The American Pavilion’s Emerging Filmmaker Showcase Returns to Cannes to Highlight Rising Filmmakers and their Global Stories


The Two Gay Geeks received this Press Release from the American Pavilion.This Emerging Filmmaker Showcase is one of the Highlights at Cannes that presents Filmmakers to the world.

Have a look at what is on tap during this Showcase.

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The 38 Films Selected as Part of the 2023 Showcase Will Be Presented to an In-Person Audience May 22-25, 2023.

Los Angeles, CA (May 2023) — Celebrating 35 years as the epicenter of American hospitality and communication at the Cannes International Film Festival, The American Pavilion, announced today the return of its Emerging Filmmaker Showcase on the Croisette.

The 2023 showcase features 38 short films and documentaries including 23 female-identifying directors and co-directors at the helm of 22 projects, 9 films focused on LGBTQ+ topics, and filmmakers of diverse backgrounds from the U.S. and around the globe, highlighting new voices in five categories – Student Short Films, Student Documentaries, Emerging Filmmaker Short Films, Emerging Filmmaker Documentaries, Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ Showcase Films, and an Alumni Showcase.

The films include films from Australia, Canada, Nigeria, and Sweden. There are 10 Documentaries (3 emerging; 4 student; 3 high school) and 9 Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ+ Showcase Films. There are 8 films from college students and 10 from high school students. Female directors are again well represented in this year’s showcase with more than half of the films directed or co-directed by women. Cast in this year’s Emerging Showcase films include Hans Obma (Cannes 2023 official selection “May December”), Britt Lower (“Severance”), Matthew Postlethwaite (“Peaky Blinders”), Dusan Brown (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and two-time Olympic medalist Danell Leyva (“Love, Victor”).

“As we celebrate the Emerging Film Showcase’s 15th year as a competition, we are proud to welcome 38 official selections, more than half of which were directed by women,” said Julie Sisk, Founder and Director of The American Pavilion. “Since its inception in 1997, this has evolved into a prestigious event for up-and-coming filmmakers such as Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”) who showed his USC student film in 2009, Manjari Makijany (“Skater Girl,” “Spin”) who screened two of her shorts with us, and Alex Camilleri (“Luzzu”) who won the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase student documentary award for his Vassar short film in 2010.

“We received record-breaking submissions from our alumni this year so we launched an alumni showcase to support them as they continue to grow in their careers,” says Monika Skerbelis, Director of the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. The Alumni Showcase received more than 35 submissions from alumni and 9 submissions from student program alumni.

Since 1989, The American Pavilion has offered unparalleled experiences in Cannes to film students and emerging filmmakers from around the world. AmPav’s Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, now in its 26th edition, provides an opportunity for young filmmakers to have their works seen by Cannes Festival and Film Market attendees.

All screenings with filmmakers in attendance will be followed by a live Q&A.

Emerging showcase winners will be chosen by a jury that includes agents, managers, producers, and industry members and will be announced at The American Pavilion during this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Prize packages are sponsored by: Final Draft, Write Brothers Movie Magic Screenwriter, International Documentary Association, Screening Services Group, Simple DCP, Michael Wiese Productions Books, and ESE Film Workshops Online.

The full list of 2023 Finalist projects is available below. For a comprehensive list of all films screening with trailers this year please visit
2023, 14:51 min., USA, Drama
Writer/Director: Dusan Brown
Producer: James Kexian Lee, Joyce Kelly-Brown
Cast: Dusan Brown, Daniel Chernish, Rolando Boyce, Staci Ashley and Dante Brown

When an enterprising teen is left with a $130,000 debt by his unscrupulous, late father, he must play poker to either make the money back and save what’s left of his family… or die trying.

2022, 8:48 min., USA, Animation/Documentary
Writer/Director: Jaime Sunwoo
Producer: Alex Griffin, Jessica Simon, Jaime Sunwoo
Cast: Jaime Sunwoo

After discovering old diaries and notebooks, artist Jaime Sunwoo examines her shapeshifting penmanship and wonders why she’s never had a consistent style. Through playful paper puppetry and animation, she reflects on what handwriting means to her personally, its significance throughout history, and its relevance in our computerized world.

2022, 10:11 min., USA, Thriller
Writer/Director: Zoey Martinson
Producer: 20th Digital, Korey Jackson, Anne Troupe
Cast: Marchant Davis, David Costabile

Evan is on house arrest in a haunted house. Or so he thinks?

2022, 7:30 min., USA, Comedy
Writer/Director: Julie Sharbutt
Producer: Whitney Wolanin
Cast: Julie Sharbutt, Jackie Welch

When a phone scammer makes one last late night call, the woman on the other end gives her much more than she bargained for.

2023, 24:10 min., USA, Documentary
Director: Nicholas Markart
Producer: Steve Hilfiker
Cast: Rhonda McCullough, Bernie Mac, Papa Yaw Annan Addo-Boateng, Marilyn Aponsah Annan, Stefan Brixner, Andrea Budde, Chasta Posey,

Dr. Bettina Heidecker, Dr. Nadera Sweiss Bernie Mac’s widow, Rhonda, takes us on a deeply personal journey through the life and legacy of the beloved comedian and the impact that sarcoidosis had on his rise to fame. Patients from the USA, Germany and Ghana describe their fight.
2022, 12:50 min., USA, Coming-of-Age/Dramedy
Writer/Director: Kameishia D. Wooten
Producer: Janae Greene, Meagann Pallares, Victoria Brown
Cast: Marajanai Kirby, Nandi Chapman, Maxcianna Saintilus, Keith Arthur Bolden

Three very different friends find renewed connection as they await pregnancy results at their Los Angeles High School.

2022, 19:35 min., USA, Drama
Director: Shicong Zhu
Writer: Ella Rouwen Chen
Producer: Ella Rouwen Chen, Brielle Yuke Li
Cast: Ella Rouwen Chen, Rod Menzies, Jocelyn Liu, Claire Liu, Cooper Reynolds

A Chinese theater student in America risks losing her first role due to her accent. Determined to succeed, she vows to eliminate it at any cost.

2022, 18:56 min., Nigeria, Drama
Producer/Writer/Director: Goga Clay
Cast: Tope Tedela, Elma Mbadiwe

Ibinabo, a young husband and father-to-be, lives an unremarkable but exemplary life. He strives to prove himself to his boss, but gets caught up in the horrors of the October 2020 protests against police brutality.

2022, 10:47 min., Canada, Drama
Writer/Director: Nathalie Therriault
Producer: Nneka Kidada Croal, Fabian Aspell Morales, Nathalie Therriault
Cast: Ashley Cartwright, Hanna Moon

Two seven-year-olds negotiate their after school life without adult supervision which slowly chips away at their innocence.

2022, 16:15 min., USA, Drama
Writer/Director: Anne Hu
Producer: Anne Hu, Gilana Lobel, Oliver Brooks, Rachel Liu, Chenney Chen, Gabriella Murillo Cast: Anne Hu, Dawn Ying Yuen, Elizabeth Gao, Audrey Liao

When a Taiwanese American woman prepares lunches from her childhood, she struggles to forgive herself for pushing away her immigrant mother.

2023, 18:40 min., USA, Drama Director: Thommy Kane, Bojan Vanovac
Writer: Thommy Kane
Cast: Jacob Moran, Laura Whiteley, David Afflick, Joe Vingi, Courtney Rush, Denise Monteiro

Young Tristan (Jacob Moran) desperately needs new shoes, but his mother struggles between feeding her drug addiction and providing for her child.

2022, 9:20 min., Sweden, Coming-of-Age/Drama
Director: Christian Zetterberg
Writer: Christian Zetterberg, Albin Abrahamsson
Producer: Liselotte Persson
Cast: David Ramirez Knezevic, Lucas Andreasson

After a heated training match with the team, twelve-year-old Viggo and Noel go home to challenge each other’s limits and masculinity. A sudden stop to an innocent game questions what a male friendship is allowed to be.
2022, 8:05 min., USA, Documentary, Florida State University
Producer/Director: Thomas Edward Hindy
Cast: Eden Schroeder

An ambitious college student, EDEN SCHROEDER, is paralyzed from the chest down in a swimming accident and learns to live with her disability.

2021, 11 min., USA, Documentary, Low Key Arts
Writer/Director: Gabriel Henk
Producer: Low Key Arts
Cast: Stanley Ray Stevenson

Antique store owner, Stanley Ray Stevenson, has a collection that would rival many museums,but many of his objects paint a complex portrait of American History from the civil war to the present.

2022, 24:55 min., USA, Documentary, University of Southern California
Director: Josh Greene
Producer: Aslan Dalgic, Ela Passarelli

What happens when your passion conflicts with your heritage? A Jewish surfer confronts the dark, antisemitic history of the sport he once loved.
2022, 15 min., USA, (Subtitles), Drama, Santa Monica College
Writer/Director: Alci Rengifo
Producer: José Gutiérrez, Katia Arami
Executive Producer: Salvador Carrasco
Cast: Shahrooz Mahmoodi, Afshin Katanchi, Zina Torab, Wayne Hodges, Rana Ghiassi, Nakta Pahlevan, Ali Azizian

Iran in 1971. Two young students from opposite ends of society meet by the sea in a time where revolution hangs in the air. Bijan, the son of aristocrats close to the regime of the Shah, prepares to leave for college and feels the pressures of a future already decided by his powerful father. He meets Layla, a girl from the wrong side of Tehran, who forces him to question everything. Their bond will challenge class and social divisions in a world soon to disappear.

2023, 18.06 min., USA, Drama/Social Justice, University of Southern California
Writer/Director: Jacqueline Elyse Rosenthal
Producer: Robin Wang, Marian Cook, Josh Powell
Cast: Jill Renner, Bailey Humiston, Bradley Layne Beachum, Avis Murphy, Gary Daniel Mosher, Ivan Ellis, Natalie D. Woodard,

Madeline Rae Heyman, Beth Fraser
The true story of a young collegiate woman who tried to find justice for three years for her shelved rape kit—only to become the key witness in the Senate hearing to end the rape kit backlog. Can she trust the system that betrayed her?

2021, 15:20 min., USA, Subtitles, Drama, University California Los Angeles
Writer/Director: Zahida Pirani
Producer: Zahida Pirani, Mauricio Piratova, Ran Yan
Cast: Eli Zavala, Idalia Limón, Jose Febus, Eduardo Gonzales, Jayden Toledo,

Vanessa Ortiz Nelly lives alone with her elderly father. The only way she makes ends meet is by working as a street vendor from dawn to dusk. She has learned not to trust anyone until one day she is forced to take a leap of faith or be resigned in her position forever.

2023, 20 min., USA, Action/Fantasy, University of Southern California
Writer/Director: c. Craig
Producer: Mitchell Graham Colley, Anthony Gaitros, Letia Solomon, Alexa Villarreal, Brandyn Johnson
Cast: Kapri Ladd, Tremari Limbrick, Tika Sumpter, Notlim Taylor
hen one of the last free children of Junkyard Paradise has her brother stolen away from her, no Ragamuffin army or vicious beasts will stop her from getting him back.
2022, 15 min., USA, Documentary/LGBTQ+, Chapman University
Producer/Director: Isabella Miller, Gabe Braden
Cast: Ambrosia Starling

An activist drag queen in rural Alabama is forced to keep her identity secret as she fights for human rights in a race against the systematic erasure of her own history.

2023, 14:50 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ+
Writer/Director: Logan Vaughn
Producer: Laurie Bernhard, Ria Pavia, Mayon Denton, Robert Arnold
Cast: Phillip James Brannon, Calvin Leon Smith

A man, unsettled by his imminent life-changing decision, suspects his terrifying dream and his husband’s daunting parallel encounter might be a signal from God to cancel a long awaited arrival.

2021, 4:36 min., Australia, Documentary/LGBTQ+
Producer/Director: Nicole Sullivan
Cast: Jazmin Theodora

Jazmin is a positive person, a psychic and tarot card reader. All her life she has tried to stay true to herself, paying no mind to those who wanted to tear her down. At 83, she plays an active part in her community, and her psychic abilities attract people from all around Australia.

2022, 8:41 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ+
Director: Andy Vallentine
Writer: Andy Vallentine, Danny Vallentine
Mike Diaz, Cameron Hutchison, Siddharth Ganji, Garrett Clayton, Matthew Postlethwaite
Cast: Matthew Postlethwaite, Garrett Clayton

Based on the largest collection of queer love letters from WWII, The Letter Men is a window into the untold true story of two gay men desperately in love but torn apart by war.

2023, 7:48 min., USA, Comedy/LGBTQ+
Director: Andrea Maxwell
Writer: Tammy Lynne Stoner, Andrea Maxwell
Theresa Gallagher, Diana C. Zollicoffer, Andrea Maxwell
Executive Producer: Greg Tally, Tammy Lynn Stoner
Cast: Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Sheri Mann Stewart, Puppett, Phylliss Bailey Brooks

No amount of sweet tea and vodka will ease the tension when Nana Dara makes the big announcement to her step-children: the flamboyant, Bible thumping Miss Debbie and her “sister who’s a mister”, Edna (“Eddie”).

2022, 24:50 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ+
Director: Erin Brown Thomas
Writer: Hans Obma
Producer: Elle Shaw
Post Producer: Gabrielle Fernandez
Cast: Hans Obma, Dexter Farren Haag, Zina Badran, Marco Da Silva, Kojo Attah, Caleb Conner, Yessica Sanchez Thurnherr, Roshni Rathore, Lex Quarterman, Trev Fleming

From the cliffs of Wales, to the basement of MI6, to a Wisconsin farmhouse, “A Question of Service” follows Joseph, an MI6 interpreter…who may or may not be a Russian spy.

2023, 8:21 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ+, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Shawn Ryan, Hannah Madgett, Hannah Baer
Writer: Shawn Ryan, Hannah Madgett, Diana Glogau
Producer: Shawn Ryan, Valerie Dohrer, John Ainsworth
Cast: Brooke Sanders, Claire Marquette, Ethan Politzer, August Petersen, Mackenzie Brown, Judge Cantrell

When Hailey and Jordan’s friends push them into a game of spin the bottle, they have no idea that their worlds are about to turn upside down. What is said to be a pivotal moment in each teenager’s life turns into a momentous occasion for these two lovebirds. Your whole life can change in just seven short minutes.

2021, 17:41 min., USA, Drama/LGBTQ+
Writer/Director: Meghan Lennox
Producer: Meghan Lennox, Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio
Executive Producer: Christian Papierniak
Cast: Britt Lower, Clara McGregor

Kate, a painter who hasn’t created new work in years, finds inspiration when she happens upon an adult ballet class and quickly becomes infatuated with her teacher, Laura. As their lives intertwine, Kate is shocked to discover a side of Laura she struggles to embrace.

2021, 23:53 min. USA, Drama/LGBTQ+
Writer/Director: Astor Kim-Stark
Producers: Mona Xia, Sage Sokol-Lanting, Damon Laguna
Cast: Danell Leyva, Kyler O’Neal, Ashton Grooms, Raven Miles
A stealth trans woman has a run-in with the Unicorn Gang.
2022, 8:10 min., USA, Drama, Saint Ann’s School
Producer/Writer/Director: Eli Berliner
Cast: John Gialitis, Sam Lazzara, Abigail Gampell

A young pianist makes a startling discovery while painting that changes his relationship to music forever.

2022, 8:59 min., USA/UK, Documentary, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
Producer/Director: Charlotte Quintanar
Cast: Paula Carnell, Nick Tew, Amanda Mahaffey

Leading bee experts explain the causes for declining bee populations around the world and offer approachable solutions individuals can take to support their local pollinators.

2022, 4:48 min., USA, Documentary, John Marshall High School
Producer/Director: Kyle Ward
Cast: Brandon Masi, Erica Masi, Meredith Masi, Barbara Hees Masi, Christopher Masi, Walter Randig

In Pflugerville, Texas, a community is faced with the challenge of unprecedented devolvement. As housing developers and commercial companies start to inch closer and closer to the farmland, the farmers are forced to wonder how long it will be until their way of life will disappear. Most of the farmers are left with land that has been used for farming over multiple generations. To them, the thought that a housing community would be built on the land they have farmed makes them despondent. Once the land is built on, there is no getting it back. It is gone forever.

2023, 10:12 min., USA, Comedy/Drama, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Writer/Director: Elizabeth Popov
Producer: Shawn Ryan, Valerie Dohrer, John Ainsworth
Cast: Chase Nakayama, Myari Adams, Chris Phalen, Hannah Ballew, Leo Dibbelt, Laurel Ames Max is nervous for his big date with

Aimee… but what could go wrong? Uncontrollable hiccups, that’s what! While the evil Lord Hiccup torments the poor boy, Max’s friends try ever increasingly drastic measures to cure him!

2023, 12:48 min., USA, Coming-of-age/Comedy/LGBTQ+, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Suzan Jones, Spencer Davis
Writer: Jacob Manning
Producer: Shawn Ryan, Valerie Dohrer, John Ainsworth
Cast: Sam Shenkman, Jazzy Liston, Mason Bradshaw, Kaleah Taylor, Jacquelyn Packard, Riley Brown, Spencer Davis

A gender non-conforming camper struggles to balance the conflicting advice of their ID and Super Ego in order to face their greatest fear… asking their crush to the dance.

2022, 6:30 min., USA, Animation, Orange County School of Arts
Producer/Director: David Du

A mayfly is an insect that only lives for one day. This film revolves around a curious little mayfly and his adventure through life. It’s a deep take on the meaning of life and finding purpose, told in a sweet and simple story.

2023, 11:46 min., USA, Comedy/Drama, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Maxim Bouffard, Frances Capel
Writer: Frances Capel
Producer: Shawn Ryan, Valerie Dohrer, John Ainsworth
Cast: Sofia Alverde, Sydney Alvelda, Natalia Cruciani, Madden Wincentsen, Chase Nakayama, Amelie Pan

A coven of witches run an operation at their school turning spells for quick cash.

2022, 9:55 min., USA/Korea, Animation/Documentary, Harvard-Westlake
Writer/Director: Ian Kim
Producer: Harry Kim, Kay Park, Sophie Kim
Original Score: Abe Effress
Cast: Yong-soo Lee

An animated documentary about the life story of Lee Yong-soo, one of 11 remaining known survivors in Korea of the Japanese WWII-era Comfort Women system of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

2023, 8:40 min., USA, Drama, Young Actors’ Theatre Camp
Director: Max Coddington, Jai Kamra
Writer: Nathan Adloff
Producer: Shawn Ryan, Valerie Dohrer, John Ainsworth
Cast: Jude Biggers, Teagan Nichols-Marcy, Dylan Arie, Sylvia Imbens, Lee Cummings, Caitlyn Gorman

A camp is in lockdown after a dead body is discovered and Nicholas cannot seem to find his younger brother. Five best friends start a journey into the woods to solve the case.

2022, 11:15 min., USA, Drama, Orange County School of the Arts
Writer/Director: Carrington Holritz
Producer: Melissa Holritz
Cast: John Kerry, Alan Maxson, Naiia Lajoie
An ornithologist loses his lifelong research to a strange and unusual bird. As he seeks to identify its obscure species and origin, the line between nature and nurture becomes hazy.


The American Pavilion, celebrating its 35th year as the epicenter of American hospitality
and communication at the Cannes International Film Festival, brings together both professional and emerging filmmakers along with industry executives from across the
globe. A much sought-after destination for information, orientation, and recreation, it accommodates the needs of its members, guests and sponsors in a dynamic business environment. With its impressive array of amenities and services, AmPav provides an opportunity to relax in very comfortable surroundings.

The American Pavilion boasts the In Conversation and Industry in Focus both which take place in the Roger Ebert Conference Center, which offer insightful and provocative panel discussions and in-conversations with filmmakers, talent and top leaders; a restaurant and bar that provide fast service with a smile throughout the day and is open to all festival badge holders after 6:00pm most evenings; a coffee bar; free WiFi and charging stations; a media terrace with a panoramic view of the Riviera; the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase; the Culinary Program featuring chefs from across the US and Canada; The American Pavilion Worldwide Student Program; and public and private rental for parties and receptions.

For more information, visit
Twitter: @AmPav
Instagram: @The_American_Pavilion


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