Director Biography – Cecelia Condit (WE WERE HARDLY MORE THAN CHILDREN)

Since 1981, Condit has created videos and heroines whose lives swing between beauty and the grotesque, innocence and cruelty, strength and fragility. Her work puts a subversive spin on the traditional mythology of women in film and the psychology of sexuality and violence. Exploring the dark side of female subjectivity, her “feminist fairy tales” focus on friendships, age, and most recently the natural world.

Condit has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, Mary L. Nohl Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Council and the National Media Award from the Retirement Research Foundation. Her work shows internationally and is represented in collections including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Centre Georges Pompidou in France.

She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In addition, Condit received a B.F.A. in sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art and M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art of Temple University in photography. At present, she is professor emerita in the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Formerly, she was a professor and director of the graduate program in film.

Director Statement

“We Were Hardly More Than Children” is a tale of trauma and friendship. Lena’s story is of the Cape Cod artist, Diane Messinger, whose paintings are throughout the piece. Diane’s paintings are the anger she doesn’t feel and the hurts she doesn’t remember.

Short Film: WE WERE HARDLY MORE THAN CHILDREN, 9min., USA, Documentary

“We Were Hardly More Than Children” is an epic tale of a friend’s traumatic abortion; a deep hurt not remembered, but poignantly visible in her paintings.

Project Links

  • Film Type:Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:Experimental, Women, Narrative, Documentary
  • Runtime:8 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:March 7, 2019
  • Production Budget:1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:United States
  • Country of Filming:United States
  • Film Language:English
  • Shooting Format:Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:16:9
  • Film Color:Color

Director Biography – Brian Ernst (WELL DONE)

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Brian Ernst has spent the majority of his professional career in journalism and freelance videography but has found his greatest success in short form comedy.

He and his fellow producers, Mitch Brinkman & Nathan Hennenfent, made their festival debut in 2015 with their short web series “Dirty Laundry”, a one room, single camera narrative featuring a blossoming friendship.

A DePaul University graduate and former Chicago Tribune video producer, Brian has trained in writing at the Annoyance and iO Theaters, most recently participating in the latter with a Monty Python style sketch revue. During his tenure at the Tribune, Brian spearheaded several series, including the Theater Loop Showcase which aimed at recreating and documenting the theater scene in Chicago.

Brian received an Emerging Cinematographer award for his work on “Ludo”, a short documentary showcased at the Cannes Film Festival, but aims at focusing his efforts on episodic and feature length comedy with his fellow producers.

Brian is currently the Director of Digital Operations for the Chicago Sun-Times overseeing their video efforts.

Short Film: WELL DONE, 3min., USA, Comedy


Neil needs his co-worker BBQ to go off without a hitch in order for his boss to entrust him with the warehouse club membership. Then he will choose the SNACKS!

Project Links

Director Biography – Pegah Pasalar (SATURDAY)

Pegah Pasalar (born in 1992) is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist currently based in Chicago.


She received her bachelor’s degree from the Art University of Tehran majoring in cinema editing.


She is a full-merit scholarship awardee at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she is pursuing a master of fine arts in studio with an emphasis in film and video.


The theme of her work is centered on the position of women in the family and society,social criticism of childhood and immigration,and the transitions and effects within interpersonal relationships.

Pegah is currently continuing to work on a series of short films, each titled after a day of the week. With the completion of the short film Sunday, she is now working on Saturday. Each of these works take place over the course of one day.

Director Statement

A family vacation ends in grief and unanswered questions…

Over View

Saturday, my latest film, a part of constellations of works each titled after a day of the week,is an evocation of the irregular, illogical and nonlinear process of grief at the loss of a child, and of the gap in time between the moment a traumatic event occurs and when it is perceived. As the viewer follows a joyful trip to the beach by a family with three young children, innocence and happiness give way to the unthinkable. While the day unfolds on-screen, the audience comes to realize, through subtle audiovisual cues, that a tragedy has occurred: one of the three children has drowned. Decisions are made in a state of shock, and the blurred lines between the rational and irrational interrupt and fragment the journey back home. The parents opt to bring their dead son back in the same car with the two other children pretending as if he is sleeping.

Saturday springs from the liminal space between the personal and the political. It is a response to the wars and strife that have engulfed the Middle East, and to the lived reality of an encounter with death. In an era, strife with refugees fleeing from frequent turmoil, a new generation is learning that the beauty of the sea is intertwined with its indifference and cruel force. The widely circulated image of Alan Kurdi, a child who drowned en route to Europe while escaping the Syrian War with his family, comes to mind. The film’s approach, though, is intimate and its focus is on the mundane.

While this experimental fiction short film is deeply personal and local to my own family in Iran, Saturday also focuses on a much broader complexity of human conditions. It depicts an alternative way of facing the immediate aftermath of trauma. One that pushes up against society’s prescribed behaviors and social norms and attempts to show that there is no one way, or correct way, to grieve. Saturday focuses in the universality of intergenerational differences,
of childhood and parenting, and on the altering states of denial, reality, and truth. It explores the relationships between life and death, death and sleep, smiling and weeping, paleness of color and saturation, whispering and shouting, proximity and distance. The film for the most part is depicted through little sister’s point of view, and so there the moments are shown in a
fragmented and non-conventional way.

Short Film: SATURDAY, 9min., USA/Iran, Drama

As the viewer follows a joyful trip to the beach by a family with three young children, innocence and happiness give way to the unthinkable. While the day unfolds on-screen, the audience comes to realize, through subtle audiovisual cues, that a tragedy has occurred: one of the three children has drowned. Decisions are made in a state of shock, and the blurred lines between the rational and irrational interrupt and fragment the journey back home. The parents opt to bring their dead son back in the same car with the two other children pretending as if he is sleeping.

Project Links

Director Biography – Yijun Pan, Anh Vo (RED THREAD)

I believe in the power of storytelling with a camera. Before I came to the United States, I was a full-time fashion photographer. Still, I want more, which makes me decide to pursue a new education at DePaul University with a cinematography concentration to prepare myself to understand and tell a better human story through visual storytelling.

Director Statement

The Red Thread of Fate (also referred to as the Red Thread of Marriage), is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the little finger of those that are destined to meet each other. The two people who connected by the red dread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This myth is similar to the western concept of a soul mate or a destined flame.

Through stages of the relationship, the concept we want to portray is in the modern world; people’s relationship is getting more and more complicated; our red thread sometime is not tied on only one person anymore. Sometimes people are getting suffer and torture in the relationship mentally and physically.

Short Film: RED THREAD, 3min., USA, Experimental

A red thread connects your destiny, but perhaps not the only one you find.

Project Links

News & Reviews

Director Biography – Ryan Matthew Jolly (LACUNA)

Born, March 22, 1996. Ryan Jolly started animating in early middle school. Always planning film ideas and character designs on the sides of notebooks. He loved to create stories and shared them on YouTube. After graduating college he took a job as a tutor, helping young animators with the same classes he had taken.

Project Links