13TH Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Unveils Finalists,
Setting New Festival Record for Female Representation In Front and Behind the Scenes
The Six Finalist Shorts Explore Race Relations, Women’s Rights and Gender/Sexual Identity
Finale Screening and Awards Ceremony Recognizing Finalists Will Be Held October 24 in Hollywood
The 13th Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, which celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of storytellers, has unveiled six original short films, pilots and webisodes as this year’s finalists. They will be recognized at the festival’s finale screening and awards ceremony on October 24, 2018 at the Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood.
The finalists shorts, “B.U.T.S: Spanish Class,” “Kyenvu,” “Masks,” “Monday,” “Rani” and “We Know Where You Live” were selected from 15 semi-finalist shorts after being showcased at public screenings in New York City this past August. They have already earned acclaim at prominent festivals including CAAMFest, the New York Television Festival, Outfest and the Pan African Film Festival.
This year’s finalists, chosen from more than 3,400 submissions, set a festival record for female representation—both on and off camera. Four out of the six finalists were written and/or directed by women, and female characters are at the center of four of the shorts. While each short film depicts stories exploring today’s social and cultural issues in its own way, they are all rooted in universally relevant themes of love, acceptance and compassion.
“In the festival’s most competitive year to date, we had an incredible selection of shorts, and we are thrilled with the quality and caliber of our finalists,” said Karen Horne, SVP of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment. “Our festival has always aimed to bring unique, diverse stories and storytellers to the forefront, and each finalist is a fantastic representation of the kind of talent we seek to foster.”
At the finale screening and awards ceremony next month, the festival will announce winners for awards such as Best Writer, Best Director and Best Actor. They will be determined by a panel of entertainment industry professionals, members of the press, and NBCUniversal executives. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets can be reserved at the festival website.
The NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is presented by NBCUniversal and NBC Entertainment. It is one of the tentpole initiatives within the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS) that promote and encourage people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers. Other programs include Female Forward, the Alternative Directors Program, Writers on the Verge and the StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians.
Synopses of the finalist films are:
B.U.T.S: “SPANISH CLASS” Episode Director: Brendan Colthurst
Writers: Emma Ramos, Irene Lucio, Bernardo Cubria and Timmy Wood
Nominated twice for an Imagen Award for Best Web Series, B.U.T.S is a sketch comedy web series created and starring Irene Lucio and Emma Ramos making fun of themselves and their surroundings through a Latina lens. In each episode, they portray different characters that parody and satirize the many ‘afflictions’ of the modern-day woman. In the “Spanish Class” episode, a couple, Lucy and Timmy, get way more than they bargained for when they set out to learn Spanish in a week. (trailer)
KYENVU Writer & Director: Kemiyondo Coutinho
An independent young Ugandan woman lives through the taunts of using public transport on a daily basis. As she struggles to find her footing in a patriarchal society that entitles men to women’s bodies, she finds love in a bittersweet moment. The film won at the Pan African Film Festival and Zanzibar International Film Festival. (trailer)
MASKS Writer & Director: Mahaliyah Ayla O
A closeted medical student risks being outed to her family on the same evening a masked gunman opens fire at a gay nightclub. “Masks” won the AT&T Audience Award for Best Short Film at the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. (trailer)
MONDAY Writer & Director: Dinh Thai
Kwan is everyone’s one-stop shop for anything stolen or illicit, but his reasons for hustling are not as clear-cut as they seem. While maneuvering between disparate cliques and facing racism, he’ll be forced to question the immorality of his occupation. “Monday” was a first place winner at the HBO APA Visionaries and won Best Direction at the New York Television Festival. (trailer)
RANI Writer & Director: Hammad Rizvi
In the streets of Pakistan, a socially outcast transgender woman sets out to take care of an abandoned child. “Rani” won the Fox Inclusion Award at Outfest Los Angeles. (trailer)
WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE Director: Honora Talbott
Writers: Bill Posley and Honora Talbott
When a newlywed Latinx couple moves into a trendy, gentrifying LA neighborhood, two hipsters invite themselves over to offer a "warm welcome." But as the night goes on, it’s clear these neighbors are not what they seem: cold pressed, cold brewed and cold blooded. (trailer)
About the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
Founded in 2006, the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is the first and only film festival created and run by an entertainment studio solely dedicated to celebrating the importance of diversity in entertainment and discovering the next generation of storytellers. The annual bicoastal program is a nationwide search for diverse talent, both in front of and behind the camera, including those from ethnically diverse backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ community and female content creators. Winners are awarded with prizes ranging from development meetings and holding deals with NBCUniversal to cash grants and industry standard software and camera packages. Festival alumni include Steven Caple Jr. (“Creed 2”), Hasan Minhaj (“The Daily Show”), Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and Simone Missick (“Luke Cage”). For more information, visit NBCUshortsFEST.com #NBCUshortsFEST
About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)
Since 2000, NBC has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Female Forward, Emerging Director Program, Alternative Directors Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Deon Cole, Donald Glover, Lil Rel Howery, Mindy Kaling, Danny Pudi, Natasha Rothwell, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Keto Shimizu and Alan Yang. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.