We asked our Audience Awards filmmaker community to submit their short films that call attention to a social or political issue relevant to the controversial times in which we live. Here are the top three jury-selected winning films from our 2018 Social & Political Shorts Film Festival.
The first place film, Sleep Well, My Baby, directed by Aaron Tao is a narrative film based on the harrowing reality of human trafficking along the Chinese/North Korean border. The film follows the incredible journey of a refugee who’s had everything taken from her and will go to desperate measures to get it back.
The second place jury selected film is Pardon Our Pixie Dust, directed by Matthew Serrano. From purchased candidates to homeless encampments, Pardon Our Pixie Dust is a student documentary about Anaheim and Disneyland, and what it’s really like to be the city surrounding the happiest place on earth. Serrano talked with us about the making of Pardon Our Pixie Dust and his future plans for the film. Serrano explained,
When it came time to make our film, the hardest part was actually cutting the film down to make sure that it did not exceed our class’ 12 minute maximum requirement. There were so many stories to talk about and so many topics to cover, that finding a way to tell a coherent story was the biggest obstacle in our way. There is so much promising information left for us to share with the world. So many stories of the disenfranchised, the homeless, and the starving workers in Anaheim that beg to be told. We are already in the process of gathering more footage in the hopes of taking “Pardon Our Pixie Dust” from a student short to a feature documentary film, and we cannot thank Audience Awards enough for supporting the film! –Matthew Serrano
The third-place film, On Time, directed by Xavier Burgin is a proof of concept piece made at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts from the larger feature script of the same name. The film follows Renee Johnson’s larger arc through the loss of her child, arrest, juvenile dependency court, and gaining back her daughter. Anyone who watches, On Time will agree that the film brings light to a notable problem in America today. Burgin further elaborated on this and told us,
Still, this pales in comparison to the message we needed to get out. For many, our protagonist’s only crime was being black, poor, and female. For others, regardless of her situation, her decision was reprehensible. Still, it is not cut and dry. There’s an epidemic of black women finding themselves in the crosshair of the law simply because they have to make a hard to decision (leaving their children in the car, cafeteria, etc…) while on job interviews. Our purpose in making this film was to highlight this specific problem. -Xavier Burgin
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