12th Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Selects 16 Original Shorts to Advance to Semi-Finals

Shorts Were Chosen from Record-Breaking Number of Submissions, Signifying Major Growth for the Festival Semi-Final Screenings Will Take Place in New York on August 15 and 16

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – July 24, 2017 – The NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL has named 16 original short films and webisodes as semi-finalists for its 12th annual festival that celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of storytellers. This year’s semi-finalists were chosen from more than 4,200 submissions – twice as many as last year, making it the most in the festival’s history. The semi-final shorts feature stories about people of ethnically diverse backgrounds, the LGBTQ community, women and people with disabilities. This year, 10 of the 16 semi-final shorts were written or directed by women, setting a new record for female representation at the festival. Additionally, half of the semi-final shorts selected feature Asian-American stories or writer-directors – the most in the festival’s more than decade-long history. The films will be showcased at public screenings in New York on August 15 and 16 before the finalists are chosen for a finale screening and awards ceremony in Los Angeles on October 18.

“Every year, our Short Film Festival grows in size and in the depth and breadth of storytelling,” said Karen Horne, SVP of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “This year, we received twice as many submissions as last year, the most in our 12-year history. This response along with the record female and Asian-American representation in our semi-final films is proof of the wealth of stories about underrepresented people. I’m proud that our Short Film Festival along with our other NBC Talent Infusion Programs will continue to serve as a home to highlight those stories and their creators.”

The semi-finalist filmmakers will be flown to New York for two days of events and screenings starting with a SAG-AGTRA kick-off reception. They will also meet with producers and writers from the PGA and WGA-East and participate in workshops with NBCUniversal TV directors and actors. Their films will be screened over two evenings hosted by NBC TIPS alumna Zainab Johnson (Last Comic Standing, HBO’s All Def Comedy) before audiences of industry professionals including film, network and cable executives as well as managers, agents and producers. The screenings are free and open to the public. Tickets can be reserved here.

This year’s semi-finalists include dramas, comedies and web series episodes:

AKASHI Writer & Director: Mayumi Yoshida

Kana, a young Japanese woman, receives news that her grandmother has passed away. During her trip to attend the funeral, she recalls intimate conversations with her grandmother that lead her to examine her own life.

AUDIBLE STATIC Writer & Director: Sai Selvarajan

Thaddeus, a clever teenager with a speech impediment, creates a new way to communicate his feelings to his crush. (trailer)

BROTHERS Writer & Director: Emmett Lundberg

Four transgender male friends explore life and love in Brooklyn. This episode of the web series focuses on Max as he opens up to his new girlfriend that he is transgender. (trailer)

COUPLES: Movie Night Director: Ryan Sulak | Writer: Chris Sturgeon
A quiet night-in for couple, Sara and Adam, turns into an epic thrill-ride to find the perfect movie in a race against time before Sara falls asleep. (trailer)

CUL-DE-SAC Director: Damon Russell | Writer: Shawn Christensen

Parents living at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac discover a listening device inside their son's teddy bear. The film stars Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals, The Vampire Diaries). (trailer)

EMERGENCY Director: Carey Williams | Writer: K.D Davila

A group of Black and Latino college students carefully weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an emergency situation. (trailer)

GROUNDHOG DAY FOR A BLACK MAN Writer & Director: Cynthia Kao

A Black man continually relives the same day until he can survive an encounter with the police.

JOY JOY NAILS Writer & Director: Joey Ally

Sarah manages a Korean-owned nail salon with an ever cheerful iron fist. New manicurist Mia, who is Chinese, starts working at the salon and attracts the affections of Sarah’s love interest. Threatened, Sarah becomes increasingly antagonistic toward Mia and later discover truths about herself and Joy Joy Nails. (trailer)

LOST DOGS Director: Cullan Bruce |Writers: Cullan Bruce and Chris Lee

A woman ridiculed by her family longs to escape. Striking a deal with her brother to clear his illegal debt, she delves deeper into darkness. (trailer)

MADARAN Writer & Director: Rayka Zehtabchi

An Iranian mother decides whether to end or spare the life of her son's killer. (trailer)

MISERY LOVES COMPANY 1: PUSSY Director: Gloria Calderon Kellett | Writers: Sara Amini and Emily Chang

Two friends navigate being women of color in a post-election world, while trying (and failing) at a #blessedlife in LA. In this episode, Sara and Emily deal with cat-callers on the street. (trailer)

MISERY LOVES COMPANY 3: RACIST Director: Nadine Truong | Writers: Sara Amini and Emily Chang

Two friends navigate being women of color in a post-election world, while trying (and failing) at a #blessedlife in LA. In this episode, Sara and Emily encounter micro and macro aggressions. (trailer)

MR. & MRS. KIM Director: Jaehuen Chung | Writer: Josh Aichenbaum

Joshua Kim makes up a glamorous story about his Korean immigrants parents for his fourth grade class. He later discovers that their real-life backstory is more extraordinary than what he could have ever imagined. (trailer)

MRS. DRAKE Director: Caitlin FitzGerald | Writer: Kyle Warren

Laura is a single mother struggling to raise her son Jack. She is thrown into a spiral of confusion and guilt when Jack comes home from school claiming his teacher locked him in a closet. (trailer)

NIGHT CALL Director: Amanda Renee Knox | Writer: Joseph Sousa

During a routine patrol, a Black female cop (Marlyne Barrett, Chicago Med) is called to a disturbance that leads to her making a life-altering decision. (trailer)

POP ROX Director: Nate Trinrud | Writer: Alyssa Lerner

Jesse, an Iranian-American teenage girl, decides to tell her best friend, Roxanne, that she's in love with her. (trailer)

A smaller group of finalists will be chosen from these films and a panel of entertainment industry professionals and NBCUniversal executives will choose winners for Best Writer, Best Director and Best Actor, among others. The winners will be announced at a finale screening and awards ceremony in Los Angeles on October 18 at the Directors Guild of America.

The NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is presented by NBCUniversal and NBC Entertainment.


Founded in 2006, the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is the first and only film festival created and run by an entertainment studio solely dedicated to celebrating the importance of diversity in entertainment and discovering the next generation of storytellers. The annual bicoastal program is a nationwide search for diverse talent, both in front of and behind the camera, including those from ethnically diverse backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ community and female content creators. Winners are awarded with prizes ranging from development meetings and holding deals with NBCUniversal to cash grants and industry standard software and camera packages. Festival alumni include Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) and Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show). For more information, visit #NBCUshortsFEST

About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)

Since 2000, NBCUniversal has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Emerging Director Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, Danny Pudi and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. For more information, visit


Dupe Bosu

NBC Entertainment


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