Short, Not Sweet

A Program of Five Short Films Premieres Nationally on Independent Lens ITVS's Emmy® Award-Winning Series on PBS Hosted by Susan Sarandon Tuesday, December 28, 2004, at 10:00 P.M. (check local listings)

Shorts offer darkly comic perspectives on family, romance, monsters, the meaning of life. . . and second grade

Program companion website: 

(San Francisco, CA) — Tired of visions of sugarplums dancing in your head? Want to escape the treacly holiday specials airing on every channel? Too much family togetherness this time of year? SHORT NOT SWEET, the second annual Independent Lens shorts showcase, might be just the thing to relieve that holiday hangover. SHORT, NOT SWEET will air nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Susan Sarandon, on Tuesday, December 28, 2004, at 10pm (check local listings). 

The companion website for SHORT, NOT SWEET features detailed information about the films, including filmmaker and cast bios. The site will also feature video previews and a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions. 

Two women are pursued by two similar men in the same exact ways—a note under their door, flowers on their car, a serenade under their window. However, while one woman falls in love with her suitor, the other woman believes she is being stalked. 

LA PUPPÉ by Timothy Greeenberg 
A gentle parody and loving homage to Chris Marker's classic short La Jetee (1962). Marker's original film is a tale of loss, fate and man's reckless appetite for self-destruction, told in a series of starkly lit black-and-white still photographs. LA PUPPÉ is the same, only with more jokes. It also features a surprisingly nuanced performance from Marty, the patriarch of the French New Wave Plush-Toy movement and the leading inanimate object working in film today. A must-see for fans of the original, the award-winning LA PUPPÉ is an equal delight for the uninitiated. 

A MONSTER'S CALLING by Michael Fukushima & Louise Johnson 
In this humorous animated film without words about the nature of personal anxieties and body image, an “under-the-bed” monster wanders through a slumbering household, wreaking typical monster havoc on a little girl, an older brother and finally the teenaged big sister. It's surprising, to both the monster and to the viewer, what frightens each of them. 

THE SCHOOL by Ezra Krybus & Matthew Miller 
Second grade is for laughing, playing, and... burying the dead. A sense of absurdity and meaninglessness pervades this adaptation of Donald Barthelme's short story, a dark comedic fable which examines the bizarre and unfortunate events in a second grade class. 

Things are a bit off at the Anderson home. Young Chester has a fixation with the toilet and a propensity towards kleptomania. His sister Eliza, a closet voyeur, likes her Paint by Numbers set a little too much. Poor Godfrey, buoyed by an awe for the horticultural, can't tell the difference between the things he loves and the things he wants to eat. And matriarch Maud devotes her days to filling the stomachs of her little ones. Until today! Chester, Eliza and Godfrey have had enough! Join them as they heroically decline their invitation to dinner. 

About the Filmmakers 
Robert D. “Rob” Slane (THE FINE LINE BETWEEN CUTE AND CREEPY) wrote and produced the family feature film Come Away Home. The film is directed by Doug McKeon (director, The Boys of Sunset Ridge; actor, On Golden Pond), and stars Paul Dooley (Sixteen Candles, Breaking Away, Insomnia) and 12-year-old Jordan-Claire Green (The School of Rock). The film will be distributed by American Family Movies in October 2004. Slane was an executive producer on We Married Margo, an independent feature film with cameos by Kevin Bacon, Tom Arnold and Cindy Crawford, which has been broadcast multiple times on the Independent Film Channel and will be broadcast over the next year on Comedy Central. He also produced the 35-mm short film Autopsy Room Four based on the short story written by Stephen King, which played at numerous film festivals. Slane is a principal in the production company Haven Films, along with his business partner Stephen Zakman. 

Timothy Greenberg's (LA PUPPÉ) award-winning films have screened at numerous festivals, and have aired nationally on both IFC and PBS. He has written feature screenplays; directed national commercial spots; edited documentaries for Bill Moyers; was one of the founders of Lume, Inc., a special-effects software company; and co-wrote and co-directed the live-action segments of Riven: The Sequel to Myst, the worldwide top-selling CD-ROM game of 1997 and 1998. He graduated from Dartmouth College with high honors in film studies. 

Michael Fukushima (A MONSTER'S CALLING) has been directing and producing animation films since 1984 independently, commercially and for the National Film Board. On the strength of his first auteur film, Tako, Fukushima was invited to the NFB's Animation Studio in 1990. Two years later, he completed the award-winning animated documentary film, Minoru: Memory Of Exile. For several years, he also taught at Concordia University in Montreal. Fukushima's credits as an NFB producer reflect the eclecticism and diversity of his own tastes, ranging from abstract animation to kid's animation to documentaries, interactive web productions and more. His most recent productions include the Animation Hothouse project, the Perpetual Motions web site and the animated short Walking Catfish Blues. 

Louise Johnson (A MONSTER'S CALLING) graduated from Concordia University's animation program in 1989 with distinction, receiving the Norman McLaren Award, Concordia's top honor in animation. After graduation, she freelanced in the animation industry, taught animation to children and at Concordia University and received a Canada Council Exploration to continue the experimentation with animation media that she began as a student. Her professional debut film was produced by the National Film Board of Canada for the Showpeace series on conflict resolution. When the Dust Settles was screened in competition in Berlin, Annecy, Zagreb and fifty other festivals internationally, winning 9 awards. Since 2001 she has worked as an animator on various projects produced by the Cartoon Network and Acme Filmworks and as a director on a short about Quebec folk legend Gilles Vigneault produced by Tooncan/Megafun. 

Ezra Krybus and Matthew Miller (THE SCHOOL) met while studying film production at York University in Toronto, Canada, where they worked together on several short films investigating various styles and themes. They graduated in the spring of 2003 with bachelors of fine arts with honors. Their fourth-year short film The School has played at over twenty-five International Film Festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival. They were awarded Best Canadian Short at the Atlantic Film Festival, the Gold Plaque for Best Student Narrative at the Chicago International Film Festival and finished second out of 525 entries at the Manhattan Short Film Festival. Krybus is a recent recipient of the National Apprenticeship Training Program awarded by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and winner of the 2003 Kodak Cinematography Award. Along with Sascha Drews (who they began working with during the production of THE SCHOOL), Krybus and Miller are developing several feature films and a short film which they plan to shoot in the fall of 2004. 

Jamie Travis (WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER) graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor of fine arts in film studies. The first film he wrote and directed, entitled Diary Of An Insomniac (2002), was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival. His graduating film, WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER (2003), for which Travis served as writer, director, co-producer and production designer, continues to screen at festivals worldwide. Highlights include the Toronto International Film Festival, Slamdance and South by Southwest. At the 2004 Leo Awards, British Columbia's only film and television awards ceremony, Travis won the Leo for Best Production Design in a Short Film; his other nominations included Best Direction and Best Script. Stationed in Vancouver, he is currently writing a number of shorts and a feature, I Hate White Rabbits. 

A.J. Bond (WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER) started his film career as an actor, lending his voice to the children's series Madeline, as well as appearing in several Canadian films including Kitchen Party (1997) and Better Than Chocolate (1999). Bond is now pursuing a career behind the camera; he recently graduated from the University of British Columbia Film Programme, where he wrote and directed a short film titled Repeat (2002). For WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER (2003), he served as editor and producer. He has since edited several short projects and is currently writing a short film of his own. 

Amy Belling (WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER) is a producer and cinematographer working in Vancouver, and a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia Film Program. Currently, she is the producer and production manager of an independent short, Once A Fish, which shot in May 2004. She is also the production manager and cinematographer of a new documentary series on seminal Canadian films for Bravo, which is shooting in Toronto, L.A. and Vancouver. On the opposite side of the festival fence, she worked as the Canadian Images program assistant at the 2003 Vancouver International Film Festival, and is the Canadian Images coordinator again for 2004; and she also worked for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival as a program consultant. WHY THE ANDERSON CHILDREN DIDN'T COME TO DINNER (2003) was Belling's graduating film from UBC, for which she was the director of photography, camera operator, sound designer and one of three producers. She received three Leo Award nominations in 2004 for the film, including Cinematography, Sound Design and Best Film in the short film category. At UBC's Persistence of Vision festival, Belling received awards for Outstanding Cinematography, Best Film and Audience Favorite for this film. 

About Independent Lens 
Independent Lens is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. Hosted by Susan Sarandon, the acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history, which prompted Nancy Franklin to write in The New Yorker: “Watching Independent Lens... is like going into an independent bookstore—you don't always find what you were looking for but you often find something you didn't even know you wanted.” Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites, and national publicity and community outreach campaigns. Further information about the series is available at Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

About ITVS 
Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People. 

About PBS 
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Posted on November 2, 2004