That’s a Wrap on Pendance 2024 as the Accident Takes Top Prize

L’Indidente (Italy) by Giuseppe Garau grabs the Best Feature Film Award while Santiago Requaejo’s powerful drama 24/Siete becomes the fourth Spanish-language short film in seven years to win Best Short Film.

Una Gunyak is awarded Best Director for her powerful directorial debut, Excursion, and Montreal’s Victor Saucier-Magistry takes home Best Canadian Short Film honours for Jester’s Flamin Hot Mac n Cheese.



On the surface, L’Incidente and Jester’s Flamin Hot Mac n Cheese are polar opposites. One film follows a female tow truck driver through the underworld of Italy, is shot on film, and features a slow-burn pace where the camera is locked off to almost exclusively focussing on the character’s profile.

The other is infused with snappy editing, quick witted zingers, a frenetic pace and action-packed-sequences as a young man falls into a series of situations, each more unrealistic than the last. However, at their core, they’re quite similar. They’re both comedies following extremely likeable and well-written characters as they descend into a world beyond their scope or understanding. There are a thousand ways to tell a story and these were two of our favourite films in Pendance history.




Spanish films seem to dominate the awards at Pendance. From Emma (2017) to Cerdita (2019) to Tundra (2022), from Uruguay to Spain to Cuba, there seems to be a strong support from Spanish filmmakers towards Pendance, and 24/Siete may well be one of the best short films in our seven-year history.

Featuring an excellent and heart-breaking script to commanding performances from Manuela Veslasco and Ramon Barea, this film left the audience stunned and speechless. It headlined one of our strongest international shorts competitions ever, featuring Paris 70, Linda 4-Eva, Roped, and the chilling Serbian drama 5/3/0/ 



We started our tradition of Best Director awards in our first edition with Qiu Yang, and then Peter Brunner in 2019 for To the Night. in 2021. Sabrina Doyle took home the prize for Lorelei and most recently Laura Lehmus won the award for her comedy Sweet Disaster . It’s an award we give to a director whose vision and presence most elevated the project.

In introducing the film, festival director Robert Misovic called Una Gunyak one of the most important emerging directors in the world.  And to that end we see no one more clearly deserving of our 2024 Best Director award than Una Gunyak for Excursion. 




Pendace Announces 2024 Festival Lineup

The 7th Annual Pendance Film Festival features over 40 incredible films, workshops and a bevy of live events for filmmakers and guests. Pendance will take place Feb 22nd through Feb 25th, 2024 in downtown Toronto at the Imagine Cinema Carlton, located at 20 Carlton St. 


Individual short films and features links and descriptions will be posted within the next 48 hours.

ARARAT   FEB 22ND, 2024, 7PM (Canadian Premiere)


A destructive young woman, Zeynep, is accused of intentionally causing a car accident to harm her boyfriend. She flees from Berlin to her parents’ house in the Turkish province, close to a dormant volcano, the Mount Ararat. With her sexual aggression she turns her parents’ deadlocked marriage and an entire society upside down – but not the dormant demons from her past.

Director: Engin Kundag
Languages: German/Turkish
Noteable Festivals: Berlinale, Istanbul Film Festival



PRATFALL FEB 23RD, 2024, 7:00PM (Canadian Premiere)


Eli (Joshua Burge), a troubled insomniac encounters Joelle (Chloé Groussard), an enigmatic French tourist in Central Park. The two set off on a sleepless New York adventure as the city casts a shadow over them.

“With his first feature, Pratfall, writer-director Alex Andre has created a film that exists at the crossroads of Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights…Andre flawlessly captures the visual emotion of New York.” – FILM THREAT

“Burge is remarkable…as Eli…a mentally overloaded New Yorker.”
“…a daring piece that maintains all the requisite vitality and immediacy to warrant notice.” – FILM THREAT

“One of the best performances I’ve seen this year.” – UNSEEN FILMS

Director: Alex Andre
Languages: English
Notable Film Festivals: Brooklyn Film Festival (Best Feature Spirit Award)
*Q&A with director in attendance





Put the kids to bed. It’s not about gore and shock value. These shorts haunt on a deeper level. Mystery. Suspense. We’re all alone in the end.

  • HELENO by Mikel Arraiz
  • SKINS by Jaiden Reese
  • DEATH GRIP by David Silset
  • 5/3/0 by Danilo Stanimirović
  • SAUER DOGS by Guillermo de Oliveira
  • THE BROKEN SPACE by Gabriel Alemán, Eduardo Eimil



8 Stories about women, by women. From childhood to old-age, this block encapsulates the complex, varied role that women play through time and space.

Co-presented with Girl North Studios

  • ONLY UNTIL DAWN by Eliza Godlewska, Alan Ruczyński
  • MARUJA by Berta Garcia-Lacht
  • A Very Sick Man by Bronwen Spolsky
  • JULIE BABY by Emily Grooms
  • LITTLE BOY by Sophie Horry
  • PACHO’S VISUAL ARCHIVE by Blanca Marcela Lopez
  • MY OLD GALS by Natasza Parzymies


$$$  FEB 24, 2024, 3:30PM (Canadian Premiere)


Hoping to escape the quicksand of their father’s footsteps, best friends Joe and Teo attempt to change their lot in life via drugs and gambling.

Director: Jake Remington
Languages: English
Q&A with director in attendance
Paired with* AT LITTLE WHEELIE THREE DAYS AGO by Andrew Stephen Lee



LMFAO Shorts  FEB 24TH, 2024, 5:30PM


8 of the funniest short films from Canada and around the world. You will laugh. A lot.

  • TESTING by Andy Reid
  • LAUNDRY DAY by Justin Diezmo, Christian Bunea
  • JESTER’S FLAMING HOT MAC & CHEESE by Victor Saucier-Magistry
  • BACK TO THE CLOSET by Gerald B. Fillmore
  • WEDDING SONG by Clara Altimas
  • LETHAL SHOPPING Mahay Alayón
  • LINDA 4 EVA by Sophie Somerville

THE EXCURSION  FEB 24TH, 2024, 8PM (Candian Premiere)


In Sarajevo, a teenager seeking validation claims that she had sex for the first time during a game of “truth or dare” among middle schoolers. Trapped in her own lie, she invents a pregnancy and becomes the center of a controversy that spirals out of control.

Director: Una Gunjak
Languages: Bosnian
Notable Festivals: Locarno Film Festival (Jury Mention), Sarajevo Film Festival 





7 Short films about meaning, truth and self-discovery. From narrative docs to animated films, this block will touch your soul.

  • THE LINE by Myriam Guérin
  • LOT’S WIFE by Ori Birger
  • BI-MOK by Baro Lee
  • IDRISSA ABARA by Jordi Rullan Bisbal
  • STILL HERE by Álvaro Hernández Blanco
  • GARRANO Vasco Sá, David Doutel
  • HARDCORE by Adán Aliaga



7 Beautiful shorts about parenthood, forgiveness, and overcoming misunderstandings. Bring mom and dad. You will cry. A lot.

  • 24/SEVEN by Santiago Requejo
  • OJUE by Fernando Alberto Broce
  • ROPED by Carmen Córdoba González
  • PARIS 70 by Dani Feixas Roca
  • ONE MORE DAY by Juan Carrascal Ynigo
  • NELLY’S STORY by Jonas Steinacker
  • UPROOT by Queena Liu



THE ACCIDENT  FEB 25TH, 2024, 7PM (Ontario Premiere)


After being fired, Marcella, a gentle hearted mother going through separation, buys a tow truck; she gets trapped deeper and deeper in a cynical and aggressive world until a terrible opportunity shines in front of her.

Director: Giuseppe Garau
Languages: Italian
Notable Festivals: Slamdance Film Festival (Jury Award), 52nd Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival
Q&A with director in attendance
Paired with: 5/3/0 by Danilo Stanimirović


Robert is a Serbian-Canadian writer and director, the founder of the Pensare Films Studio in Toronto, and the festival director for the Pendance Film Festival.

Mayonnaise, Buffaloed, Mid90s Now on Pendance Library

Four incredible films have just been released on the Pendance Library, including two of our favourite short films from the 2023 lineup, and two of our favourite features of the past decade.



Directed by Eli Speigel, Mayonnaise follows a quirky production assistant as he goes about the meaningless day-to-day grind of coffee runs and long drives home. One night after wrapping, he’s tasked with driving home one of the producers, an eccentric young woman who might have all the answers he’s looking for.


Directed by Greg Fox, this 23-minute indie short is equal parts laughs and cries. A lonely young man named Ben receives a mysterious delivery package which sends his life spiralling out of control. The film was a huge hit with the audience, and was truly one of the best films from our 2023 lineup. Interesting editing choices, witty dialogue, a tense pace to the cinematography, bolstered by two remarkable lead performances. Read Greg’s interview with Director’s Notes here. 


Directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s is a coming-of-age tale set in 1990s Los Angeles. A 13-year-old spends his summer navigating between a troubled home life and a crew of new friends he meets at a skate shop. The film marks a remarkable directorial debut for Jonah Hill. A heartfelt love letter to his own childhood and ours.


Directed by Tanya Wexler, Buffaloed is a film about a homegrown hustler who decides to become a debt collector in a desperate bid to escape her own money problems and her hometown of Buffalo, New York. It’s funny, creative, and all sorts of memorable.

You seriously can’t go wrong with any of these films. Check out the 100+ titles now streaming at the Pendance Library, including dozens of past selections and incredible features from around the world. 

Submissions Open & 2024 Dates Announced

The Pendance Film Festival’s 7th edition will take place February 22-February 25, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. The planned venues include TIFF Bell Lightbox, Isabel Bader Theatre and the Carlton Cinema. After two years of virtual events and a scaled down 2023 event with a smaller program, Pendance returns to a full-form event. The event will feature p

anels, workshops, various socials, and industry events.

Submissions are now open for the 2024 festival exclusively via FilmFreeway.


1) Only films completed after January 1st, 2021 are eligible for the festival.

2) Pendance maintains strict premiere requirements for features. Feature films which have previously screened in Ontario are not eligible to screen at Pendance. There are currently no premiere requirements for shorts.

3) STUDENT FEES are only for current film school students or filmmakers who made films while enrolled in film school. In order to qualify for a student fee, please be sure to upload a clear copy of a student ID on the attachments section of your filmmaker profile.

4) Please do not change the screener link address or password of your submission. If you do, please notify us immediately or you risk your film not being previewed and thus considered for the festival.

5) Films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English. We prefer subtitles be burned into the submission copy.

6) Pendance requires DCPs for exhibition. In the event that one is unavailable, we request a PRORES screener link so that we may create a DCP on your behalf.

7. All submission fees are non-refundable. If your film does not fit our submission guidelines, it will be disqualified.

8. Press Kits are requested, but not required. Trailers are however required. If your film is selected, and a trailer is not available, Pendance may, on your behalf, create a clip no longer than 60 seconds for promotional purposes only.

9. The final date to withdraw a selected film from the festival is January 10th, 2024. This is to clear up any premiere conflicts. After this period, you may not withdraw the film for any reason, including disputes over screening fees. If a selected filmmaker is unresponsive, Pendance cannot guarantee that this will result in automatic disqualification and the film may still end up screening.

10. Films must not be available online or be publicly available in the United States or Canada during the week leading up to the festival. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film may have screened online as part of another festival. Due to the pandemic, exceptions will be made for short films that are available via paid streaming services.

11. If a selected film does not submit materials in time, and materials are not available, Pendance may opt to select the film but not screen it.

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival if we’re allowed under Canadian guidelines to have a live event.

In the event of a live event, if you’re selected and intend to attend the event, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can arrange for complimentary passes and gala tickets. The festival provides 2-nights stay at a hotel downtown to short filmmakers selected, and a limited airfare credit as well as 2-nights stay for features filmmakers.


The Pendance Library is a tightly curated online library of some of the best independent films from around the world. New in 2022, filmmakers can submit directly for a library selection through FilmFreeway. All films officially selected to Pendance are automatically eligible for the Pendance Library once they become publicly available.
Check the library here: www.pendancefilmfestival.ca/pendance-library

A) There are no completion date restrictions for Library selections. Any film under 200 minutes is eligible for the Pendance Library.

B) All library selections must be available via a direct link to a vimeo screener. The screener must be made public, and cannot be password protected while the film remains in the Pendance Library.

C) Pendance requests all film stay on our library platform for a minimum of a year.

D) Films selected to the library are not eligible for official selection to the festival.


Additional Information

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the submission with a more recent cut. That said, because Pendance’s focus is primarily on story and writing, minor technical changes will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during Pendance, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the festival with their most recent version.
*PENDANCE PRESS: We are often asked for private screeners to review ahead of and after the screenings to generate positive publicity. The list of media are widely known and reputable. If you do not wish for your screener to be reviewed by the press via private link, or if you’d prefer to handle publicity on your own film, please specify this upon selection.
*GENRE RESTRICTIONS: While we’re open to all genres, if your film features excessive violence, gore, nudity or sexuality, please email to the festival before submitting to confirm it is eligible.

Pendace Returns to LIVE Screenings May 12-14th

The 6th Annual Pendance Film Festival features a return to in-person screenings. Pendance will take place May 12th through May 14th, 2023 in downtown Toronto at the Imagine Cinema Carlton, located at 20 Carlton St.  After two years of virtual screenings, we’re very excited to welcome back live audiences to our temporary home in the heart of downtown. Pendance’s sixth edition will feature 20 film selections from 2023, and 8 films from our 2022 lineup which are being given a live screening for the first time. TICKETS & PASSES NOW AVAILABLE VIA FILMFREEWAY

Browse individual short films here and features here.



7 Thought-provoking short films from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, featuring stunning and light-hearted stop-motion, riveting and tense drama, and a heart-warming story about coming to terms with your inner child. The theme is self-actualization and it was the perfect way to return to the cinema after a 26-month hiatus.

  • A Natural Force by Gordon LePage
  • Sugar Babies by Harry Shaw
  • Rocket Fuel by Jessie Posthumus
  • Knots by Stephanie Sy
  • Ahu by Mahsa Razavi
  • Sonder by Zachary Zebrowitz
  • Mayonnaise by Eli Speigel




2022 Best-Director winner Laura Lehmus’s wonderful and funny Sweet Disaster has been a hit with audiences all over the world. A late-in-the-game pregnancy and the sudden ending of a relationship are not necessarily catastrophic by themselves. Combine the two, and it is like throwing fire accelerant on charcoal. Sweet Disaster is paired with the incredible short film You Never Talk About Your Dreams by Sarah Foulkes. 





8 short films which will surely rock your senses from our 2022 lineup, including Best Short 2022 Winner Tundra by Jose Luis Ferrera, and Best Canadian Short Winner She Keeps Me by Erica Orifino.

  • Shark by Nash Edgarton
  • She Keeps Me by Erica Orofino
  • The Middle by Hanna Jovin & Adrian Morphy
  • Low Water Pressure by Francesco Felice
  • Barbara by Aidan Lesser
  • The Right Words by Adrian Moyse Dullin
  • Memory Makers by Mark Pagliaroli
  • Tundra by Jose Luis Ferrera

ASTRAKAN MAY 13TH, 2023, 6PM (Canadian Premiere)


Directed by David Depesseville. Samuel is a wild-looking twelve-year-old orphan who has been placed with a nanny, Marie, for several weeks. Marie, who is struggling between her feelings and her need for money, is married to Clément with whom she has two sons, Alexis and Dimitri. Very quickly Samuel will have to get to know this new family and their possible secrets. Paired with School Photo by Jonathan Norberg.

AS WE KNOW IT  MAY 13TH, 2023, 8PM (Canadian Premiere)


Josh Monkarsh’s feature film starring Pam Grier, Chris Parnell, Mike Castle, Oliver Cooper and Taylor Blackwell is a funny, action-packed film about love, friendship and the end of the world. Set in Los Angeles, James Bishop, a struggling writer deals with a messy break up with the help of his best friend while trying to finish his latest book before the impending nuclear-zombie apocalypse. Paired with Monkey-Love, Please Hold by Greg Fox.





6 brilliantly crafted short films from around the world that perfectly encapsulate what we mean when we say “cinema”. From the French masterwork from Antoine Delelis Suicide Club’ to Pendance alumni Nikola Polic’s daring and unnerving Take Me, Anyplace, this block of shorts is sure to make you think and feel. This block is less about words, and more about the art of moving images.

  • From Fish to Moon by Kevin Contento
  • Take Me, Anyplace by Nikola Polic
  • Daysleeper by Enzo Smits
  • Night Stroll by Ori Birger
  • Night Visit by Mya Kaplan
  • Suicide Club by Antoine Delelis



In honour of Mother’s day, we present one of the most beautiful feature films of the year, in Katharina Woll’s Everybody Wants to be Loved. A blisteringly hot summer day. Psychotherapist Ina notices something is wrong with her. But she doesn’t have time to worry about it: Patients are waiting at the practice, her daughter is threatening to move in with her father, her boyfriend wants to emigrate to Finland, and her self-centered mother is celebrating her 70th birthday. Ina wants to please everyone. But then everything changes. The film is paired with two brilliant short films; Junior’s Giant by Paula Brancati starring Canadian screen icon Eric Peterson, and one of the best-acted short films we’ve ever programmed, Off Side by Sophie Martin.


3 films by women, all centred on the theme of motherhood, on Mother’s Day? Sign us up!



Robert Misovic is a Serbian-Canadian writer and director, the founder of the Pensare Films Studio in Toronto, and the festival director for the Pendance Film Festival.

How a Canadian Filmmaker Made an Award-Winning 26-minute short for $3500

Ahead of the release of his short film ‘There’s Nothing You Can Do’ on the Pendance Library, we caught up with Canadian filmmaker Ryan Terk to ask him a few questions about his 26-minute self-funded short film which won Best Canadian Short Film at the Pendance Film Festival in 2021.


Q: You approached this film with some very unique lens and camera choices. Talk about crafting the visual world of your short, and how you chose your equipment.

A: For me, it’s important for the look of a movie to reflect the world it takes place in, and for me the world is catalyzed by character. Like Ronny, it was important that everything looked a little murky and rough, like what Vilmos Zsigmond did with Altman for McCabe & Mrs Miller.

Chromatic aberration was something I obsessed over. My DP happened to own a vintage TV zoom that had the EXACT look I was going for, so we used that for exterior daylight scenes.

For everything else, we used vintage Nikon primes with similar but sharper characteristics. We also used a 7.5mm Laowa for the money montage, so we could get as close to the actors as possible while keeping a busy frame.

Q: $3500 isn’t a lot to shoot a 26-minute short. But in what ways did financial limitations force you to be more creative?

There were two big factors: one was writing the script being fully aware of the tight budget, finding the small bubble on the Venn diagram where creativity and practicality merge.

The other was involving very selfless people who would donate their time to a movie that could potentially suck. Every single name in the credits is a person I am very lucky to know. I only paid one of my crew members more than $400, and for 6 days of work. I think I paid a total of $300 to all the actors. Most of the money went towards locations, transportation, equipment and food.


Q: Was there ever a scene where an extra $5000 might have made a very big deal?

The restaurant scene and the club scene, for sure. The club scene is simple, we had to pay a big chunk of our budget per hour, and we only had 4 hours to shoot.

Everybody was drunk and rowdy, and to this day I’m surprised we got enough coverage to form a coherent scene. For the restaurant, we scored the location for free. I had done some work for a fucking awesome chef named Joe Mercuri, and in exchange for some of his recipes, a restaurant called Fiorellino let us use the second level of their dining room for a day.

However, there was a lot of background and foreground choreography, we had zero rehearsal time prior to shooting, and we only had 8 hours to rock n roll.

We spent the first quarter of our allotted time rehearsing (0 actors in that scene, all friends & family friends), so filming had to be a bit rushed, therefore sacrificing a lot of coverage. Fiorellino was great about it all things considered. My legendary PA unplugged all of the restaurants phones so they wouldn’t ring during filming, and the owner didn’t beat him up.



Q: What was your goal with this film and did you accomplish it?

A: I just wanted to make a movie, and learn as much as possible while making it. I learned a lot about films and filmmaking on my own time, but I had never actually made a movie. A lot of my friends suggested I make something very simplistic and short, but I did the complete opposite.

I knew if I tackled something complicated and on a ridiculously low budget, the learning curve would be a lot steeper, and I would have a lot more problems to solve. Reflecting on creative decisions I made, I would’ve done almost everything differently, so I take that as growth and a lot of lessons learned. Creatively and practically.


Q: Talk about writing Ronny. Inspirations, challenges, regrets.

A: Writing Ronny is so much fun. I say is because I still write short stories about him here and there. There is no clear logic or patterns in his decision making, everything he does is catalyzed by warped emotional motivations, and that’s what makes him so fun to write.

My only regret is I rushed to pre-production, so I didn’t have time to write out his entire history since age 1. It’s my favourite part of the writing process, and pretty critical to loosening my head up when writing.

Q: What are the pros and cons of wearing so many hats on your film? Acting, directing, handling post can’t be easy. Would you do it again?

A: Kinda the same answer to question 1. Very steep learning curve, and very informative to me as a filmmaker. When I eventually hire more crew, I’ll have a way better idea of what to look for, supply them with, and reasonably ask of them throughout production.

Would I do it again? I would prefer not to, but I will if I have to.

Q: How did you approach the festival process and do you have any advice for filmmakers who make shorts longer than 20 minutes?

A: Submit to Pendance.

You can now watch There’s Nothing You Can Do for Free Via the Pendance Library for free here.



Luzifer Takes the Top Prize at Pendance 2022

Luzifer (Austria) by Peter Brunner grabs the Best Feature Film Award while Jose Luis Aparicio’s Cuban fever-dream Tundra becomes the third Spanish-language short film in five years to win Best Short Film.

Laura Lehmus is awarded Best Director for her incredibly hilarious and sweet feature directorial debut, Sweet Disaster, and Toronto’s Erica Orofino takes home Best Canadian Short Film honours for She Keeps Me.


What this film does to you cannot be understated. And how rare this is can also not be understated.

To the gruelling process of shooting, intense preparation and work in preproduction to the sheer commitment to honesty in the script and performances.

Our sincere congratulations to the entire team that made Luzifer possible. From the lead performances by Franz Rogowski and Susanne Jensen to the brilliant camera work by Peter Flinckenberg. It was a true team effort.  Watch the Trailer Here



This is only the second ever film from Cuba to be selected to Pendance joining Alberto (2020) and the first ever to be awarded a prize.

We salute commitment with all of our awards. And it’s hard to imagine someone more committed to their art, their story and their cause than Jose Luis Aparicio. Tundra is a masterpiece. We don’t use this word lightly. Watch the Trailer Here


We started our tradition of Best Director awards in our first edition with Qiu Yang, and then Peter Brunner in 2019, and last year with Sabrina Doyle for Lorelei . It’s an award we give to a director whose vision and presence most elevated the project.

And to that end we see no one more clearly deserving of our 2022 Best Director award than Laura Lehmus for Sweet Disaster. Watch the Trailer Here


The Best Canadian Short film is a staple at Pendance which started with Kalainithan Kalaichelvan‘s Inland Freaks and extended to last year’s win for Ryan Terk with There’s Nothing You Can Do.

It’s an award which celebrates daring storytellers who’ve put to the screen something pure and honest and we’re proud to add another brilliant Canadian to this list.

We salute Erica Orofino and her team. This film was a goldmine of emotions and depth and we couldn’t be prouder to award it.



Pendance Announces 2022 Schedule

61 Films Coming to Ontario, Canada at the Pendance Film Festival March 10-13th, Virtually

Feature Films Lineups 

The features programme at Pendance 2022 features a diverse range of genres and languages; films from the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands make up the nine selections, six of which are making Canadian Premieres


Short Films Lineups 

The short film lineup features fifty-two incredible films from around the world divided into eight screening blocks.

LMFAO Shorts‘ hilarious lineup starts with Carlos Gomez Trigo’s sci-fi comedy Survivers and Daniel Christpherson‘s Swan Song and ends with Dominik Hartl’s Austrian comedy The Washing Machine, and Nash Edgerton’Shark, starring Rose Byrne.

Through Her Eyes is a section by female directors. The block features work by prominent emerging talents Erica Orofino, Pom Bunsermvicha, Mya Kaplan, Huma HussainZou Jing, and Isabella Margara.

Cinema Mon Amour features the world premiere of Hanna Jovin and Adrian Morphy’s The MiddleJoe Perry‘s stunning Nobody’s BoyWe Won’t Forget by Lucas Eberl and Edgar Morais, and Jose Luis Aparicio’s Tundra which screened at Sundance 2022 among several other incredible films.

Copenhagen to Vienna is a short block featuring three longer shorts from Austria and Denmark. The block celebrates three of Europe’s brightest female voices; Julia Reiter, Lisa Hasenhutl, and Tone Ottilie.

So Much Drama features three incredible Canadian talents showcasing their work; Barbara by Aidan LesserLouise from 9 to 5 by Julien G. Marcotte, and The Way of Mourning by Matthew Segal. Joining the Canadian films are Nestor Ruiz Medina’s El MetodoAdrian Moyse Dullin’s The Right Words, and Oscar nominee The Letter Room by Elvira Lind.

StoryOverEverything features documentaries and animated shorts, including Adjusting by Dejan Petrovic, Naya by Sebastian Mulder, and two excellent animated entries from Canada; Memory Makers by Mark Pagliaroli, and Forgotten by Mawrgan Shaw.

Pendance Midnight features Cutter by Dan Repp and Lindsay YoungAll Night Long by Eric ScabarWild Will by Alan KingVisitors by Kenichi UganaMy Condition by Coke Arijo, Behind by Yili Li, and a sci-fi film by Adnan SiddiqueLast and First Woman.

Finally, New Voices is Pendance’s out-of-competition selection, showcasing emerging talents from around the world. Canadian talents Francesco FiliceMelisa Sahin, James Salmon and Luisa Maria Gonzalez join international filmmakers from Spain, the United States and France.

Workshops and Panels

Pendance will feature over 50 speakers live appearing for Q&As and to lead workshops and speak on various panels. All events are broadcast live on YouTube and are free to attend from around the world.

Read about them here. 

Straeon Acting Studios founders Isabel Farias and Jock MacDonald lead a workshop on Directing Actors, Sasha K. Gordon discusses overcoming PTSD through Art and the situation in Ukraine, and Carlota Pereda deconstructs her Sundance 2022 standout feature film Cerdita

Scott Monahan and Dakota Loesch discuss how they made a festival-winning feature in 5 days, Ethan Eng discusses how he became the youngest filmmaker selected to the features competition at Slamdance in 2022 with Therapy Dogs, and Erin Vassilopoulos and Chris Mutton lead a panel on film editing.  

Here’s the schedule 

Check Feature Films Here

Check Short Films Here

Check Festival Teaser Here 

Here’s a quick way to see what’s coming

A Simple Guide to Pendance 2021

We were having a conversation today with a pass holder who said they got a headache trying to pick which films they wanted to watch. “Nothing’s bad, everything’s interesting, and there’s no Brad Pitt so I have no idea how to pick”.

The bigger we get, the less comprehensible we get. That’s been true every year. It takes a rare person to unpack 54 films and 20 live events across a three-and-a-half-day window. So we had an idea—why not simplify Pendance?

So below, we’re going to give you our top three picks for every genre and taste imaginable. Just go to your mood and check out our suggestions. Who better to guide you through Pendance than the programmers who picked the films? Consider this our version of Vimeo Staff Picks.



Lorelei by Sabrina Doyle | March 28, 8pm

Through Her Eyes Shorts Showcase | March 27, 5pm

Toprak by Sevgi Hirschhäuser | March 28, 1pm



My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell it To by Jonathan Cuartas | March 26, 9pm

Bleed with Me by Amelia Moses | March 27, 11pm

Pendance Midnight Shorts | March 26, 11pm



The Bears on Pine Ridge by Noel Bass | March 28, 12pm

StoryOverEverything Shorts | March 26, 2pm

The State of Texas Vs. Melissa by Sabrina Van Tassel | March 26, 4:30pm



Dinner in America | March 26, 7pm 

Show Me the Money Shorts | March 27, 9pm

Le Cafe de mes Souvenier (The Cafe of my Memories) by Valto Baltzar (World Premiere) | March 28, 5:30pm 



Cinema Mon Amour Shorts | March 28, 3pm

The Trouble with Being Born by Sandra Wollner | March 28, 10pm 

Window Boy would Also Like to Have a Submarine | March 27, 2pm  



Fine. Paper Spiders by Inon Shampanier | March 27, 7pm



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Check Out the Full Event Schedule
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Check Out All the Feature Films

Check Out All the Short Films






*There are effectively 2 passes at Pendance 2021 right now; 5 for 5 ($25) and All-Access ($50). The Pendancer Pass for ($125) comes with a #StoryOverEverything sweatshirt but effectively is the same pass as the $50 all-access.

Tickets for individual screenings are

$3.99 for documentary features

$8.99 for short blocks

$8.99 for features.

How Passes Work

5-for-5 unlocks any 5 screenings for $0, and All Access and Pendancer pass unlocks all screenings for $0.

Once you have your pass, you can begin adding screenings through the ‘virtual festival portal’. You’ll see 11 features, 1 re-screening, and 5 short blocks listed. Make sure you’re logged into the eventive account (and same email) your pass was issued to. You should see a $0 charge next to the pre-order now button.


How a Screening Works

2 Things matter here: Unlock time, and watch window. Let’s use Dinner in America as an example. It can be pre-ordered now, but won’t officially ‘unlock’ until March 26th at 7pm. From the second it unlocks at 7pm (EST) you will have exactly 2 hours to begin watching the film. From the point you unlock, within that 2-hour window, you will have exactly 8 hours to finish watching the film.


28 Directors from 5 Continents Headline the International Shorts Programme at Pendance 2021

The international shorts selections at Pendance are one of the highlights each year. As a festival that’s always seeking and open to programming films from anywhere and everywhere—there are always a handful of short films that come to Pendance as their first or only North American festival.

For the full festival schedule, you can check here. In this article, we take you through each international short film selected to Pendance using the comprehensive notes from the programmers who selected them.


The Bears on Pine Ridge by Noel Bass – Friday, March 26, 12pm + Sunday March 28, 12pm

At 40 minutes—the film is either the longest short film or the shortest feature film in Pendance history—in either case it’s a record that’s unlikely to be touched for a few years—it’s a really special film. Unlike other short films, it will screen solo to open Pendance 2021.

Bass takes an unflinching dive into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which declared a State of Emergency as youth suicide rates jumped to the highest levels in the country.

Director Noel Bass will be live for the Q&A after the screening where he will join a panel of others on the topic of suicide among Native populations, what barriers to support youngsters face, and what needs to change.

The Bears on Pine Ridge had its World Premiere earlier this year at the Academy Award®-Qualifying Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and will have its Canadian Premiere at 12pm on Friday, March 26th at Pendance. The film screens again at 12pm on Sunday, March 28th. Noah Bass is expected to join the Q&A for a panel discussion about the film and its message. Watch Trailer


#StoryOverEverything Shorts Showcase – Friday, March 26, 2021, 2pm

#StoryOverEverything is a short block devoted to documentaries and true stories—starting with Blue Frontier by Ivan Milosavljević—which had its North American Premiere at the Big Sky Documentary festival earlier this year. A co-production between Serbia and Slovenia—the documentary follows an elderly fisherman as he seeks to catch a sea giant—the largest fish in the Danube River.

Each morning he wakes up and heads to the river—clapping at the surface of the water with a hand-carved piece of wood, longing to meet the creature just once before one of them dies.

Featuring some stunning cinematography, and hyper-focused pacing, the film serves as a visually powerful allegory that any dreamer could relate to. Trailer

School Ties by Oscar Albert is a visually compelling dramatic short about lost innocence. Two boys help a friend in need after he runs away from the nearby boarding school—building him a makeshift tent and sneaking him food whenever they can.

It’s rare to have child actors deliver such even performances, and the impressive attention to wardrobe and set design goes a very long way in terms of world building.

At the heart of the film is the question that is asked repeatedly—why did he run away in the first place? Albert leaves that to the viewer to decide. Trailer

Maalbeek is an animated/experimental film, which challenges the very notion of what a documentary is. Director Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis examines the notion of remembering and forgetting by exploring the tragic 2016 Maalbeek metro bombing in Brussels—which killed 32 civilians, three perpetrators and injured over 300 others.

The film dives into one of those survivors—Sabine—who has severe amnesia about the event. She remembers it in bits and fragments unlike those around her who’ve formed their memories of the horrific event through news footage and second-hand accounts.

The film examines the notion of memories and how they influence feelings and perspectives—and perhaps how losing our memories allows us to actually move forward.

On a much-needed lighter note, we move to Thomas Sandler‘s highly enjoyable documentary about Edward Pratt—a young man who unicycled around the world. At the heart of Sandler’s short film is one question, which he asks repeatedly—why did Ed do it?

The Curiosity of Edward Pratt invites the viewer to open their minds to bigger ideas. Ed’s story is every bit as fascinating as it is inspiring. You can watch a bit about Ed and the 22,000 miles he cycled via this video.


There’s a juxtaposition at the heart of Guillermo and Javier Fesser de Petino‘s The Invisible Monster—how can a film about such a heartbreaking topic be this gorgeous? Both brothers are masterful and accomplished Spanish filmmakers with a list of career accomplishments so long it would span the length of this article to list them.

Their 29-minute short film ventures far east to the Philippines and follows an 8-year-old-boy Aminodin and his family as they navigate the hardships of living in the Papandayan dump with a central focus on exploring the topic of world hunger.

Jairo Iglesias’ cinematography—which earned the film an in-competition Selection at Camerimage 2020 in Poland elevates this film into masterpiece territory.


Pendance Midnight Shorts Showcase – Friday, March 26, 2021, 11pm.


Pendance Midnight is back and it’s edgier than ever. Screening at 11pm on March 26th, The Midnight Shorts showcase begins with Special Selection The Fall, by Under the Skin director Jonathan Glazer. At just over 6 minutes, the film packs a haunting punch.

Inspired by The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters—an etching by Francisco Goya, the film takes a surrealist approach, which feels a bit like a live-action representation of a Goya painting.

A man clings to a tree for dear life as strangers wearing masks attempt to rattle him free. The title leaves little to the imagination regarding what happens next—the fall.

As the mob descends on the fallen man, they force him to pose for a picture—a decision Glazer states was inspired by a photo Eric Trump and Donald Trump JR. took next to the carcass of a defenceless leopard.

It’s one of the strongest short films of the past decade and one that’s likely to have a strong and bitter aftertaste.

Rob Stanton-Cook‘s Kilter examines generational trauma through a poetic lens. To call the film’s cinematography by Aaron McLisky excellent would be an understatement—it’s one of the most visually dazzling shorts of the year.

It uses smart cuts and breathtaking locations to tell the story of a young man haunted by abuse at the hands of his father and a disconnection he feels from his younger self.

The film’s deeper messaging exploring toxic masculinity is represented by the radical physical transformation the character makes, and the constant visions he has of himself as a child which blur the line between dreams and reality.

Words are never spoken—and with a clear sense for visual storytelling and probably one of the better cinematographers in the world behind the camera, they aren’t really missed.

We had a strange Greek entry in the Midnight block in 2019 with Fake News, and 2021 re-welcomes Greece to Pendance Midnight with Take It And End It by Kirineos Papadimatos. The film is a delightfully allegorical tale about a butcher who refuses to kill a veal he’s grown to view as his own child.

To say anymore would be to ruin the film, but it’s absolutely a dream fit in the middle of this block.

There will be MONSTERS is a 5-minute short film by Pendance alumnus Carlota Pereda—winner of the Best Short Film Award in 2019 for her film Piggy.

Her most recent film brings us to a summer night in Spain as a clearly intoxicated woman sits on a bench trying to gather herself. As she’s approached by a group of rowdy men looking to have a few laughs—and much more—at her expense, the story turns from mildly uncomfortable to absolutely horrifying.

Pereda is a master of suspense and tension—the camera always holds to raise the nerves at the perfect boiling temperature. There’s always a twist—and it’s always a good one. Trailer


Matheus Farias and Enock Carvalho bring the audience to Brazil in their Sundance 2021-selection Unliveable. The 20-minute short film follows a woman desperately in search for answers after her daughter—a trans woman—goes missing.

Seeking answers and support from those who knew her daughter best, the film explores a mother’s grief and the rampant social issue of violence against transgendered individuals in Brazil.

While at the surface, this feels like an odd fit for the midnight block, you may comprehend the reasoning a bit better in the film’s final act.

Closing out Pendance Midnight, Japanese filmmaker Ken’ichi Ugana brings us the weirdest short film in Pendance’s 4-year history.

Extraneous Matter is an unflinching, erotically charged and surrealist look at a sexless woman’s longing for affection from her disinterested partner. The film takes a sharp turn as she finds a solution to her woes in her bedroom closet.

Like Pereda and Glazer, Ugana absolutely understands how to hold a frame to manipulate the audience. No one’s going to bed after watching this film.


Through Her EYES Shorts Showcase – Saturday, March 27, 2021, 5pm.


Through Her Eyes Shorts showcase starts with Mamaville, by Turkish director Irmak Karasu.

The film follows a young girl as she spends her summer days with her grandmother watching soap operas, hanging out with boys she may or may not like, and sitting in the shade at the beach—all of which is building on the boredom she feels and sense of sexual awakening she desires.

The film is a meditation on being young and pensive whilst attempting to transition from childhood innocence to full-fledged adulthood.

Milena Bennett‘s The Listening follows a couple—Freya and Dan—who move to the countryside to have their first child. As the pregnancy develops, they lose their grip on reality.

Distance and time, dreams and waking life, the living and the dead converge in this 25-minute short film about isolation—an all-too-relevant topic amidst the current state of the world.

There will be MONSTERS makes a second appearance in this block because as much as it is a genre film, it’s also a film about a woman establishing ultimate control.

We won’t spend any more time hyping up this 5-minute gem—just consider this a good opportunity to check it out if you miss it the first time around.

Cinematographer Molly Manning Walker flexes her strong directing and writing chops in Good Thanks, You? A young woman, Amy, played by the talented Jasmine Jobson, finds herself voiceless amidst a sea of bureaucratic incompetence following a violent attack.

Unable to speak about the event to her boyfriend, played by the Michael Ward, Amy must navigate the sea of questions on her own as she grows increasingly distanced from the ones she needs most.

So much is said through the powerful acting and strong script, but the dizzying effect and the sinking experience of watching the film has a lot to do with Molly Manning-Walker’s strong command of camera movement and visual storytelling. It’s a must-watch film. Trailer

Sister This by Claire Byrne is an Irish drama driven by two strong performances and a solid script which take the form of a phone conversation between an away-from-home working mom and her sister.

As the sisters war over their differing priorities, a child lays himself down in the grocery store pouting for attention.

It’s a rather intelligent and compelling spin on the working father trope and an engaging short film.


Finally, Peeps by Sophie Somerville closes the block on a hilarious high note. This delightfully weird Aussie selection will have you in stitches.

Peeps provides a peek into the inner world of a turbulent group of teenage girls during their after-school shopping trip. It’s equal parts brilliant and original from the opening credits to the final frame.

As shorts programmers wrote in their notes “it did things to me that only a handful of shorts have ever done”. It’s high praise from a group that have watched nearly 500 short films per year for four years running.


Show ME the Money!!! Shorts Showcase – Saturday, March 27, 2021, 9pm


Show ME the Money!!! is an absolutely hilarious short film block which features some of the most brilliant and daring attempts by a hodgepodge of defiant characters to circumvent the overall moral fabric of society.

In Ilya Polyakov‘s How to Get $100 Million—a young woman goes to extreme lengths on the advice of a self-help guru to achieve her goals—the price is just a little higher than she expected. It’s a completely fun and accessible short film which you won’t have to think about too much.

Amandine ThomasCherry Cola stars Thomas in the leading role, and it prompts two immediate questions—is the film good because Thomas is a strong director, or is it good because she’s a really talented actress?

The programmers answered this question with another question—does it really matter? Point taken. Honestly, it’s a little bit of both.

We meet Sherri as she’s being fired for stealing from her employer. When her emphatic pleas for reconsideration and mercy are met with contempt, Sherri goes to unimaginable lengths to pay her bills—manipulating everyone and anyone around her.

It’s rather unusual to cheer for the bad guy to win. But the bad guy isn’t a bad guy—it’s a charming bad girl—and it’s hard not to root for her when everyone around her is equally cold, equally calculating, or helplessly stupid.

Boris Kozlov’s The PIGS Method continues the earlier chapter on slimy self-help gurus. Toni is a father to two children who don’t take him very seriously.

His ex-wife is a sex cam worker and his biggest idol is a self-help guru who inspires Toni to write a book—the PIGS method—about using the useless scraps to make something meaningful of your life.

The film features damn-near-perfect acting across the board and serves as a great and subtle exploration of the perceptions of success and the toxicity of social media.


Georgi M. Unkovski‘s Sticker is one of the most prominent festival darlings of 2020, having premiered at Sundance and gone on to 200+ festivals worldwide.

The film follows a down-on-his-luck Dejan who can’t seem to renew his car registration. Equipped with a toy horse for his daughter who is performing in a play that evening, Dejan will do anything within his power to show up for the play to earn his daughter’s love forever.

Unfortunately, a series of events and consistent run-ins with the cops will threaten his desired outcome.

It’s not derivative, but Sticker will probably evoke a lot of the same feelings as 2012’s Live-Action-Oscar-Winner Curfew by Shawn Christensen. It’s a total crowd-pleaser. There are surely deeper undertones in Unkovski’s work, but the surface is just glossy and substantial enough to work on two levels. Trailer


Cinema Mon Amour – Sunday, March 28, 2021, 3pm.

Cinema Mon Amour is a short block devoted to unique and creative expressions—experimental, art-house with a little bit of narrative drama. This block is for the cinematically inclined and initiated crowd. Consider yourself warned.

We start this block with the second and newest short film by Jonathan GlazerSTRASBOURG 1508. The film is an adaptation of Martin Amis’s holocaust novel The Zone of Interest, featuring a series of head-banging interpretive dance performances from some of the world’s top dancers—filmed in isolation during the pandemic.

The film is as much a protest as it is another brilliant entry into the filmography of one of the world’s most interesting directors.

The first of two Pendance Alumni with shorts in the Cinema Mon Amour Short Block is Jonas Riemer with The One Who Crossed the Sea.

The animated documentary tells the story of a GDR refugee who joins the new right. In a folding boat, he flees via Denmark to Western Germany, where the story tips into the dark.

His newly acquired freedom turns into disorientation. Only in a burgeoning nationalist movement does the main character find a new home.

The film poses the elementary question: Where does the fear of the foreign and the desire for isolation really come from?

Riemer created the film” with the Cast&Cut short film grant via Nordmedia, and it continues a lifelong obsession for the young director of genre-blending.

With 2019’s Mascarpone, there was a very unique blend of animation with Live-Action. His most recent short is certainly an animated documentary—but flashes the director’s chops as an experimental filmmaker as well. We’re consistently on edge to learn what Jonas Riemer will do next.

To Sonny by Maggie Briggs and Federico Spiazzi is both a meditation on a simple life and a hyper smart character study of a lonely vending machine delivery driver.

The context for the film is peppered throughout via a series of radio interviews that serve as a backdrop for the audience to re-live the 2016 run-up to the American Presidential election.

The film doesn’t necessarily take a side—opting instead to ask questions; who are these people? How can they think the way they think? And have I actually met any of them?

In a world which feels increasingly closed off to debate and discussion, To Sonny urges viewers to sit in the shoes of a simple man, listening to the things he hears all day, seeing the roads he travels, and coming a little closer to seeing him as an actual human being. Trailer

Audiences in Toronto should be familiar with Nikola Polić, given that his earlier short film On My Own had its North American Premiere at Pendance in 2019.

In his most recent short film, Organisms, a young man named Petar finds himself distraught—when after a decade of cohabiting—his sister decides to move out of their shared apartment to start a family of her own.

Unable to cope with the loss, Petar concludes that his definition of family is at odds with the society he lives in.

Organisms represents a maturation for Polić as a storyteller. Many of the thematic elements remain consistent between both films—loneliness, isolation, longing for connection, idealism vs. reality.

This is obviously the work of a director who is still exploring some of the same fundamental questions as he was three years ago. What has changed is how he’s doing it.

Organisms feels more focused and surer of itself—it dares to be virtually inaccessible—but only in service of telling the story.

There are so many Easter eggs peppered in throughout the film’s 15-minute runtime that a few watchings may be essential to grab all of it. What’s clear is that this is an important film from an emerging director who is absolutely finding his voice. Trailer

Finally, closing Cinema Mon Amour is 2021 Live-Action-Oscar contender De Yie by Anthony Nti, a 20-minute short film from Ghana which follows 2 children as they’re forced to navigate some intense adult situations when they meet a stranger who offers to take them to the beach.

The film is a thrilling and at-times terrifying ride through the eyes of vulnerable children. Nti masterfully subverts expectations at every turn, leaving for one of the richest short-film experiences you’re likely to have this year.

That it for the International Shorts at Pendance 2021—to learn more about some of the feature films, you can read an article we wrote highlighting them. To read about some of the homegrown talent from Canada in the Shorts Programme, check here.


Robert Misovic is a Serbian-Canadian writer and director, the founder of the Pensare Films Studio in Toronto, and the festival director for the Pendance Film Festival. If you’d like to keep up with Rob on social media, you can find him on instagram @pensare.films or reach him directly at robert.misovic@pensarefilms.com