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Shorts Break: How She Slept at Night and Our Neck of the Woods

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How She Slept at Night

Mike Plante, Short Film Programmer

Shorts Break returns this week with Lilli Carre’s animated tone poem How She Slept At Night, about a man who tries to remember his wife, but can only come up with a few scattered details as his memory begins to decay. A Chicago-based artist and illustrator, Carre works within a number of forms and mediums, including experimental animation, comics and print. What’s particularly striking about this project is how much emotional resonance she is able to pack in to such a simple idea and short runtime. In just a few hand-drawn images, we experience mystery, romance, nostalgia, joy, and tragedy unfolding below the surface of the narrator’s phrases. You can view more of her art at www.lillicarre.com

Next up is a charming and subtly crafted narrative story set against the backdrop of a rural factory in the heartland. In Our Neck Of The Woods, Bob Underwood’s mundane life manufacturing plastic lawn-ornament deer is disrupted by an enchanting Georgian refugee who begins working alongside him. Unable to stop daydreaming about her plight, he decides to rescue her from her troubled existence, whether she needs it or not. Director Rob Connolly, who grew up in a North Carolina factory town that has since fallen on hard times, brings a sense of understanding and context to the hard, yet monotonous work, and the daydreams and aspirations that come with the job. In fact, many of the extras were former workers at the factory the film was shot in, who came out for a chance to see the place up and running again. Balancing his vision between optimistic good-hearted characters and the hard realities of the culture, Connolly applies a great deal of detail and production value to ground his story. In the end, it’s not the industry that defines these towns, it’s the people who reside in them.

Come back next week for an Oscar-nominated tale of dystopian consumerism and an ill-fated quest to find fly sneakers for a stylish pony.

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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