HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEOS: August 2021 FAMILY Shorts Film Festival

Showcase of the best DANCE SHORT FILMS in the world today.

Best Cinematography: HAMMOND’S BOOKS
Best Performances: IT TAKES A LEMON

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 posterIT TAKES A LEMON, 10min., USA, Drama/Family

festival posterLIVING YEARS, 38min., Documentary

festival posterHAMMOND’S BOOKS, 10min., USA, Documentary

The beginning of a (temporary) new era.

See you at the festivals. Whenever that happens!

– Matthew Toffolo

Director Biography – Corey J Gilbert (IT TAKES A LEMON)

Ever since Corey can remember, he has wanted to make art and movies. He graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Graphic Design and worked as a professional designer in Chicago from 1994 to 2003. In 2003, he co-founded p3 mediaworks with his brother Curtis, a film and video production company, also based in Chicago.

As an Emmy Award-winning producer and director, Corey has created many projects over the past 17 years both commercially and independently. They have appeared on television, in film festivals, and online platforms.

Director Statement

The script for this film was written by my niece, Zuri, who was 12 years-old at the time. Nothing is more inspiring than collaborating with creative youth, whether with Zuri or with the child actors who portrayed her characters in the story.

Director Biography – Brenda Gillis (LIVING YEARS)

At the age of 3 months old, I was adopted by parents that were unable to have their own biological children. I grew up in Santa Monica, California, in a unique and loving environment with a father who was a quadriplegic, which made my childhood very different than my peers. After graduating from Santa Monica High School in 1987, I completed my AA degree at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Just before my graduation from FIDM in 1992, I was able to locate and meet my biological mother and father and we have remained close ever since. After 10 years in the fashion industry, I decided to make a career change and take a position in the family Real Estate business. Although I grew up active in our family’s Christian Methodist faith, as an adult I became interested in Judaism and converted in 1999 just before my first daughter was born. In my 40’s I had the idea to make a documentary about my father’s remarkable life. Just before turning 50, having no film experience, I finally started, and three years later my debut film, LIVING YEARS has been completed. I currently live in Woodland Hills CA with my husband and 2 daughters.

Director Statement

I am hoping viewers will feel inspired by my dad’s story and all he has been able to accomplish despite his limitations, which might help others to find courage and strength to connect with their own struggles and find new possibilities.

Short Film: LIVING YEARS, 38min., Documentary

Gale Williams had a happy, normal childhood in Santa Monica California. Then, in 1956, on the eve of his 18th birthday he crashed his car in a remote area of California and became a quadriplegic. In those days people with such severe injuries were only expected to live 10-15 years. To survive, mentally and physically, Gale set his mind to tackling small goals, focusing only on what he was able to do, and through a supportive family and church community, he rebuilt his life. He studied computer programming at UCLA in the 1960’s, worked for an air defense company, married and adopted two children. After the disappointment of divorce and suffering discrimination by employers, Gale gradually became involved in disabled rights activism. He attended demonstrations in the 1970’s to recognize the needs of the disabled community that were being neglected, and became state president of California’s Association for Physically Handicapped. He remarried, had two more children, and continued to inspire and educate a new generation of young people, both disabled and able-bodied. At 82, and most likely the longest living quadriplegic, Gale’s life story shows us that there are no limitations to what we can accomplish if we set our minds to it.

Project Links

Director Biography – Richard Lui (SKY BLOSSOM: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation)

Richard Lui is an award-winning veteran network anchor (MSNBC, CNN). He’s produced investigative stories on human trafficking, civil rights, the military, and politics.

Lui is an AARP Caregiving Champion, Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion, Hidden Heroes ambassador, and BrightFocus ambassador. He is a caregiver for his father. SKY BLOSSOM is his first film.

Director Statement

Seven years ago, I learned my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I knew I may have to leave the career I worked for and loved so much, journalism. But my company did the unexpected. I could work part-time so I could fly from New York to California weekly to care for my Dad.

I am one in three Americans who is touched by caring for an ailing loved one. And I’m part of the half a trillion annual dollars in work me and 53 million others do for loved ones. A major part of this community is military caregivers. Military caregiver journeys start earlier and last longer than most. They also lose on average, almost $200,000 in wages over their lifetimes.

My parents came from military families. They didn’t talk about it or how they cared for siblings who served. I only learned of their service when they died. But I did remember my grandfather’s pride in one picture. Each visit from nine until he died, he pointed to a flyer that was probably given to longshoremen as they left the shipyard where Liberty Ships were built. He held close those symbols of American manufacturing and gracious might. When Grandpa died, I asked for one thing–that flyer. It was on the top shelf. The corner note he typed and Scotch-taped reminds me of the history he gave me, and all of us. June 20, 1945. A hopeful, caring time.

This is for that generation and those before and after. This is for those who cared for our veterans. The spouses, partners, children, family and friends–the ones who parachute in to care. As they used to say, ‘See the parachutes opening. They’re coming to safeguard those on the ground.’ This is for the Sky Blossoms. Our Next Greatest Generation.

Short Film: SKY BLOSSOM: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation, 87min., USA, Documentary

When viewers say they cried, they say it was because of the uplifting hope of the courage and beauty the students share with us. As young as eleven years old, they are taking care of parents and grandparents who are battling sickness. We call them Care Heroes. And there are five million of them in America.

Project Links

News & Reviews

Short Film: COUPLE, 24min., Israel, Drama/Family

Early morning, dry and hot. This morning Dubi and Noa(32) manage to grab a few moments of intimacy, before the day starts. But soon it changes to a debate about who will take Mia(3) to kindergarten. It’s Dubi’s turn, and that’s that. But instead, Dubi drives to the field. There he discovers a huge water blast. When he finishes fixing the problem, all wet, he realizes Mia remained asleep in the closed, heated vehicle. Dubi runs to the car and finds her deeply asleep. After a long minute, he manages to wake her up.
When they meet in the clinic, Noa realizes by herself what happen. Dubi admits, embarrassed, cannot believe it happened to him. Noa finds a local police officer and try to press charges against Dubi. Dubi tries to stop her, but she doesn’t listen.
It’s a quiet, depressing ride home. Dubi drops them off at home and disappears. The morning after, Mia, again, wonders out alone in the fields with the dog. Dubi comes home, all filthy and neglected from the night outside. He gets out of the car and go look for Mia, she’s probably outside somewhere. But when he sees her.. he just can’t go to her, or go home.. he returns to the car, and let the heat and sweat wash him. Until Noa suddenly comes and takes him home.

Director – Einav Namer-Yelin