OFFICIAL COMPETITION LINE UP

WELCOME TO HSF

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Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

The Night Doctrine

By Almudena Toral, Mauricio Rodriguez Pons

An Afghan journalist embarks on a journey to find out who murdered her family 30 years ago, only to uncover hundreds of civilians killed in a secretive American backed program.

The Record

By Jonathan Laskar

An antique musical instrument dealer obsessively plays a magical vinyl record that “reads your mind and plays your lost memories.” Even the forgotten ones.

Veils Around Us

By Timm Gillner

We carry culture, religion and social status through generations. While all of that leads to a strong responsibility to our children, the experience of a grandmother and her family touches upon those very topics.

Balance

By Tim Kellner


This short documentary follows a group of performers whose stage is the Subway and whose family is their fellow dancers. A glimpse into their world shows the excitement, fun and danger of a career underneath New York City. Filmed and directed solo by filmmaker Tim Kellner allowed for intimate access and the ability to keep up with the fast pace of the dancers’ movements in real time. A moving snapshot of the ever changing New York City Subway.

Munch

By Michael Byrne

Trapped 42,000 feet in the air. Squashed between two large men. Adam sits with a toddler screaming at him. Yet all he can wonder is… how good that toddler must taste..

Alfred

By Nikolas Meyberg

Discover Seglvik, a quiet Arctic place where Alfred Larsen, a master chef rooted in Sami culture, seeks refuge. Despite government attempts to eradicate the Sami language, Alfred is very attached to it. Life here is difficult, with limited phone reception, irregular ferries and freezing temperatures. Yet Alfred has created a peaceful and solitary life, honing his skills as a master chef and finding comfort in solitude. Join him on his journey and discover the allure of this enchanting place, where visitors from all over the world flock to experience its magic.

Diary of an Illness

By Mika Ruskin

The film follows the Writings of Jacqueline Kahanoff, wherein she, an elderly woman, confronts the revelation of uterine cancer, marking the commencement of a new chapter in her life. The film captures her fears of the treatments, the isolation experienced as a patient in a healthy world, and the peculiar beauty that emerges amidst the agony.

Appetite

By Peiying Wang

Appetite explores the link between food and sex and the conflict between instinct and social discipline. A woman and a man are quietly advancing their relationship while eating at a restaurant.

Bodylands

By Sarah McColgan

The human body becomes a living sculpture in this film that aims to reimagine toxic societal beauty norms.

Entropy

By Matan Portnoy

The word entropy simply means unpredictability or the gradual descent into disorder.
This is the entropy of a relationship in the chaotic retrospect of a colored memory.
When everything is over, are we left alone with the memories of our loved ones or is it that those same memories are what keep us from being alone?

Fitting In

By Apoorva Gaitonde

Fitting In is a story about an outsider, a little elephant called Zuri who finds a place in the circus with hard work, determination & a passion to succeed.

Bait

By Nancy-Bleu Hwang

R is a chronic over-thinker. R’s head is tired of overworking. So the Head runs away. Until now, R can never escape from the merry-go-round of overthinking.

The Last Embrace

By Diego Contreras

A mother and son embrace one last time before taking six feet apart and isolating themselves to avoid the risks of a dangerous air-borne pandemic.

“The Last Embrace” is a metaphorical short film reflecting on the sudden 2020 Covid-19 Lockdowns, Social Distancing, and their emotional effects on the Human Soul.

Shattering Stars

By Peter Galison

A little-told chapter in the story of black holes begins in 1930 Madras, India. 19-year-old Indian physics prodigy, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Chandra), is awarded a scholarship to go to England to study with Sir Arthur Eddington, the world’s most famous astronomer. While on his sea voyage, young Chandra makes a major discovery that goes against everything his new advisor believes: that sufficiently massive stars, when they use the last of their fuel, must be crushed by gravity and collapse to something far more dense and mysterious than any object anyone has known. After years of work to refine this result under his mentor’s watchful eye, at the most public of forums, Eddington denounces his protégé and his work, shattering him, driving Chandra from England to the United States. Despite his humiliation, Chandra perseveres, but pursues a more conservative path in physics, never again braving the limelight. Nearly a half-century later in 1983, Chandrasekhar is awarded the Nobel Prize for the work begun on board that ship to England. “Shattering Stars” tells the story of ambition and betrayal, of loss and perseverance at the pinnacle of scientific research. Making use of original audio recordings of Chandrasekhar, the film alternates its limited-motion animation between a representational-documentary and imaginative-subjective style.

4801 Nights

By Laurence Michel

Abstinence is refraining from satisfying a craving. Teetotalism is the total, definitive abstinence from alcohol. In other words, a life sentence! 4801 nights documents an introspection and a wandering, a fall and a rise, during a trip to the polar circle. Legend has it that the polar night can drive those who venture there to sanity or madness.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

Engelstan

By Manu Coeman

Deborah is a rather tough piano teacher. She lives in Calais, France. Mansour is a Syrian refugee with a continual big smile on his lips. He wants to cross the Channel to England. By accident, Deborah welcomes Mansour into her home. An improbable meeting, which awaken a buried and tragic past.

The Winter Journey

By Yifan Sun

During Halloween, a cow destined for slaughter escapes and the hunt for her is broadcast live on television as holiday entertainment. Meanwhile, Yusef, a young man working at a waste recycling plant, finishes another dreary workday. After experiencing a series of setbacks, he is overwhelmed by frustration and despair. While wandering through a cemetery, Yusef stumbles upon a freshly dug grave and lies down in it. The moment of serenity is shattered by the appearance of Boq, a strangely talkative man who approaches the grave and extends his hand towards Yusef.

Adieu Gaston

By Victor Guilbaud

Emile is a contract killer. A hired killer who travels by bicycle and who kills in exchange for a few tickets left in a small mailbox lost in the middle of the fields. This time, the man to be slaughtered is named Gaston Pouget and lives at 7 rue des Peupliers: a shed on the edge of a highway. Only here, when arriving on the scene: – SURPRIIISE!!! Emile is surprised by a birthday in honor of Gaston which should, a priori, arrive soon. Emile was not invited.

Call Me Matthew

By Remy Cayuela

After two years in a coma, Jean-Pierre finally wakes up. All would be fine if he was not now persuaded to be the American actor Matthew McConaughey. His doctor is formal and convinces everyone: they have to play along to avoid causing any trauma.

Good Boy

By Tom Stuart


Danny’s (played by BAFTA-winner Ben Whishaw) attempt to rob a bank with his overbearing mum (played by SAG-awardee Marion Bailey) is scuppered by the appearance of their family doctor. With his mum in the back of his van, and a dead pigeon on the passenger seat, Danny has a growing sense of desperation. But as more and more figures arrive to disrupt his day, we begin to sense that everything is not as it seems…

Things That Didn’t Happen

By Joshua Kaufman


Years after a fateful car accident, a recluse remains uncomfortable in his skin and unable to shake off the feeling that a familiar stranger is watching him from just beyond the trees.

Always

By Thomas V DeGrezia

Jack La’mar, a renowned psychotherapist from Greenwich, Connecticut, moves into the Kimberly Hotel in Midtown Manhattan to take on an unconventional form of therapy to keep the memory of his wife alive and, along his journey, discovers the strength to accept grief into his life so he may heal.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

The Steak

By Kiarash Dadgar Mohebi

A birthday ceremony preparation gets upside down as something horrible takes place.

Istina

By Tamara Denić

 A photojournalist is threatened by extremist groups in her Serbian home, and flees to Germany with her daughter. But then she also experiences increasingly strong threats and attacks in her new home.

Bogotá Story

By Esteban Pedraza

In 1992, as Colombia faces an era of drug violence, car bombs, and daily power outages, a young mother in Bogotá receives an internship opportunity in the US and eventually must decide between her dreams and her family.

El Campo

By Octavio Pisano

At a Mexican training camp in the middle of the desert, we witness the evolution of a young boy, transformed and turned into a cold blooded killer. This coming-of-age nightmare shows that even in the darkest of evils, there was once innocence.

Mother

By Salomon Ligthelm

Vitaly Ivanov – a miner on the Ukraine/Russian border who discovers a ringing phone – and tragically so much more – in his backyard. “Mother” is based on the true-life story of the miners of Rozsypne, Ukraine who combed the fields in Donetsk to retrieve the bodies of the victims of the MH17 disaster.

A Short Trip

By Erenik Beqiri

Klodi and Mira, a young Albanian couple, decide to marry Mira to a Frenchman for 5 years in exchange for money, in order to obtain French nationality. They will then have to choose the right husband for her, and learn to detach themselves from each other.

Hangman

By Sam Upton


Dr. Joyce Hendricks is a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard school of medicine. She specializes in the study of violent individuals, specifically serial killers. She and her colleague have been documenting their work. This is their first day in Huntsville, Texas where they meet…

Mariupol. A Hundred Nights

By Sofiia Melnyk

The animated short film “Mariupol. A Hundred Nights” tells the story of a little girl who wakes up from explosions and tries to survive in a burning city in the first days of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. To escape, she has to go through the destroyed streets, facing the unknown and trusting destiny. Later, as an elderly woman, that once-young girl will return to Mariupol and remember everything.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

The Nectar Instead

By Yoo Lee

A young fly gets trapped in the fly trap in the stop-motion studio only to have the existential realization that it spent its entire life chasing after the wrong thing.

Still Scattered

By Dominic Burgess, Jeff Lorch

After losing his wife, a failing gallery artist returns home to his small town, looking for support from the very people he’s fought so hard to escape.

Shared Spaces

By Collin Black

A woman driven to the edge by her annoying new roommate finds solace in their adorable cat.

Nice Car

By kiyan ahmadi

After a young wannabe actor driving in from Utah loses his way to Hollywood Blvd he decides to ask directions from a peculiar man, things quickly take a turn for the worst as the mans intentions become murkier.

Miracle Wood

By Johnny Rey Diaz

A lonely, depressed old man finds hope in a holy piece of wood.

Group C

By Imran J Khan

Naveen, a timid family man yearning to find his voice, stumbles upon a mysterious support group that employs unconventional preschool activities to boost his confidence. Realizing that he is being manipulated, he decides to confront the group’s leader and finally speak up for himself.

Asking For It

By Christy Lee Hughes

A victim of a crime quickly becomes the suspect in this gender adaptation of a satirical play about reporting a crime.

The Heart of Texas

By Gregory JM Kasunich

Janie May, an aspiring country singer stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck grind, gets big news that she’s a radio contest finalist while finishing her overnight shift at a local diner in Waco, TX. She must race to the station to sing for hometown country music hero Harlan Thompson in hopes of winning the opening act spot on his upcoming tour. In a chaotic dash to the studio, she collides her car into Jesús, an undocumented worker who refuses medical care or police assistance out of fear of being discovered and deported. The two engage in a struggle, each in pursuit of their own American dreams. In the end, they do the only thing they know how to do: fend for themselves.

You’re Doing Great

By Sam Kellman


Following the death of his parents, a pliant seventeen-year-old living in a kitschy future where happiness is sold as a commodified drug trepidatiously takes on his first job in order to make ends meet for him and his ailing younger brother– in the form of finally affording “true” bliss

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

Stains

By Joseph Burch

As Erin packs her old life into boxes, she overhears a violent attack in the apartment above that derails her night.

Come Home

By Mike Pecci

Sometimes, the scariest knock at the door is the one that comes from within.

Catacombs

By Chad Cunningham

During a raging thunderstorm, a correctional officer must face the horrors that haunt the maximum security prison where he works.

Wake

By Sean Carter

With a hurricane raging outside their hospital, two nurses have one last job before evacuating: stow the “dead-on- arrival” corpse of a young girl in the downstairs morgue before the building floods. But the corpse quickly reveals itself to be more than it seems.

Marbles

By Kyle Hatley

When a grief-stricken man with strange abilities opens up to his bereavement group about the death of his sister, he discovers that his curse becomes a gift to his fellow mourners.

Stolen Bike – Sam Island

By Ryan Pham, Shauna Presto

It follows a story of a man who come to terms with the loss of his friend through a not so normal friendship.

Upside

By Sean Cartwright

Upside is a modern fairytale that showcases a dystopian world ruled by women who hunt men for pleasure and force them to fight & perform against each other for their survival. The film is a commentary on consumerism, ownership, and lusting after one’s desires.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

A Fragile Heaven

By Patrick Skehill

A suicide survivor working at a psychiatric ward tries to protect a patient’s manufactured family when the doctors decide to destroy them as a form of healing. The worker needs this job to support his mother, but when he sees the patient lovingly care for her paper babies, he starts to contemplate the co-dependent relationship with his own parent.

Votum

By Kornelia Takacs

Peter is a young priest. His mother, Mary is slowly succumbing to dementia in a Sanatorium.

Mary does not want to live a life where she will not recognize her children and she will not know who she is. She knows that her condition is irreversible. She wants to end things, but she cannot do it alone.

Can Peter grant his mother’s last wish? A wish that goes against everything he believes in?

Monday Mourning

By Dustin Kahia

“Monday Mourning” delves into the enigmatic journey of Daniel, a man returning home after a long absence under mysterious circumstances. The story begins with a sense of intrigue, as Daniel prepares for a significant day, the nature of which is unknown. This deliberate ambiguity creates a compelling tapestry of unspoken emotions and complex family dynamics.

Throughout the film, the narrative invites exploration into the puzzle of Daniel’s life. His interactions with his sister are laden with tension, nostalgia, and unspoken truths. The film captures the essence of a family reuniting, leaving viewers to ponder the reasons behind Daniel’s prolonged absence and the nature of the gathering that has brought them together.

Chipper

By Shaun MacLean

After receiving a mysterious letter, a wayward son returns to his childhood home to wrestle with a dark family secret.

The Not So Flightless, Flightless Bird

By Abey Lin

With a go-getter outlook, high ambition, and a valiant attitude to face his fears, Lien (Abey Lin), a young and cautious man can surely succeed. However after failing interview after interview and falling down both literally and figuratively, he comes to the realization that his strange and long standing family rules continue to set him back. Though it’s all he’s ever known, for the first time in his life Lien must face his past and uncover the mystery behind his family’s extreme fear of heights.

Le Repas Des Animaux

By Olivier Barthelemy

Dimitri needs to find a decent apartment for his daughter Juliette, who suffers from asthma if he doesn’t want to lose joint custody of her. With his back against the wall, he decides to go and ask his father’s help, with whom relations are strained. When he refuses, Dimitri employs a stratagem that will backfire.

The Displaced

By Deluxion Mohan

Inspired by the unwavering courage of those who endure, “The Displaced” is a testament to the triumph of the human will in even the darkest of times. Set against the backdrop of Borodyanka, Ukraine – a town ravaged by the cruel machinations of war – our film chronicles the journey of Sasha, a young boy thrust into the throes of chaos and upheaval.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

The ABCs of Book Banning

By Sheila Nevins

In recent years, more than 2,500 books have been removed from school districts around the US, labeled as BANNED, RESTRICTED, or CHALLENGED, and made unavailable to millions of students. By no accident, the themes targeted are the usual scapegoats of the American Right – LGBT issues, Black history, and Women’s empowerment – impeding the power of future generations to develop their own thoughts and opinions on critical social issues. By weaving together a lyrical montage of young readers and authors, the ABC’S OF BOOK BANNING reveals the voices of the impacted parties, and inspires hope for the future through the profound insights of inquisitive youthful minds.

That’s how the summer ended

By Matjaž Ivanišin

At the end of the summer, while preparations for an air show are taking place in the sky, a man and a woman go to the water. But the arrival of a legendary aerobatic pilot will not be the event of the day for them..

Daddy

By Ella Knorz

Alsie rents a dad for one evening.

Alsie is unhappy and alone, but luckily she can order the feeling of security and comfort in the internet nowadays. However, the evening with her rented Daddy does not go as smooth as she envisioned it. To really feel comforted she will have to open up and make herself vulnerable…

Memories of a Mobster

By Gaston Cohen Guindi

Mexico City, 1983. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Arturo, a Lebanese mobster, tries to stay afloat. He decides to record himself on video to preserve each of his memories: The family, his dirty business, the conflicts… and the secrets. Arturo attempts to preserve his image, power, and his status without knowing which memories will fade away.

Kites

By Liezl Bitas

A young Filipina inmate’s lonely time in solitary confinement takes a turn when she gets an impossible message from a Black man in the same situation half the world away.

Seoul Switch

By Liann Kaye


When an insecure, Korean American boy meets an International K-Pop Star who looks just like him, they decide to switch identities.

Disconnect

By Riley Wadden

The romantic relationship between two influencers is put into question after one of them deletes their social media.

Count My Lov3

By Ewa Japola


This is the day. Speed dating in the aquarium. Time to break the routine and find someone for yourself. Sara, in search of love, wants just one thing: a phone number. Well, alright, a shoe size too. And a registration number. Date of birth, body temperature, the number of teeth… Numbers don’t lie.

Beyond any cliché, love is indispensable to survive in the reality we live. It is the fuel that propels human beings and leads them to connect in an eternal quest for a better world. This collection of films presents us with diverse stories that portray the virtues, challenges, but above all, the beauty of love… “All we need is love”…

How To Cry on Command

By Wylie Anderson

An 11-year-old, determined student struggles with being real and authentic in her “How To Cry on Command” class (among others) at dystopian grade school: Celebrity Preparatory for Girls.

Stationheads

By Stu Gamble

Three educated (and bored) twenty-somethings are working a dead-end job in a gas station. Their futures are grim. When a group of bank robbers turn up fresh from a heist and fresh out of fuel, things get a bit more interesting.

Fate Vs. Elena

By Laura Sedlak

Fate vs. Elena is the story of a jaded millennial psychic who doesn’t believe in fate until a premonition turns her life upside down.

Slippers

By Mark Ryan Walberg

Erratic messages from her dad sends JO deep into the California desert to sort through the remains of a frenzied, paranoid manic episode. However, along the way she makes two discoveries: the rest of her family wish to no longer support him, and the trunk of his car is filled with hundreds of slippers…

The Fool

By Jonathan Primo Ruiz

A forbidden love affair between a rising Black star and a white movie starlet is ruthlessly sabotaged by those who sought to maintain the oppressive status quo in 1950s America.

The Last Dissmisal

By Jowaher Alamri

A teenager “Aljadel” who must come to terms with her grief around the passing of her best friend, when forced to attend a lecture on shrouding the dead at her middle school. While watching her friend being shrouded she gets triggered and this leads her to make a sudden eruption.

I’m On Fire

By Michael Spiccia

It’s summer. Danny’s twelve, drifting into adolescence, just getting interested in girls, with no idea how to talk to them. He spends his days making mixtapes that he trades with his cousin Luca. At home, his parents are in constant conflict. Their almost nightly fights are like background noise. Danny finds himself caught between his parents with no clear path to his own life. Set over the course of a single week, “I’m on Fire” tells the story of a toxic marriage seen through the lens of a twelve-year-old boy, and the critical step he takes in his difficult path toward adulthood.