Film Schedule – 2019 Highway 61 Film Festival


Enemies and Friends

Breaking the Silence • Director: Maddie Sweetin • Student • Arkansas • 9 min • A very young woman is forced to make an unthinkable choice.


My Dad was Contacted  by Aliens • Director: Niklaus Lange • Documentary • USA • 9 min • What happens when your hero believes in something you can’t? This true story explores how a distant dad’s encounter with aliens in 1986 tested a son’s patience and a father’s patriarchy.


By a Hair • Directors: Lauriane Escaffre and Yvonnick Muller • Comedy Short • France • 21 min • In three days, Elodie is taking an exam to get a beauty diploma. Her father, a butcher, would like more help from his daughter in his shop. But at the moment, Elodie is dealing with an other issue – she has to find a hairy model to pass her test. 


Hounds • Directors: Ido Shapira and Amit Cohen • Animation • 6 min • Israel • The life of a dog, trained to act as human, changes when a pack of hounds gathers around his house.


Widdershins • Director: Ben Reingold • Student • USA • 10 min • A college student experiments with a pill that shows him alternative futures. 


My Best Friend • Director: Myriam Ballesteros • Animation • Spain • 4 min • Carola, a gifted but awkward teen, decides to build a robot friend. But an accident means she ends up with Annie, a sparky and affectionate android who makes sure Carola has the craziest and most fun-filled birthday of her life.


Battledream Chronicles • Director: Alain Bided • Animation • France • 24 min • Syanna, a young Caribbean girl, wakes up amnesic in a world where she has been enslaved by a global colonial empire.

 The Spirit Seam • Director: Ashley Gerst • Animation • USA • 15 min • Pollywog and her Pap-Paw make the most of life in an Appalachain coal-mining town in the 1950s.

The Black Basilisk • Director: Edward Loupe • Action/Horror • USA • 10 min • A woman, trying to get away with murder, receives help from the creature who lives in the drain under her bathroom sink.  


Tea Party • Director: Kevin Isaacson • Action/Horror • Iowa • 8 min • A Southern belle plays hostess to the very classmates who tortured her in high school. 


Tapferkeit • Director: Joseph Quinn • Drama Short • USA • 19 min • During the WWII North African campaign, a German sniper of the AfrikaKorps and a U.S. Combat engineer find themselves the sole survivors of a battle. They must reluctantly join forces to escape a marauding band of desert nomads and the unforgiving desolation of the Sahara desert.


Arthur Rambo • Director: Guillaume Levil • Drama Short • France • 18 min • Alain is a little boy from the Reunion Island born on the wrong side of the tracks. To earn a few pennies, he recites Arthur Rimbaud’s poems to drivers stuck at the red light. One day, Alain is invited to Guillaume’s birthday who lives uptown.   



From Home to the Stars

The Lake Mystery (trailer) • Director: John Birrenbach • Not for competition • Pine City • 3 min • A man seeks to understand strange happenings on the local lake. 


Epiphany • Director: Artie Terry • Not for competition • Pine City • 4 min • Sometimes a man just thinks too much.


The Backward Astronomer • Director: Jake Nelson • First Place – Animation • United Kingdom • 10 min • A privileged, young man falls in love with a wealthy woman and together they lead reckless lives of opulence in New York City. That is, until he finds something better—a doorway leading directly to the surface of the moon.


The Big Shot • Director: Miklós Borsos • First Place – Drama Short • Hungary • 27 min • A has-been movie star is unable to convincingly perform his own drowning in the movie’s key scene. Time is running out when in the heat of a debate the director, as if struck by lightning, comes up with an outlandish idea.


Almost Home • Director: Emmet O’Brien • Drama Short • Ireland • 9 min • A family is haunted by the last words of a wayward daughter. 


Emily • Director: Dave Heinzel • Drama Short • USA • 15 min • After the unexpected death of her mother, a young woman struggles to cope with grief and guilt. 


The Grind Message • Director: Niels Christian Askholm • First Place – Documentary • Denmark • 21 min • Pilot whale hunting has been a practiced tradition for at least half a millennium in the Faroe Islands. However the long-lasting tradition is subject to criticism from all over the world. This documentary follows the arguments of six locals on the matter.


The Art of Getting Lost • Directors: Luca Schilirò & Fabrizio Casorzo • Student • Italy • 11 min • An artist struggles to produce his last work in a difficult family situation.


Lullaby for a Mother and Child • Director: Emma Lorie • Animation • Australia • 8 min • “There was once a mother and a child who lived far away…”  And so begins the story of a rhino and her calf. 


Sand and Flower • Director: Jiaqi Wang • Animation • United Kingdom • 4 min • An interpretation of the  poem “A Grain of Sand” by William Blake.  


Zoe • Director: Marta Krunić • First Place – Student Short • Croatia • 12 min • Somewhere between dreams and reality, in a dimension unknown to man, a dimension on the verge of shadows, a girl enters Martin’s life.


Caronte  • Director: Luis Tinoco Pineda • First Place – Action/Horror • Spain • 15 min • After a car accident, Debbie starts to regret the way she underappreciates her family. Unexpectedly, Debbie’s story connects with Arsys’s, a space fighter pilot who tries to survive a huge space battle which takes place in another universe.



Magic in Minnesota

Behind the Loon • Director: Daniel Claxton • Documentary • Minnesota • 21 min • Go deeper with Minnesota United in this documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the club and Twin Cities’ growing soccer culture.


Drowning • Director: Joseph Dutra • Made in MN • 2 min • A personal story about a traumatic experience.


Just Coffee • Director: Matthew Dressel • Made in MN • 12 min • A diner descends into chaos when an elderly patron takes advantage of their Free Refill policy. 


Our Transition • Director: Connor O’Keefe • Made in MN • 9 min • The filmmaker explores his transition to male and coming out at 13 years old by reliving the experience through the perspective of his parents. 


relativ(ity) • Director: Josh Mruz • Made in MN • 7 min • A young woman seeks the keys to her future by building a machine to take her into her past. 


Rag Dolls  • Director: Justin + Kristin Shaack • First Place – Made in MN • 4 min • Playtime turns into uncontrolled shenanigans when a child discovers rag dolls in an antique chest. Her imagination runs wild, but for the dolls’ real-life doppelgängers, self-control is out of their hands.


We Are Kickball • Directors: Joshua Zapata-Palmer, Joshua Cisewski • Comedy Short • Pine City • 9 min • Two opposing church members challenge each other to an absurd kickball game to recruit an outsider to their side of the pews.


Shift • Director: Brent S. Duncan • Made in MN • 11 min • A man is in a race against time to stop the government from taking what he has made and destroying what he has loved.


Sink • Director: Isaac Stacey • Student • Minnesota • 1 min • Isaac is perpetually tormented by his self doubts and sometimes feels as if he is drowning in his lack of self-worth… 

Can’t Go Home • Director: Jesse Rubbelke • 18 min • Made in MN • Pine City • Two men, both victims of circumstance, are pushed to their breaking point. Desperate for change, both refuse to surrender what they love to a world that keeps on taking.


Jay’s Longhorn • Director: Mark Engebretson • Made in MN • 93 min • The story of Minneapolis’ seminal punk rock music club. Opened on June 1, 1977 — three years before the 7th St. Entry — the Longhorn was the only place to see punk rock in Minneapolis.



Laugh to Death

Zed • Director: Justin Carter • Action/Horror • United Kingdom • 3 min • A poetic homage to the 1970s survivalist horror genre.


How it Feels to be Hungover • Director: Viktor Hertz • Comedy Short • Sweden • 10 min • A man wakes up at a clinic specialized in malignant hangovers. The doctor prescribes 600 ml of ice cream and two action comedies, but also shares some news, which doesn’t make him feel any better…


Doppelganger • Director: Kirk Eckstine • Made in MN • 5 min • A home invasion takes a terrifying new twist, or a very old one…


Mi-Fi • Director: David Mair • Made in MN • 2 min • A very lazy man invents teleportation. 


Zipperman • Director: Edward Linder • Made in MN • 2 min • A leading man is dealing with the price of fame in a private situation.


Rest Area • Director: Sean A. Skinner • Not for competition • Minnesota • 21 min • Based on a short story by Stephen King, a writer finds that her pen name can become her alter-ego. 


Night of the Fluffet • Director: Raymond Wallace • Action/Horror • USA • 8 min • A cautionary tale about the dangers of bringing a wild Fluffet into your home.


Seafood Diet • Director: Max Levine • Comedy Short • Baltimore • 10 min • A movie about a bad joke.


Snoop! • Director: Kevin Saxby • Comedy Short • Canada • 13 min • In the shadows of a derelict jazz club, a private investigator named Steve meets with the adulterous man he’s been following for the past month.


Sac de Merde • Director: Greg Chwerchak • First Place – Comedy Short • New York • 13 min • A unlucky-in-love yet irrationally optimistic New Yorker thinks she has found the man of her dreams. But he has baggage. 


Skin: The Movie • Director: Ronn Kilby • First Place – Comedy Feature • Los Angeles • 50 min • After a socially awkward Midwestern woman inherits a movie studio her dead father and a band of misfits help her learn valuable life lessons.



The Lightest Darkness  • Director: Diana Galimzyanova • First Place – Drama Feature • Russian Federation • 87 min • A neurotic private eye struggling to finish a case takes a train voyage – and his own dark secrets begin to reveal themselves.



Finding a Better Way

Things Were Better Before • Director: Lu Pulici • Animation • Italy • 6 min • A seafaring voyage into the deepest oceans. 


Waterway Jay • Director: Brenda Piekarski • Made in MN• 7 min • In 2017, Jay Gustafson launched Paddle for Progress, a two-year, 4,300-mile personal journey to draw attention to water issues.


The Wolf House • Director: Nicholas Clausen • Made in MN • 9 min • A whimsical ‘hobbit house’ goes up for sale. Who will buy it? This documentary short travels from Minneapolis to Palm Springs to meet the artist who created the Wolf House.


Riplist • Director: Mike Scholtz • Documentary • Minnesota • 67 min • A group of friends get together once a year for their celebrity deadpool draft day. But while playing the game of death, they also learn the value of life.


The Arrowhead Traverse • Director: Kristopher and Ruth Lencowski • Documentary • Minnesota • 23 min • Maura and Bobby Marko attempted a bold traverse of the Arrowhead of Minnesota by bicycle, canoe, and foot; all with their 3-year-old son and 9-month-old daughter along for the adventure.  


Gravity, Our Frenemy • Director: John Akre • Made in MN • 4 min • This is an educational lecture on the benefits and misfortunes caused to us all by the force of gravity.


Delucas • Director: Scarlett Gooch • Student • Arkansas • 10 min • The best pizza in Hot Springs is made by the city’s most interesting transplant.   


How Much I Love You • Director: Ashley Kramer • Student • USA • 5 min • A short profile documentary chronicling Diane Ostrega, a single mother, domestic abuse survivor, and Polish immigrant, as told by her daughter, Monica.