Announcing Fantastic Fest’s 2018 Shorts Programming

You know. Shorts. Like feature films. But short!

Shorts are pretty underappreciated in the world of cinema. Besides a bit of Oscar attention that drives only completionists and enthusiasts, about the only time you can see shorts on the big screen is at a film festival. Now, I seem to recall that a pretty important film festival was just around the corner...

Why look! It's a conveniently appropriate press release from the Fantastic Fest Blog announcing its Shorts programming! What a crazy coincidence. Here's the press release:

Austin, TX - Wednesday, September 05, 2018 — Fantastic Fest is thrilled to announce the short film lineup for the 14th edition of Fantastic Fest, which runs September 20 - September 27, 2018 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX.

Boasting over 50 short films from around the world, the festival’s largest offering to date, co-curators Peter Kuplowsky and Jean Lauer have assembled a diverse array of brilliant and bizarre films from established and emerging voices alike. Their 2018 selections feature 21 world premieres, including CHOWBOYS: AN AMERICAN FOLKTALE, the latest splatter-pastiche from the cult-comedy collective Astron-6 (THE EDITOR), as well as THE SLOWS and MONSTER CHALLENGE, the directorial debuts of, respectively, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY screenwriter Nicole Perlman and acclaimed Hollywood composer Michael Giacchino (UP; SPEED RACER).

Continuing the tradition inaugurated with last year’s spotlight on Arabic short films, the 2018 shorts program will once more include a sidebar dedicated to celebrating fantastic short-form filmmaking from a unique region of production. Inspired by the festival’s presiding theme for the 2018 edition, the SHORTS WITH KIMCHI program will feature five short films that hail from the Korean peninsula, including the North American premiere of THE LADY FROM 406, directed by Lee Kyoung-mi (THE TRUTH BENEATH) and starring Lee Yeong-ae (LADY VENGEANCE).

“The Fantastic Fest audience has always warmly embraced the festival’s short film programming,” said festival Short Film Program Director Peter Kuplowsky, “and their enthusiasm has galvanized us to gather more shorts than ever before!” Continuing, Kuplowsky praised his newly instated co-curator Jean Lauer, who also serves as the Festival Director of Austin’s Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. “Jean has fantastic taste, and her distinct curatorial prowess greatly contributed to the fantastic eclecticism of this year’s selection.” In turn, Lauer expressed her appreciation for being welcomed to the program team, stating: “Fantastic Fest has been one of my favorite festivals for a decade specifically because of the strong program, so to join the team in this capacity is a dream come true. Peter’s passion for presenting a diverse, quality selection is evident with every decision and it was a collaborative process I could not be happier about. One note I’m particularly proud of is that 17 titles in the selection are directed or co-directed by women. We cannot wait to share the entire selection with FF fans this September!”

The complete lineup, divided by program, is as follows:


USA, 2018

Texas Premiere, 9 min

Dir. Christopher Allan Thomas

A cowboy cactus learns to hug without harming in this whimsical stop-motion wild west musical.



Canada, 2018

Texas Premiere, 19 min

Dir. N’cee van Heerden

A man discovers the hard way that not everyone can handle a truly original idea.



France, 2018

US Premiere, 20 min

Dirs. Léo Hardt & Manon Alirol

In this pitch-black comedy, a cancer diagnosis ignites a shockingly cruel yet uncompromisingly honest lover’s quarrel.



The Netherlands, 2018

North American Premiere, 12 min

Dir. Kurt Platvoet

After a broken heart is fed with a lot of pizza, the leftovers quite literally manifest a new companion.



Finland, 2018

US Premiere, 15 min

Dir. Hanna Bergholm

A woman seeks the tender caress of a man in this balletic exploration of the intersections of transformation, interdependence, and desire.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 13 min

Dir. Pam Covington

The forbidden love between the heir to an interstellar potato chip empire and her robotic beau illustrates the age-old adage that parents just don’t understand.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 16 min

Dir. Alex Kavutskiy

A meager apology tests a woman’s fortitude to forgive in this expertly deadpan comedy that wittily articulates the oft selfish objectives that belie performative remorse.

But, wait! There's more! Here's some information on this year's Short Fuse programming block, presented by Stage 13:

Amplifying diverse voices, bringing genre-bending storytelling to audiences and creating unapologetic content is what the Stage 13/Warner Bros Digital Networks and Fantastic Fest's “Short Fuse” shorts programming represents. This section’s mission is to point audiences towards the emerging creators who have excelled in showcasing varying genres’ in scope and clarity, through narrative, cast and creativity. Stage 13/Warner Bros. Digital Networks is proud to sponsor The Short Fuse discoveries for the second year in a row.

Aaaand here's what you'll see during Short Fuse:


France, 2017

Texas Premiere, 18 min

Dir. Just Philippot

A family desperately attempts to outrun an acidic stormcloud in this gory white-knuckle thriller.



Canada, 2018

World Premiere, 9 min

Dir. Astron-6

Canada’s infamous cult collective reunite with another winning niche genre pastiche, this time lampooning the wintery western as they ricochet from absurdist hijinx to grotesque splatter.



Australia, 2018

International Premiere, 10 min

Dir. Natalie Erika James

A newlywed woman finds herself encroached upon by a malaise of dread as her husband’s family expects her to participate in a series of disconcerting fertility rituals. Low-key horror that simmers and haunts.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 17 min

Dir. Paul Vance

A musician struggling to keep a supernatural affliction in check reluctantly indulges the wishes of zealous fan, but what begins as a comedic spook’em’up disturbingly creeps towards severe terror.



Finland, 2018

North American Premiere, 15 min

Dir. Ilja Rautsi

Splatter doesn’t come more inspired or timely than this award-winning and riotous horror-comedy that swaps out your garden-variety backwoods cannibals for a pack of violently patronizing men.



USA, 2018

Regional Premiere, 14 min

Dirs. Jon Rhoads & Mike Marrero

As the world recovers from a devastating pandemic, two weary souls partake in a dangerous ritual in an effort to cope with their loss.



USA, 2018

North American Premiere, 17 min

Dir. Helen Baldwin

A young man develops a sadomasochistic relationship with a series of photographs; their only recourse is to team up and take revenge.



USA, 2018

US Premiere, 7 min

Dir. Teal Greyhavens

A freaky family revelation kills a young woman’s enthusiasm on her birthday and then just plain kills, kills, kills in this wickedly wound fright fest.



Spain, 2018

World Premiere, 14 min

Dir. David Velduque

The bug bite that disrupts a Friday night hookup turns out to be a manifestation of something much scarier.





USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 10 min

Dir. Sean McCoy

There’s no other way to explain the New York Yankees’ unrivaled MLB success: a cold-blooded human sacrifice it is.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 10 min

Dir. Alyssa Traitz

A lonely woman with a lonely goldfish finds herself at the mercy of a rampaging intruder.



USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 7 min

Dir. Oz Davidson

Soaked in a hypnotic lo-fi aesthetic, a familiar body-swapping plot embraces the existential identity anxieties inherent in the premise.



USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 15 min

Dir. Marinah Janello

An older woman goes to esoteric and decidedly unsanitary lengths to revitalize herself in this poetically grotesque 16mm portrait.



Saudi Arabia, 2018

World Premiere, 15 min

Dir. Maha Al-Saati

Cultural attitudes towards beauty standards are exhaustively unpacked in this delirious satire, about how hair dictates the social mobility of a put-upon caretaker and her intellectually challenged ward.



Japan, 2017

North American Premiere, 17 min

Dirs. Yugo Sakamoto & Nagiko Tsuji

In this deranged and unpredictable comedy, a passionate aficionado of bread stages a revolution against a tyrannical baker.



USA, 2018

Texas Premiere, 22 min

Dir. Kitao Sakurai

A man escapes again and again as he’s pursued by pagan cultists in this sprawling episode of sublime and humanist surrealism produced as a pilot for Adult Swim.

There's also the Shorts With Kimchi: Korean Short Film Sidebar, which includes...


South Korea, 2018

World Premiere, 22 min

Dir. Lee Hyun-woo

A high stakes game of Go between two national champions becomes dramatized as an exhilarating and skillfully choreographed martial arts brawl.



South Korea, 2018

North American Premiere, 14 min

Dir. Lee Kyoung-mi

Lee Yeong-ae (LADY VENGEANCE) portrays the titular tenant at the heart of this beguiling psychodrama about a woman driven mad by the habits of her upstairs neighbor.



South Korea, 2018

World Premiere, 20 min

Dir. Lee Won-suk

A fading movie star tries to contemporize his image in order to seize the limelight once more in this nostalgic musical comedy that pays tribute to the two former Korean action icons who star in it, and the cult classics they made.



South Korea, USA, 2018

Regional Premiere, 15 min

Dir. Jayil Pak

In an allegory of reincarnation, a ghost goes on a journey that reveals how devastating the persistence of strict gender roles can be on the human spirit.



South Korea, 2018

International Premiere, 10 min

Dir. Kim Jong-kwan

A peculiar encounter with a stranger inspires a man to reflect on the fallibility of his own memory in this enigmatic meditation on the mutability of relationships.

And, finally, here are the short films you'll see paired with Fantastic Fest 2018 features!


USA, 2018

US Premiere, 7 min

Dir. Winnie Cheung

Delightfully fluid animation lyrically complements a chorus of voices attempting to investigate a puzzling suicide posited by an idiosyncratic riddle.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 12 min

Dir. Franklin Ritch

After a night of regrets, a cascade of sinister threats from an omniscient voice paralyzes a young woman into state of perpetual fear. A potent premise, profound in execution.



USA, 2018

Austin Premiere, 8 min

Dir. Anthony Cousins

A twisted campfire tale quickly accelerates into a barrage of inspired and gory slasher gags meted out by a body-building, ‘stache-sporting fiend.



Ireland, 2017

US Premiere, 9 min

Dir. Kate Dolan

He’s on the prowl, but so are they. A satisfying and bloody swipe at street harassers.



Canada, 2018

US Premiere, 5 min

Dir. David Barlow-Krelina

Amidst a grotesque but slickly animated menagerie of extreme plastic surgery, a man demands an operation that will realize his inner butterfly.



Canada, 2018

World Premiere, 14 min

Dirs. Kailey Spear & Sam Spear

An AID (Artificially Intelligent Device) nanny named CC follows her programming to the letter of the code in order to protect her ward’s best interests.



USA, 2018

Austin Premiere, 9 min

Dir. Bobby Miller

A man in mourning, portrayed with aching empathy by Robert Longstreet (THE MISSING GIRL), is confronted and existentially confounded by the final moments of a dying squirrel.



Australia, 2017

Texas Premiere, 13 min

Dir. Katia Mancuso

Two sisters skirt the perimeter of a bloodthirsty creature’s domain in this exquisitely photographed foray into fairy folklore.



United Kingdom, 2017

Regional Premiere, 2 min

Dir. Toby Meakins

If ever an elevator stops on a floor you don’t recognize, and the doors open to a quiet plea for help, pray you hold your ground; so warns this succinct tango of terror.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 10 min

Dir. Diane Michelle

A mother investigates her daughter’s belief that a malevolent presence has been visiting her at night. A deeply unsettling permutation of the ol’ “there’s-a-monster-under-my-bed” chestnut.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 10 min

DIr. Josh Ethier

Sleep in, stay up late, stomp and repeat; it’s one way to live. The grizzly directorial debut of prolific genre editor Josh Ethier.



USA, 2017

Regional Premiere, 11 min

Dir. Mathew Nelson

Stark and strikingly photographed speculative fiction that documents the first accident involving a driverless car with a peculiar poetic air and patient but absorbing rhythms.



USA, 2018

Regional Premiere, 9 min

Dir. Dan Roe

A witness takes a vow of silence to ensure his survival, but can he keep it?



Latvia, 2017

International Premiere, 20 min

Dir. Roberts Kulenko

A potato farmer connects with the injured alien that crash-landed in his field, much to the chagrin of the local authorities.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 13 min

Dirs. Allen Reed Phillips & Trampas Monroe Smith

Huffing gasoline affords a lovesick trucker a delirious high, but consequently inspires both inner homilies and attempted homicides in this raw but arresting surrealist southern gothic.



USA, Iceland, 2018

World Premiere, 13 min

Dir. Atli Sigurjónsson

A couple tries to reignite the spark in their relationship with some adventurous culinary pursuits.



Canada, 2017

Regional Premiere, 3 min

Dir. Jerome Sable

A cautionary tale about the absurdly dire consequences of oversharing on social media from the director of award-winning Fantastic Fest favorite THE LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM.



USA, 2017

World Premiere, 13 min

Dir. Michael Giacchino

Famed composer Michael Giacchino catapults a hapless Patton Oswalt (as himself) into an outrageous series of challenges in his infectiously silly tribute to the eccentricities of Japanese game shows.



USA, 2017

Texas Premiere, 13 min

Dir. Lindsey Phillips

Count on an amusing confluence of abject eccentricity and infectious endearment as this documentary introduces you to one of the country's most bizarre series of furniture store TV spots.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 4 min

Dir. Peter Cilella

First you hear it, then you see it, and then it is too late. A quiet vignette of extraterrestrial eeriness.



Norway, 2018

World Premiere, 20 min

Dir. Fredrik S. Hana

Acclaimed Fantastic Fest alum Fredrik S. Hana (SISTER HELL) returns with a stylish psychodrama that captures a mobster’s disintegrating mental state as he’s confronted by the debilitating insecurity that his material wealth will never afford him true love.


United Kingdom, 2017

Regional Premiere, 2 min

Dir. Rob Savage

The creators of DAWN OF THE DEAF pit Alice Lowe (PREVENGE) against a demonic entity with a single weakness: a ring of salt. Breathlessly paced bite-sized terror.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 20 min

Dir. Nicole Perlman

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY scribe Nicole Perlman makes her directorial debut with this captivating speculative fiction that depicts a utopia founded upon the elimination of childhood.



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 16 min

Dir. Kyle Bogart

Why work with actors when you can hire SPRITES?



USA, 2018

World Premiere, 11 min

Dirs. K. Spencer Jones & Jake Wilkens

When a new prescription drug permits a greater lucidity of one’s dreams, a woman resists her jealous husband’s demands that she induce a nightmare in order to scrub her subconscious of infidelity.



USA, 2018

Texas Premiere, 11 min

Dir. Jimmy Nickerson

Time travel is illegal and even the best intentions to change the past will not be tolerated in this low-fi homage to timecops everywhere.

So what's your take? Excited to see any of these? I'm definitely carving out some time to see some of these myself, so if you find yourself at a block of these shorts, look around and maybe say hi! In the meantime, shout out in the comments which of these look the most interesting to you.