HIGHLIGHTS – November 2020 Under 5 Minute Film Festival


Theme of night: Death and Rebirth

NOTE: Festival took place during the COVID-19 virus lockdown so all screenings were held in private.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterMOGU AND PEROL, 8min., Japan, Family/Animation

festival posterTHE BOX ASSASSIN, 3min., USA, Animation/Action

festival posterTHE BAT AND THE MATT, 3min., USA, Comedy/Animation

festival posterTWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE, 6min., USA, Animation/Drama

festival posterSUIT UP!, 2min, USA, Comedy/Animation

festival posterDREAM CATCHER, 4min., USA, Animation/Fantasy

festival posterYARLUNG, 5min., Canada, Drama/Animation

festival posterTHE ABANDONED BLOCK, 6min., Canada, Animation

festival posterGO FETCH, 2min., USA, Animation/Comedy

festival posterTHE AMERICAN DREAM, 5min., USA, Comedy/Drama

festival posterINCLUSION IS FREEDOM, 2min., USA, Experimental

festival posterCARLITOS, 4min., Canada/Cuba, Documentary

festival posterWHY WE PROTEST, 2min., USA, Documentary

festival poster2 BULLET SOLUTION, 3min, USA, Action

festival posterSAUSAGE, 5min., Poland, Comedy/Drama

festival posterCHILLI PEPPER, 5min., Taiwan, Relationship

festival posterINFATUATION, 4min., USA, Experimental

festival posterPEACH COBBLER, 5min., USA, Drama

The beginning of a (temporary) new era.

See you at the festivals. Whenever that happens!

– Matthew Toffolo

Director Biography – Emily Feng (CARLITOS)

Emily Feng is NYU Tisch graduate, majoring in Film and TV Production. During her time there, she’s directed multiple music videos, short narratives, and documentaries. She loves working with diverse casts and crews and telling stories that will help the world understand each other a little better.

Director Statement

As someone who gave up on ballet only a few years in, I’ve always wondered how other kids developed such love for this beautiful but difficult and often painful art form. Upon arriving in Cuba, I learned about the term “machismo” and its effects in Cuba society. I wondered, how do boys at Cuban ballet schools feel about this? After connection after connection, with the kindness of the Cuban people who wanted to help me find my answer, I found my way to Carlitos, his dance tutor, and his family. This is a quiet, introspective film about Carlitos and his perspective on his life intertwined with dance. I hope the audience can feel the subtleties of his interactions with family, his voice and his dance.

Short Film: CARLITOS, 4min., Canada/Cuba, Documentary

A portrait of a young Cuba ballet dancer and how he balances school work, societal expectations, family, and dance.

  • Project Type:Documentary
  • Runtime:3 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:May 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:United States
  • Country of Filming:Cuba
  • Language:Spanish
  • Shooting Format:Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:16:9

Director Biography – Macy Mae Cowart (WHY WE PROTEST)

Macy Mae Cowart has had a camera in her hand making films since she was ten years old. Coming from an acting background and having a strong interest in writing, Cowart’s well roundedness allows her to accurately consider all roles involved in the production process while directing. Her short film “Silencing the Sirens” won second place at the TAPPS film competition and is an official selection of the Reel East Texas Film Festival in 2019. After earning her associate of arts degree in Theatre within her first year of college, Macy Macy transferred to Southern Methodist University where she studies Theatre and Journalism.

Art activism is the main drive of Cowart’s work. In 2020 she remotely directed an animated short advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement called “Why We Protest”. This short involved artists around the world and premiered on Juneteenth. Since then Macy Mae has started the Young Activist Artists group, a virtual space where student artists around the world will work together remotely to produce 3 projects a year advocating for social change through art activism

Director Statement

This has been an amazing collaborative effort by young artists around the world. We created this hoping it sparks important conversations, moments of silence, and a sense of urgency to create change. As young artists in this generation, we must use our artistry selflessly and powerfully.

Short Film: INCLUSION IS FREEDOM, 2min., USA, Experimental

COVID-19 has the entire world in lockdown. People broke the lockdown to protest against the killing of George Floyd. This ultra-short film is about how we can self reflect on ourselves and the need for an inclusive mindset within our society. Without building an inclusive world, we cannot move forward as a society.

Director – Juny Kallukalam

Project Links

Director Biography – Baldev Sandhu (THE AMERICAN DREAM)

Baldev wants to know the answers to life’s big questions. He also wants to know where his keys went. The comedy falls somewhere in the middle.

As a second-generation immigrant from the suburbs, Baldev knows how to look at things with an outsider perspective, while still having the comfort of being on the inside. Baldev has a degree in Film & Television from Boston University and lives in Los Angeles…where film students go to die. He is a production freelancer by day, filmmaker and comedian by night.

Whether onstage or on screen, Baldev wants to give people a glimpse into the controlled chaos that takes place in his brain.

Director Statement

The message of “The American Dream” really hit home for me. My parents are immigrants. They moved to America in the late 80s because they believed in the American Dream. They left their entire way of life behind and moved across the world in hopes of being able to fully realize their dreams and build a better life for their family. I’d be lying if I said that they achieved what they wanted.

But I’d still say they were successful. They have their own business and put their kids through school. They assimilated into American culture while retaining their Indian identities. Not to mention how difficult it was for my dad to be a turban-wearing Sikh in a post 9/11 America. But they kept their heads up and pushed forward no matter what. They are the bravest people I’ve ever known, and I’m proud to be their son.

So much of the American Dream for immigrants revolves around their children. The parents set the foundation so that the kids can go on to do better than the parents. So naturally, my parents weren’t thrilled with my career choice, but they’ve been very supportive over time. But still, there’s this overwhelming feeling that you better make your life count because your parents sacrificed so much for you to be here.

Directing this project was a fun way to nod to the struggles of our parents and confessing the guilt we feel for what we do with our lives, while ultimately remembering that it all serves a higher purpose. And it’s just a really funny script to work with. I had a blast.