VIFF 2023 Schedule
Block #1: 6:00pm-7:40pm
Dark Energy directed by Christy Summerhays (U.S. Narrative, 13 mins) Book club friends contemplate life, religion, and existence in this dark comedy about just how far women will go to protect one another.
Kickstart My Heart directed by Kelsey Bollig (U.S. Narrative, 14 mins) After a brutal car accident, a young woman fights her mind's three levels of hell to wake up again. Trailer
The Gladiators directed by Maryam Rahimi (Iran Narrative, 10 mins) Ali has to pay a debt to prevent the early marriage of his sister Narghe. Trailer
Put Away directed by A.D. Cooper (U.K. Narrative, 11 mins) A woman tries to keep sane in a mental hospital by telling her story to the decaying walls. Trailer
Fish Out of Water directed by Sasha Nelson (U.S. Narrative, 13 mins) A girl is trapped at home with her delusional mother.
Titi directed by Marzieh Fakhar (Iran Narrative, 19 mins) After five years of marriage, AFAB Titi takes all the measures to undergo a transgender procedure when he realizes that he is pregnant.
Infatuation directed by Kristen Skeet (WNY Narrative, 20 mins) A young woman's plan for a quiet, cozy evening quickly unravels.
Block #2: 8:30pm-10:10pm
Night Owls directed by Gabrielle Rosson (U.S. Experimental, 8 mins) Four degenerates in a diner come together in the middle of the night and are transformed by a symbolic dance that represents life, the beauty of suffering, and connection. Trailer
Turning the Pages directed by Sami Carol (WNY Narrative, 5 mins) A short silent film about a young lady that has never really let go of the past.
A Woman on The Outside directed by Lisa Riordan Seville and Zara Katz (U.S. Documentary, 1 hr 25 mins) Krista is a young and ambitious Philadelphian driven to keep families connected to their incarcerated loved ones. But when her father and brother return from prison, she confronts the ultimate question: can she reunite her own family. Trailer
Block #3: 1:00pm-2:55pm
Nerea's Way directed by Mercedes Aranguren (Spain Documentary, 29 mins) Through the testimonies of several people, we discover the strength and personality of Nerea, an 11-year-old girl who, without intending it, marked their lives.
Max & Taco (Get Their Sh*t Together) directed by Caitlin Ferrell (U.S. Student Film, 15 mins) Max has been sober for six months. In all that time, she hasn’t played music. On the eve of her first concert back, she loses her dog Taco. Will she relapse? Will she make it to play her concert?
Shadowed Reflections directed by Emma Mackenzie (U.S. Narrative, 15 mins) Mark is a traditionalist who immigrated to the USA from Ireland with his wife Aoife to achieve the Perfect American Dream. Aoife yearns to pursue her career that she gave up to support her husband and raise their daughter. The discovery of a lie changes everything. Trailer
True Believers at the Insurrection: Road to the Capitol directed by Sandi Bachom (U.S. Documentary, 18 mins) One journalist's eyewitness account of the attack on democracy. Trailer
The Color Grey directed by Bella C Sonen (U.S. Student Film, 15 min) An artist's hand injury causes her to spiral from the lack of control and she has to learn who she is outside of her art. Trailer
Sister Kelly's Glass Journey directed by Gayle Petri (WNY Documentary, 22 mins) Documentary about a Sister who is part of the Glass Association of America.
Block #4: 3:30pm-4:30pm
All In the Water directed by Judy Larson (U.S. Documentary, 19 mins) Raises volumes on stories shared by people of color passionate about fly fishing. Trailer
MissUnderstood Monster directed by Lindsay Serrano (U.S. Narrative, 15 mins) A driven 30-something woman struggles to endure a visit from her menstrual demon while juggling a career, dating, an active social life, and her monster junk food cravings. Trailer
Opprobrium directed by Missy Bell (U.S. Narrative, 8 mins) Her date was successful but now she must face the monster within. Trailer
Your Move directed by May Suri (U.S. Student Film, 8 mins) After a virus wipes out most of the human race, a young girl copes with being the last person on earth by staying optimistic and by hoping for a companion. Trailer
Simulacrum directed by Taylor Martin (WNY Narrative, 8 mins) After years of separation, a family discovers they can enter the memories of their deceased father, finding closure and a deeper understanding of their relationship. Trailer
Block #5: 6:30pm-8:00pm
The Aftermath directed by LaChelle Joy Hunt (U.S. Narrative, 7 mins) Moody Common Era drama. Evelyn arrives in California in 1912 after traveling across America to pursue her dreams once shared with another. She deals with being alone on this journey and looks through her darkness to find a new light.
Unpacking directed by Alexandra Clayton and Michal Sinnott (U.S. Narrative, 1 hr 20 mins) Six women sold on the promise of radical transformation travel to Bali into the hands of an Instagram guru and her Indonesian assistant and get slapped with reality. Change is messy AF! Trailer
Block #6: 9:00pm-9:55pm
Letter of Truth directed by Brittany Severance (U.S. Narrative, 10 mins) Nina borrows her husband Jim's car to go Christmas-gift-shopping with her sister Claire and discovers a terrible secret that could destroy her marriage.
The Gnardashians directed by Julieana Rusnak (U.S. Documentary, 17 mins) A group of friends get to the bottom of what it really means to be gnarly in this documentary.
Illuminated directed by Brittany Severance (U.S. Experimental, 11 mins) The movement of engineered light at different locations through the perspective of someone with low vision, based on the artist's own visually impaired experience.
The Last Option directed by Victoria Hutton (WNY Narrative, 17 mins) When gecko researcher Olivia moves back home after completing a study grant, she seems to have forgotten how to relate to other people. When she goes to a house party, will she meet with human connection or will her inability to sense danger lead to her own demise? Trailer
Block #7: 1:30pm-3:20pm
La Colectiva: Immigrant Diaries directed by Leigh-Anna Nielsen (U.S. Student Film, 16 mins) The stories of unaccompanied Latinx immigrant children that the director was writing about in Fall, 2020, told through speech and dance.
Las Abogadas: Attorneys on the Front Lines of the Migrant Crisis directed by Victoria Bruce (U.S. Documentary, 1 hr 32 mins) For four extraordinary women who practice immigration law, the refugee crisis is a call to action they can't ignore.
Block #8: 4:00pm-5:15pm
Ekai directed by Arantza Ibarra Basañez (Spain Documentary, 20 mins) A short documentary depicting the story of young transgender boy Ekai Lersundi, who took his own life in 2018 after struggling with the bureaucracy surrounding hormone replacement therapy assignment. Trailer
Luz directed by Cristina Urgel (Spain Narrative, 16 mins) At two months pregnant, Luz loses her child. Her aunt visits in an attempt to help her, but the atmosphere becomes tense when she confesses to Luz that she decided to have an abortion when she was young.
Impression directed by Dinah Rokhinson (U.S. Narrative, 30 mins) A young woman named Emily dreams of owning her own photography business, but when life doesn't go as planned, it's up to her to find her route to success.
Resurrection Day directed by Sabrina Peña Young (WNY Experimental, 9 mins) In her first film since the pandemic started, Sabrina Peña Young plays a despondent preacher giving her final sermon in a gritty post-pandemic apocalypse.
Block #9: 7:30pm-9:00pm
Alone directed by Kristen Skeet (WNY Narrative, 2 mins) Woman narrates the end of civilization.
Mother of Color directed by Dawn Jones Redstone (U.S. Narrative, 1 hr 27 mins) Noelia, a whip-smart community organizer and single mother of two constantly has to make hard choices between her kids and her career. When she’s offered the chance to interview for a position that could change everything, she begins receiving mysterious messages from her ancestors. Noelia senses that something bigger is at play as she works through a series of obstacles to get to the interview and follow her dreams. Trailer
Block #10: 6:15pm-8:00pm
CityTREES: Partners in Breathing directed by Kristin Reiber Harris (U.S. Animation, 4 mins) Documentary Short. Animation. Love letter to neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Tell Me About Orange directed by Robin Noonan-Price (U.S. Narrative, 7 mins) When his best girl friend expresses her romantic feelings, a blind teenage boy struggles to express his. He realizes that sometimes love really is blind.
The Photographer of the Volcano directed by Mar Navarro Llombart (Portugal Documentary, 1 hr 20 mins) The Portuguese female photographer Hilda Rebelo has been forgotten by history. The discovery of her comes from research around the images and the photographers that immortalized the Capelinhos volcano eruption on the Portuguese island of Faial, in the Azores archipelago (1957-1958).
Billy Must Live directed by Taylor Martin (WNY Narrative, 10 mins) A group of mercenaries seek refuge during the zombie apocalypse and meet the handyman, their only hope, Billy. Their greatest asset is also their biggest liability. Trailer
Block #11: 8:15pm-10:10pm
Made of Flesh directed by Florence Rochat and Séréna Robin (France Narrative, 19 mins) Lucie is training to become a hostess at a motor show. A lifelong car enthusiast, she secretly hopes to be noticed by the prestigious EBBE brand. However, she's unaware that her trainers have only one goal: to make her and 15 girls into premium women. Trailer
Psychogeography of Mourning directed by Shayna Connelly (U.S. Experimental 9 mins) Static imagery and unpredictable sound reconcile the contradictory interior and exterior experiences grief elicits.
I Think It's Broken directed by Kimberlee Peterson (U.S. Narrative, 5 mins) I Think it's Broken is a conversation between a fractured couple dealing with the loss of their infant.
Pregnant directed by Golnaz Jamsheed (Iran Narrative, 12 mins) Based on a short story by the French author Anna Gavalda, "Pregnant" is about a woman becoming a mother for the second time, preparing for the unknown.
The Dark Horse of Suffragettes directed by Nina Bhalla and Swati Chugh (U.K. Documentary, 10 mins) In 2020, during lockdown in the U.K., Barbara, an ardent campaigner for Women's Rights for over 20 years, discovered a neglected old building: Dorset Hall in Wimbledon, owned by Britain’s biggest housing association. The building was a famous refuge for suffragettes from prison and was owned by Rose Lamartine Yates the militant suffragette and close friend of Emily Wilding Davison. Trailer
Trapped directed by Sheri Van Geest (Australia, Narrative, 15 mins) Two estranged friends reunite after 15 years apart. Henry, an Indigenous Australian father who's been left to raise his disabled son, and Robert, an ex-conman who has recently been released from prison. Their reunion at a cafe teaches them not all cages have bars.
Beach Day directed by Robin Johnson (U.S. Narrative, 14 mins) A newlywed unwinds with a solo day at the beach full of peculiar activities.
112 directed by Mireia Boté (Spain, Narrative, 17 mins) Emma is a shy, weak pregnant woman who has stabbed her abusive husband in the kitchen. Emma rushes to dial 112 (911), but when she presses the call button, she wonders if she and her children would be better off without her husband...
Birdhouse directed by Jessica Prudencio (U.S. Narrative, 11 mins) A curious young boy and his family arrive at an AirBnb filled with birdhouses that are both whimsical...and haunting.
Block #12: 6:15pm-8:00pm
Fortune Teller directed by Julia Tutko-Balena (U.S. Narrative, 10 mins) Claire decides on a whim to get her fortune told. She gets more than she bargained for.
A Better Place directed by Jennifer Fearnley (U.K. Documentary, 33 mins) Documentary about the toxic legacy of British-Colonial laws that criminalizes consensual same-sex love. Trailer
Guidance directed by Julia Tutko-Balena (U.S. Narrative, 9 mins) A woman is going to a funeral. Her friend stops by to offer a sympathetic ear. What does one think about in the depths of grief?
Rusalka directed by Victoria Hutton (WNY Music Video, 4 mins) Music video set to the aria "Mêsicku na nebi hlubokém"/"Song to the Moon" from the opera "Rusalka" by Antonín Dvořák.
Forgotten Song directed by Monika Grzybowska (Poland Narrative, 40 mins) A young boy comes to the Friendship Settlement, where the Soviet builders of the Palace of Culture and Science lived in the 1950s, in search of accommodation for his grandparents from Ukraine. Here he meets a girl singing in the choir, who becomes his guide. Seemingly, it is a love story that cannot happen because of the war in Ukraine, but more deeply it is a story about finding your identity.
Give the Gate directed by Taylor Martin (WNY Narrative, 6 mins) In a modern noir portrayal, James lives the life of a gangster, and the life of a lover. When faced with an impossible course of action, he has an important decision to make. But…is he ever really in control?
Block #13: 8:30pm-10:30pm
Shut the Box directed by Brittany Benedict (U.S. Narrative, 16 min) As Jennifer finds herself aged out of the foster care system, she must clear out the house her grandfather left her. She enlists the help of her two friends, other fosters she met in the system. Things take a dark turn when they play a simple game and unleash the supernatural powers of Roma. Trailer
Popcorn directed by Monica Dolado (Spain, Narrative, 13 mins) A rapist is captured. Three women eat popcorn and watch him while deciding what to do with him.
You Don't Have to Take Orders from the Moon directed by Jaina Cipriano (U.S. Experimental 19 mins) A short horror film about a tortured woman who must decide how deep into her own darkness she is willing to tread as a looming, omnipotent force promises her everything she has ever wanted. Trailer
No Clickbait directed by Carla Gobe (Spain, Narrative, 15 mins) Returning from a New Year’s Eve party, Lola and Montse discover that they've been robbed, but the burglar is still in their home. After going into panic mode, they accidently kill him and try to get rid of his body.
Women on a Roll directed by Alma Tabernero (Netherlands Documentary, 20 mins) A short documentary that travels through the past, present and future of roller skating culture in the city of Amsterdam through the eyes of women skaters. Trailer
Roads Not Taken directed by Kat Rohrer (Austria, Narrative, 19 mins) The accidental meeting of Liz and Rachel after a long time opens old wounds and brings repressed feelings back to the surface.
Places That Are Mine directed by Johanna Ziegler (U.S. Student Film, 9 mins) A young woman guides viewers through a tour of her life since moving to college two years prior, reflecting on the complicated meanings of each place she visits.
Subscribed directed by Diana Porter (U.S. Narrative, 11 mins) Carol has created a comfortable life in her apartment thanks to her friendly AI helper, Vicki, who observes and anticipates her every need. But who is in control?