Shorts Subjects Search for Identity & Meaning of Life | 2015 Dallas International Film Festival—April 9-19

Shorts Subjects Search for Identity & Meaning of Life

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by Holly Wright
DIFF Writer

“Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.” Anais Nin’s words are explored in a variety of ways in the some of the shorts offered at the festival.


In MELVILLE, written and directed by James Johnston, there is a juxtaposition of a man receiving devastating news while he and his wife are also about to have a child. This new adversity causes him to return to the music he loved in order to find the strength to face it head on.


Facing having a child head on, is not something that Luke wants to do in +/-written and directed by Andy Irvine and Mark Smoot. A couple comes to terms with what having a child would mean for their lives if the pregnancy test Ashley holds has a plus sign. Seconds tick by like hours for a couple not really sure who they are yet individually, much less as a couple. Unsure how committed they are to one another, this new development brings out true feelings.


OH LUCY!, directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, shows how a woman can stop feeling anything when her life has become a grind of lonliness and work. Setsuko’s identity has been lost as the years tick by, until she gets a chance to take English classes. A simple shift in her routine transforms her. Misfortune strikes and at first, she returns to her cheerless life, but then, that seed of hope starts to bloom and she realizes that she can control her destiny.


In TREADING WATER, directed by Liz Cardenas Franke, Veronica is taking care of her elderly father and feels as stuck in her life as Setsuko was. Her father’s caregiver is not the life she expected herself to be living, but then realizes that maybe becoming this person is an even better version of herself. This may be the first challenge that she has actually stepped up to accept.


A man’s destiny is realized in GRAND ZERO, directed by Kevin Oeser. When Peter’s parents die, he returns with his family to his home town, when he must confront his childhood. His parents sold DreamStar products and had achieved Gold status on the pyramid. Peter has resented it his whole life and fought to keep that from defining who he was. Ironically, they bequeath him their gold status and now he is faced with fighting that identity, literally.


Fighting his identity is further explored in THE OUTFIT, directed by Yen Tan. James is running for Congress from inside the closet. When an outfit he wears to a fundraiser gets some media attention as being “gay”, he is haunted by his true self that he has tried so hard to keep hidden. He keeps trying to bury it both metaphorically and physically.




L.M. Kit Carson (Posthumously)
Lone Star State legend and influential writer, actor and producer Carson first gained recognition as creator of the mockumentary, DAVID HOLZMAN’s DIARY (1968), and co-wrote PARIS, TEXAS (1984).

Blythe Danner
Danner is well regarded for her roles in films such as MEET THE PARENTS and THE GREAT SANTINI. The Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress is alos know for her work on television shows such as Will & Grace and Huff.

John Landis
A director for more than 40 years, Landis' films include NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1980), THE BLUES BROTHERS (1978) and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981).

Learn more about the honorees

Presented by REEL FX

Phil Lord and Chris Miller
are the prolific writing and directing duo behind some of today’s most successful comedy films including, THE LEGO MOVIE, 21 & 22 JUMP STREET and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.

Learn more about the honorees


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