my one and only composer Adrian Ellis joined us for “Rent Do”. I strive to create projects with people who carry no ego, want to do the work and always go the extra mile. I want to create projects where, budget be damned, it is going to happen and it is an all hands on deck collaboration. “Rent Do” is just that – the film will speak for itself with your programmers, however, the experience of making it was a fantastic one. Jonathan and Daniel will be credited writers and producers you see in theaters and on television in the near future, this project is only the beginning. My direction is just one small part of the team and world they created for me to play with. We look forward to seeing how “Rent Do” plays for the audience it was made for.

Sincerely,

Gavin Booth

Santa Claus - Jieun LeeJieun Lee
Director

– Born in South Korea
– Graduated from Chung-Ang University, Department of theater.
– Graduated from Chung-Ang University Graduate School, Department of film making.

-filmography-
I Am(2016)
-2017 British International Amateur Film Festival, Diamond Award,Best Story, Best Photography, Best Acting

Arrangement(2019)
-2019 11th Seoul International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival,Audience Award
-2019 12th Seoul International Senior Film Festival, Best Film

Film Information


Director: Jieun Lee
Country: South Korea
Year: 2019
Language: Korean
Runtime: 26 min.
Rated: PG

Credits


Writers: Jieun Lee
Producers: Hyun-suk Park
Cinematographer: Juhwan Lee
Key Cast: Seung-wuk Kim, Uisun Jeong, So-hyun Kam

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Principal Cast