HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEOS: October 2021 BEST OF SHORTS Film Festival

Showcase of the best SHORT FILMS in the world today.

Best Film: NO TRICKS
Best Performances: FRESHMAN YEAR
Best Direction: POLLY
Best Cinematography: STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE
Best Sound & Music: TAKE THE VAX

Theme of night: Life

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterNO TRICKS, 11min., USA, Drama

festival posterFRESHMAN YEAR, 6min., USA, Drama

festival posterPOLLY, 17min., USA, Drama

festival posterTAKE THE VAX, 16min., USA, Drama

festival posterSTRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE, 9min., USA, Drama

Director BIO: Doug Werby (NO TRICKS)

Director Doug Werby has a true talent for authentic performance and beautiful imagery is at the heart of each project. He started directing comedy commercials and returns to it from time to time. He can both direct and edit, which makes him a true silver bullet. His keen sense of timing and appreciation for the human condition (comedic and otherwise) shines.

His personal mission statement is to provide intensely creative and collaborative filmmaking, a desire that was sparked as an early child following in the footsteps of celluloid heroes. For this creativity, doug has received commercial awards and recognition from the Clio’s, D&AD, multiple Telly Awards including the 20th Anniversary Gold, Halo and Ad Club.

Director Statement

I love what I do which is telling stories through moving images. I have extensive experience working in film, television, web, social and commercials. Currently I direct commercial spots through Kaboom Productions San Francisco and LA offices. All non-commercial work I do through my own production company Ballistic Pictures Inc. or as a loan out video director. This includes full-up production and post-production editorial services, interactive media creation and loan out directing for TV series. My hope is to build on all my experiences while challenging myself creatively to produce new narrative works such as “No Tricks”. My personal mission statement is to provide intensely creative, collaborative filmmaking, and to create work that informs and inspires

Short Film: NO TRICKS, 11min., USA, Drama

A chance encounter between two men from different worlds brings change and some unexpected wisdom. Shot entirely in San Francisco CA.

Project Links

News & Reviews

Director BIO: Anwei Luo, Elizabeth Rakhilkina (POLLY)

Anwei Luo is a Chinese-American filmmaker currently working as a producer in Los Angeles. Raised in China’s old capital Nanjing, transplanted into suburban Atlanta, and then educated in New York City, Anwei’s filmmaking is influenced by her experience as a perpetual foreigner, her obsession with film editing, and her love for postmodern literature.

Rooted in Provincial Russian queer counterculture, Elizabeth Rakhilkina’s creative voice is marked by her eclectic immigrant experience, exploration of gender non-conformity, and photography by Nan Goldin.

Director Statement

We’d like to introduce you to our film Polly because we believe that some stories women choose not to tell need to be heard nonetheless.

Set in Duluth, Georgia, a working-class suburb on the outskirt of Atlanta, Polly foregrounds the part of America where the progress of liberalism has not caught up with the rate of gentrification and social connectivity is often lost between malls, shops, and fast-food chains. Against this backdrop, we want to focus on a young woman whose private battle is to come to terms with her loss so she may feel connected with the world once more. By anchoring the audience in Erin’s perspective, we hope they feel and appreciate her grace and bravery even though she chooses not to come forward.

In the United States alone, 63% of sexual assaults are ever reported; Only 1% of reported assaults result in a conviction, yet 20% of American women, a real silent majority, admit to having experienced rape in their lifetime. This means, as vocal as our advocates sound, many who choose to omit their stories have been silently carrying on. By reflecting the perspective of a heroine who doesn’t confront sexual assault heads-on, our film hopes to explore how omission, the easiest way for women hoping to regain normalcy, is in itself a nonviolent trauma.

We conceived the story of Polly when both of us were students at New York University, and we nursed the idea into our professional careers, saving and planning to execute in a way that will do honor to its subject matter. We’re proud to say that Polly was ethically financed, developed, and produced by a diverse group of minds who believe in the film, its sensitivity, and its compassion. We hope you could help us connect the story with a wider audience.

Anwei Luo
Elizabeth Rakhilkina

Director BIO: Edsta (TAKE THE VAX)

Edsta, born and raised in Romania, is now a filmmaker based in New York City. Since he was little, he always had a big passion for making movies. He would continuously watch the behind-the-scenes videos of each film on DVD, until he realized that filmmaking was all he ever wanted to do in life. During his teenage years, he started getting involved in every possible local film production he could get his hands on. At the age of 21, Edsta moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking, where he quickly discovered his artistic style in both photography and cinematography, with the growth of his social media presence. Now that his first short film, “Take the Vax”, is under his belt, Edsta and his production partner and friend, Fesal Jaber, plan to continue sharpening their writing and directing skills in order to make even greater movies in the future.

HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEOS: September 2021 BEST OF SHORTS Film Festival

B>Showcase of the best SHORT FILMS in the world today.

Best Film: ANOMALY 4
Best Direction: DEBUT
Best Performances: AS THE WAVE BROKE
Best Cinematography: MY OWN WORST ENEMY
Best Sound & Music: TRUE FRIENDS

Theme of night: Life

NOTE: Festival took place during the COVID-19 virus lockdown so all screenings were held in private.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterAS THE WAVE BROKE, 22min., Germany, Drama/Experimental

festival posterTRUE FRIENDS, 5min,. Sweden, Dramedy

festival posterMY OWN WORST ENEMY, 6min., Netherlands, Experimental

festival posterDEBUT, 12min., Sweden, Drama/Comedy

festival posterANOMALY 4, 19min., UK, Experimental/Animation

The beginning of a (temporary) new era.

See you at the festivals. Whenever that happens!

– Matthew Toffolo