Texas High School Shorts Program
Mark walks into his chemistry class and feels uneasy. Recently, he’s begun to experience time traveling for brief moments and is unable to control his traveling. At the beginning of the teacher’s lecture, he senses his reality start to shift again. After a battle to calm it and stop himself, he’s forced to give in and travel back around thirty minutes. Feeling the shift again, he runs into Emma, his classmate, who attempts to understand what’s happening, but fails to do so before he jumps again back to where he was before. Back in class, his teacher, Mr. Collins, pulls him aside to ask about his failing grades. Having no one to confide in, Mark tells him everything about his time traveling.
William Herff, drama student extraordinaire, is asked by the football team to construct a promotional hype reel for his school’s football team. Misunderstanding his assignment, he constructs a beautiful documentary instead, answering the question: what is football? The journey he sets out on runs through obstacles, with the nature of the football players being different than his own. Mishaps ensue but his passion for the project never falters. Despite multiple setbacks, William eventually breaks through the veil that had been hovering over him his entire life, resulting in an electric sense of fulfillment. Football, a passerby’s journey.
What does freedom mean to you? Four teenagers from Austin, Texas answer that question with the unique influence of their artistic abilities. Xavier Stewart, a long time dancer, explains his struggle dealing with anxiety. The constant worry of the expectations other people have of you. Natalia Murillo, an illustrator and musician, reveals the resistance they experienced trying to win homecoming court for being queer. Alex Zhou, a music producer and founder of clothing brand "sazosmind", speaks on how his parent's pursuit of freedom carried into his own lifestyle and creative endeavors. And lastly, Jeremiah Sudarmanto, who opens up about the difficulty of trying to account for everyone.
In Pflugerville, Texas, a community is faced with the challenge of unprecedented devolvement. As housing developers and commercial companies start to inch closer and closer to the farmland, the farmers are forced to wonder how long it will be until their way of life will disappear. Most of the farmers are left with land that has been used for farming over multiple generations. To them, the thought that a housing community would be built on the land they have farmed makes them despondent. Once the land is built on, there is no getting it back. It is gone forever.
Sara, an astronaut aboard a spaceship, finds herself in a predicament of certain death. Oxygen is running out and she only has a few minutes left, leaving her frightened of what is on the other side. This story parallels with when she was younger and is forced to go to bed and scared of the dark. Both stories are told in tandem to tell a bittersweet story about accepting the unknown.
Having been considered an outsider her entire life, a Japanese woman immigrates to Canada and later to the US and struggles to find a home. As she faces discrimination and racism in foreign countries, she slowly realizes that home is not something that can be assigned to anyone. Home is simply where your heart is, no matter your race, background, or ethnic identity.
Alejandro is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who finds work in the United States. With a mysteriously bruised face, he patiently waits at an empty bus stop where he receives a phone call from his wife, Gloria, and his daughter, Dolores. During the phone call, Dolores reads him a story she wrote while she was in school. The story details an innocent honeybee who works hard to help out its colony but gets squished due to people fearing it would sting them. After drawing parallels from the children's story to real life, Alejandro experiences a flashback to a few hours earlier when he was brutally attacked by racists, thus revealing where the bruises from the beginning originated from.
A ghost goes through stages of trying to be seen by the person who is grieving them. He tries to bring comfort to her, but nothing seems to work. Over time, he watches her move on from him and date another guy. In the end, she knows the ghost is present. Though she can't see him, she acknowledges his presence and knows he has always been there.
Emmis leaves middle school during spring break expecting to come back, but, due to COVID-19, she is forced to do online school. Now that it is finally safe enough to return to school in person, she's nervous about it. After trying to help a student, she gets overwhelmed and runs away. Finding solace in the bathroom, she attempts to calm down, but grapples with a feeling of isolation. As she reaches the climax of her breakdown, she is comforted by a peer. Having made her first friend, high school seems a lot more manageable.
It's Getting Bad Again (2021) toes the line between comedy and drama while following the narrative of a young woman deciphering the pattern of irrational and erratic behavior that she engages in prior to a depressive episode. Throughout her worsening condition, the woman's thoughts and actions become more abstract and reflective of the trauma she endured as a child. It's Getting Bad Again is ultimately a story of adolescence, liberation, and self-acceptance while living with a debilitating mental disorder.
A young girl finds herself haunted by a mysterious being within her own home, disrupting her relationship with her boyfriend.
A person walks through the woods when they decided to sit down and listen to a tree. The tree tells them a story of a man who used to visit it.
Tim, a longtime employee of Mr. Braun's Accountant Firm, awaits the end of the work day. However, his boss, Mr. Braun, interrupts Tim's last minutes at work to give Tim more assignments. As Mr. Braun leaves Tim feeling defeated, Tim notices something strange happening under his desk. Tim investigates and finds a strange, small, scaled creature with multiple legs. Despite initially being scared and confused, Tim grabs the creature after feeling that the creature is harmless. But, when the creature bites Tim, Tim quickly realizes that the creature is anything but harmless.
Rock Rockman, aspiring rockstar, hacks into a rhythm game and uploads his consciousness, hoping to break the world record. After he enters the game, he struggles to keep up with its intensity, but after grounding himself in the moment, he takes control and finishes the song. Letting his guard down momentarily, he is greeted by a gargantuan visage of himself, which fires its eye lasers at him. He defends himself, but is overwhelmed by the ferocity of the onslaught. Having no other options left, he turns his inner eye to his father, who reminds him that the will to win was inside him all along. Rock Rockman then obliterates the final boss and becomes a true rockstar.
Ani peruses the shelves of pregnancy tests in Walmart. She buys one and heads to the bus stop where she takes the bus home every day. While waiting at the bus stop, she's invited to a party by her friend that drives by, and she realizes that her childhood may come to an end soon. She takes the pregnancy test at school and it's positive. Ani attempts to work on her college applications at home, but she's unable to due to the loud news channel on the television. She hears something in the news that concerns her and heads to her living room to learn more. Alarmed by hearing about SB8, she goes to the doctor. Ani finds out at the doctor that it's too late for her to receive an abortion in Texas.
When a successful businessman discovers the presence of a crook out for blood, the tables are turned and soles are collected.
Two roommates discover they have a microwave that can turn anything into a potato. But when one friend pushes the limit of the machine, a sinister truth is revealed.
Story Time is a journey through the classic fairy tales we all know so well, but with a very peculiar twist. On tonight’s episode of his famous children’s special, TV personality Walt Trebek arrives with a wide smile and friendly disposition to read the classic stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel. But the further Walt reads, the more it dawns on him that he’s not reading the kid friendly stories he thought. What once was an innocent children’s special, has now become an strange, unpredictable roller coaster, certainly not what Walt signed up for. Walt is faced with a choice: continue in the madness or walk way and face the ones behind the camera.
Cletus Abernathy, prompted by an upcoming morning duel, far removed from his glory days, is fraught with anxiety as he attempts to sharpen his skills one last time before confronting destiny by thinking back to his past training with Samantha Tilley. Abernathy grows increasingly confident until he is pulled out of his delusions by the rumors emerging from Ridge Wood (Tilley’s home town). Finally Abernathy is ripped away from the conversation as Crenshaw arrives in town. Attempting to avoid the duel Abernathy jumps out the back window only to find Crenshaw standing before him. Locking eyes the two men draw their pistols and pull the triggers.
In Vegetable, our unnamed protagonist has stopped taking their medication, and finds themselves in psychological turmoil. This results in even mundane tasks being perceived as hallucinatory, chaotic daydreams. The protagonist pushes themselves through it while being confronted by their illness, until they are finally able to face theirselves and find control in their body and mind.
Mary works hard at her job. No one notices her even though she does everything. When a strange new friend (a demon from Hell named Carmilla) enters her life, Mary gets a new perspective on how to get things done. Carmilla makes it her mission to get Mary the respect she deserves.