ROOTS: REMOVALS AND RETURNS SHORTS PROGRAM
This year, we are thrilled to present the following shorts, paying homage and tribute to the loved ones that keep us grounded. Not only do they shape who we are, but they also sacrifice their own desires and dreams so that we may have our own. They remain a part of us: to welcome us upon return, to support us in our failures, and to help us celebrate our successes. To all the parents, the pillars that push us to be better… thank you.
Post Screening Panel:
Shingo Usami, Director, RICEBALLS
Trevor Zhou, Director, THE WALTZ
Ruth Coughlin, Actor/Producer, THE URN
Masayuki Kusaka, Producer, HARRY ON THE CLOUDS
In This Program
Benoit Lelievre / Shorts / France / 2015 / Drama / 18 minsAi Li is a transnational Chinese adoptee living in Paris, France. With just an address and a name scribbled onto the back of an old photograph, she flies to Shanghai in search of her birth mother. Her journey demonstrates that you don’t have to know where you came from to know who you are.
Amelie Wen / Shorts / China, USA / 2016 / Drama, Family / 20 minsInspired by true events, this film paints an honest, intimate portrait of two grief-stricken Chinese parents as they organize the funeral rites for their only child. Up against cultural differences and unresolved tension from the past, the couple struggles to process their loss.
Aya Shiroi / Shorts / Japan / 2015 / Animation, Family, Fantasy / 5 minsA baby sheep, on his road to heaven, tries to visit his mourning mother before he crosses over for good. In this bittersweet animation, Director Aya Shiroi beautifully illustrates the heartbreak of parting with loved ones.
Mian Mian Liu / Shorts / Taiwan / 2015 / Drama / 26 minsAfter being fired from her job, Qin-Qin, a young beer girl, wanders the fishing harbor drunk in search for some meaning. As the night continues, she hopes to find fish soup, her deceased father’s specialty. She encounters a chef, his sleepy daughter, and an upbeat restaurant owner.
Shingo Usami / Shorts / Australia / 2016 / Drama, Family / 11 minsA recently widowed Kenji does his best to remind his young son of their cultural heritage, making clumsily-crafted Japanese riceballs for him to take for lunch. As time passes, the riceballs strengthen their bond, reminding us that while it’s difficult to live between two cultures, our roots can bring us courage in times of sadness.
Kristopher Lencowski / Shorts / USA / 2015 / Comedy, Drama / 10 minsThrough the use of physical comedy and Chaplin-esque storytelling, this film features a daughter preparing to spread her dead mother’s ashes. After keeping the ashes for 35 days, as is custom in Japan, the young woman hilariously reminds us of that loss can be as funny as it is heartbreaking, and that letting go is never easy.
Trevor Zhou / Shorts / USA / 2015 / Drama / 11 minsA take on the importance of family and the immigration experience, this short film follows a middle-aged mother, attempting to reclaim her life and marriage. When she takes up dance lessons, she discovers how the “one-two-three” rhythm that’s required on the dance floor translates to her relationships.