SHORTS PROGRAM 4: Before Midnight (Part Two)
Wednesday, May 3rd at 9:30pm at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago.
Program Description: This program is PART TWO of our Before Midnight program (AKA Midnight Program before Midnight). All of these films surprise you and defy genre.
Screening Media Partner:
Mezcla Media Collective is a Chicago-based non-profit arts organization providing resources and equity to women and non-binary filmmakers of color. Founded as an informal collective in 2017 by filmmakers Colette Ghunim and Elena Valentine who saw a need for a centralized community, we work to develop career pathways, provide educational programming, and build access to industry leaders nationwide, all while cultivating a tight-knit support system for one another.
Spanko – dir. Melanie Zoey Weinstein
When a misfit teacher explores her taboo fantasies, she’s inspired to start a self-acceptance revolution. Director Melanie Zoey Weinstein will be in attendance! https://vimeo.com/283083406
Melanie Zoey Weinstein (she/they)
Melanie Zoey Weinstein is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and actor, who creates content at the intersection of sexuality, religion and modern life. Melanie is director of “Why I Dance,” a pole dance film about women who come together to reclaim their bodies through movement. “Why I Dance” went viral with nearly 2 million views worldwide on Vimeo, and was featured in Vogue, Refinery29, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, HuffPo and more. “Why I Dance,” screened internationally in Berlin, London, Kosovo and at Vienna International Shorts, winning best cinematography and best editing at Women’s Indie Fest. Melanie is co-producer and dialogue writer of A24’s MENASHE, the Yiddish film that premiered in Sundance NEXT 2017, and was nominated for Best First Feature in the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. She is developing her feature debut, “Dirty Pictures”, and is currently in post-production of the short film version, “Spanko” about a misfit teacher with a spanking fetish who starts a revolution of self-acceptance. Ericka Naegel of Lena Dunham’s A Casual Romance called “Spanko” “frank, funny and triumphant,” and Kristen Murtha of Sundance hit “Band-Aid” called “Spanko” “contagious.” Melanie’s coming-of-age comedy “Sex and the Holy Land,” about a young woman’s quest to find her orgasm in Israel while combating the Jewish mothers in her mind premiered in The New York International Fringe Festival. “Sex and the Holy Land” sold-out and was chosen from two hundred plays for an extended run in The Fringe Encore Series.
Panda – dir. Sasha Briggs – U.K.
Chef Antonia’s estranged mother pays a surprise visit to her restaurant. Struggling with feelings of abandonment she seeks solace from her twin brother, who died 10 years ago. Cameo with Phil Dunster (Ted Lasso, Apple TV). Chicago Premiere!
Sasha Briggs (she/her)
Sasha’s debut short, “Howl” (2020) was shortlisted by Cinemagic, HER Film Festival
Since then, she met Craig Pearce (writer of “Moulin Rouge”/”Elvis”) whilst working as an AD on Danny Boyle’s show, Pistol. As a huge fan of his work, Sasha was delighted to have Craig’s invaluable feedback on her script for “Panda.”
She’s hugely excited to share the performances of “Panda’s” electric cast: Sylvie Briggs (“Cold Feet,” “The Nevers”), Tom Grant (Spring Awakening – Almeida Theatre), Suzanna Hamilton (1984), and Phil Dunster (Ted Lasso)
The Mark – dir. Deborah Kampmeier
Gracelyn has trained herself in witchcraft ever since being taunted by a group of girls in middle school and excluded from their “coven.” Now in their twenties, one of those girls, Annie, brings her boyfriend by for a visit…carelessly unaware of Gracelyn’s new powers. Producer Annarosa Mudd (TAPE) and actress and co-producer Sophia Adler will be in attendance. World Premiere!
Annarosa Mudd (she/her) – producer
Annarosa Mudd (producer) – is a producing partner with Full Moon Films, a New York based production company helmed by award – winning director/writer/producer Deborah Kampmeier. She starred in and produced Kampmeier’s Tape, starring Isabelle Fuhrman, which premiered at the Female Eye Film Festival in March 2020, and is now streaming. Recently Annarosa produced the Full Moon Films short, The Mark, and co-wrote a feature film adaptation with Kampmeier. Annarosa holds a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch.
Sophia Adler (co-producer, actress)
Sophia Adler (co-producer, actress) – is best known for her roles in Tape (2020) and Split (2016). Most recently she played the role of Candy in Harlan Coben’s Shelter for Amazon (2023). Sophia grew up surrounded by the art of acting. She is the great granddaughter of the iconic acting teacher Stella Adler. She grew up watching theater productions at the Stella Adler Studio, as well as watching her mother (Deborah Kampmeier) write and direct films. When Sophia was nine years old she became a part of the Children Shakespeare Company in Rockland County, NY, which she was a part of until the age of twelve (favorite roles included Friar Lawrence and Lady Macbeth). When she turned eighteen Sophia decided to pursue acting on a professional level. She attended the Introductory Conservatory program at the Stella Adler Studio in 2019. She later joined the Stella Adler Summer Conservatory in 2020. In 2021 Sophia also studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Helium, dir. Annika Chavez
An absurdist examination of female friendship, Helium explores various dynamics of intimacy over the course of a double date à la maison. Though each is equipped with a romantic partner for the night, Claire and Reagan find themselves drawn more strongly to the comfort of their own friendship than to their dates, leading to a rather dissociative evening. Chicago premiere! https://vimeo.com/763243641 (trailer)
Annika Chavez (she/her/hers)
Annika Chavez is a director, writer, and actor. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied theatre and film and is currently based between Los Angeles and New York. She has 9 years of directing experience with theatre as her base. Her 2021 film “Bolognese” recently played at both Palm Springs International Shortfest, where it was nominated for best US Short, and at NFFTY, where it won an Audience Award. It continues to make festival rounds this year. She is currently in post-production for “Bad Jew Good Girl”,which she directed this year. As a writer, she was a semifinalist for the 2021 NBC Nosotros Monologue Slam.
Babyface, dir. Sannah Kim
When young and impressionable Lux is finally invited to “It Girl” Eden’s Halloween party, she changes her own identity to fit in with the crowd and stand a chance against her perfect older sister. Their relationship comes to a head when Eden’s toxic boyfriend Ryan takes advantage of both sisters’ insecurities. Putting aside their differences, they both make a drastic decision and teach each other what real love is in the process. This story is an exploration of the frustrations of sisterhood, the loneliness of youth, and the tribulations of pining for a life that isn’t your own. Chicago premiere!
Sannah Kim (she/her)
Sannah Kim (she/her) is a writer/director from the North Jersey area. She recently received her degree from Boston University’s College of Communication in Film & Television Production and a minor in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Sannah has previously worked in production and development at Archer Gray and Maven Screen Media, and currently works on marketing narratives for music artists at the next-gen record label Nvak Collective. Her first short film Babyface is having its world premiere at this year’s Cinema Femme Short Film Festival and she couldn’t be more thrilled to be included among these amazing projects. Her past credits include “the pill” music video for Boston-based artist Eph See. She enjoys exploring the complexities of coming-of-age stories in her work and hopes to continue representing those often untold perspectives.
GREY FEATHER dir. Sophea KIM – Cambodia
Sarita is a young modern Cambodian girl in a relationship with Sam, a young Australian man who settled down in Cambodia. To Sarita, Sam is a symbol of freedom, freedom that has always been something missing in her life, circled by patriarcal family rules and conservative traditions. But when cultural duality leads to different paths of life, choices have to be made.
Sophea KIM (she/her)
In 2007, she began a career in the film on Rithy Panh’s feature (The Sea Wall). In 2009, she multiplied trainings and experiences as assistant director and production coordinator with many international filmmakers; directors such as Boje Buck (Same Same But Different), Rithy Panh (Shiiku The Catch, The Missing Picture), Regis Wargnier (The Gate) Chantal Akerman (Almayer’s Folly), Jeanne Labrune (The Path), Angelina Jolie (First They Killed My Father)…
In 2019 she decided to write and direct her own stories, as she wants to share her stories about a fast changing Cambodia, where to few stories come to the screen and women voices are little or never heard.
LIVE Q&A moderated by Ashley Shelton.
Ashley Shelton’s acting debut was the leading role of Margaret in the critically-acclaimed SOMETHING, ANYTHING (2015 NYT Critics’ Pick, The Dissolve’s “Essential Viewing”). It screened at several film festivals including Edinburgh and BAMcinemaFest before being released commercially in New York via IFP Screen Forward and in the USA & UK through Sundance #ArtistServices and IFP. She was featured on IndieWire’s 2015 Year-End Critics Poll as Best Lead Actress. Since, she has starred in numerous films including, THE EVENING HOUR (Sundance, 2019), THE GIANT (Toronto International Film Festival, 2019), WILD ROSE (Toronto International Film Festival, 2018), SOLLERS POINT (San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2016) and Riley Keough’s WAR PONY (Cannes 2022 & SXSW 2023). She can currently be seen in Ethan Hawke’s series THE GOOD LORD BIRD (Showtime) and the upcoming feature A LITTLE PRAYER which premiered at Sundance 2023. Her awarding-winning short film MAGNOLIA & CLEMENTINE was picked to participate in AMAZON’S 2019 All Voices Film Festival which celebrated diversity behind the camera. Her directorial feature film debut BEST CLOWNS, distributed by 1091 Pictures, will be released Summer 2023.