The Sundance Film Festival has selected 15 animated shorts for competition at the 2019 edition of the festival, set to take place January 24 through February 3, 2019 in Park City, Utah.

Animation sadly has a limited presence at the well known U.S. film festival, which did not select a single animated feature this year among its 112 announced full-length films. Despite the festival’s mission statement to showcase “bold independent storytelling regardless of form, format or length,” Sundance has historically exhibited a prejudice to animated filmmaking, and typically relegates animation to its shorts and vr categories, and an occasional feature in its kids section.

Among this year’s animated short selections, we’re delighted to note that two of the filmmakers have premiered earlier films online with Cartoon Brew: Under Covers (pictured at top) is directed by Michaela Olsen, whose student film Fuzzy Insides appeared in our Student Fest back in 2010, and Octane is by Jeron Braxton, whose film Glucose premiered online last year as part of CB Fest. In January of this year, Glucose also won the Short Film Jury Award for Animation at Sundance.

In addition to the shorts in its animation category, the festival will also offer the world premiere of the mixed-media project Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared in its short-form Indie Episodic category. This is the pilot for the previously announced Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared series. The future of the project became cloudier after AT&T announced it would shut down Super Deluxe, but we’re betting that its creators — Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling — won’t have much trouble landing another broadcaster for the series.

Here are the shorts competing in the animation category. We’ve also embedded trailers (or the entire short) for the films which have made them available online:

Acid Rain

(Director and screenwriter: Tomek Popakul — Poland) — After running away from her depressing village in eastern Europe, a teenage girl meets a new friend under a bridge. International Premiere

Albatross Soup

(Director and screenwriter: Winnie Cheung — USA) — A dizzying descent into deductive reasoning based on an entertaining yet disturbing lateral thinking puzzle.


(Director: Nikki Schuster — Austria, Germany, Mexico) — An expedition into rotting animal carcasses and rampant spider webs, accompanied by a gloomy drone like a swarm of hungry flies. Foraging around the borderlands of the horror genre in a kaleidoscope of ecology in all its horrifying beauty. North American Premiere

The Call

(Director and screenwriter: Anca Damian — Romania, France) — A phone call, a bathroom and a woman are at the intersection of the world. U.S. Premiere


(Director and screenwriter: David Nessl — USA) — My dog has dreams and he tells me about them. I made a movie about those dreams. This is that movie. U.S. Premiere

Count Your Curses

(Director and screenwriter: Lorène Yavo — Belgium) — In a town where supernatural beings are part of everyday life, two roommates had their house spirit devoured overnight, again. They go on their way to find a replacement spirit and a solution to their pest problem.


(Directors and screenwriters: Marc Torices, Pau Anglada, Genis Rigol — Spain) — Two men accidentally exchange briefcases. One contains a videotape that will lead the new owner to embark on an unexpected journey to figure out what is in it.


(Director and screenwriter: Aggie Pak Yee Lee — Estonia, Hong Kong) — In an art museum, we learn — from outer to inner, from deep to its deepest, seriously and sincerely.


(Directors: André Hörmann, Anna Samo, Screenwriter: André Hörmann — Germany) — During the festival of Obon, one of the last survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima receives the spirits of her parents, and is haunted by memories.


(Director and screenwriter: Jeron Braxton — USA) — A man’s street race through hell and back parallels the Black experience in America.

The Phantom 52

(Director and screenwriter: Geoff Marslett — USA) — Loneliness: a trucker who calls out on his CB radio waiting for a reply that never comes. A ghost that haunts the deserted highways. A whale that sings at a frequency no other whale can even hear. World Premiere


(Director and screenwriter: Renee Zhan — USA, Japan) — Three Renees go on a quest to find God, who is also Renee. As they traverse the mountains and valleys of Renee, they discover all the great joys, sorrows, and mysteries of being Renee. U.S. Premiere


(Director and screenwriter: Siqi Song — USA, China) — A man thinks back to his childhood memories of growing up with an annoying little sister in China in the 1990s. What would his life have been like if things had gone differently?

Under Covers

(Director and screenwriter: Michaela Olsen — USA) — On the night of a lunar eclipse, we uncover the sweet, salacious, and spooky secrets of a small town. From a pigtailed psychopath to naughty nuns, this stop-motion animated film conjures a comforting thought: that weird is relative. World Premiere


(Directors: Ana Nedeljkovic, Nikola Majdak, Screenwriter: Ana Nedeljkovic — Serbia, Slovakia) — A girl lives in an isolated country, enclosed by a huge wall. She has never traveled anywhere, but all her life she has dreamed of leaving forever for a perfect world called Abroad.

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