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American Cinematheque Announces Lineup for the Debut of PROOF: Proof of Concept Film Festival

A new film festival is upon us. Yes, the American Cinematheque has announced the inaugural lineup for PROOF: Proof of Concept Film Festival. Dedicated to the presentation of proof of concept short films, it will surely stand out from the pack. More below.

Here is the press release:

The American Cinematheque announced the lineup of official selections and events for the debut of PROOF: Proof of Concept Film Festival, taking place October 20-22. The innovative new film festival will present a dozen thematically curated programs featuring 42 official selections, filmmaking labs and panels – all taking place at the Culver Theater (9500 Culver Blvd.). PROOF will be one of the first-ever film festivals dedicated solely to the presentation of proof-of-concept short films, looking to be expanded into feature-length productions or series.
The festival, programmed and produced by the non-profit film arts organization, will look to spotlight a slate of innovative films from up-and-coming filmmakers, as well as panel conversations on the art and business of filmmaking, the ultimate goal being to help filmmakers make inroads to the industry with access to mentorship workshops, professional development opportunities and more.
American Cinematheque Film Programmer and Proof Film Festival Founder, Imani Davis, said, “Short films are often the way we are introduced to new talent and voices. Many times, filmmakers have a further vision to expand the world they have created in the short into a feature film or even an episodic series. Through this film festival is specifically for those types of films and goals, the American Cinematheque hopes to create an effective platform for that work, as well as foster connections with filmmakers that will lead connections to further their vision, and even help build industry relationships that will serve as the foundation of their career.”

Curated themes among the short film programs include the Opening Night presentation of “Limitless”, which will include Stephanie Kaznocha’s Confessions about two nuns inspired to embark on an adventure following the death of a friend. Alex Cohen’s Crack Shot follows a junior squash ex-champion who is offered a large sum to train an enigmatic teenager. André Cherkassky Pilli’s They Come from the Sky focuses on two sisters who being hunted by mysterious creatures. Sarah Moshman’s Unbound is inspired by the true story of a woman who was chosen for a mission to space while pregnant.

Additional programming themes include “Discovery”, “Independence”, “Age of Change”, “An Examination of Learning”, “Bump in the Night”, “Daring”, “Chicago Filmmakers”, “Not As They Seem”, “Fish Out Of Water”, and a special out-of-competition program with Gunpowder and Sky/Alter and Dust: “Late Night Sci-Fi and Horror Shorts”.

Four juried awards will be presented at the festival’s end, along with one audience choice award, with the jury consisting not only of filmmakers, but also creative executives, managers, agents and more. Industry figures currently on board to participate as jurors include Kyle Bowles (Creative Executive, Macro), Kristina Cuello (Coordinator, Curate), Kate Hagen (Senior Vice President, The Black List), Priyanka Kapoor (Creative Executive, Orion Pictures), Sarah Minnie (Head of Artist Development and Production, OTV), Yasmin Felice Morris (Manager, Rain Management Group) and Kayla Stamps (Creative Executive, Hartbeat).

The Black List will provide the winning filmmakers with free script hosting on their website, with ShotDeck to provide free yearlong subscriptions to their services, and a $60K camera package will go to the grand jury award winner, courtesy of Panavision, as they look to flesh out a larger project from their proof-of-concept.

The 2023 Proof Film Festival Official Selections:


Director: Stephanie Kaznocha
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 Minutes
After the death of a friend, two nuns in their golden years contemplate what their future holds. One confession leads to another and before they know it, they’re embarking on an adventure.
Crack Shot
Director: Alex Cohen
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 Minutes
Justin Huang is a junior squash ex-champion who now uses his skills to train children. But when a wealthy stranger offers a large sum to train with his enigmatic teenage son, he must decide whether to release his repressed demons.
They Come from the Sky
Director: André Cherkassky Pilli
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 Minutes
When two sisters are hunted by mysterious creatures, they find themselves in a race against time as one of them falls ill. After one of them tragically dies, a surprising discovery about their true identities comes to light.
Director: Sarah Moshman
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 Minutes
Inspired by the true story of the 1st Mother in Space in 1984. Weeks before giving birth to her first child, Dr. Anna Fisher is chosen for a mission to space. Although the decision to go is easy, Anna is faced with the difficult intersection of motherhood and ambition on the way to her dream.


Cowboy, Choker, Harness & Heart
Directors: Nicolas Blanco and Julia Ponce Diaz
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 Minutes
A bathroom stall hookup gets complicated when some unexpected guests arrive.
For the Moon
Director: Nile Price
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 Minutes
A coming-of-age narrative based on the true story of Ronald McNair, the 2nd African American to go to space following his stand against segregation in an all-white Library.
Director: Gabriela Ortega
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 Minutes
When her grandmother dies, a Dominican flamenco dancer experiences the stages of grief through a visit from her female ancestors.
Little Hollywood                                                                    World Premiere
Director: Ed McCulloch 
Writers: Lane Bender and Benjamin Thevenin
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 Minutes
An aimless art student and their prickly grandma embark on a comedy of errors as they wrestle with their strained relationship and the upkeep of an unruly movie museum full of cowboy nostalgia.
Director: Dakota Daulby
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 Minutes
In a world where vampires coexist with society, Vance is a captivating love story that follows an ordinary vampire’s transformative journey when he encounters a spirited human, sparking a profound exploration of life’s true meaning.


Café Racer
Director: Harrison Houde
Countries: Canada/USA; Running Time: 15 Minutes
A Japanese Canadian teenager wishes to stay connected to her father by pushing the limits of street racing, despite her mother begging her to quit.
Heritage Day
Director: Lara Everly
Country: USA; Running Time: 19 Minutes
Eight-year-old Evie becomes obsessed with playing Holocaust after dressing up as her estranged grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, for Heritage Day at school.
Suzie (& Jenny)                                                                     World Premiere
Director: Marie Rouhban
Countries: USA/France; Running Time: 8 Minutes
As the planet reaches an alarming state in terms of global warming, a 60-year-old woman decides to take action.


Four Chairs
Directors: Ester Song Kim and Nika Burnett
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 Minutes
The morning after a new love affair, a woman reflects on her past relationships.
Pickled Herring
Director: Milana Vayntrub
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 Minutes
After an embarrassing accident shatters Irina’s hip, her ridiculous, old world, father visits, committed to fixing everything, except their relationship.
The First 30 Days
Director: Skylar Rochon
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 Minutes 
3 black girls fresh to NYC go to a pre-game where the typical party conversation takes a turn.
The Jennifer Meyers Story
Director: Caroline Symons
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 Minutes
A mock true-crime episode covers the disappearance of a fictional teenager, but the reenactments are performed with mini-models. But as we learn more about the woman operating the mini-models, we also learn about the danger lurking in her one-bedroom apartment.


Blue Boy
Director: Tyler Riggs
Country: USA; Running Time: 19 Minutes
Insecure New Jersey bodybuilder, Joey Rossi aka Joey Muscles, starts doing steroids in a last-ditch effort to go pro.
Director: Lauren Minnerath
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 Minutes
At a high school talent show, 17-year-old Clare tries to confront her teacher over a private matter, leading to unexpected consequences.
Marcy Learns Something New
Director: Julia Kennelly
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 Minutes
A widow (Rachel Dratch) takes a dominatrix class.


Director: Ira Storozhenko
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 Minutes
A transgender teenager battles prejudice and her own self-doubt to audition for a female lead in her high school’s play.
Look Back at It
Director: Felicia Pride
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 Minutes
A forty-something single mother gets her groove back with a little assistance from her teenage daughter.
The Sheriff of Nottingham Meets Robin Hood                  World Premiere
Director: Omar Lopex
Countries: USA/Mexico; Running Time: 1 Minute
A lonely Border Patrol agent seeks purpose south of the border, and a fat Mexican boy dreams of blonde women.
The Universe and You
Director: Brendan Mitchell
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 Minutes
The host of a late-night cable access show takes a call from a viewer that could have dangerous consequences.
Trash Cats
Director: Maria Norris Scaffido
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 Minutes
Fang Dangler is tasked with making breakfast for his friends the morning after a bender.



It’s Not Real
Director: Tina Carbone
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 Minutes
A woman tries to convince herself that the strange occurrences in the 100-year-old apartment she just moved into aren’t actually happening.
Director: Jack Warren
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 Minutes
Gender dysphoria gives way to terrifying metamorphosis when a lonely partygoer discovers that their skin is turning to paper.
Silhouette                                                                              World Premiere
Director: Ana Liza Muravina
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 Minutes
Tess and Emmett are in love, but when she gets a promotion, the darkness hiding inside Emmett is revealed.
Skin & Bone
Director: Eli Powers
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 Minutes
After taking a job on a farm run by a reclusive woman, a drifter begins suffering from visions of men trapped inside the bodies of animals.
Skin Deep
Director: Abby Alleyne Brooke
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 Minutes
On the last night of summer in a sleepy seaside town, an insecure young woman finally reveals to her crush exactly how she feels — and what she is.
The Loop
Director: Rich Ragsdale
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 Minutes 
Mikey’s older brother, Tommy, brings home a mysterious bootleg VHS tape of the scariest movie ever made. But what they expect to be a run-of-the-mill 80s slasher flick turns out to be something much more terrifying.


All In
Director: Dusan Brown
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 Minutes
When an enterprising teen is left with seemingly insurmountable debt by his unscrupulous, late father, he must play poker to either make the money back and save what’s left of his family… or die trying.
Director: Kimberly Michelle Vaughn
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 Minutes 
When racial unrest plagues Chicago, Illinois, four strangers with opposing political views and cultural ideologies agree to participate in a social experiment.
The Black Monk
Director: Jeffrey Gabriel Silva
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 Minutes 
A musician suffers a nervous breakdown and is haunted by the supernatural apparitions of a black monk.


Director: Andrew Reid
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 Minutes
While on a routine mission, an astronaut soon finds herself battling for command, facing forces known – and unknown – intent on destroying her.
Director: Colin Sevely-Ortiz 
Showrunner: Gabriel Guimaraes 
Country: USA; Running Time: 29 Minutes 
Posing as a typical teenager, a humanoid robot must navigate the uncertainty of adolescence in order to conceal a haunting secret.
That’s Our Time
Director: Alex Backes
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 Minutes
Danny’s stuck in a dead-end job. It keeps him focused on the clock and unable to connect with those around him. However, his sympathetic therapist tries to help him realize that it’s more important to focus on the time you have left than the time you’ve already spent.


Dún Laoghaire
Director: William Lancaster
Countries: USA/Ireland; Running Time: 12 Minutes
During their morning tea, Julie reminds her elderly mother, Aoife, of a new stove that is to be delivered to the house today. Aoife believes Julie is lying about ever telling her and takes it upon herself to sabotage the delivery by any means necessary.
The Song of the Witch                                                         World Premiere
Director: Minos Papas
Country: Cyprus; Running Time: 13 Minutes
On a cold Christmas eve in nineteenth-century Cyprus, an old woman tells a folk tale of death, myth, and magic to the children gathered around her.
Youthful Pleasures                                                               World Premiere
Director: Rex Provost
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 Minutes
Ben, a dissatisfied twenty-something, is obsessed with perfectly recreating an embarrassing childhood memory. To pull it off, he reaches out to estranged friends from childhood. Under unlikely circumstances, the group of friends mend old wounds and give Ben the climax he didn’t realize he’d been seeking.


Bounce House
Directors: Callie Bloem and Christopher Ewing
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 Minutes
Civilization has ended. Everyone Polly loves is dead. But at least she has a bounce house.
Director: Zen Pace
Writer: Dana Aliya Levinson
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 Minutes
A trans fraudster must decide who she wants to be when her target surprises her with an unforeseen proposition.
Out of Water
Director: Madi Stine
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 Minutes
When a disenchanted mermaid performer is mistaken for a real mermaid, she plays along to disastrous consequences.


Death Snot
Director: Charlie Schwan
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 Minutes
Severe allergies drive a man to the brink of insanity as he desperately attempts to rid his body of mucus.
Future Boys
Director: Julian Clark
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 Minutes
In a future housing project, a permanent tenant of virtual reality receives a rogue transmission.
Violet Butterfield: Makeup Artist for the Dead
Director: Brooke H. Cellars
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 Minutes
Violet Butterfield, a mortician beautician, uncovers the beauty in death her clients could have owned in life.
Yummy Mummy
Director: Gabriela Staniszewska
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 Minutes
Ignored throughout her pregnancy, Lilith senses her identity is being smothered by her burgeoning motherhood. Her anxieties begin to have physical manifestations – and she starts to fall apart – literally.
PROOF is a short film festival in Los Angeles dedicated to showcasing the best in proof-of-concepts. Providing a highly competitive and unique festival experience, as well as opening the door for fruitful future filmmaking opportunities, PROOF is a one-stop-shop for the newest emerging talent.
The American Cinematheque believes that cinema is a communal experience with the power to entertain, enlighten and inspire. The organization builds a diverse and engaged film community through immersive film curation, conversation, and presentation. The American Cinematheque works to bridge the filmmaker to the audience and film history to its future. Since it began screening films to the public in 1985, the American Cinematheque has provided diverse film programming and immersive in-person discussions and events with thousands of filmmakers and luminaries, presenting new and repertory cinema to Los Angeles.


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Written by arnewsteam

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