LAKE COUNTY, IL (September 22, 2010) The 10th Lake County Film Festival is proud to announce its biggest in competition short film slate ever. 91 short films will compete for jury and audience awards.

All short films will be shown on Seed&Spark, the festival’s virtual platform website. The following films are split into twenty-one programs, some of which are a mixture of both documentary and narrative films. Some programs highlight a specific genre (Action, Science-Fiction), form (Experimental), or topic (Queer Shorts, Music). Others are highly specific, like our programs about the Ukraine, Photography (Shutterbugs), Women In The Workplace (This Woman’s Work), Black Lives Matter, or The Fourth Wall.

Many of the short films feature recognizable actors, such as Patton Oswalt (The Priest), Alia Shawkat (Alina), Beth Grant (La Sirena & Faith), Martin Starr (Milford), Henry Rollins (Moneybag Head), Jeremy Sisto (Wichita) and Jason R. Moore from Marvel’s The Punisher (Honor Among Thieves). 

Below is the list of selected short films for the 2020 Lake County Film Festival. All films are from the United States, unless specified otherwise. After the synopsis, it lists the program which the film is playing. 

Narrative Short Films: 

A Handful Of Rust (d. Conor Chandler Simpson)
Inheriting the family junkyard when her father dies unexpectedly, Simone makes eccentric punk music with her troubled savant younger brother and battles their short-fused mother intent on sending him away. (Music Shorts)

A Million Eyes (d. Richard Raymond)
A gifted young photographer, grappling with his mother’s alcoholism, sets out to capture something he loves. (Shutterbugs)

Alina (d. Rami Kodeih)
As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend’s three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events. Starring Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Search Party), Edin Gali (Mad Men), Rebeca Robles (Better Things), Erika Soto (Vida), and Mark McCullough (Logan Lucky). (Escape Plans)

And, Cut! (Danke, Aus!) (d. Luca Amhofer) (Austria)
Tom is an actor and the only thing he really wants on the film set is a still water. The big problem is, that his colleagues are too incompetent to organise one. (The Fourth Wall)

Anna (d. Dekel Berenson) (United Kingdom)
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. (Ukraine)

Ant (d. Mischa Meyer) 
Police brutality protests boil in South Central Los Angeles as four teens plan a robbery and find themselves in a comic book store. (#BLM)

Ark (d. Soma Helmi)
Captain Mira Bernhard is finally home after a lengthy mission to the new planet, GAIA – humanity’s last hope. But what’s only been a 5-year trip for her, has been a 45-year wait for her husband. (Science-Fiction Shorts)

Avalanche (d. Heather Jack)
Underemployed and reeling from a recent miscarriage, a comedy writer’s life is getting less funny by the minute. When she lands a meeting that could turn it all around she has to choose: tell the truth or go for the laugh? (This Woman’s Work)

Bend (d. Susan Misner) 
Bend is a love story that charts the distance between its lovers. A single gesture of political activism lays bare the fragile balance of a relationship, revealing how we all struggle with our past in the effort to forge a more honest future. (#BLM)

BroDate (d. Hank Braxton)
Two bros grab lunch and the conversation gets real…awkward. (Queer Shorts)

Brooklyn Park (d. Nikola Duravcevic) 
Alone in New York, Somali rideshare driver Abdi begins his nightshift with the news of a tragedy back home. The faces in the backseat change as he wrestles, unable to connect, with whether the unthinkable can be true—until a vision provides the clarity he seeks. (The Souls Of Black Folk)

The Collector (d. Godefroy Ryckewaert) (France)
The Collector takes place in a decadent nightclub with an electric vibe. The evening takes an unexpected turn when a tax collector arrives to collect money for one of his clients.(Action! Shorts)

Come F*ck My Robot (d. Mercedes Bryce Morgan) 
A virgin 18-year-old finds himself in over his head when he responds to a mysterious Craigslist post looking for someone to test a prototype sex robot only to have her not consent.
Based on a real Craigslist post. (Modern Romance)

Cool For Five Seconds (d. Dani Wieder) 
When Colleen reunites with her estranged sister, things don’t go exactly as she planned. (Local Shorts)

The Doe (d. Jennifer Lumbroso) (France)
A French woman, lost in the countryside, has to face unexpected events as nature takes back its rights. (Action! Shorts)

E.R. A.M. (d. Will Schneider)
Six strangers bond as they wait to get into the emergency room. (Local Shorts)

Everything’s Fine (d. Danny Rhodes) 
A new mother suffering from Postpartum OCD struggles with intrusive thoughts about harming her baby. (Local Shorts)

Faith (d. Matteo J. Mosterts)
A catholic nun decides to break her vows and go back to find the man she fell in love with, 20 years ago. (Losing My Religion)

Falling Into Arms (d. Sean Patrick Leonard)
John recently lost his wife and son to an active shooter at their school. Now as his daughter Claire prepares for her first day back at school after the life altering incident, John searches for new ways to cope with the grief. What he learns from those around him could provide him with the keys to unlock new ways to move forward in life. (Preceding Monuments)

Feeling Through (d. Doug Roland)
A teen-in-need’s reluctant act of kindness toward a DeafBlind man becomes a night-long journey, creating a bond between them that gives the teen hope for the future. (The Souls Of Black Folk)

Fortunate Country (d. Kristin Jordan Tripe & Julia Hinson)
Two small-town women in the rural Midwest confront their feelings for one another and explore the quiet romance unexpectedly blossoming out of their long friendship. A modern adaptation of the 1913 Willa Cather novel, ‘O Pioneers!’, this naturalistic drama follows one young woman who is restlessly trying to reconcile her past so that she can escape her hometown, and another clutching on to a quiet life in the country. (Queer Shorts)

The Ghosting Of Elise Montgomery (d. Motke Dapp)
When Elise once again starts ghosting someone who doesn’t fully interest her, the ghosts of past relationships start showing up to find out what she ghosted them. (Modern Romance)

GraceLand (d. Bonnie Discepolo)
Anna Camp stars as a southern mom whose life is all-shook-up when her fourth grader claims to be reincarnation of the king of ‘rock-n-roll.’ (preceding Queen Of Lapa)

Hangry (d. Clint Till)
When a retired Reverend takes his seat in the retirement home dining room, he’s surprised to find that the lunch served doesn’t live up to his standards or expectations. He takes it upon himself to find a way to get the lunch he thinks he deserves. (We Love Short Shorts)

The Hole Truth (d. Russell Friedenberg)
When a suicidal woman in a dead end job, breaks the rules to overhear the confessions of strangers, her initial excitement quickly unravels into despair, however, as she carries out her “exit strategy” she encounters love in an unexpected way. (The Fourth Wall)

Honor Among Thieves (d. Justin Eugene Evans)
When a planet-hopping cowboy-criminal (Jason R. Moore, Marvel’s The Punisher) returns to New Mexico after a heist-gone-wrong, he expects a hero’s welcome. Instead, he finds his mutinous crew have decided he’s no longer in charge. (Science-Fiction Shorts)

In A Lifetime (d. Frantzy Moreau)
Olly and Ade are two friends who cherish their bond and relationship. However, one strives to leave the environment by any means while the other grows dependent on the friendship. (The Souls Of Black Folk)

In Orbit (d. Katie McNeice) (Ireland)
There was once an invisible optician, living in a strange and lonely world. Her story starts with a broken lens and the woman who taught her to see things differently. (Science-Fiction Shorts)

Kokokids Of Paris (d. Alexia Colette) (France)
Two girls get away in a dreamy adventure until they face the harsh reality surrounding their lives and that of more and more kids in Paris. The Kokokids of Paris. Glowing on the inside, while living in the shadows. (Shorts With Kids) 

La Sirena (d. Matteo Servente) 
The lives of Penny, the nighttime police dispatcher, and Nino, the barber, get turned upside down when 10-year-old Speed drives a stolen muscle car into their small rural town, looking for a Mermaid. (Shorts With Kids)

Life After Death (Noah Glenn)
In this light-hearted dark comedy, a man discovers an unconventional family when he is invited to a support group for the legally dead, after attempting to dig up his own grave. (Death & Life)

Long Ride Home (d. Dame Pierre)
Brandon, an affluent African-American who has clawed tooth and nail to success, resenting anyone not willing to put in the same amount of discipline. However, Brandon’s perspective is challenged during an Uber ride to his old neighborhood. (Local Shorts)

Milford (d. Nathan Barnatt & Seth Barnatt)
A man living in a small town struggles with his decision to finally do something with his life—leave his hometown or succumb to his apprehension for change and the comforts of an easy life. (preceding The Palindromists)

Moneybag Head (d. Patrick O’Brien)
Dennis is searching for human connection despite having a head that looks like a literal bag of money. (OMG! WTF!)

More Than He Knows (d. Fiona Dawson)
When a happily married couple go on a routine staycation, the wife demonstrates that she knows her husband better than he knows himself. (Queer Shorts)

My Hero (d. Logan Jackson)
As last-minute plans for a babysitter fall apart, eight-year-old Brandon is left alone to oversee his younger brother Mason. (Shorts With Kids) 

Nero (d. Jan-David Bolt) (Switzerland)
Humans spend five years of their lives thinking about food. This film may not change that. (OMG! WTF!) 

Oh Deer (d. Richard C. Jones) 
A dark comedy about the perils of parenting. (OMG! WTF!)

Peanut (d. Andy Mills) 
After learning he has an abnormally small brain, John is prescribed a gun to kill himself. Unfortunately, he learns a gunshot to the head is not quite sufficient for his affliction. (OMG! WTF!)

The Priest (d. Michael Vukadinovich) 
In a lonely desert town a suicidal priest (Patton Oswalt) makes a decision that kicks into motion a series of strange and comedic events leading him to an unexpected discovery. (Losing My Religion)

Prologue (d. Justin Jospeh Hall)
Jack and Julie would be a perfect couple if only they could communicate about this one thing. (preceding Seven Shorts Films About (Our) Marriage)

Rallentando! (d. Jon Gower) 
A Nashville country band runs into trouble during rehearsal when the bandleader, a sophisticated dandy, has to confront his redneck drummer. (Music Shorts)

Reparations (d. Gregory G. Allen)
A Jewish Holocaust Survivor agrees to be interviewed by an African-American doing research for her grad thesis. He cannot grasp any similarity between restitution for descendants of slaves versus those he’s received from Germany. As her questions unearth his secrets the bond between them deepens. (preceding Stories I Didn’t Know)

Run Free (d. Brandon Ravet) 
After a Black country singer is offered the chance to sing the National Anthem at the high school football state championship, he is forced to choose between career and cause. Featuring original songs by Phredley Brown (Guitarist and Music Director for Bruno Mars). (#BLM)

Sloan Hearts Neckface (d. Justin Fair)
An anonymous, anarchic graffiti artist unexpectedly falls in love with a fan but can’t be with her until he reveals his true identity. (Modern Romance)

Son Of Sun (d. Anthony Short) 
A song once recorded 50 years ago at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee, is nearly lost by the only left survivor who knows of its existence. In pursuit of purpose in life, Alex is driven to re-record a piece of history.(Music Shorts)

Sound (d. Tawan Bazemore) 
Photographer Isabelle Pisano, becomes hearing-impaired after a violent car accident. As she struggles to cope in the muffled and scary new normal something beautifully-terrifying happens. (preceding Rattled

The Speed Of Time (d. William J. Stribling)
Future cop Johnny Killfire must go back in time and team up with his former self in order to stop the TimeBorgs from getting their hands on an app that could break the space-time continuum by delivering pizzas into the past…before they were even ordered. (Action! Shorts)

Talk Outside (d. Austin Davison) 
When two tough guys leave a bar to fight, their search for the right spot becomes an adventure. (OMG! WTF!) 

Tantrums (d. Zander Coté) 
Francis didn’t want to go on an elk hunting trip with his mother’s boyfriend. But now that it’s too late, he’s changed his mind.

There’s Something In The Lake (d. Greg Pope) 
After the disappearance of their dog a 12-year-old girl and her little brother set out on a nighttime search, completely unaware they are being watched. (The Fourth Wall)

Time (Mitchell Smalenski) 
With time as her only resource, Anna travels back to fix the mistakes of her past. (Science-Fiction Shorts)

They Grow Up So Fast (d. Michael Pomaro) 
Two sisters are home alone in a post-apocalyptic world when danger comes knocking. (Shorts With Kids) 

Tired Eyes (d. Ryan Martin Brown) 
Rose, Mitch, and Trevor make up the lo-fi rock band Tired Eyes. The trio have a small gig tonight, which means schlepping gear from a cramped practice space in Brooklyn to the middle of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the city has a way of making even the simplest of tasks absurdly difficult. (Music Shorts)

Together Till The End (d. Salvador Medina) (Mexico)
They thought breaking up was the end of the world… (preceding Rattled)

Traveling (d. Paul Bland)
Three co-workers meet to discuss their recent experiences with time travel tourism. (We Love Short Shorts)

Tutorial > SKIP? (d. Thy Vo, Sydney Seekford, & Ryan Imm)
Because no one plays the tutorial (preceding Insert Coin

Two Bodies On The Beach (Kaksi Ruumista Ranalla) (d. Anna Paavilainen) (Finland)
A woman wakes up on a beach wrapped in plastic, half-naked and in high heels. “Not again”, she sighs and decides to find out who is behind this. She persuades an older woman who has been pushed to the margins of society to accompany her on her revenge trip. During their journey through classical cinematic landscapes, the two women have to face their own lusts, conflicts between generations, and their fragile ideologies. (The Fourth Wall)

Two Wizards, One Staff (d. Josh Folan) 
Two wizards, a young African-American apprentice and an older white Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, bump into each other while walking their dogs. (We Love Short Shorts)

Variables (d. Sabina Vajrača)
In the middle of the Bosnian War, a teenage math-wiz is given a way out of the bloodshed when his math club gets an invitation to compete at the 1995 International Math Olympiad in Canada. Inspired by true events. (Escape Plans)

The Watchmaker (d. Charlie Fonville)
The Watchmaker profiles Japanese watchmaker Takumi Oshiro as he nears completion of his greatest masterpiece. (We Love Short Shorts)

Wichita (d. Sergine Dumais) 
Sara is in bed with her lover when her husband calls. When he asks for something in his sock drawer, she runs home, stalling for time, asking endless questions about Wichita, Kansas. (We Love Short Shorts)

You Wouldn’t Understand (d. Trish Harnetiaux)
An idyllic picnic of one is upended after the arrival of a stranger. (OMG! WTF!)

Documentary Short Films: 

A Head Shorter (d. Sasha Bortnik) 
A Head Shorter is an animated documentary about a 12 year old boy in the Holocaust and how he survived multiple concentration camps. (Always Punch Nazis)

All The Possibilities… (d. Marsha Gordon & Louis Cherry) 
All the Possibilities… is a documentary meditation on artist Vernon Pratt’s over 1,400 square foot systematic abstraction painting. (preceding Picture Character)

American Ocelot (d. Ben Masters) 
American Ocelot tells the story of one of the most endangered and beautiful wild cats in the United States — a species so elusive that high quality images and video have never been captured until now. American Ocelot provides a glimpse into the lives of this mysterious species, explores the nuances of the Endangered Species Act, and aims to invigorate ocelot recovery to ensure the long-term survival of the species. (preceding We Don’t Deserve Dogs)

The Bee Farmers (d. Steve Utaski) 
Short documentary of a one-of-a-kind program based in the Pacific Northwest that rents bees to residential customers which in turn are used to pollinate crops on farms throughout the United States. (preceding Seasons Of Change On Henry’s Farm)

Bury Me At Taylor Hollow (d. Orion Pahl) 
After spending 15 years working in the conventional funeral industry, John Christian Phifer is paving uncharted territory to help create Larkspur Conservation—the first natural burial ground of its kind in Tennessee. (Death & Life)

Call Center Blues (d. Geeta Gandbhir)
Call Center Blues is a lyrical portrait  of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico. (preceding Una Great Movie)

Dwayne’s World (d. Geno DiMaria) 
On June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered 9 members of Emanuel AME Church.
On August 4, 2016, Roof was assaulted by fellow inmate Dwayne Stafford.
This is Dwayne’s story. (Always Punch Nazis)

Enter Through The Balcony (d. Roman Blazhan) (Ukraine)
This doc explores the phenomenon of the balcony as a small architectural form across the Ukraine. Through the history of the balconies, the film explores the history of Post-Soviet Ukraine — life, culture, and the relationships between personal and public space in cities.
Enter Through the Balcony examines how architecture can be a curious pathway to a deeper understanding of culture and place. (Ukraine)

The Girl With The Rivet Gun (d. Anne de Mare & Kirsten Kelly) 
Taking you beyond the iconic “We Can Do It” poster girl to the millions of real-life women who shook the foundations of the American workplace – forever changing both their own lives and the very perception of what women can do. (This Woman’s Work)

Kachalka (d. Gar O’Rourke) (Ukraine)
A cinematic portrait of Kiev’s Soviet scrap metal ‘Kachalka’ gym – the world’s most hardcore gym. (Ukraine)

Modern Whore (d. Nicole Bazuin) (Canada)
University student by day, escort by night, Andrea Werhun led a secret life under the alias “Mary Ann.” To her horror, Andrea discovers outrageous online reviews of Mary Ann’s sexual performance written by self-proclaimed “hobbyists.” In this hybrid documentary, hobbyist and escort perspectives collide with hilarious and revealing results. (This Woman’s Work)

The Seeker (d. Lance Edmands)
A lyrical portrait of an excommunicated Amish woodworker struggling with spirituality, poverty, and life as an outcast from his strict, insular community. (Losing My Religion)

Spirit (Braden Dereniwski) (Canada)
A documentary featuring Marina Cole, a chainsaw carver who carves driftwood and other recycled materials into beautiful pieces of art. The film also examines her approach and process to creativity. (This Woman’s Work)

Sundays At The Triple Nickel (d. Jessica Colquhoun)
On Edgecombe Avenue in Sugar Hill, Harlem, Marjorie Eliot is making sure her apartment building’s iconic jazz legacy lives on. Marjorie and her son have been hosting jazz concerts in her apartment every Sunday for the past 26 years, a pursuit of overcoming grief through music. This film tells the story of the women behind the piano, and how Marjorie’s generous vision came to be and the life it has taken on since, as she leaves behind her own legacy. (Music Shorts)

The World Is A Skatepark: Photographer J. Grant Brittain (d. Bill Wisneski) 
The World is a Skatepark shares the work and stories of legendary skateboarding photographer J. Grant Brittain. In his 40-years as a photographer, he captured some of the most iconic images in skate history, documenting the rise of future pro skaters like Tony Hawk. (Shutterbugs)

Viewfinder (d. Melody Gilbert) 
Every day for the past 23 years, Michael has taken a single picture with a film camera. (Shutterbugs)

Experimental Short Films: 

Beyond Noh (d. Patrick Smith)
Beyond Noh rhythmically animates 3,475 individual masks from all over the world, beginning with the distinctive masks of the Japanese Noh theater and continuing on a cultural journey through ritual, performance, utility, and politics. (Experimental Shorts)

Congress Cares (Theodore Collatos)
On March 27th, the United States congress approved a multi-trillion dollar coronavirus relief package by voice vote. “Congress Cares” is a satirical chronicle of the faux debate. (Experimental Shorts)

Dear Bruh: A Baptism. A Eulogy. A Call to Action (d. Ya’Ke) 
A short on the current movement for Black Lives. About love and loss. About Justice. About honoring those lost as America struggles to become an Anti-racist nation. (#BLM)

If These Are The Last Days Of My Life (d. Peony Yip) (Hong Kong)
The Hong Kong-based narrator details her experiences and feelings while preparing to go back to China during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. (Experimental Shorts)

Shapes & Sizes (d. Pamela Falkenberg and Jack Cochran) 
“Shapes & Sizes” melds melds music and moving pictures together in a startlingly beautiful but alienating critique of American car culture and its disregard for the environment worthy of Jean Baudrillard. (Experimental Shorts)

Tides (André Silva) 
Filmed at Masonboro Island, an undeveloped barrier island in southeastern North Carolina, “Tides” contemplates the liminal space between the modern technological world and that more ecological dimension we label as “nature” or “the environment.” (Experimental Shorts)

Waters Of March (Elizabeth Lewis) (Canada)
Based on the classic Tom Jobim song of the same name, Waters of  March uses naturalistic hand drawn animation to express the cycle of life through the beauty of nature. (Music Shorts)

We Are Free Because Of Harriet Tubman (d. Nadine Patterson)
This lyrical documentary is a meditation on resistance, nature, and history. Professor Sonia Sanchez’s words speak to us today as many in America struggle to find their own liberation. The imagery is meant to heal and aid the viewer in reflection upon the text. (Experimental Shorts)

You may also like...