Film School Shorts Returns with a New Season of Dramatic, Comedic and Quirky Cinema


The fifth season of KQED’s Film School Shorts television series offers a sneak peek at the future of filmmaking, as well as an antidote to Hollywood’s diversity dilemma.

Nearly half of the films in the new season are directed by women, and more than 30 percent are directed by people of color. From exploring the immigrant experience to LGBTQ coming of age, this year’s selections offer a snapshot of the unique pastiche that is today’s American culture

Look for an outstanding performance from Brian George (Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory) as an Indian American woman’s overprotective father in the hilarious season premiere film Fanny Pack, followed by the true story of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s (The Daily Show) ill-fated prom night in Prom. And don’t miss Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Good Wife) as a forbidden lover in Sweet, Sweet Country.

In addition to its lineup of talented actors, this film’s directors have earned accolades at festivals that include Sundance and Tribeca, and some have already made the leap from shorts to feature films. AWOL (episode three) has been adapted into a full-length movie purchased by Netflix, and Festus (episode seven) director Shawn Snyder is wrapping up a feature starring Matthew Broderick.

The not-to-be-missed season finale (airing November 17) showcases filmmakers from Bay Area schools, including San Francisco State University and Ex’pression College.

The fifth season of Film School Shorts airs Fridays at 11pm on KQED 9, beginning September 8.
If you miss the television broadcast, full films are available on the Film School Shorts YouTube and Vimeo channels.

 Film School Shorts 5th Season Broadcast Schedule on KQED 9

Friday, September 8, 11pm
First Gen 101
Three stories of misadventures as first generation Americans navigating identity, love and acceptance amid converging cultures: Fanny Pack by Uttera Singh, Prom by Imran J. Khan, and Groomed by Wyatt Rockefeller.

Friday, September  15, 11pm
Blood & Water
Three young women experience difficult homecomings as they grapple with the pain and complexity of growing up: AWOL by Deb Shoval, When We Were Young by Gabrielle Capili, and Bookends by Dominic Villarrubia.

Friday, September 22, 11pm
Coming Home
Three young women experience difficult homecomings as they grapple with the pain and complexity of growing up: AWOL by Deb Shoval, When We Were Young by Gabrielle Capili, and Bookends by Dominic Villarrubia.

Friday, September 29, 11pm
Pet Problems
Three wayward pets wreak havoc on the lives of their owners, neighbors and even distant acquaintances in these short films: Rosie, Oh by Andy Koeger and Apple Xenus, The Execution by Elise Ahrens, and Cupcake Bob by Olivia Accardo.

Friday, October 6, 11pm
Stranger Desires
Tom and Myrna are looking for love in all the wrong places in two stories of ill-advised affection: Tom by Michael Smigiel and Mr. Lamb by Jean Pesce.

Friday, October 13, 11pm
Uncharted Waters
Whether in rural Japan or upstate New York – fitting in isn’t easy for two young men struggling to define their manhood without fathers: Stage Two by Laura Gallagher and Born with It by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour.

Friday, October 20, 11pm
Hidden Passions
We all harbor secrets we’re afraid to share with the world, but sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith: Festus by Shawn Snyder and Yeah Kowalski! by Evan Roberts.

Friday, October 27, 11pm
Border Crossings
Two short films follow families as they travel great distances, both physically and emotionally, to find a new home: We are the Immigrants by Catalina Matamoros Puerto and Sweet, Sweet Country by Dehanza Rogers.

Friday, November 3, 11pm
Magical Beasts
From the coast of Ireland to Norway’s dense forest to a young girl’s imagination – magical beasts lurk in the shadows. Theodora by Mike Makowsky. Vilt Gutt by Dawson Taylor. Salt by Ugla Hauksdóttir.

Friday, November 10, 11pm
uNomalanga is newly married and new to her small village in South Africa. When she attempts to befriend her notorious neighbor, she finds unexpected joy in the new friendship. uNomalanga and the Witch by Palesa Shongwe.

Friday, November 17, 11pm
Best of the Bay
With vampires roaming the back alleys of Chinatown, Tarantino-inspired kung-fu maters fighting in eucalyptus forests, jazz journeys in abstract super-8 film and a love triangle in a San Francisco apartment complex, these emerging filmmakers offer quirky a quirky glimpse at our unique metropolis.

Film School Shorts is made possible by the generous support of Maurice Kanbar.