Documentary Shorts Competition presented by IMDbPro
Documentary Shorts Program 2
Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.
In the early 1950s, in a remote corner of Brazil, a female truck driver named Tia Neiva started having visions of extraterrestrial spirits; shortly after, she began to gain a following, which led to her creation of a religion called Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn) which practices various elements of Christianity, Spiritism, Umbanda, and religious beliefs in UFOs. In our documentary, Mother of the Dawn, we explore how this religion came to have 800,000 followers, but is virtually unheard of to the rest of the world.
The climate crisis is threatening to swallow up the UK seaside town of Bognor Regis by 2050. Historically a thriving holiday spot turned national butt-of-the-joke, the town’s residents are used to defending its reputation. But when research emerges suggesting it could end up underwater due to rising sea levels, the community grapples with what this means, both for themselves and for the place they call home. Where the Sun Always Shines is a poetic film of nostalgia, the meaning of home, and what happens when everything you know is threatened by climate disaster.
Filmmaker Nemo Allen Maldonado travels to war-torn Cauca, Colombia, to witness the struggle of the Indigenous Nasa — and finish his recently deceased mother’s incomplete documentary. We meet the Guardia Indígena, armed only with the titular batons, who defend their communities amidst the world’s longest running civil war. We follow Nemo as he reconciles his grief and, in the face of complex danger, realizes why his mother risked her life all those years ago.
An artist and VFX instructor connects with her aging grandmother, Margie, in a documentary short on collecting, artmaking, and obsessiveness as a way to enhance our realities. Directed by Meredith Moore, produced by Jonna McKone, edited by Albert Birney, and scored by Dan Deacon, the film -- part love letter, part documentary, part experiment -- merges the real, the fantastical, and the world of a computer desktop.
Nǎi Nai (奶奶) is my grandma. Wài Pó (外婆) is also my grandma. Together, they are a grandma super team that dances, stretches, and farts their sorrows away. Introducing: my Nǎi Nai (奶奶) & Wài Pó (外婆). I hope you love them as much as I love them.
Six dads gather in rural Oklahoma for a weekend fishing trip. As the men cast their rods into the river, share their catch over dinner, and swap stories beside the bonfire, we learn what has brought them to this scenic idyll: the love for their trans and LGBTQ children, their fears for their kids' safety, and the urgency to fight for the ground on which they all stand. The Dads is a quiet meditation on fatherhood, brotherhood and manhood amid the changing American landscape.
Every summer, on a remote island off the coast of Iceland, teenagers Birta, 18, and Selma, 16, rescue pufflings (adolescent puffins) from imminent danger. As the young birds leave their nests and embark on their first journeys out to sea, lights from the town draw them inland: leaving them trapped. Over one night, we follow Birta and Selma as they exchange night-time parties for nocturnal puffin rescues: saving lost pufflings, whilst also grappling with their own uncertain futures. A coming-of-age documentary about growing up, making choices, and dealing with encroaching environmental pressures, "Puffling" explores the delicate interplay between wildlife, our surroundings, and human life.