January 2022 HollyShorts Monthly Screenings!

As we begin the new year, it’s finally become time to take a look at a selection of short films from some of the most talented creators in the world. Filmmakers from multiple countries and experiences have shared their work with us, and for the first screening of 2022, we have a plethora of incredible films to share. Be sure to check out these films as they screen from January 27th to January 30th, only on BitPix!

Jennifer Khoe and Michaela McAllister in Mom Fight

Mom Fight – This Mickey Finnegan film brings forth all the joys and struggles of trying to find the perfect holiday gift for your child, and the lengths parents will go to obtain it. A mixture of witty comedy and hard-hitting action, the film comes to a head as two moms battle it out for the last remaining toy on their child’s wish list. Stars Jennifer Khoe and Michaela McAllister are stellar in what is some pretty impressive fight choreography as the two enter a full-on brawl with one another over the chance to make their child’s holiday special. Mom Fight is wildly entertaining, very funny and wonderfully shot, making it obvious why it’s getting the positive attention is has thus far.

Volley – Oliver DeFilippo and Martin George Berishaj team up to brings us the story of a friendly game of tennis between friends that becomes about so much more in this film. Directed by DeFilippo and starring Berishaj and Camrus Johnson, Volley is a film that truly takes a journey, as friends talk and play as they do every week, using their tennis sessions as a way to catch up, bond and grow their friendship. In the particular game this film focuses on, big news hits that completely reframes the way they see their relationships and the lives they live as the game they focus so much on takes a backseat to what is really going on off the court. Films like this are some of the most impactful, as the backdrop of two friends playing a game slowly fades into the background as other, more important things make their way into the main spotlight. It brings depth and emotion to the relationship these friends have, truly showing a deep bond that brings not only the characters, but the audience closer as well. Johnson and Berishaj are both incredible in this, pairing a friendly comradery with genuine affection for the other.

Sleepwalker – A film by Nathan Alan Bunker, and written by Andrea Bunker, this is a very esoteric and dreamlike film that tells the story of a husband attempting to keep his wife safe during her sleepwalking. Not all is what it seems, however, as she may be an unwitting participant in something much more sinister. This is really interesting short horror, with a lot to be left to the imagination, in the best way. David Sullivan and Haley Webb both do terrific jobs of keeping up the tension.

Last Chance – Set in late 1980’s Los Angeles, Last Chance brings some nostalgia, some mystery and a lot of entertainment as it follows three women looking to have a crazy weekend as they celebrate a birthday for one of the group. With the decision made to break into a neighbor’s house to try and raid some alcohol after they run out, things get more and more frightening as time passes. The escalation of this film is really fun as the film’s complications get higher and higher. The main cast of Lyndsi LaRose, Gina Comparetto, Martha Prosper and Billy Flynn all execute a fun and frightening film directed by Anthony Fanelli and written by LaRose and Comparetto.

Poster for Shadow Boxer

Shadow Boxer – In the ninth round of a hard fought match, boxer Mason Mendoza is on the edge of defeat. Taking a beating from former stable buddy Andre Gibson, Mason must not only fight against someone he knows well, but contend with the man in Andre’s corner: Mason’s father, Eddie. When the fight is nearly out of reach, Mason must battle with himself and the echoing words of his father just as much as Andre in an attempt to secure victory when all seems lost. Star Christopher Evangelou is joined by James Cosmo, Craig McDonald-Kelly and Humzah Awan in this inspiring tale of sacrifice, overcoming self-doubt and finding a way to put your mind to a goal and achieving it, regardless of what the world around you says. It’s a wonderful entry from the stars Evangelou and McDonald-Kelly, in collaboration with director Ross McGowan, all of whom helped craft this incredible tale.

Dean Sugarbaker – One of several entries from the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, this film focuses on the titular character, played by George Steeves. Sugarbaker is a hunter, but of a different sort. He does everything he can to rid neighborhoods of the menace known as squirrels, armed with only his wits, a large rifle and the ability to communicate with the creatures. Steeves is a delight, and while only a few minutes, you get everything you need to know about this heroic character and the good they do for the world around them. Written by Steeves, Anthony Caleca, Matthew Gossin and Dave Rygalski and directed by Gossin, this was a really fun and wonderful film.

The Hitman’s Brother – Written and directed by Devin Bauer and Alex Stathis, this quick animated short is full of great action and powerful emotion as it weaves a nearly silent story of a hitman, as he takes on a job that will affect him dearly, both personally and professionally. With the only sound in this film being the impact noises of the fight and some pretty great music, this film relies on the animation to speak for itself, and it certainly does.

Kohima – A beautifully animated music video by artist Saahil Bhargava, and directed by Bhargava and Harmeet Rahal, this song is a powerful ballad about the traumas faced by soldiers during wartime. In its under five minute runtime, the song and accompanying ide bring the horrors of war to the forefront, facing the incalculable violence head-on, in a way that is both respectful and somber. Bhargava is a very talented musician, and the message here is obvious and important.

Poster for Farmer: A Way Of Life

Farmer, A Way Of Life – Gaetano Naccarato’s documentary about the dangers of industrial farming and a need to get back to a more traditional way of life is a beautiful but tough film that really highlights the need to find a way back to sustainable farming. Filmed during the pandemic, Naccarato traveled the world to speak with farmers about their love of farming, their desire to find a way to give back to the planet, and the ways in which returning to a more natural way of feeding the world could also help save it. This film has been spoken about at length before, and for good reason. To see more about the film, please check out our full review of Farmer: A Way Of Life and a discussion with Gaetano Naccarato.

Liza Anonymous – Liza has an addiction, and thankfully is seeking help by going to meetings. The only problem is that Liza’s addiction is to the meetings themselves, and in order to maintain her façade, Liza brings out more and more elaborate personas to try and fit in with the group she surrounds herself with. As her juggling act begins to fall apart, Liza is lead through realizations that she doesn’t need to pretend to be someone else to fit in, and that all she really needs is to find the right people to surround herself with. Danielle Beckmann, Daniel Fox and Rafael Sardina join a cast of wonderful actors in this very strange but heartwarming film written by Leah McKendrick and directed by Aubrey Smyth.

Pippi – Written by Mia Walker and directed by Karoline Xu, this film takes on the tough topic of racial identity and treatment, all through the lens of Pippi Longstocking. Angella Cao and Xu star in the film as a mother and daughter who use some of the more outdated tropes of the character to tackle their own ideas of identity. While only a few minutes, it’s a fantastic look at how people can choose to take these tropes and use them not as an abuse, but as something to find in themselves, taking an extreme event and trying to help them on their own journey.

Hyper Active – Another entry from the Disability Film Challenge by filmmaker Cory Reeder, who is the focus of the short documentary. Cory has ADHD, or Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder, and while he’s never fully understood it until his diagnosis, he’s been living with it his whole life. The documentary goes through his life living with the disorder, and how understanding it has changed his life and outlook on handling it. It’s very touching to see how he views his disorder through his own lens, and how advocating for not only being an ally to those like you, but to those with other disabilities and disorders can be of huge benefit to everyone.

That’s all for this screening! Thank you to all the filmmakers for sharing their craft with us, and congratulations to everyone involved on these films for getting selected for this showing. All of them deserve this honor, and it’s exciting to see how many brilliant creators there are in this industry. Be sure to check back soon for more screenings, review and more, only on BitPix!

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