Short films can go a long way. Especially when they’re showcased at the Sundance Film Festival. The festival’s Shorts program, which was announced today, has a tradition of identifying remarkable filmmakers as well as introducing stories that ultimately make it to the big-screen as features. For example, David O. Russell brought his first film, a short titled Bingo Inferno to Sundance in 1987, while Half Nelson, which earned Ryan Gosling his first Oscar nomination, grew out of Ryan Fleck’s 2004 Sundance short titled, Gowanus, Brooklyn. “If you look back at the directors who got their start by having a short at Sundance, the list is really impressive,” says Sundance’s director of programming Trevor Groth, who points out that last year’s short, Whiplash, is back this year as a full-length feature. “So for us it’s always nice to see that trajectory.”
This year, there were 66 shorts selected in the U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary, and Animated categories. On paper, the slate is full of quirky tales: in I’m a Mitvah, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) spends a night with his dead friend after his plan to bring the body home from Mexico for a proper burial is delayed by a cancelled flight. And it’s difficult to top this quick synopsis for the Canadian short, Life’s a Bitch: “Love. Grief. Choc. Denial. Sleeplessness. Bubble bath. Mucus. Masturbation. Pop tart. Pigeons. Toothpaste. Hospital. F__k. Bye. Hair. Sports. Chicken. Bootie. Kids. Rejection. Squirrels. Cries. Awkward — 95 scenes, five minutes: life’s a bitch.”
Two notable documentaries are Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. (above), which explores the work of the actor’s father, an abstract expressionist who passed away 20 years ago. In Untucked, Community‘s Danny Pudi laces up with the 1977 Marquette University basketball team, the colorful NCAA champions who set the fashion with their “untucked” jerseys.
Click below for the entire Shorts list: READ FULL STORY