The Oscar® Qualifying HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL returns for its much-anticipated 19th edition from August 10- 20th, 2023, from an impressive 6000 entries, over 400 films form this year’s exciting program.

This year, the Academy® granted the festival their 4th OSCAR®-qualifying award for Documentary short film, this accolade will join their other three top awards, Best Short Film Grand Prize, Best Short Animation and Best Short Live Action. The winners of these awards will be eligible to be considered for a 2024 Academy® Award!

Just some of the documentary short films selected for the 19th edition include “How to Rig an Election: The Racist History of the 1876 Presidential Contest” directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, narrated by Tom Hanks, “They Came From All Over” directed by Academy® Award winner Rayka Zehtabchi, OSCAR® winner Ben Proudfoot’s “Forgiving Johnny” and Jordan Matthew Horowitz’s “Jack and Sam”, produced by Academy® Award winner Andrew Carlberg.

The star-studded live-action short film entries include Iain Softley and Disney Plus’ “The Shepherd”, produced by Alfonso Cuaró and featuring John Travolta, Christopher Patrick Macken’s “For the Safety of Theo” executive produced by Charlie Day, Jenn Shaw’s “Gaps”, produced by Queen Latifah, Bella Thorne’s “Paint Her Red”, Jorey Worb’s “Bite” starring Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars), “Shadow Brother Sunday” directed by and starring Alden Ehrenreich (Star Wars), Harry Holland’s “Last Call” starring Tom Holland and BAFTA Nominee Lindsay Duncan, Margaret Miller’s “Poof” starring Catherine Curtain, Academy® Award winner Chris Overton’s “In Too Deep”, Charles Whitcher’s “Mundo”, executive produced by Eva Longoria and “For People in Trouble” directed by Alex Lawther and executive produced by Matt Damon alongside Ben Afflick.

Animation short film entries feature WB’s “Daffy in Wackyland”, directed by Max Winston and OSCAR® nominee Andrew Pierce Chesworth’s “The Brave Locomotive”. 

Notable music videos include Lauren Keke Palmer’s “Big Boss” and Ron Mael, Russell Mael and Richie Starzec’s “Sparks” starring Cate Blanchett.

Additional noteworthy selections include Karen Bryson MBE’s directorial debut “Monochromatic”, Kayla Abuda Galang’s “You Left Me on the Boulevard”, Lauren Finerman’s “Flower” produced by and starring Misty Copeland, Lola Blanc’s “Pruning” starring Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale), Ethan Dolan and Grayson Dolan’s “Nothing Left to Give”, Conor Dooley’s “Gold and Mud” starring Ana Fabrega (Los Espookys) Rudy Martinez’s “Ham”, Oscar Boyson’s “Power Signal”, Michael Spiccia’s “I’m On Fire” starring Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos), Sue Zarco Kramer’s “Swipe NYC” starring Lisa Edelstein (House MD) and Bridget Moynahan (Blue Bloods), Marta Szymanek’s “Eden” produced by OSCAR® nominee Maciej Ślesicki, Stephanie Kaznocha’s “Confessions” starring Sister Alva (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Eve Sigall (Yellow Jackets), Michael Schwartz’s “Snatched” starring Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Dany Pino’s “Unión de Reyes (Union of Kings)”, as well as  Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon‘s “Restraining Order” produced by Oscar Nominee Kobi Mizrahi.

HollyShorts is devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panels and forums. The festival showcases the top short films produced in 40 minutes or less.


The LGBTQ+ community is growing and the 19th edition HollyShorts Film Festival is delighted to be a part of the increasing LGBTQ+ society with this year’s official selection including Gabriela Ortega’s BEAUTIFUL, FL, Logan Vaughn’s BENNY & JAMES and many more.

Some of this years exciting line up include, Emmie Lichtenberg COMPLICATED ORDER follows the story of Remy, a depressed twenty-something who’s just been dumped who accidentally places a food delivery order to her estranged girlfriend’s house, and must set out on a journey to retrieve it. David Cornue’s LET IT KILL YOU tells the tale of a disillusioned soldier who unearths an alleged enemy combatant from a tomb, he fights to prove the man’s innocence.

Fiorella Vescovi Garcia’s MAL DE AMORES (LOVESICK) Natalia “Nat” Barbieri just discovered that her ex-girlfriend Tara is engaged to a douchey, rich, European playboy. Feeling lost and alone, Nat hooks up with Noel, a woman she meets at the bar, but it doesn’t help. Reluctantly, she knows exactly what will, a recovery meeting for other love-addicts like her. Niki Ang’s MAXINE which shares the story of Allie, a newly out teen who is keeping her girlfriend a secret from her Chinese American family. Alex Bush’s THAW follows two friends isolated in a remote farmhouse for the winter, where they enter into a game of roleplay.

Other’s amongst this incredible selection include Omri Laron’s MORE THAN FRIENDS takes an unexpected turn when a quirky lesbian mom discovers a love letter written by her 11-year-old son to another boy, she decides to take matters into her own hands. In Sofia Garza-Barba’s PECCADILLO we explore Lorenzo’s desire to explore his feminine side, which is a secret and according to his religious family, secrets belong to the devil. With a choice to make, he’ll either live a lie. A 15-year-old boy who comes out as gay must fight for his life when his parents react with otherworldly acceptance in Michael Schwartz SNATCHED.

Jill Gutowitz THE LADIES we follow Emma who struggles to hide an affair with her grandma’s best friend from her grieving grandma and nosy cousin. In Tom Petty’s TICKER Howard drives his partner Joseph to hospital to undergo a high-risk operation, and the intimacy of the car sees the masculinity of their forty year relationship start to yield. An isolated young woman uses her vibrator compulsively — until it starts deforming her body in disturbing ways in Kara Strait’s VIBRATOR GIRL.

The annual Academy Awards-qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF) brings together top creators, industry leaders and companies and has launched many filmmakers into the next stages of their careers. HollyShorts, regular on MovieMaker Magazine’s “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee list”, also engages its community and spotlights short films year-round through monthly screenings, panels, and networking events.

Sara is a film by Jessica Hinkson, a dramatic short film about a woman who finds the strength to confront her greatest fear by relying on the comfort of strangers. The small and mighty cast includes Samora Smallwood (Star Trek: DiscoveryThe Kings of Napa), who plays Sara, Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D) who plays Elena, and Prince Amponsah (Station Eleven) who plays Davey. Sara was shot in Toronto at Osteria Rialto and the Humber CTI Campus. Of note Sara is being developed into Hinkson’s first feature film as writer and director, with a new title, Concrete Marshmallow, and was selected as part of Stowe Story Labs in 2022.

Let It Kill You tells the story of a disillusioned soldier who unearths an alleged enemy combatant from a tomb, then fights to prove the man’s innocence, only to discover his new friend may have been buried alive for a reason.  Adam Huss is the actor and producer, who describes it as elevated creature feature short film that uses the ancient Egyptian legend of the Anubis as a metaphor for sexual transformation and the literal and figurative internal/external horrors of war. Our film also has some understated LGBTQ+ themes about acceptance and equality. Adam Bucci (actor/producer) and our director David Cornue (writer, producer

For Years to Come” is a romantic dramedy about a gay man who falls in love with his mother’s hospice nurse, while struggling to reconnect with his father, who’s secretly a porn director. The half-hour pilot co-stars Richard Riehle (“Office Space”). HollyShorts is our third big LA film festival in a row this summer, following a premiere at Dances With Films, and a sold-out screening at Outfest. 

PECCADILLO is a short film that’s playing at the LGBTQIA+ block. This film is a hybrid fantasy drama sprinkled with Latinx glitter.  Lorenzo’s desire to explore his feminine side, is a secret…and according to his religious family, secrets belong to the devil. With a choice to make, he’ll either live a lie, or come out to his loved ones by killing his secret AND THE DEVIL HIMSELF. If you like music, drag queens and feeling alive, this is for you.

More info and tickets here.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.