Short Block 5 – Coming Together

People coming together over a shared experience, passion, or a life change is a powerful thing as we see in these four short films. Three women find a thread of commonality in their womanhood (“The Bench”), a woman takes a virtual journey during the pandemic (“Ships in the Night”),a group of queer friends leave their comfort zone (“Rough River Lake”), a hike and a swim leaves truth underneath the surface (“September”), and the journey behind the film (“The Return: The Making of Hues and Hidden Kings”).

4/30: Short Block 5 Premiere + Q&A – 6:00 PM PT / 9:00 PM ET, moderator Abby Pierce Premiere Pass, All Access Pass

4/30 Short Block 5 Second Screening – 8:00 PM PT / 11:00 PM ET Second Screening Pass, All Access Pass

“The Bench” – directed by Ivy Bona

USA | English | 10.46 min

Three women from different worlds meet unexpectedly at a park bench and share their stories and hardships, connect, and support one another in a brief but influential moment before continuing on their way.

“Ships in the Night” – directed by Katherine Bourne Taylor

USA | English | 11.35 min

“Ships in the Night” follows a young woman who starts “shipping” two fictional, animated characters together (basically, she wants them to kiss). To combat her growing isolation during the pandemic and a strained relationship with her sister, she turns to an online fandom community and begins writing fan fiction about the characters she is fixated on.

“Rough River Lake” – directed by Mary Tilden

USA | English | 15.32 min

A group of queer best friends arrive at the lake for the perfect getaway. Their Gaycation gets interrupted when the group discovers the lake house has been double booked by a bachelor party.

“September” – directed by Sarah Sherman

USA | English | 8.10 min

Every September sisters Alice and Maggie visit the site of their Father’s ashes. An old boyfriend’s presence individualizes their grieving processes.

“The Return: The Making of Hues and Hidden Kings” – directed by Sydney Morgan Currie

USA | English | 19.30 min | Trailer

The behind the scenes making of a short film made by young college students to reclaim their royal inheritance during the beginning of a divided racial and political era of American history.  The film is a witness of students bonding together to create unity, creativity, and advocacy. 

Q&A with filmmakers

Ivy Bona (dir. “The Bench”)
Katherine Bourne Taylor (dir. “Ships in the Night”) Photo by David Sprague
Mary Tilden (dir. “Rough River Lake”)
Sarah Sherman (dir. “September”) Processed with VSCO with a7 preset
Jessica Barr (“September” producer, writer, and actor)
Sydney Morgan Currie (dir. “The Return: The Making of Hues and Hidden Kings”)


Abby Pierce

Abby Pierce is a director, writer, actor, and teaching artist. She has been teaching theater with incarcerated communities for the past five years with the women of EPIC at Cook County Jail and she currently teaches at Riker’s Island with Drama Club. She recently directed the Jeff-nominated theater production of Hopelessly Devoted in Chicago at Piven Theater. Her award-winning short films Eat Your Heart Out and Go Ahead, Grab Time by the Throat are currently on the festival circuit. She considers both Chicago and Brooklyn to be her homes.