2020 NYC Short Documentary Film Festival Selections


Due to Covid-19, the NYC Short Documentary Film Festival is going digital and free. However, if you would like to help us come back next year we would appreciate if you donate the price of a movie ticket!

You can join us here… https://www.twitch.tv/nycsdff. To watch all the films in the 2020 NYC Short Comedy Film Festival.

Session One Noon



Directed By Stefanie Brockhaus

Run Time: 17:31

Born on the island of La Réunion, Julie Gautier grew up as a child of the ocean. Free diving and spear fishing became second nature to her but her passion lies in the creative process – as an award-winning  lm filmmaker and a dancer. Fusing free diving and dance, Gautier leads us into a new territory of ocean life. JULIE is Gautier’s powerful story of  finding her creative voice beneath the surface.We get a glimpse into the life and psychological journey of portrait artist Michael Shane Neal as he captures the human spirit on a canvas.

SHAMIMA: Memory In My Heart

Directed By RAY LC and FABEHA MONIR Run Time: 02:46

Uprooted by the Myanmar military and driven from their home, Ameena Khatun and her Rohingya family live a new life in Balukhali, Bengladesh, amidst daily struggles for provisions and basic human necessities. But while trying to secure basic living this Ramadan, Ameena holds one member of the family of 12 dearest of all: her daughter Shamima who died of starvation on the way from Myanmar. However, the family has no way to remember her by, no photos, no clothing, no mementos. And for Ameena, who can’t draw or speak confidently, the memory of her daughter will be lost to posterity outside her family, except perhaps for this document of a film.

Ocean Station November

Directed By Damon Stuebner

Run Time: 12:05

While patrolling an area of the Pacific Ocean designated “Ocean Station November”, the daily routine for the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pontchartrain included launching weather balloons and conducting lifeboat drills.  But in the early morning hours of October 16, 1956, the Coast Guardsmen prepared for the possibility of a mid-sea rescue when they received a distress call from a trans-oceanic airliner with multiple engine failures.

Knocking down the fences

Directed By Meg Shutzer

Run Time 12:00

A documentary about AJ Andrews, the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, and her struggle to make it as one of the best professional softball players in the world.   Winner of the PBS Reel South Award at the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival.


Directed By Christopher Romano Run Time: 16:11

Fly fishing and tour guiding is a way of life for most Belizeans.  Somehow, Eworth Garbutt has figured out how to be the best at it.  This film shows why.

Panama Shock

Directed by Isabel De Obaldia Run Time: 14:41 “Por Panamá la vida” is a short personal documentary about the years living under the dictatorship of general Noriega culminating with the United States invasion in December 1989.

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal

Directed By Katie Schuler Run Time: 09:57 Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world. As the four Asian species of pangolins have dwindled, poachers are increasingly turning to the African species to supply the trade. In this short film, meet the bold Nigerians who are fighting to protect this gentle and vulnerable creature.

Maria Torres: Neighborhood Artist

Directed By Davis Hall Run Time 11:20 What if making art could save your life? For this Peruvian-born New Yorker, painting helps heal physical and emotional trauma.

The Punjabi American Highway

Directed By Claire Hannah Collins

Run Time 05:43

Palwinder Singh came to America from Patiala, India in 2001, and is one of the 138,000 truck drivers in California. He said the job appealed to him because it gave him independence, including the ability to grow out his beard and wear a turban on the job

Session Two 2:15 PM


The Last Harvest

Directed By Alexis Spradic

Run Time 20:08

America’s food values are rapidly changing. We are experiencing a food revolution that is demanding better-tasting, natural and sustainable food and yet, we don’t often consider who is responsible for growing this food. The truth is, 75% of the fresh fruit consumed in the U.S. is completely dependent on hand harvesting. Without the workforce to pick the crops, growers are at risk of losing their livelihood.   The Last Harvest offers a rare glimpse into the hopes, hardships, and uncertain futures of three family growers. Harvesters face a harsh reality of tightened immigration control and inefficient guest worker programs that prevent growers from finding a workforce to pick their fields. These problems threaten our availability of fresh food and our vibrant and thriving agricultural community.


Directed By Simona Kubasova-Prakash

Run Time 19:00

Matt’s family struggles daily to support their 32 year old son who lost most of his memory following a brain injury when he was 27 years-old. Now, he forgets everything within minutes, including the previous life that he lost in the wake of the accident and his goal of independence.

For While

Directed By Jess Irish

l Run Time 01:05

Inspired by Emma Lazarus’s famed poem welcoming immigrants to the United States, this  experimental video short captures small moments of humanity within the quotidian carriage of the NYC subway. Titled in reference to a computational “for” loop, the video poem speaks to the holding pattern we occupy and take passage through—equal in our anonymity, hurriedness and small sufferings. Amid this current era of nationalist scapegoating, we persist in the quiet ethos of multiplicity. We (us) are greater than US in the lived experience of equality and freedom.


Directed By Hudson Flynn

Run Time 16:25

A high school film student explores what traits develop the unhealthy relationships he and other students have with their teachers on a regular basis.

School Crossing

Directed By Karla Caraballo-Torres

Run Time 16:30

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is considered among the worst in Latin American history. While much of the media coverage has focused on the political turmoil in Venezuela, “School Crossing” focuses on an unseen crisis: the education of the next generation of Venezuelan children.

Brooklyn Lacrosse

Directed By Idris Talib Solomon Run Time 09:07 Brooklyn Lacrosse is about Khalid West, managing director of Brooklyn Lacrosse Club. Mr. West, a Brooklyn native, reflects on his experiences in the sport as it influences his family, spiritual, and professional life.

Dancing in Mendota

Directed By Claire Hannah Collins

Run Time 05:15

Gil Ramirez immigrated to the U.S. more than 20 years ago to escape persecution he experienced in Mexico as a gay man. Now he choreographs and teaches dances for quinceañeras in Mendota, Calif., a small town 35 miles outside of Fresno. “I think Mendota needed someone like me,” he said.

Kakuma Hope

Directed By Caroline True

Run Time 11:56

Kakuma Hope Life in Kakuma, one of the world’s largest refugee camps, can be incredibly difficult.  Established in 1992, UNHCR’s Kakuma Camp is home to more than 190,000 people forced to flee violence, persecution and war.  Education is of critical importance with 75% of those living in the camp are under the age of 25 and more unaccompanied minors arrive every day.   In Kenya, less than 4% of refugee girls attend secondary school with girls facing many systemic cultural and socio-economic barriers to education.    Kakuma Hope is the story of the Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls, the young women and the boarding school making a difference in Kakuma, Kenya.

Session Three 4:30 PM


Rust Bucket

Directed By Mo Wynne, Roddy Hyduk

Run Time 02:15

A portrait of an Edmonton-based artist and his unlikely canvas.

The Women and the Sea

Directed By Camila Guarda

Run Time 14:42

Two women navigate life and death at sea in a remote Chilean fishing village.  PRESS KIT: https://spark.adobe.com/page/k6g9wX6pPQNxZ/


Directed By Tom Chapman

l Run Time 03:11

A profile of a rice paddy rat-catcher in Northern Vietnam.

Ayman: A Refugee Story

Directed By Boris Thompson-Roylance

l Run Time 14:00

‘Ayman’ chronicles the unbelievable story of a young Syrian refugee and his journey from the Jungle Camps of Calais to the UK.   The film tells a very human and honest tale of a life worth fighting for, amid the worlds greatest refugee crisis since the second world war.

Stockholm Fury Road

Directed By Stephane Benini

Run Time 06:23

Welcome To The Underground. This is the most insane illegal streetracing event in stockholm since the 80′. During one night from 23h to 8h, drag racing cars competed to be crowned winner in Swedens most prestigious street race.

Karaoke People

Director – Jen Tate 

Run Time 17:51

Lots of people sing karaoke. Only some of them are Karaoke People. I built a karaoke confessional booth to try to understand the difference.

Night and Day

Directed By Peter Anthony Run Time 10:10 Night and Day is a story of two lives, an uncle and his nephew. Neither has ever met. In fact the nephew never knew of his uncle’s existence until his own coming out to his family. These two men lived very different lives due to the time periods in which they were born. The story is uniquely told via a puppet stage and marionettes.

Spam 3 Ways

Directed By Christopher Hwisu Kim Run Time 04:58 Spam is the reason I don’t completely hate myself. As a Korean American kid, I fought against my Koreanness in every way but could never quit the food. It was just too damn good.  Spam 3 Ways is part cheeky recipe video, part personal essay. It’s an exploration of the fraught relationship Asian Americans have with their Asianness – all through the lens of Spam.


Directed By Kyungwon Song

Run Time 06:15

Jesa is a Korean tradition honoring their ancestors. The filmmaker interviewed her parents about this ritual tradition of Korea. However, it goes totally unexpected.

In the dark room

Directed By Luigi Abanto Varese Run Time 09:50 A meeting with the famous Spanish photographer, Cristina Garcia Rodero, member of the Magnum Photos Agency. A conversation rescued from the box of all those visual memories that come to mind while processing my photos in the solitude of the Dark Room.

Heroically Ever After

Directed By Rhiannon Mackenzie

Run Time 09:56

A group of cosplayers called Heroically Ever after carry on the legacy of a young cancer victim through hospital visits cheering up sick children by dressing as their childhood heroes. This short documentary is the story of Xavier Garrett and his life with cancer and how it inspired a movement to spread hope and cheer to kids and families during their dark times.