2024 Official Film Selections

The 2024 West Chester Film Festival is presented by our generous sponsors. Our Film Venue is Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.
[Insert Short Film Title]
Kory Orban/Canada/Comedy/12:21

In the mind of every filmmaker, there are two wolves locked in an epic, eternal, and fierce battle for control and influence.  The combatants? The analytical left brain and the whimsical right. [INSERT SHORT FILM TITLE] personifies these cerebral hemispheres in the monumentally (or at least marginally) comedic performances of Chrissy Mozylisky and Matthew MacCaull, evoking the cinematic manifestation of that cerebrum arm wrestle in the form of a meta-troll of the short film genre.  Delicately straddling the line between homage and parody, ISFT stands on the shoulders of giants, taking filmic inspiration from sources as varied as classical German Expressionism, adrenaline fueled American action movies, the daring Danish Dogme95 independent movement, literal internet memes, and many, many more.  ISFT accomplishes all of this while constraining itself to a tight 12-ish minute run time and while taking on the herculean, virtually-impossible task of getting an audience to be genuinely excited to watch other people’s short films.  Box office smash? Maybe. Oscar-bait? Cha-duh. Good enough to be accepted into semi-reputable film festivals? Oh God, please, God.

109 Below
Nick Martini/CA/United States/Documentary/13:49

109 Below tells a tale of resilience and grit when elite rescue volunteers go out of their way to save the lives of strangers. An attempted rescue on Mount Washington in 1982 changed not only the course of two climbers’.

A Close Encounter
Adam Linkenhelt/CA/United States/Comedy/15:11

A serendipitous meeting between Thomas and Ashley on an almost empty flight leads to revelations they were never expecting.Featured in the Saturday, April 29 6:00 pm film collection

A Good Day Will Come
Amir Zargara/Canada/Drama/29:59
Arash is a professional wrestler with dreams of representing his country and winning gold medals. The country is in turmoil and its people are suffering. Arash must decide between using his platform to stand up to tyranny, or put his head down and remain silent. 

Ah-Ma Burns
Max Kane/CA/United States/Drama/12:44

On the anniversary of her husband’s passing, an ailing woman joins her grandson at a Friendsgiving dinner where she is administered life-altering medicine.

All Units Respond
Patricia Christakos/NY/United States/Art/Experimental/1:42

All Units Respond

An Avocado Pit
Ary Zara/Portugal/Drama/19:38

Larissa, a trans woman and Cláudio, a cis man, meet one night, in the streets of Lisbon. Two people, two realities, who dance their differences away till morning light. In challenge, in surprise, in awe and in recognition. An empowering story, free from violence and filled with light and hope for the better days yet to come.

And That’s For This Christmas
Peter Vulchev/Bulgaria/Drama/14:40
While preparing the details for his own funeral, an elderly man realises that he will be celebrating Christmas alone. Unable to fall asleep, he decides to spend the holiday at the grave of his deceased wife. 
Astronaut
Brian McCole/PA/United States/Comedy/5:52 
An astronaut deals with a rapidly failing spacecraft, leading to a surprising resolution.
Bird Hours
Kyle Dubiel/NJ/United States/Drama/17:58
In a dystopian near-future,  a young couple slowly realizes their mega-corporation employer’s VR work-from-home routine is draining the life out of their relationship and must decide whether to lose their humanity or break free. 
Bridges
Jonathan Davenport & Kris Theorin/PA/United States/Animation/13:23

Created by WWE Superstar Ettore “Big E” Ewen, Narrative Designer Jonathan Davenport & Cultural Journalist Andreas Hale, Our Heroes Rock is a family-friendly storytelling collective dedicated to spreading awareness and love of Black History and its many Heroes. OHR uses Sci-Fi, Animation and HipHop to shine a spotlight on the inventors, artists and activists of Black History who paved the way for so many that came after them. Unlock the past. Face the future. Make History Every Day.

Brooding
Michael Quinn/PA/United States/Drama/14:59    

When wildlife photographer Tara returns home from a photo trip to the California mountains, she’s beset by violent agoraphobia. Her boyfriend Matthew tries to get her into treatment as she escalates episodes of self-harm, convincing herself that her house has become home to a dark insect brood.

Bug Therapy
Jason Reisig/TX/United States/Animation/8:54

It’s a story about a mosquito who faints at the sight of blood.  Her name is Citronella. And, she’s trying to find the courage to enter group therapy for the first time. The therapy group is run by a pill bug therapist, named Dr. Pill.

Canvas
Logan McCurry/PA/United States/Drama/10:00

Jackson, a Vietnam War Veteran, uses his art to work through his trauma and PTSD.  

Daisy
Stephen Charles Konnovitch/PA/United States/Drama/14:08

A troubled man gives the eulogy for his deceased girlfriend, each line of his speech revealing his role in her demise.

Dead Cat
Annie-Claude Caron, Danick Audet/Canada/Comedy/12:30

What were Catherine and Louis thinking when they chose a cat with distinctive white spots? It would have been much easier to replace if they had picked the all-back one! Now, they will have to tell their daughter Sophie that Nugget’s dead. Unless….

Demi-Goddesses
Martin Gerigk/Germany/Art/Experimental/7:25

‘Demi-Goddesses’ is the second essay about still dominant dark aspects of our modern society. It is conceived as a surreal anti-patriarchal thought experiment and raises important questions about gender, power, and social change, prompting us to reflect on how historical patterns of discrimination and oppression might be either repeated or overcome in a reversed gendered world. It challenges the viewer to confront their own assumptions and biases, and to consider the possibilities of a more equitable society.  Overall, the intention of the film is that it will spark conversations and inspire the viewer to imagine a world where gender is not a limiting factor. At best, the audience will leave the theater with a greater awareness of the issues and a sense of possibility for a just future.

Dinosaurs Are Dead
Anya Swanson/TX/United States/Student Drama/12:18

Based on a true story, a young girl’s perspective on life changes when she must take care of her mother during an epileptic seizure. 

Discovering Ella
Kathi Carey/United States/Drama/8:23

The (mostly) true story of the greatest jazz drummer you’ve never heard of (Chick Webb) who stumbled upon a 16-year-old singer and nurtured her into a legend.

Face Swap
David Gidali/United States/Comedy/5:01

Featuring two internationally recognized A-list movie stars, FACE SWAP makes first-of-its-kind use of controversial machine-learning algorithms to deliver a cautionary tale about where our society is headed.  A guy convinces his wife to try out a new A.I. technology to spice up their sex life, but he ends up getting a bit more spice than he bargained for. 

Fading Giants
Sindre Kolbjørnsgard/Norway/Documentary/19:57

In the summer of 2022, a team of passionate mountaineers embarked on an two week expedition to highlight the devastating consequences of climate change. Through the Norwegian mountains their journey becomes a revelation, igniting a sense of urgency to take action.   Equipped with before-and-after photographs they expose the alarming rate at which glaciers are disappearing. The team remains determined despite facing challenges such as inclement weather and treacherous terrain. They meticulously plan to recreate old photographs, showcasing the stark disparities caused by climate change. The dwindling glaciers and transformed landscapes evoke a sense of urgency and sorrow, highlighting the team’s realization that they may be among the last generation to witness nature’s pristine state  “Fading Giants” raises awareness about the pressing issue of climate change and empowers viewers to become catalysts for change in the fight against environmental degradation.  

Fever
Annie Jean Linn/PA/United States/Art/Experimental/1:55
“Fever” explores the unsettling and the unknown as it strays from tradition into the avant-garde, taking you on an almost Lynchian tour of a frantic fever dream. 
Good Girl
Haley Dercher/NY/United States/Comedy/11:37

After ending a six year relationship, a well-behaved, Jewish, OBGYN decides to turn her brain off and her body on by exploring BDSM; instances of which are popping up in the most unusual places.

Greenhouse
Eddie Bick/PA/United States/PA/United States/15:20

While housesitting his girlfriend’s apartment, Stan begins to think one of her houseplants has taken on a life of its own.  

How Sweet the Sound
David Block/PA/United States/Documentary/9:56
John Sutton, a blind African American, stood in the hallways of Suburban Station, Philadelphia, every morning since the 1980s and sang in a clear, rich voice, delighting commuters as they walked by on their way to catch their train or get to their jobs. Although John Sutton sometimes struggled financially, he was in many respects a wealthy man. He had a beautiful singing voice and many people loved him. People often gave him money because listening to his melodic tone made them happy. This video, created from audio recordings, found footage and interviews with his friends after his death in 2021, is a tribute to a man you might have walked past on the sidewalk without noticing him, but if you heard him singing you would never forget him. 
Infraction
Timothy Blackwood/United States/Drama/21:12

When a prison guard is murdered on the job, his replacement and an inmate form an unlikely relationship with life-altering ramifications.   This film is based on the real life story of Philadelphia native Terrance Lewis who served 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Just Laugh
Kemp Brinson/FL/United States/Documentary/16:24

A small-town community theater attempts a fiendishly difficult and dangerous production. The mayhem bares the heart of a community and speaks to the importance of laughter and escape.

Keep You
Sean Foy/MA/United States/Drama/13:00

When a father skips a trip with his wife and daughter in lieu of secret plans connected to another woman, his worst fears come true as he’s confronted by the creepy doll his daughter left behind to keep him company.

Lovesick
Alexander Saul/Denmark/Drama/20:00

At a psychiatric ward, on the last day of the year, Elias finds himself racing against time.  Haunted by hallucinations and fuelled by emotions, he needs to declare his love for his nurse before time runs out.

Machine
Niv Ende/NY/Canada/Drama/9:30

When her mother contracts a mysterious disease, a young scientist tries to build a time machine and travel to the future in order to get the cure.

Making Up
Ryan Paige/United Kingdom/Drama/15:00
Making Up is set in the late 1980s, framed within the gritty drag scene of London’s east end. The short film stars BIFA award-winning Dave Johns, Jessica Ellerby and Carey Thring and follows Ted who is diagnosed with a hereditary illness. Ted must therefore reconcile with estranged daughter, Cassandra. However, being a celebrated drag queen, paired with the bitter feelings Cassandra harbours over their past, presents a larger obstacle for Ted to overcome.
Millie’s Care Free Day
Michael Licisyn/NJ/United States/Drama/9:10
Weighed down and despondent from crushing depression, Millie tries to escape the daily grind by deciding today will be different. However, she must first confront her trauma before it consumes her.
Murder & Ice Cream
Kevin McGrath/PA/United States/Comedy/8:32
A hitman and the man he has been contracted to murder take a road trip to a remote location. Will the childhood dreams and aspirations they share with each other on the ride soften the hitman or can he follow through and complete the hit?
Natalia’s Transformation
Jamila Paksima/PA/United States/Documentary/8:27
This is the story of Natalia, a young girl who spent 9 years of her life in a hospital due to medical complications and it also reports on the work of a remarkable organization in NYC, New Alternatives For Children (NAC) which works with the cities most medically complex children at risk and in foster care.  This film chronicles the challenges Natalia and her family endured and the work of the many caring individuals and experts w supporting the most vulnerable children in New York City and the 5 boroughs.
Nature’s Building Blocks: Hemophilia Treatments Across Generations
Chris Logan Harley/PA/United States/Documentary/6:31
Nicolas and his grandfather, Dave, share a rare genetic condition. Looking back on how it shaped his own childhood, Dave shares how this family has lived with this disease.
Nix’s Symphony
Karina Xiao Loerchner/Canada/Animation/6:00
Libelle, Nix’s mother, possessed exceptional abilities. She not only excelled in the fields of science and engineering, but also gained fame as a distinguished inventor and composer. Nevertheless, at a tender age, Nix, an aspiring musician and inventor in her own right, is now burdened with the responsibility of upholding this remarkable legacy.
O.I.
Victoria Burkhart/Canada/Comedy/18:38

Barry has a unique problem. He came up with a truly original idea. And sharing it has consequences…

Pentaclub [The Club of Five]
Roberto Strazzarino/Italy/Drama/19:59

The year is 1968. Five teenage boys dream of running a movie theater in which they will not show pro-war films. One summer afternoon Giò, Delfo, Max, Ricky and Paolo learn to become trusted friends, indispensable to one another.  A coming-of-age, adventure film about friendship, one with small but large rebellious acts that signal the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. A group of friends, who met in the 1960s, was essential to the film’s production. Therefore, Pentaclub is a film about friendship, both on the screen and behind the scenes.

Persons Set Apart
Gabe Schmidt/OH/United States/Student Documentary/10:00

The true story of a gay pastor who endured years of discrimination to serve his community.

Power
Emma Grosklos/OH/United States/Student Drama/16:27

9 months after her assault, Jane attends a therapy session. By opening up about the long term mental and emotional repercussions this event has had on her, she learns to face her trauma in order to heal.

Pre-Existing Freedom
Frederick Taylor/GA/United States/Art/Experimental/15:00
“Maybe this is the beginning of the rest of my life.”   It’s 2020 in America. A global pandemic has halted life as we knew it. And protests and violence erupt across the country after the death of George Floyd. Fr3deRicK, the filmmaker, from a high rise apartment in Atlanta, GA and then from his outpost in Nashville, questions everything. . . juxtaposing his interior monologue on freedom, isolation and being black in America with scenes captured from the streets.   Woven into the story are soundbites from people who fight for freedom. Some famous and historic figures in the struggle for human rights like John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr. . Some not so famous who take to the streets in protest. Archival slave narratives, an interview with his grandmother and young black women at the funerals of victims of police shootings punctuate a haunting soundtrack put together by Taylor.   Fr3deR1cK asks if this time is the beginning of the rest of his life? Could this time be the best thing that ever happened? Or will history just repeat itself. Who has pre-existing freedom? Who is freedom really for in America The Beautiful?
Precious
Colin Llewellyn/NJ/United States/Student Drama/22:00
Precious follows Mark Young, a mentally distraught HVAC technician, restricted by the demons of his past. After suffering through a divorce, the likes of which he still doesn’t understand, Mark yearns for some semblance of balance and direction, yet lacks any true purpose. For the past seven years, Mark has lived each day aimlessly, a ghost trapped in the body of his former self. Mark goes through the motions as any normal person would, all the while suppressing a deep rage tied very closely to his past relationship and former way of life. Although Mark yearns for a happier life, his inability to think about his past and reflect on his choices prevents him from ever moving on.  After accepting a repair job in an upscale suburban neighborhood, Mark is immediately greeted by the homeowner Bree, a seemingly fearless and financially successful woman, oozing with sarcasm and a surface-level perspective. Mark begins his work like any ordinary day until he hears a voice, one that is ringing and familiar. Following the voice, Mark encounters his ex-wife Vanessa, now in a romantic relationship with Bree. Finally forced to confront his past, will Mark be able to move on, or will seeing the woman he once loved only push him further into repression?
Preschool to Prison
Dr. Karen Baptists/NY/United States/Documentary/16:31

Countless children are educationally lynched in the United States with labels such as emotionally disturbed and intellectually disabled, resulting in children under the age of 8 to be shuffled from school to prison for minor infractions; Meanwhile investors are cashing in on this new form of slavery with Black & brown children being disproportionately impacted the most.   Synopsis:   Preschool to Prison is a compelling examination of how the United States public school system is built and operated like prisons. Zero-tolerance policies are used to justify suspension and arrests that set up a pathway to send children of color and children with special needs to go from school to prison. Children are being suspended, restrained, dragged, physically manhandled, and subsequently arrested for minor offenses such as throwing candy on a school bus. These personal accounts from people affected by the school to prison pipeline give riveting tales about the generational impact on society.

Re-creating Jacqueline Kennedy’s Wedding Dress
Amber Marcoon, Phil Bradshaw/DE/United States/Documentary/7:34
Recreating Jacqueline Kennedy’s Wedding Dress
Ride & Tie
Clare Larsen/CA/United States/Documentary/12:13

A father and his daughter gear up to compete in a unique race known as the Ride & Tie World Championship for the first time in six years. Whether riding their horse, Coda, or running through the woods, this father/daughter duo is determined to set records while strengthening their everlasting bond.

Siren’s Song
Alex Manganella & Samuel O’Connell/PA/United States/Drama/14:59

In 1982, Michael Clark, a struggling musician seeking artistic inspiration, retreats to an abandoned cabin to record a demo, only to encounter a mysterious Siren whose haunting melodies intertwine with his music. The film explores the seductive allure of artistic success and the sacrifices one must make. Blurring the lines between reality and the mystical, “Siren’s Song” unfolds a mysterious tale of passion, sacrifice, and the ethereal power of creativity.

Sleep Mode
Emmet Zabor/MI/United States/Student Animation/4:12
A little robot must arrive at his destination before his timer runs out.
Takin’ It to the Streets: Healthcare Reimagined
Casey Fenoglio/PA/United States/Documentary/8:18

This film highlights the Montgomery County Street Medicine program and the collaborative effort to bring healthcare to those experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County, PA. This short documentary features dialogue from program implementers, as well as conversations with patients receiving healthcare from MontCo Street Medicine. This film emphasizes the need for unique approaches in delivering healthcare and serves as a call to action for public health professionals to reimagine healthcare outside the walls of hospitals and offices. 

Tennis, Oranges
Sean Pecknold/CA/United States/Animation/10:53
A robotic vacuum suffering from burnout quits its job at a hospital and sets out to find community and a greater purpose on a quiet street where two lonely rabbits are stuck in perpetual loops.
The Forest of Souls
Pierre Gaffié/France/Drama/5:00
Mathilde is a young accoustician. Fascinated by the power of sounds, she wants to invent a new way of travelling through time and find the souls of the departed…
The Offering
Wenzhuo Wang/China/Drama/11:07
The Offering is a suspense (thriller) narrative short film about a kidnapper who decides to rescue his kidnapped child after discovering that his employer wants something more than just the ransom. 
The Serena Variations
Warren Andrew Fischer/NY/United States/Drama/28:00
A young female violinist with undiagnosed autism spirals out of control as she works on a new opus with a domineering composer, embarking on a psychedelic journey that both pushes her to the edge of mental collapse and fuels her creative power.
The Setup
Kavita Parekh/NY/United States/Comedy/8:40
An obsessive-compulsive waiter must memorize a list of overly-complicated menu specials before his party arrives.
Today We Climbed A Hill
Gordon LePage/ME/United States/Animation/7:31
Two mice build a mountain to reach a box of Corn Flakes.
Walls Running
Charlotte Griffin/CA/United States/Comedy/2:00
“Walls Running,” a screendance commissioned by Debra Noble at Cal State Fullerton, explores the push and pull of dimensional elasticity and kinetic exchange. During COVID pandemic isolation, the dancers assembled makeshift green screens to capture their solo performances “at home.” With the contemplative music of composer Aaron Chavez and harpist Natalia Yates, choreographer/director Charlotte Griffin and motion graphics artist Jaime Cano immersed the dancers within the intricate paper works of visual artist Michelle Oosterbaan. At a time when we were running up the walls, these artists transcended COVID obstacles to gather together in shared 2D and 2.5D space.
When Pigs Fly
Victoria Patience McClure/PA/United States/Animation/1:22
Hector, an optimistic piglet, is determined to achieve an unlikely goal.
Yellow
Elham Ehsas/United Kingdom/Drama/12:49
In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a woman walks into a chadari store in Kabul to buy her first full-body veil and face an uncertain future.
You Mourn Weird
Nicholas Marchetti/NY/United States/Comedy/8:00
Things spiral out of control as two estranged sisters butt heads at their Father’s wake.

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