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Rochester Independent Global Film Series

2020 Lineup Revealed

Our first call for global submissions resulted in 90 films from 25 countries! I decided to start this film series after my own experience over the last few years submitting my projects to film festivals. I wanted to offer a platform for independent filmmakers without the representation of big production companies to have a place to show their films. Hands down, the worst part was having to send rejection letters. But as I explained to those filmmakers, the projects just didn't fit the program and due to time constraints, we couldn't possibly show everything.


So here are the 12 compelling films that made the 2020 lineup. Infinite thanks to all the filmmakers that submitted their projects. 


Broken Treasures (Italy)

Directed by Sondra Sottile
Narrative 7:34

A young boy finds an old treasure chest in the rocks near the Castle Ovo of Naples. With courageous determination, he journeys through the streets of Naples looking for someone to give value to his broken treasure.


A Most Fantastical Swiss Adventure (USA)

Directed by Nathan Cronk 
Narrative 12:20

It is 11:00am in the village of Latsch, Switzerland where Martina will embark on a journey of remembrance, heroism and courage in order to find the exact spot in which her grandfather created a snapshot so many years ago.


Re/cycle (Netherlands)

Directed by Rene Smaal 

Narrative :54

Re/cycle is a film made in the style of surrealism, in the sense that only 'found' elements were used, and that it defies interpretation based on ordinary cause-and-effect time sequence.


Choker (UK)
Directed by Orson Cornick 
Narrative 4:07

Choker is a unique narrative take on one of the biggest challenges facing our planet, and shows how deaf people have become to the cries of wildlife suffering in their habitat that we are destroying.


Gone  (France)

Directed by Joan Bentosela
Narrative 13:00

A bickering French family on a road trip stops at a gas station. Murielle, the mother, insists on having the car washed and she never sees her family again.


Panic Attack! (USA) 

Directed by Eileen O'Meara
Narrative 3:00 

This 3-minute short explores anxiety, obsession, and one woman’s slippery hold on reality.

A hand-drawn animation from the point of view of a woman having a

panic attack, director Eileen O’Meara wanted the transitions between reality and her imagined fears to be seamless, so there are no edits -- it is one continually transforming drawing.


Minor Key (Spain)
Directed by Iván Sáinz-Pardo 

Narrative 11:49 

Minor Key is the moving story of a husband and father who cannot accept the death of his wife that happened years ago and instead lives in a state of denial listening to their song over and over.


Broccoli (Spain)

Directed by Iván Sáinz-Pardo
Narrative 3:30

This hilarious film is a sign of the times and tells the story of a guy just trying to order a pizza and quickly learns that the woman on the other end of the phone works for a restaurant run by Google and knows his entire search history and life story.


Slaughter (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Directed by Saman Hosseinpuor & Ako Zandkarimi
Narrative 13:03

Ghasem, a husband and father, is forced to butcher and sell his cow to make ends meet, but his son is attached to the animal who he considers a family pet and lets the cow escape to freedom. Ghasem fights to retrieve it and is faced with a moral decision.


Brave Little Army (Canada)

Directed by Michelle D'Alessandro Hatt

Narrative 5:53

The first film of a trilogy, Brave Little Army is a story of sisterhood and how a group of grammar school girlfriends continues to protect each other and stay together through tough times.


Apple (India)

Directed by Anagha Komalankutty
Narrative 1:51

Set on a scenic, desolate palm tree-lined path, two girls explore the metaphoric meaning of the apple. The first apple inspired man to become aware of his vulnerabilities. Will the second one reverse the effect?


Caught in Quicksand (USA)

Directed by Marty Novitsky and Uladzmir Taukachou
Documentary 3:13

Set above the Dead Sea with stunning video captured by drones, a man tells his harrowing story of being caught in quicksand and how it taught him an important life lesson.


The next submission period will open in a few months with a focus on climate change and environmentally conscious films. Follow our FilmFreeway Page for updates.



Rochester Independent Global Film Series


A celebration of world cinema, the first edition of the Rochester Independent Global Film Series will be held in Rochester, New York in the spring of 2020 and will feature 8-12 films (depending on running times). We recently changed the date of the event in order to extend our deadline and welcome more global submissions.


Home of Eastman Kodak and nicknamed "The World's Image Center", Rochester has a long history of supporting the performing arts and is the birthplace of numerous renowned artists including Oscar-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar-nominated actor John Lithgow, Oscar-nominated actor Robert Forster, actress Kristen Wiig and soprano Renée Fleming. 


Silent film star Louise Brooks spent the last years of her life in Rochester writing her memoir, “Lulu in Hollywood”. Known for her independent spirit and displeasure for pretentiousness, she is one of the influences behind the event. The other influence is Susan B. Anthony, a women's rights activist who played a key role in the women's suffrage movement. She moved to Rochester with her family in 1845 and was partly responsible for women being granted the right to vote in the United States.


This festival truly embraces independent filmmaking. We want to see stories told from the heart- a story that you were so passionate about, you picked up a camera and just started shooting because you had to tell it. We don’t care if you have a production company, a distribution company or if you are representing yourself. We just want to be moved by your story.

Films must be no longer than 20 minutes (including credits) and have been completed after January 1, 2018. Submissions are accepted via FilmFreeway.