Directed by Anthony Stengel, Jaime Cruz
3 min. USA - drama
A man in a forest, tortured by flashes of war and the joy of a child, must overcome his own demons and find a clearing before it's too late.
Directed by Brent Collins - 10 min. Canada
How Do You Hold A Hot Dog takes a comedic approach to looking at what brings individuals together. This is explored through the debate of how one holds their hot dog, and whether this is a conscious or unconscious decision.
Password : Hangin2020
Directed by Joseph Pelegreen - 83 min. USA
A 360-degree study of the realities of poverty and the importance of educational infrastructure in the developing country of Ghana. One school, Mamakrom, is leading the charge to revolutionize the education system. Working with a charitable partner, the school is able to better maintain facilities, develop curriculum, and hire trained instructors. With its exemplary test scores and graduation rates, Mamakrom illustrates the vital role a charity can play in empowering communities.
Password : whales2021
Directed by Eric Alan Luse
30 min. USA - drama
An isolated pod-caster's life is shaken up when he feels compelled to attend the funeral of his ex-girlfriend from college.
Directed by Carson Bailey
9 min. USA - dark comedy
A despondent John prepares to end his life, but fails to do so before an aloof Grim Reaper arrives a few seconds too early during his first night on the job.
Password : humber2019
Directed by Hayley Beveridge
12 min. Australia - drama
Cassie learns to overcome the day to day bullying she receives at school and online. In the end, she is a survivor.
Directed by Selket Kaufman - 23 min. USA
In 2018, Pacific Whale Foundation’s founder Greg Kaufman passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. 'A Voice for Whales' was created to tell the story of his fight to save humpback whales from extinction by educating the public, from a scientific perspective, about whales and their ocean habitat.
Enjoy our collection of some of the best independent films of 2020. There's something for everyone. From comedy shorts to documentary feautures, and everything in between, Spotlight Film Awards is honored to showcase some of the most talented filmmakers on the planet.
Directed by Larry Foley - 80 min. USA
While set in the late 19th century, the stories documented in this film resonate today: gun violence, racial strife, police brutality and American Indian rights. This is a true tale of Indian removal, crime, capital punishment and a charismatic federal judge who sentenced scores of felons to "hang by the neck until you are dead." Outlaw gangs hid from the law in lands given to native people, until Indian Territory was taken away and turned back to settlers.
Directed by Michael Costello
15 min. Ireland - drama
A girl in a cancer ward is forced to confront her deepest fears - real or imaginary. At stake is life itself.
Directed by Gareth Wilkes
16 min. Australia - drama
While closing up alone one night at the diner where she works, single mother and student Kate is brutally raped by Paul, a regular customer who mistakes friendly service for a personal connection. When an earthquake traps the two together overnight, their survival becomes dependent and entwined, with the balance of power constantly shifting until only one survives.
Directed by Ken Kobre - 28 min. USA
"Who is Ida?" tells the story of one woman’s triumph in bringing change to her corner of Malawi, a small, land-locked country in Africa. With creative, home-grown ideas, Ida has tackled problems ranging from famine during her community's dry season to deforestation of the countryside. Ida has also helped girls continue their educations, and some even to escape from forced marriages. She is the Pied Piper of kindness, where one neighbor helped pays it forward by “Passing on the Kindness.” The University of Michigan Executive MBA program has even sent students to Malawi to study how Ida has grown her organization from 65 to 4,000 volunteers (each pays 7 cents a month to participate… but they can pay it over time if that sum is too great on their meager budgets).
Directed by Magi Avila - 61 min. USA
Untie Me candidly explores the devastating fall and fascinating rise of Michael Warkentin, he has unflinchingly defied physical constraints to ascend a ladder of success.
This documentary follows fun-loving, happy, thrill-seeking Michael Warkentin on yet another trip of a lifetime. Determined to make the most out of life, he has set out to take many incredible adventures not only to experience the world for himself, but to show others what is possible. Sitting on a wheelchair has not slowed him down. Michael has visited 26 countries despite his unique needs.
We witnessed Michael’s vacation through Spain, Italy, France, and London. Every year Michael travels for his company’s international conference. During this Mediterranean cruise, among gorgeous European landmarks, the film explores the 6 phases of recovery that we all go through after facing adversity, with Michael as an excellent testament of recuperation and over-achievement. Michael also shows us how to easily keep a peak performance mind set. Michael is the kind of person who comes along once in lifetime. He has changed the lives of many people for the better.
Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s speech “We choose to go to the moon,” Michael repeats to himself one of his favorite mantras “I don’t choose to go there because is easy, I do it because is hard,” overcoming constant obstacles, and teaching us with humor the real value of life.
Directed by Tanguy Guinchard - 12 min. Switzerland
"Will lake fishing stand alonside the old forgotten jobs?"
On the shores of a Swiss lake, an old fisherman sees is job coming to a critic turn because of the actual planet conditions. The long tradition that drive a fisherman's family is maybe coming to an end...
Directed by Herbert Moran, Brian Welch
9 min. USA - comedy
In the middle of a scorching Texas summer, two friends and their hapless acquaintance find themselves in the clutches of a mysterious lawman hellbent on bringing them to justice, no matter the cost.
Directors Sumire Takamatsu, Jorge Lucas - 10 min. - horror
A short horror film following a Japanese-American family whose parents scare their child into finishing her food.
Directed by Bruce Temuchin Brown
5 min. USA - documentary
A Portrait of a Modern Bullfighter in America.
After a twenty year break from bullfighting in Mexico, Agustín Gutiérrez returns to the ring. He talks about his passions and fears in this new version of bullfighting in the central valley of California.
Depicted in this film is the Bloodless Variation of Azorean Portuguese Style Bullfighting a non-abusive, pro bull, non-kill interpretation of traditional bullfighting.
Directed by Samantha Campbell, Emma Greally, Kate Parker - 10 min. USA
Three young female filmmakers give an intimate look into the life of Kiara Lopez-Cabanillas, a young DACA recipient, as she navigates the challenges that come with being an immigrant in the United States.
Directed by Matt Brandseth
22 min. USA - comedy
Two boys hack into Santa Claus' Google Drive to see the Naughty & Nice list and discover a dark secret that might get them killed.
Directed by Tristan Francia - 12 min. France
A 70-year-old man remembers his journey to his dying father's bedside, between hope and fear, between reality and imaginary.
Directed by Daoud Bouledroua, Elke Mittmann - 24 min. France
This film captures the architectural features of the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré designed in 2017. It puts the building in the context of the rich production of Aires Mateus by linking it to other emblematic edifices in Portugal and Belgium and their teaching given at the Accademia di architettura in Mendrisio in Switzerland.
Directed by Carl Eneroth - 60 min. Sweden
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Carl Eneroth at Sthlm Social Innovation Lab comes All the Way. A heart-pounding, intimate and mind expanding portrait of Swimrun team Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo, as they prepare for their ultimate challenge… winning the 75 km ÖtillÖ Swimrun World Championships in the Stockholm archipelago… in trail shoes and a wetsuit.
Password : the
Directed by Lisa Punz, Michael Hecht
- 54 min. Austria
The documentary film Des End vom Liad (The Last Song) is about cultural identity as exemplified by the music group Neuwirth Extremschrammeln and the Viennese song.
Directed by Randall Owens - 23 min. USA
A docuseries about professional dogs
Directed by Jordan Somers - 14 min. United Kingdom
A documentary short highlighting the mural renaissance in Seattle, WA in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directed by Alita Graziano - 78 min. Australia
Alita attempts to bring her family together by making their life into a film.
Password : cmonsterc2020
Directed by Kamaran Karym - 52 min. USA
A doctor travels to the refugee camps near Duhok, Kurdistan in order to help with the medical need there.
Password : Ida
Directed by Tanya Stadelmann, Dorothy Ibes - 19 min. USA
Humans were once in deep connection with the natural world, but modern lifestyles have severed this relationship with grave consequences to our mental and planetary health. A passionate community of social workers and advocates in Virginia, U.S.A. are establishing the practice of ecotherapy to help heal the human-nature rift and facilitate human well-being and environmental stewardship through nature connection. These experts share their personal and professional experiences, revealing how this “new field with ancient roots” can transform our lives by simultaneously healing our minds and our planet. Nurture with Nature takes a timely look at an effective, affordable, and side-effect free approach to addressing some of the biggest concerns of our modern era: climate change, rising mental health problems, and digital addiction. Featuring scenic footage from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and James River system. The film represents a collaboration between two professors at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia: Tanya Stadelmann from Film & Media Studies and Dr. Dorothy Ibes from Environmental Science and Policy.
Directed by Taylor Doggett - 9 min. United Kingdom
Forgotten Valour is a short experimental documentary challenging the stigma surrounding PTSD and mental health within the military by telling one man’s story after he suffered for 35 years before his diagnosis.
Directors Chi Tsen, Mia Mathilda, Ethan Sands, Mika Heiskanen, Natalia Bahamón
5 min. Canada - experimental / drama
Five people grieve over their loss of freedom.
Director Christian Nolan Jones - 20 min. - drama
The relationship between a young man and woman slowly deteriorates as they struggle to come to grips with a past decision.
Directed by FENGFENG - 128 min. USA
The film is theme of polar night in Savlbard and Jan Mayen. It’s about people’s lifestyle, the relation between human and nature，also it reflects environmental problems.
Directed by Xaque Gruber
8 min. USA - comedy
"THE" is the most commonly used word in the English language accounting for four percent of everything we say, yet she is unable to exist by herself. An elder in the language, she struggles to understand where she belongs in an ever evolving world.
Directed by Yael Deynes
14 min. USA - narrative
After the funeral of their mother, siblings Daniel and Karen are forced to confront a past that Karen can't stop reliving and one that Daniel barely remembers.
Directed by Francis Luta - 86 min. Canada
Explorer Adam Shoalts will embark on a 4000km journey across Canada's Arctic on foot and alone.
Directed by Kevin M. Dix
4 min. USA - animated
A short comedy film about the complexities of internet dating.
Directed by Liz Lugo
9 min. USA - horror
A year after an ominous game turned deadly for her best friend, a college student finds herself struggling to elude a killer who’s playing the game over again.
Directed by David E. Tolchinsky
13 min. USA - horror
A policewoman struggles to remember what happened at the old wilson farm, the predicted site of the next murder of a serial killer named Cassandra.
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