film festival films 2002

2002 film lineup

Note: This edition of the festival presented a "sidebar" program curated and organized by the L.A.-based film festival, DancesWithFilms. Films featured in that program are duly identified at the end of their respective synopses.


5 Card Stud Dir: Hank Saroyan. 96min. (Feature)
When Greg, the risk-averse leader of the weekly poker game unexpectedly falls for Aly, a girl with a reputation and a boyfriend, he is forced to battle his neuroses, Aly must confront her insecurities, and his buddies have to reluctantly reconsider their state of arrested adolescence. Something's gotta give. But what?

Ablution Dir: Eric Patrick. 13min. (Experimental)
A film ritual in three acts tracing a character's disassociated journey through an archetypal cleansing.

Always A Pleasure Dir: Charles Kliment. 18min. (Doc)
This is the story of Americo, heliocentric freeform jazz musician and extraterrestrial from Planet Six.

At Low Resolution Dir: Jake Davis. 9min. (Narrative Short)
Trey is a loner, searching for love in the big city. As he travels the streets, a fascination with Sally grows inside him. He finds himself following her. Trey's curiosity drives him to a daily routine of videotaping her. When the two finally meet, Trey's charming ways entice Sally. As the couple gets closer Trey's intrigue turns into obsession and his voyeuristic desires take over their lives.

Awakening of Mattsi & Katochek, The Dir: Kate Sobol & Matthias Schubert.12min. (Exp)
Mattsi and Katochek, two young lovers sharing a humble abode, don't seem to care much about the outside world. Yet, certain perturbations and anxieties invade their dreams, swelling bigger and bigger, until they spill over into the waking world.

Back To One Dir: Adam Reist. 10min. (Narrative Short)
The night of all nights: the most romantic setting, the sparkling Champagne, the ultimate proposal. John has finally worked up the courage to opo the question. His dilemma: How to do it in a unique way. Jane has an answer... or two... Even the most well rehearsed moments aren't always as they seem.

Big Blue: The NYC Handball Documentary Dir: Justin Sullivan 55min. (Doc)
This is the first-ever documentary about New York's most popular sport. It explores the rich world of gambling, bravado and intense athleticism found on the city's concrete courts. Culled from more than 80 hours of footage and shot over the summer of 2000, it lets the players tell their own stories of ferocious competition, street smarts, and the glory of the uncrowned king of New York street sports.

Bill Johnson Show, The Dir: Eli Kabillio. 1min per episode. (Animation)
This series of animated shorts is produced by Mad Dog Films, Inc, and written by Cevin Soling, with Paul Cress providing the animation. The four cartoons are a series of Public Service Announcements gone totally wrong. Every parent's worst nightmare is realized through the fatherly, but evil Bill Johnson and his unwitting disciple, Bobby.

Call Me Chris Dir: John Y. Church III. 20min. (Narrative Short)
This short film follows "the life" of a dollar bill as it passes from one person to another, often having comedic and sometimes romantic effects.

Champagne Club, The Dir: Joao Machado. 85min. (Feature)
Four aristocrats of the L.A. art scene travel to an exotic tropical villa. Their trip takes an unexpected turn when they decide to take their appetites for drugs, sex, and food to the next level, all in the name of art.

Crisis of Faith, A Dir: DJ Kadagian. 49min. (Doc)
This documentary takes a critical look at materialism in America and the spiritual fallout we are experiencing because of the choices we have made individually and as a society. Mirroring the subject and rhythm of the film, the imagery and soundtrack is powerful, diverse, challenging and sometimes disturbing.

Dangers of Tobacco, The Dir: David Samuels. 5min. (Narrative Short)
An unfortunate young man gets humiliated four times in less than five minutes. First he's impotent, and then his girlfriend provokes enough trouble to get the heck beaten out of him.

Dodgeball Dir: Donald Bull. 20min. (Narrative Short)
Rose is a new employee at a ruthless company in which success is based on how well one plays in the weekly company dodgeball game. It is corporate team building taken to the extreme. Anyone who played dodge ball as a kid remembers either loving it or hating it. Combine that game with the corporate business world and you have the essence of life's most brutal game.

DOT Dir: Simeon Schnapper. 93min. (Feature)
This is a groundbreaking mockumentary of nine months in the life of, an Internet startup company. A social satire and sly comedy of manners unfolds through "behind-the-scenes footage" and interviews with the company's founders and employees. As rides the e-commerce roller coaster, the twenty and thirty-somethings that run it have their lives turned repeatedly inside out. (DancesWithFilms program)

Easy Pickings Dir: Andre Sevigny 23min. (Narrative Short)
A petty thief, who's accustomed to stealing welfare checks and robbing housewives, roams into Louisiana from Texas looking for some "easy pickings." Little does he foresee a bunch of elderly Cajuns turning the tide on him, where he ends up looking like the easy picking.

Eleanor Dir: Jan Libby. 12min. (Experimental)
Eleanor is a crosswalk guard whose life is changed when she befriends a little girl named Ally.

Final Breath Dir: Voula Giatzikis. 5min. (Narrative Short)
Two sisters are bonded together by their love for each other and their love for dancing. Tragedy sets in when one sister discovers she has bone cancer in her leg. That sister must choose between her life and her dream.

First Down Dirs: Eli Kabillio & Lorna Thomas. 57min. (Doc)
There are no cameras, few reporters and only a few hundred fans, but the athletes on this football field and four others around the United States are making history. The Women's Professional Football League is in its first year of operation and competing against more than the usual problems facing a new sports league. With low salaries, no endorsements, and little publicity, the WPFL is facing an even bigger hurdle, the stereotype of women not being tough enough to play tackle football.

Fits & Starts Dir: Vince DiMeglio. 11min. (Narrative Short)
A young man and woman spend the afternoon conversing through cassette recorders.

Follow The Bouncing Bull Dir: Sean Donnellan. 23min. (Narrative Short)
This ensemble piece illustrates the way things get done in Hollywood.

Green Dog Afternoon Dir: Lauren Bair 1.5min. (Animation)
A little girl takes her loveable little dog for a walk, which, in less than 30 seconds, turns into a tale of death and destruction. But, have no fear; the "Mr. Sprinkly" ice cream truck saves the day... in quite a peculiar way.

I Don't Know Jack Dir: Chris Leavens 91min. (Doc)
Jack Nance, made famous in David Lynch's first film, Eraserhead, lived a life that baffled his friends, relatives, and some say... him. This is a fascinating documentary on the life, career, and brutal death of the pop cult icon. Often the death of a Hollywood celebrity gives the media another opportunity to create immortal and exploitative myths. This documentary helps to paint a true picture of a cult icon. There is much humor in anecdotes from Nance himself, his family, and friends. David Lynch's insightful stories are woven between interviews with Dennis Hopper, Catherine Coulson, Charlotte Stewart, and many others. There is much we learn about this enigmatic actor and his untimely donut shop death.

Inphocus: The Bottom Line Dir: Charles Reilly. 23min. (Narrative Short)
Conspiracy theories have been around forever, but never before has one been centered on a toilet roll? In this episode of Inphocus (a mockumentary news show), we examine a link between Bermuda's largest toilet roll manufacturer, President Kennedy, and Fidel Castro. If nothing else this film will make you think before you wipe.

It Takes Two Dir: Darianna Cardilli. 6min. (Narrative Short)
It started as foreplay in the brothels of Buenos Aires. It spread around the world like wildfire. For some it has become an obsession. Take an insider's look into the cruel, abusive and predatory games that occur in the search for that elusive ideal partner.

Joyful Partaking In The Sorrows Of Life- Dir: William Moreing. 120min. (Feature)
A bittersweet story of a day in the life of Walter Majeski, a former TV weatherman whose young son perished in a freak snowstorm that Walter failed to forecast. Interwoven with funny, touching, human stories of his neighbors in a web-of-style the film looks at how seemingly small acts of kindness or carelessness can change a life forever.

King, The Dir: Russell B. McKenzie. 23min. (Narrative Short)
Those hips, those lips, that voice! The King is alive. This time he's dressed in black. My God! He is black! Enjoy the return of Elvis as a black man in this All-Shook-Up musical short. (DancesWithFilms program)

Sauerkraut Caterpillar, The - Dir: Lauren Bair. 1.5min. (Animation)
This is the story of an ordinary caterpillar and the whimsical life he leads, prior to his transformation into a whipped cream butterfly

Last Laugh Dir: Jeff Mazzola. 30min. (Narrative Short)
Pips, the oldest comedy club in Brooklyn, is struggling for survival in the new century. Ray Murphy is a struggling actor and comedian, who desperately tries to save the club from the clutches of a new yuppie landlord who wants to turn the building into a condominium and the club into a designer coffee boutique.

Learning To Surf Dir: RJ Thomas. 112min. (Feature)
Bill moves to L.A. to chase his dreams. He moves in with a wanna-be pro surfer and gets a job on a commercial. He is seduced by an older woman and falls in love with a girl who thinks she's older. His relationships and his career grow confusing and suddenly his dreams are in danger of being lost. He realizes he must give it all up if he wants to gain anything.

Legends Of Show Business Dir: Mark W. Gray. 7min. (Animation)
It's more fun to watch if you don't know what's coming, but here goes: At George Burns' 100th Birthday Concert in Las Vegas, he is attacked by a machine-gun toting vigilante who thinks 100 years is long enough. Enraged but unhurt, America's favorite old geezer grows into a giant Godzilla-like behemoth and rampages through Las Vegas, wreaking havoc and battling other legendary show business giants.

Little Red Plane Dirs: Joey Jones & Wira Winata. 9min. (Animation)
A seven year-old boy's imagination takes him on a spiritual journey with his red toy plane. This flight of fantasy transports him to an astonishing world where he is given an opportunity to reconcile the past. (DancesWithFilms program)

Major Damage Dir: Chris Bailey. 3min. (Animation)
Faster than a Speeding Comet... More Powerful than an Alien Death Machine... Able to Leap Tall Tiki's in a Single Bound... Genetically Engineered Man of Tomorrow... It's Major Damage, a creator owned, globally collaborated, independent short film project inspired by the superhero and monster comics we all read as kids.

Making Changes Dir: Matthew Rose. 14min. (Narrative Short)
Explore the world of Becca Berkman and Todd Fleece, two theatrical set changers who have turned the theater upside down.

Meat Helmet Dir: Julien Koetsch. 7min. (Narrative Short)
A French cooking show outlines the proper way in which to prepare and construct a meat helmet.

Modern Daydreams: Dear John Dir: Mitchell Rose. 4min. (Experimental)
Episode 4 in a series of Chaplinesque films. A man and a twenty-two ton John Deere excavator dance a dance of discovery, fulfillment, and eventually, the loss that any diesel-based relationship must suffer.

Modern Daydreams: Islands In The Sky Dir: Mitchell Rose. 4min. (Experimental)
Episode 2 in a series of Chaplinesque films. Four people weave fifty feet in the air atop four cherry pickers, aloft and aloof in their ivory towers.

Move Dirs: Antonia March & Jacqueline McKinley. 30min. (Narrative Short)
A racial drama that takes place during three different time periods; 1938, 1968 and 2002. In each time period, two cars meet head on; one car filled with three black men and the other car filled with three white men. The situation begs the question: who will be forced to move their car back?

My Angel Anjeliqua Dir: Guy Morgan. 11min. (Experimental)
A young girl sees her sister Sonia, ascend into heaven. In those fleeting moments between life and death Sonia comes to her. Twenty years later, filmmaker Yvette Vega is compelled to share her vision. Through prayer and dance she invokes her sister's soul and two lives are born into one.

Ocha Cups For Christmas Dir: Michael Fimognari. 30min. (Narrative Short)
While studying in Japan on a foreign exchange, a young American woman learns life lessons about loneliness, betrayal and the power of truth. (DancesWithFilms program)

Once About Water Towers Dir: Stephanie M.M. Lucas. 8min. (Experimental)
This is a visual poem for New York City, its water towers, and the women who watch from windows. It is a reflection of what one sees through glass while also a contemplation on growing older in the place one has always lived.

One Eyed King Dir: Robert Moresco. 90min. (Feature)
"Five against the world" is the vow taken by a quintet of childhood chums in Hell's Kitchen, and now that they're young men with increasingly divergent interests and responsibilities it sometimes seems everyone's out to get them in a world where, as someone succinctly puts it, "anybody dies in this neighborhood it's fifty-fifty he got whacked.

Perverts: Breakfast With Missy, The Dir: John Wollner. 6min. (Narrative Short)
Another day with the Perverts, America's favorite "those people next door." In episode 9, Laura prepares for a day at the beach with Monica, while Bob works to put out a fire before breakfast. Note: Writer-Director John Wollner is also credited as John Gegenhuber in later projects.

Pitching Mother Dir: Ryan Wood. 7min. (Narrative Short)
Here's a fun and satirical look into a pivotal night for an artist, his intense, heartfelt screenplay, and his mother, who doesn't get either. This film gives comedic insight on how most of us independent filmmakers "find" our financing and "secure" our investors.

Poona The F**Kdog & Other Plays For Children Dir: Jeff Meyers. 120min. (Feature)
Jeff Goode's hilarious and subversive stage play is captured live on digital video. Poona serves up a spiked milk and laced cookies collection of bedtime stories for adults. Poona is cartoonish yet clever, innocent, and insidious, over the top but under the skin. Goode deftly deploys a child's fairy tales to skewer the adult world of crass commercialism, marauding media, and totalitarian technology.

Populi Dir: David Russo. 8min. (Experimental)
Russo also produced, edited, sculptured, fabricated, animated, shot, and visually designed the project. Experimental 35mm film set to Gustav Holst's "Mars: Bringer of War," featuring the creation and journey of humanoid figures through time-lapsed regions of the Pacific Northwest.

Re-membering Jack Dir: Onur Tukel. 81min. (Feature)
Jack Peterson is an intelligent, attractive 28-year-old who has basically everything a guy could ask for, except a penis. He spends most of his time doing the one thing he loves best... designing and erecting birdhouses. Jack also enjoys hanging out with his best friend Alan, a womanizer who entertains him with lascivious stories about his own sexual exploits. Alan is aware of Jack's affliction but has never let this impede their friendship. Jenny, who lives in the town house above him, persistently invites him up for dinner but Jack never accepts. He has grown to live with his disability and thus, alienates himself from the one thing he wants the most. Aka Ding-a-ling-less.

Rebel Fish Dir: John Birmingham. 16min. (Experimental)
Willy, an animalistic, southern rebel, lives in a shack just outside a small town. One night, Willy gives in to his instinctual urges and takes the life of nearby town resident, Kimberly Matthews. After the murder, Kimberly's boyfriend, Brian, is left alone and suicidal with no reason to live. Now, atop a 300 ft. high bridge, there is one thing that could save Brian's life and bring justice to Willy: supernatural intervention.

Reversal Dir: Alan Vint. 104min. (Feature)
In this moving coming-of-age tale, Leo, a 17-year-old champion high school wrestler sees his dedication to the sport tied up in his love for his father. In an endless and sometimes destructive cycle of training, sacrifice, and starving to make weight, Leo is feeling the lure of the world beyond the mat. With the help of his friends and the love of his girlfriend, Leo faces serious choices: live his own life or let his father live through him; follow the path prescribed or follow his own dreams.

Same Difference Dir: Gregory Katsoulis. 14min. (Animation)
This is the story of five identical robots and their desire for life, freedom, and pudding. Finding themselves suddenly conscious in a room from which they cannot escape, the robots' frustration at being "all the same" leads to an accident, which results in the creation of five unique individuals. They quickly discover, however, that being different doesn't man you shouldn't work together.

Showbiz Is My Life Dir: Hillary Harris & Ayr Robinson. 60min. (Doc)
Three women cabaret singers struggle to preserve an endangered and historically significant art form. One of these women is a legend of her craft. Another is the most celebrated cabaret singer in America today. And one is just starting out. The film weaves together the lives of three women who sing to survive and survive to sing.

Sorority Sluts 3: Spring Break (The Outtakes) Dir: Johanna Stein. 7min. (Narrative Short)
The scenes behind-the-behinds. (A PG rated comedy about the world of XXX porn.)
(DancesWithFilms program)

Stocking Stuffers Dir: Angel Connell. 4min. (Narrative Short)
This comedic film short, comprised of three hosiery commercials, examines how an object of desire (the shapely legs of a young woman wearing pantyhose) can be used to subvert humane values. How said object of desire is utilized by its protagonists (and viewed voyeuristically by the audience) provides a subtle yet satiric edge to this thinking person's film.

String Theory Dirs: Jacob Freydont-Attie & Joshua Milrad. 95min. (Feature)
This film is magical-realism, a fairytale set in the real world. It is about God, love between strangers, addiction, disease, the most powerful hallucinogen on the planet, eleven dimensional physics, and surfing. It is about our need to find meaning in the postmodern wasteland of contemporary society.

Sucker Punch Dirs: Joshua and Jeffrey Crook 89min. (Feature)
Mike Sullivan is a crack addict and a thief and he is in love with a resentful prostitute, Rhonda, who doesn't love him back. Although he has aspirations of escaping this world, it isn't until he is nearly killed by corrupt cops for stealing money from his boss that he decides to redeem himself. Mike is forced into a series of horrible misdeeds and in forced to commit unredeemable acts as he tries to save Rhonda and himself.

Living In Missouri Dir: Shaun Peterson. 88min. (Feature)
A comedy of manners, which tells the story of three Midwesterners whose humdrum lives are starting to come apart at the seams. Personal betrayals abound when childhood friendships, broken-down marriages, and long-repressed desires come into conflict over the course of one tumultuous Missouri autumn.

This Is Not A Love Story Dir: Keith Hill. 81min. (Feature)
Once upon a time there was a woman who lived on the back of a man's tongue. In an inner city loft, Belinda lives her dream of being a writer. Across the street is Suzanne, a painter who has the success Belinda craves for. Suzanne lives with Tony, an actor frustrated by his dead-end role in a soap, who is looking for a way out. Soon Belinda is caught up in a fraught love triangle - which is just the experience she needs to inspire her first novel. This is a wry, humorous story about sex and love, success and failure, creativity and careers. (DancesWithFilms program)

Times Square "Change" Dir: Nick Oddo. 12min. (Doc)
Locals talk about the tremendous change that has swept through Times Square in recent years

Under The Influence Dir: Eric Gardner. 93min. (Feature)
While working a car insurance scam, Toni Cutter, a female con artist, accidentally turns a routine collision into a fatality and exposes her lawyer and lover, Stephen Tally, to felony murder charges from the District Attorney. Stephen stalls his interrogators with stories of his affair with Toni, while she risks her freedom by seducing an employee in the D.A.'s office into revealing Stephen's whereabouts. As they each play out their own con, the line between rescuer and executioner, betrayer and martyr become blurred and they must learn to trust each other in order to survive.

Wobbling Dir: Matthew Tarle. 5min. (Experimental Work In Progress)
An excerpt from a work in progress. This is High School senior, Matthew Tarle's interpretation of kids with cameras and what they're capable of doing with them.

Wonder Dir: Manuel De Seixas Correa. 30min. (Narrative Short)
The story of two American teenagers who are about to embark on a turbulent journey of self-discovery and love in order to escape the iron fists of their parents.

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