Sundance is considered to be one of the top short film festivals, and is perhaps even more varied than Cannes when it comes to selection.

Daddy's Girl by Lena Hudson (2022) (USA) (11m)

Matria won many awards on the short film festival circuit, including the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Made in Galicia, Matria tells the story of the middle-aged and humorless Ramona as she struggles through a depressing daily routine of non-stop work, which includes working in a mussel-canning factory and buying her granddaughter's birthday present. Can anything make her smile? It is very much a slice-of-life piece, with minimal story, but it is very real with a great lead performance.

The Field Trip by Meghan Ohara, Mike Attie & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck ('21) (USA) (13m)

The Field Trip was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. It is hard to know what to take away from this documentary, in which children are given a taste of the real world by running a microcosmic city for a day, and perhaps the directors meant it to be ambiguous. From a British perspective, it's an indictment of the way all American kids are told they are special and can be high-achievers (like president): it instills unachievable goals and the idea that success is classed by earnings rather than happiness.


Place by Jason Gudasz (2019) (USA) (11m)

Written and directed by Jason Gudasz, Place was in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, showing that such films are coming online much more quickly (unless they win) than used to be the case and Sundance has an increasing preference for the unusual when all other variables are the same. Place is a psychological horror in which a new family moves into a new house but, after discovering someone has died there, find that malign spirits within the house intend to turn them against each other in peculiar fashion.


Fast Horse by Alexandra Lazarowich (2018) (USA) (12m)

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Fast Horse is a short doc about Indian Relay, a bareback horse racing sport from the Native American community. Although the riders clearly care for their horses and the documentary explores the close relationship between the Native American people and their animals, it is a somewhat uncomfortable watch for a vegan, as the horses have no real choice as to whether or not they participate in this extreme sport. Having said that, there seems to be little more danger involved for the horses - and there are no fences - than with normal horse racing.

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