2020 MWFF Documentary Short Film Showcase

11 short documentary films from around the world have been selected for our 2020 MWFF Documentary Short Film Showcase!*

All showcases for the #2020MWFF will be available for viewing from 9am (CST) Friday, September 18th through Sunday, September 20th at 7pm (CST). You can get your tickets online and in advance by clicking the link below.


Selected Films:

What God Wants (United States)

A young and successful lawyer from Chicago is questioning if what he does is meaningful enough. He decides to follow his internal call and try to become a priest. Only then he discovers what his true purpose in this world is.

Director: Mykhailo Bogdanov

Director Statement

This film is about finding yourself and trying different steps during the search process. We all sometimes question our path and not everyone is in the right place throughout their lives. I believe that we all will be more united only when everyone will truly find their own purpose. I know Jeff for many years now, and I was present and supportive during his journey. I was very inspired by his decisions, so I made this film to inspire others. It doesn’t matter what status everyone has in our society; it matters that we find our true selves and a meaningful purpose. I believe that we must present positive examples of each other to be better and to make this world better.

The Minstrel (Mexico)
*Award Finalist – Documentary Short

A musician of “Son jarocho” travels Mexico City in his effort for not be forgotten.

Director: Hernán Perera

Director Statement

I am interested in making movies that invites to reflect on some topic about reality.

The Flow Effect (Australia)
*Award Finalist – Student Documentary Short

Diving down into the vast beauty of the ocean, young Freediver, Olivia Rose reveals the magic and tranquility of the underwater world, and her amazing capacity to reach seemingly unreachable depths – an ability that lies within all of us.

Director: Lachlan Henry

Director’s Statement:
All my life, I have been in constant awe of our ocean. Growing up by it’s shores, it never ceases to amaze me how a trip down to the beach can instantly make you feel cleansed, even if it is just for a moment. The idea of Freediving has always captivated me and the more I researched, the more I have come to terms with why people push their bodies to reach such depths.

Darling Pet Monkey (United States)
*Award Finalist – Documentary Short

In 1969, two young brothers ordered a monkey from an ad in the back of a monster magazine. After the postal carrier delivered the box — things got weird.

Tim Tate’s true’s story has been covered on NPR and made into a musical. This is the story’s first cinematic telling. A co Launch Over/FNF production.

Director: Jim McDonough

Empathy Trip (Japan)
*Award Finalist – Student Documentary Short

Thet Swe Win, a peace activist in Myanmar, departs for Bangladesh to meet persecuted Rohingya minority Muslims even though the majority of Burmese Buddhists neglect and revile the Rohingya. Thet was once detained at Bangladesh immigration and deported to Myanmar, but his challenge continues.

Director: Toru Kubota

Director Statement

“Empathy Trip” captures the actuality of the Rohingya issue by following the first-person perspective of this Burmese activist. In covering the Rohingya issue over the past five years, I’ve faced a severe backlash from the majority of Burmese Buddhists. I heard many of my Burmese friends claiming that the international coverage is fake and biased when it comes to the Rohingya issue. This is what Thet is trying to overcome.

I had exclusive access to Thet’s project of building an alliance with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. I spent more than a half year with him to complete “Empathy Trip”, including filming his unsuccessful attempt to visit the Rohingya camp and deportation, as well as his later moving meeting with usually suspicious Rohingya refugees. During the intimate filming with Thet during his journey to Bangladesh, I recorded not only the actuality of divided Myanmar but also a glimpse of hope for bridging the divide in future.

Pain and Repair (Germany)

Currently, several million objects of non-European origin sit within ethnological museums across Germany. Severed from the sites which once gave them their intended purpose and meaning, their unsettling presence is now a testimony to an ugly colonial past.

Director: Emil Klattenhoff

Director Statement

Every place, every object has its history. Only rarely someone comes to our homes and takes these objects away from their place, out of their history.

About one year ago I visited the ethnological museum in Munich. It’s located in Maximilianstraße, one of Munich’s large and expensive shopping streets, and I was surprised to see how crowded it was. Many small groups and families, mostly tourists visiting the city. I was expecting to find them in of the city’s big and important museums, but not here. Then I figured that there is nothing these large museums exhibit that the families don’t get to see somewhere else. The ethnological museums, however, are the only places where they can see their native statues, vases, masks. At home, their museums are empty. Out of the uneasiness I felt from this realization, this film was born. Nobody just goes to someone’s home and helps oneself to desirable objects, one might think.

Bananas Girl (United States)

Seven-year-old Bananas Girl asserts her independence, perfects the art of the non-sequitur and navigates the boundaries between herself and her mom. The film exists in the intersection of home movies, performance art and documentary, incorporating a mother’s and daughter’s obsessions and their parallel views of what it means to be creative.

Director: Shayna Connelly

Director Statement

Most portrayals of modern girlhood are fiction.

All children are creative with language and delight their parents with their insights, mispronunciations and cute phrasing. As the lone family extrovert, my daughter talked (and talks) non-stop, formulating her ideas in the process of speaking, often with bizarre results. There is no censorship of thought, no consideration of propriety, no inkling that her voice could be devalued for being female. Her utterances are surreal, beautiful and hilarious. She is an outspoken, direct and brutally honest human who is also caring and optimistic.

Bananas Girl is aware of her audience and enjoys delighting them with non-sequiturs, absurd questions [“wait, is this my face?”] and visual metaphors. When she went to Kindergarten, I waited for her divergent thinking to fade and be replaced is by the rule- and logic-oriented thinking instilled through our educational system. But at the end of grade school her creative world view persists. She has changed, certainly, but her poet’s heart hangs on.

In the Shadows (United Arab Emirates)
*Award Finalist – Documentary Short

In The Shadows is an attempt to recreate the family situation during the twenty-five days a close family member spent in a detention center, confined with another 30 people in a space of around six square meters.

Director: Mildred Garcerant

Director Statement

Having a brother imprisoned, an unprecedented situation in my family, was an exercise of empathy with the troubled, not only my brother, but the others. It was about being with them, about imagining the situation they lived, their day to day under miserable conditions.

Molokaʻi ʻĀina Momona: Nā Huakaʻi o ʻO Hina I Ka Mālama (United States)

Join the Hawaiian Language Immersion program at Molokaʻi High School as they travel to special places, learn about Molokaʻi’s abundant resources, and perpetuate the ways of the Molokaʻi kupuna! They work in the loʻi kalo of Hālawa and Waialua valleys, work to restore Kahina Pōhaku fishpond, and gather fish for their graduation ceremony.

Director: Kauiwai Poepoe Mollena

Marasim – Beyond Borders (United Arab Emirates)

Expats from two nations at war, bond in a foreign land over their common love and form everlasting camaraderie beyond borders. Their marasim (connection) fades away their partition.

Director: Priscilla Elias

Director Statement

My grandpa was an Indian soldier so I grew up hearing India-Pakistan war tales. Recent tensions between the two nations and the expat friendship stories in UAE motivated me to make Marasim: Beyond Borders. I found charming characters that love cricket, which added layers to the story, even if one person smiles at the end of my movie I will feel rewarded!

Aina Pulapula (United States)
*Award Finalist – Student Documentary Short

This short documentary shares the story of Molokaʻi homesteader Bobby Alcain, his views on growing food, and his hopes for Molokai’s future. This film was created by ʻOhana Learning Alliance (OLA Molokaʻi) students who frequently visit Uncle Bobby’s farm for their papa mahiʻai (farming class).

Director: Virtuous Kaʻahanui

* A note that due to the move online because of COVID – not all films selected for the 2020 MWFF will be available for screening online.

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