Our 16th annual event will be held in-person at the RPL Nordlof Theater on September 15th, 16th, and 17th. You can purchase your full fest or individual day passes online here.

Screenings not sold out in advance online will have tickets for sale at the box office beginning on Sept. 15th. A full weekend pass is just $10 and a one-day ticket is $5. We accept credit or cash. High School and College students with a valid school ID can receive a daily pass for free if seats are available. You will need to check in-person with the box office the day you plan on attending.

Filmmakers who have work in the festival receive a full fest VIP pass that allows for them and a guest to attend any session. They may pick those up at the RPL Nordlof Theater box office any day of the fest.


Friday, September 15th

NARRATIVE SHORTS / SESSION ONE (11:00 am – 12:30pm)
The Sound of the Shell
Lee On (13, female) was left at her grandmother (68, female)‘s house in the countryside after her parents died in an accident. She’s just uncomfortable with her grandmother.
Directed by: Kim Jung Min
(Republic of Korea)

Good Grief
Brandon is visited by his recently deceased girlfriend and discovers that haunting can have its advantages.
Directed by: Hamish Macgregor

See You Tomorrow
Ali is a lonely man, who’s facing a thread of losing sight. He has 24 hours to decide, whenever to take a risky surgery. Upcoming event leads him on both a physical and emotional journey.
Directed by: Iga Zelazny
(United Arab Emirates)

The Mall Man
“Death of a Salesman” goes to the mall in this darkly comic satire of American consumerism and the fading status of shopping malls in contemporary society.
Directed by: Dustin Morrow

1700 lbs.
Directed by: Solomon Goluboff-Schragger, Amelia Maxham, Cate Slaughter, Zaharra Colla, & Turner O’Neal
A quiet, moving meditation on grief and the ways in which the loss of a loved one can manifest in other parts of a young person’s life.

A young man must face his fears to make a personal purchase.
Directed by: Jordan Held

The Little Astronaut
At the start of their weekend trip, a couple decides to stop by the House of Books. They want to donate a box of children’s books. An exercise in letting go.
Directed by: Kuba Szutkowski
(The Netherlands)

Kino Gold
A photo developer who works at a developments shop has a regular customer that sends wholesome and lovely photographs of herself and her husband, until one evening, the developer discovers that the woman sent in a new reel with only herself.
Directed by: Irma Čakarić

An Island Drifts

Set in Singapore, a young teacher presses for the truth from a maladjusted student, the act leads to devastating results and they suffer the ignominy of losing everything that matters to them.
Directed by: Vivian Ip

Aisle 5

An ordinary store clerk finds himself with an unusual responsibility during his shift.
Directed by: Christina Russell, Heidi Dalton, DeAriss Hope, Gail Cox, & Isaac Bouw

The Site of Unsure
A colorful and expressive film/animation hybrid in memory of my late mother.
Directed by: Zachary Howatt

Skate Scratch
Fancy Lad, a crew of skateboarders, performs ridiculous tricks to scratch up a 16mm film of skateboarding while a skate material DJ scratches up the film’s sounds.
Directed by: Wyatt Cunningham

In the Peruvian village of Palma Real, a member of the Ese’Eja nation shares the story of falling in love and running away with his wife. As he urges for their memory to live on, he slowly slips into a haunting reverie.
Directed by: Dylan Trupiano

Anchor Point
Anchor Point is a staged video that follows a man’s journey through extreme natural environments, where he is dealing with an unexpected crisis illustrated by the forces of nature.
Directed by: Dafna Tal

The Big Job
“The Big Job” is an experimental action/adventure film made with found footage and direct camera less animation. It has the look and feel of a coming attraction, TV opening for a cheap spy/cop show or a cheesy action film.
Directed by: John Dawson

The Stream XII
In the artificial environment of the paddy field, water—an element of nature—follows the rules of the artificial. As a result, nature is made abstract, giving rise to a new form of beauty distinct from the natural state.
Directed by: Hiroya Sakurai

The King in Yellow
In a place forgotten by man, before the primordial forces that bind the universe settled, time stood still. The Inhabitants of this frozen place went by no name. They were driven by fear, death, and chaos. Generations were born and slaughtered under the twin suns for glory, the gods, and fun. Hidden in these endless sacrifices a god spoke back.
Directed by: Cole Frederick

My experimental short film Howl was written at a time when I needed to purge many of those emotions. You give your best to a position and hope it’ll be genuinely recognized where it matters.
Directed by: Martin Del Carpio & Martin Gerigk

The future offers us a face to face between humanity and algorithms, the things that make us human beings like questioning, imagination, intuition or ethics in the face of zeros and ones.
Directed by: Pierre Ajavon

Loving You is in the Bones
Surreal student short film based on the poem: “Amar está en los Huesos” (Loving is in the Bones) that recounts the romance and tragedy of two lovers.
Directed by: Antonio Torres Chajin

Shot on 16mm film, “02:17” explores time through different human actions. The title refers to the run-time of the moving images.
Directed by: Oscar Labovich

Channel Surfing
A structuralist film about a TV in the family living room in the early 2000s. Each channel is an edited vignette.
Directed by: Irma Čakarić

Moon Shadows
An image of a child looking towards the evening moon visited my thoughts one day or maybe it was a dream, from there an imaginary dialogue or dance emerged between the moon and the child.
Directed by: Hart Ginsburg

Official music video for indie rock group Fleeting Persuasion.
Directed by: Adam Walsh

Devil Never Killed
Broken by a tragic loss, a young man turns to a fight club to battle his inner devil through physical violence, but he risks losing himself in the process.
Directed by: Tómas Nói Emilsson

Thinkin Bout You
A music video based on an original song by Drew Neal.
Directed by: Steven Ryan, Anna Rodman, Blake Faughnan, Luke Zobel, & Isaac Bouw

What We Wish
We create a short music video called ‘What We Wish’ for everything in the world and its wishes.
Jody Xiong & Cheng Tianxiao

Moss Grew
In an abandoned house, nature has taken over. Strange creatures arise, destroying the trailing memories of the former hosts.
Directed by: Ghazal Majidi

Let’s Get Together
A re-imagined version of the classic 1961 hit “Let’s Get Together” brought to life in a kaleidoscopic visual feast.
Directed by: Koura Linda

A music video by Juniper Foam.
Directed by: Juniper Foam

Bottom of the Sea
A swimmer experiences a dream-like reality when
she dives underwater.
Directed by: Li Lucy Brandt

Water Lullaby
Stop motion, animated with sand, official video clip to “Water Lullaby” song from the “Waterduction” album by a famous Polish folk music band “Warsaw Village Band”. The production of the film took 6 months.
Directed by: Piotr Kaźmierczak

Come out and celebrate the opening of the 2023 fest! Enjoy food, drinks, & live music as our attendees arrive on the red carpet for a photo op!

Directed by: Madeline Burke, Kyra Newnam, & Emily Guske
“Take Your Own Notes features the stories of five women veterans who live in the greater Rockford, IL area. The documentary demonstrates how the five women make an impact in their families and local communities and connect with each other through their shared experiences in the United States military. Take Your Own Notes provides an outlet for women who experience challenges featured in the documentary, cultivating an open dialogue for those who wish to tell their stories.”


Saturday, September 16th

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS (10:30am – noon)
Three Hours per Frame: Creating of Wood
Old and forgotten animation techniques put to use to create a celebrated stop-cut animation. The animator, is none other than Owen Klatte, who debuted his craft with the Gumby episodes, then went on to many famous films, including James and the Giant Peach, and Nightmare Before Christmas.
Directed by: Morgan Jones

A short documentary film bold and touching where the director, dealing with physical malformations, asks an artist to illustrate her syndrome in a drawing of herself. This process will help her see it from a different perceptive and grow toward self-acceptance.
Directed by: Myriam Vaudry

Six Feet Above
A gravestone cleaner contemplates life surrounded by death.
Directed by: Emily Crosier

A Muncie woman uses art as a healing agent to help herself and others.
Directed by: Naomi Yoder

Section 59
After 40 years since the funeral, a family decides to relocate their father’s grave. This transfer is not a simple displacement; instead, it becomes a poignant act of perpetuating love through the exhumation and rearrangement of a puzzle.
Directed by: Yasaman Baghban

Friday Night Blind
It’s another Friday night at Burnham Bowl. Strikes, spares, gutter balls. With no shortage of trash talking and victory dancing. But the group that’s making all the noise isn’t just another bowling league.
Directed by: Scott Krahn & Robb Fischer

I Will Make It
More than 20 years ago, Giovanni made a promise to his mother: he would get out of mafia and drugs. Today he lives in front of a circus, where he works as a guardian. Every night, he reflects about his past in order to move forward with a last desire: come back to his mums grave and tell her that he managed.
Directed by: Loreto Saiz & Corentin Barrial

ANIMATED SHORTS (1pm – 2:30pm)
We follow a cat named Scott through a day in his life, exploring and adventuring in his backyard.
Directed by: Grace R Strom
Woo and Wah’s Castaway
A pair of small aliens, Woo and Wah have crash-landed on an unknown blue planet.
A colorful forest, a huge puddle of salty water and the scary wild animals…
By using their strange stretching antennas, can Woo and Wah survive in the new world?
Directed by: Takuma Aomatsu

Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Unraveling
Through the twists and turns of a mysterious condition, a person must figure out how to come to terms with their own unraveling.
Directed by: Lucie Lees Duggan

Doll Factory
One day, some fatal errors occurred in the buildings, and a mutant came out. Her name is ‘Say’. Say had brought up by typical, mundane life such as school education, company, and religious life etc. She realized that the factory were controlling all of dolls including herself, and started to fighting for freedom.
Directed by: Junyoung Park
(Republic of Korea)

The Inchworm and The Dragon
A short student animation from director Carolyne Paschal.
Directed by: Carolyne Paschal

Fox Child
“Fox child” tells the story of a young girl living with tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder resulting in “tics” – seemingly involuntary twitches and movements as well as tic-like vocal expressions.
Directed by: Jan Čapar

Tomato Kitchen
An accident interrupted Lee’s dinner with his colleagues. The dark truth of the Tomato Kitchen along with Lee’s hidden past were revealed by this unexpected incident…
Directed by: Junyi Xiao

“Custode” explores exactly what happened seconds after the Big Bang took place. Trust me, you’ll be surprised.
Directed by: Jim Allison

The Ogre, The Curtain, and Salt
Long long ago, the ogres and the villagers decided to live in separate mountains a short distance apart. But as time passes, the promise has been forgotten by everyone. The curtain tied to the tree vaguely shields them from each other, while the salt vaguely tries to connect them. The samurai rush to the villagers’ fear, but everyone is unable to understand what is so terrible.
Directed by: Misa Nishihara

A Nap in Fluoroscopy Buses
It uses symbolism to compare a closed system to a bus, and depicts a society in alienation and surveillance from a microscopic perspective. A fluoroscopy bus carries the crowd from the center to the edge of the city. In the fixed and crowded carriage, some people just boarding the bus collide with each other, and some people are taking a nap at the seat.
Directed by: Lei Lei

The Egret River
Among the tall buildings of the city, the lonely guard hides a beautiful field that no one knows, and meets an egret there; but the expansion of the city never stops, one day the field is destroyed, the egret escapes without a trace, he begins to see mysterious illusions.
Directed by: Wan-Ling Liu

Lost in a Waltz
Returning to a house that holds nothing, a mother misses her mother.
Directed by: Ji-Tian Li

As a girl grows up, her world starts to become more complicated. She notices lines appearing on people’s faces that she hadn’t noticed before. While trying to see the hidden lives in between her neighbors’ facial features, her own face struggles to ignore an unwanted line from her childhood.
Directed by: Gülce Besen Dilek

The Most Boring Granny In the Whole World
Greta has the most boring grandma in the whole world. When she falls asleep on the sofa, Greta gets the idea, to play funeral with her grandma. This confronts them with some questions they didn’t ask themselves before. Because what remains when you have to leave life behind?
Directed by: Damaris Zielke


Sixteen-year-old Sanya, as her father calls her, is her daddy’s daughter. She is going to bring her father his lunch, but he is not at work. When she finds him, everything will change. Having to make a difficult decision brings her closer to her mother, but the truth of the adult world turns out to be more destructive than Sanya expects.
Directed by: Sergey Arsin

We Are Wrestlers!
A cynical young salary man, Kazuho, comes across a man, Hiro, about to commit suicide. He is going to convince him to first go on a trip with him before considering suicide.
Directed by: Kevin Jean

With his wedding to Carlos approaching, Tony, a young immigrant to the US, invites his conservative elder sister to the ceremony — a fateful decision that forces Tony to choose between his family and his happiness.
Directed by: Aleksei Borovikov

My Requiem
There is a man who is tired of living his life. He hated people too.
He wished to leave his family and to escape from the pressures of his life.
One day, however, he dreamed of his own funeral and found a reason to live.
Directed by: Ryota Amaya

An honored professor, a friend and colleague of Tarkovsky comes with a lecture to young student directors. Will they find a common language and a view on the profession…
Directed by: Olga Dobromyslova

House on Wheels
In a post-apocalyptic world, the eutopia becomes an ordinary family life, which can only be experienced as fantasy. It is these fantasies that are rumored to be sold by a certain “professor” who lives as a hermit in the depths of the underground catacombs. But the real cost for one session is prohibitive.
Directed by: Klim Tukaev

Come and meet our 2023 MWFF filmmakers as we hold a reception just for them and our attendees. Food, drinks, and live music is provided!

A trip down the rabbit hole of life and Katherine Terrell’s performances are part of the cavalcade of imagery of Interlude, as life rushes by like a dream.
Directed by: Paul L Carr

The Dime Tour
An experimental work from Garrett Bauch.
Directed by: Garrett Bauch

Thoughts of intersections were an impetus with related associations to themes of “intersectionality” – briefly speaking, in how we hold various identities depending upon contextual, environmental and other variables. But then we might ask, where do these identities or intersections of our lives lead us to next?
Directed by: Hart Ginsburg

It’s Not About the Lemons
A young woman comes home after the death of her abusive father to reconnect with the sister she left behind.
Directed by: Caitlin Presberg

Kiss ‘n’ Ride
On her way home from a lovely cafe date, a woman finds reminders of her date in every little thing, prompting her to fall in love with the Chicago winter night around her and dream of the date ending differently.
Directed by: Olivia Jensen

Love, Grandma
The death of a loved one is a surreal experience. Time seems to stand still and yet the world around you moves on. This is a recollection of my memories from the day my grandma died and the moments that stood out.
Directed by: Matt Spear


Instead of incarceration, two criminals must fight for their regained independence.
Directed by: Abby Goebel, Marissa Williams, Steve Ryan, Darien Taylor, & Blake Faughnan

The Funeral Photographer
When Julie arrives at a funeral home for a gig, she’s told by the attendant that she must photograph everyone in attendance and be done by 11:30. Shortly after she agrees to do her best, two suspicious men enter and Julie suspects something is not quite right.
Directed by: Ashley Thompson

No Such Thing 
Two lifelong friends make a breakthrough in their search for aliens.
NOTE: Flashing lights throughout
Directed by: Nicos Wiard

A dedicated team of roofers, consisting of three men and three women, fight to keep the historic yet rare art of slate roofing alive, while also navigating the challenges of the trade through intense labor and safety.
Directed by: Ronan Morrissey & Bridget Johnson

A Cloudy Moon
Nick is looking forward to reuniting with his best friend from High School, but regrets a slip of the tongue on a phone call he wants to take back.
Directed by: TJ Hill

The Crossing
Althea walks through a rapidly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. She grew up in this area when it was a crime-ridden ruin of old industry. Now, middle-aged and guilt-stricken over a friend lost to mental illness, can she find catharsis before bulldozers permanently tear down the past?
Directed by: Jason Schwaede

Sunday, September 17th

Directed by: Jean Elliot Ilboudo
“Simon, a twelve-year-old loses everything due to the civil war ravaging his country. ‘Black Lion’, the ruthless rebel leader of the People’s Revolution Army, killed his family and set his house on fire. He is a weapon and combat strategy expert who formed a rebellion group with his cousin, Abdul Sakassaka. Their plan is to take over the established power by force with men, women and child soldiers (aged between 12 and 16). Abducted and threatened he becomes a child soldier alongside the rebels’ armed group. Traumatized & disturbed by nightmares, Simon plans an escape with his fellow child soldiers while Captain Isidore & the African Union Special Forces’ are preparing an attack on Black Lion to capture him dead or alive.”
(Burkina Faso)

Directed by: Ben Kolak
“A documentary chronicling Chicago’s love/hate relationship with feral cats. A ground-breaking 2007 ordinance protects feral cats in Chicago that have been trapped, neutered and returned (TNR) to their neighborhoods. Dubbed community cats, they control rats, enable government to avoid the cost and perception of catch and kill policies, and provide love and meaning to their caretakers. There are now thousands of cat colonies in Chicago, many with only a single cat, but some with more than 40. These colonies are fed by volunteer caretakers that report on their well-being yearly. Many ferals succumb to the elements, are hit by cars, or catch diseases, but the most hardy, tough and careful survive many seasons and become legends in their neighborhoods.”

Directed by: Madeline Burke, Kyra Newnam, & Emily Guske
“Take Your Own Notes features the stories of five women veterans who live in the greater Rockford, IL area. The documentary demonstrates how the five women make an impact in their families and local communities and connect with each other through their shared experiences in the United States military. Take Your Own Notes provides an outlet for women who experience challenges featured in the documentary, cultivating an open dialogue for those who wish to tell their stories.”

TAKING THE CITY BY STORM: The Birth of the Milwaukee Punk Scene
Directed by: Doug LaValliere
“A documentary focusing on the progression of Milwaukee’s Protopunk, Power Pop, Glam Rock, Punk, New Wave and Alternative Music scene from 1975 to 1985.”