Political Animals

Lovelorn zoo jaguars, vying for attention from captivity. Stolen rabbits prompting sugarcane field encounters with the divine. The Political Animals that populate this cinematic bestiary challenge whatever preconceived notions we might be harboring about non-human intelligence, dignity, and autonomy on our shared planet. As we reckon with capitalism and its twin legacies of violence and exploitation, as well as the degradation of the environment, these Political Animals make space for reconciliation with the natural world.

Valerio’s Day Out

Michael Arcos | New Orleans, LA | 9 min
Genre: Narrative Short

Smitten, bloodthirsty Valerio, an aggrieved zoo jaguar fresh off a recent killing spree, makes a no-holds-barred video diary for his significant other, Lula. The latest film by Indie Grits alum Michael Arcos, Valerio’s Day Out received a Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Does Water Die?

Tom Hansell & Joshua White | Ashe County, NC | 3 min
Genre: Animated Experimental Short

Drenched in water from the New River in Ashe County, North Carolina, and then exposed to the sun, the animated series of photograms that comprise this experimental short offer a unique view of a waterway coursing through the filmmakers’ home turf.

Hall of Fishes

Jennifer Boles | Chicago, IL | 9 min
Genre: Documentary Short

This experimental short, an all-archival film utilizing the first moving images of the ocean floor, assesses the webs of power and violence behind our desires to see and know the ocean.



Kevin Contento | Pembroke Pines, FL | 11 min
Genre: Narrative Short

First-time performers round out the cast of this stunning metaphysical drama, set against the sugarcane fields of Florida. Tempted into stealing a backpack full of rabbits, a young man living on the margins of American society has an unexpected encounter with the divine.

Hudson Geese

Bernardo Britto | New York, NY | 5 min
Genre: Animated Short

A goose recounts details from his early life—as well as the days of peace and happiness he spent with his wife, Sherona—before everything went to hell. Directed by Indie Grits alum Bernardo Britto, Hudson Geese premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Burning Land

Juan Camilo Olmos Feris | Barranquilla, Colombia | 29 min
Genre: Documentary Short

In Burning Land, a popular bullfighting festival in Northern Colombia represents so much more than just a local tradition. Juan Camilo Olmos Feris’s studious, carefully observed documentary short exposes the contradictions of a society indulging in games of power. Burning Land premiered at the 2019 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.


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