Director Biography – Chelses Venkadathu (EPHEMERA)

Chelses Venkadathu is an Emmy® nominated (midwest chapter) editor making his debut as a writer/director in this short film “Ephemera”. He also edited the Director’s Cut of “CA$H” starring Chris Hemsworth and Sean Bean. Chelses started his career as a 3D animator for clients such as United Airlines and Labatt Beer Company. Afterward, he produced community based TV shows and eventually worked his way into film.

Chelses Venkadathu was born in a small town along the southwest coast state of Kerala in India. He moved and lived with his family in north and west India as well. He also lived in Bahrain for two years until finally settling down in Chicago at the age of seven. His father was an engineer and mother was a nurse. Chelses received his AA in Electronic Design and B.A. in Computer Animation & Media Arts. Although his true intentions were to pursue a career in video games, that slowly transitioned in to a love for filmmaking.Director Statement

Ephemera has taken over 7 years to produce from inception to completion. I’ve been chipping away on this project since 2012. In the meantime I also got married, had 2 kids, and maintained a regular job. Just so we’re clear on why it took me 7 years. It was shot in the Chicagoland area over the course of 6 days on the Arri Alexa Mini. This adult drama with a running time of 20 minutes has a production cost of $50,000. Needless to say, we have taken our time to carefully craft this piece of cinema.

Short Film: KENYA’S SYMPHONY, 5min., USA, Animation/Drama

Kenya, A bold five-year old girl, reluctantly ends up in her first symphony concert with her mother. As the conductor lays a downbeat and the orchestra begins to play, Kenya’s patience wears thin. To entertain herself, the bold young girl pulls out a straw and begins to reign havoc in the auditorium with spitballs. Against her mother’s pleading, Kenya continues to behave in disobedience.

Kenya ultimately wins the higher ground and takes one final shot with her straw in hand; suddenly, a sour music note is produced in place of a spitball. To Kenya’s surprise, her straw has become a musical instrument, imitating the oboe soloist’s instrument on stage. She cautiously gives the straw another try, and more music notes emanate out the other end! Enchanted by the sounds of music, Kenya’s imagination soars with the whimsical melody in a colorful epiphany. After the piece’s conclusion, Kenya is triumphantly escorted out of the symphony hall as the newest (and youngest) patron of the orchestra.

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Short Film: ANNA, 15min., Ukraine, History/Drama

Cannes Official Selection 19′ – Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. Nominated for a short Palme d’Or, TIFF, AFI Fest + dozens of selections and awards. Currently, BAFTA shortlisted. BIFA award for Best British Short Film.

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Chicago Festival Videos: Feb. 21/2020 Event.


Theme of night: Passions and Trajedy

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterLET THE BLONDE SING, 13min., USA Documentary
festival posterWE WERE HARDLY MORE THAN CHILDREN, 9min., USA, Documentary
festival posterSEX + ICE CREAM, 6min., USA, Documentary
festival posterBALLHAWKS, 10min., USA, Documentary
festival posterSATURDAY, 9min., USA/Iran, Drama
festival posterLACUNA, 7min., USA, Drama
festival posterRED THREAD, 3min., USA, Experimental
festival posterHONOR AMONG THIEVES, 10min., USA, Sci-Fi/Western
festival posterWELL DONE, 3min., USA, Comedy

The 1st festival in Chicago in 2020.
3 more festival events in 2020.

See you at the festivals.

– Matthew Toffolo

Well Done Short Film, Audience FEEDBACK from CHICAGO Festival Feb. 2020

WELL DONE, 3min., USA, Comedy

Directed by Brian Ernst

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!

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

We Were Hardly More Than Children Short Film, Audience FEEDBACK from CHICAGO Festival Feb. 2020


Directed by Cecelia Condit

“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.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!