IF/Then Shorts announces finalists for inaugural North Shorts program

IF/Then Shorts announces finalists for inaugural North Shorts program

IF/Then Shorts has announced the finalists for the inaugural North Shorts Program, a fellowship and fund in partnership with Points North Institute, LEF Foundation, and ScreeningRoom.


Program applications called for diverse stories and storytellers from the American Northeast and Puerto Rico exploring a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics rooted in the region.


Six teams, selected by an external jury, will each receive a $5,000 post-production grant and participate in a month-long online editing lab, working to fine-tune their rough cuts with mentors Elizabeth Lo (StrayHotel 22), Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Thank You For Playing), Donald Mosher and Mike Palmieri (Gospel of EurekaPeace in the Valley). After the lab, the films will be shown at an invitation-only work-in-progress showcase as a part of the 2020 Camden International Film Festival (Maine, US). Following the lab and festival, filmmakers will receive two months of distribution consultation from IF/Then Shorts to help get their film out into the world. (See details of the finalists’ projects below)


“I’m incredibly impressed by the slate of films that are being supported through this first year of North Shorts,” says IF/Then Director Chloe Gbai. “It’s a testament to the tenacity of these filmmakers, who are working through unprecedented times to tell stories that challenge the status quo and uplift communities. The short-form landscape is ripe for imaginative and genre-defying work, and these projects are leading the charge.”


“At Points North Institute and CIFF, we’re big believers in the power of short-form documentary,” said Program Director Sean Flynn. “We’re honored to collaborate with IF/Then Shorts, ScreeningRoom and LEF Foundation to provide resources that these artists need to advance their work in a challenging year.”


Formerly part of Tribeca Film institute, If/Then Shorts joined Field of Vision in July 2020. Charlotte Cook Field of Vision Co-Founder and Executive Producer said at the time, “The program’s values align perfectly with Field of Vision, and further our overall commitment to shorts and advocating for filmmakers.” Field of Vision operates as part of First Look Media Works, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and has an ongoing commitment supporting innovation and inclusion: 54% of Field of Vision-supported films have been directed by women and 43% by filmmakers of color.


Finalists’ projects:


Expanding Sanctuary

Expanding Sanctuary (26 minutes) follows Linda Hernandez during the emotionally taxing but historic campaign to end the sharing of the Philadelphia police database with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The city’s agreement with ICE has led to a rise in detainments and deportations. Immigrant mother Linda must now transform into a community leader to protect her family. The film follows Linda and her daughter Ashley as well as Juntos organizers Olivia, Marisa, and Miguel. The film outlines the full span of the campaign from community meetings, social media archives, protests, and the last press conference officially ending the agreement.

Directed and Edited by Kristal Sotomayor

Consulting Editor Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz Location of production: Pennsylvania


Flatbush! Flatbush!

A fleet of minibuses race up and down Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, providing commuters a familiar, if not occasionally harrowing, alternative to the subway for only $2 a ride.

Directed by Alex Mallis

Co-Edited by Alex Mallis and Travis Wood

Location of Production: New York



Queenie is a 73 year young black lesbian who has called the Marcy Projects home since 1988, but she’s ready to move to a building that better meets her mobility, safety, and social needs as an aging elder. She applies to Stonewall Residences, NYC’s first affordable housing for LGBT elders, hopeful that she’ll be able to live out her final days in a new place she can call home.

Directed by Cai Thomas 

Edited by Cesar Martinez

Location of production: New York


Nacio Simon

Nació Simón (“Simón was born”) seeks to get to know Lis and their drag, Simón. Lis is shown in their daily life: working, taking care of her kids as a young/queer/non-binary mother, surviving the colonial landscape of Puerto Rico, and how their identity clashes with the heteronormative society. The documentary explores the blurry lines between who is Lis and who is Simón – their differences and meeting points, delving into the construction or birth of Simón.

Directed by Pati Cruz

Post-Production and Distribution Producer: Samara Pérez Santiago

Location of production: Puerto Rico


Melting Snow

In 1952, the mayor of San Juan, Felisa Rincon de Gautier, partnered with the now defunct U.S. carrier Eastern Airlines to transport two tons of snow from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico. The snow was a gift to the island meant to enchant Puerto Rican children with a “white” American Christmas. The spectacle represented an unfair economic transaction: planes brought capitalist instant gratification in the form of snow, and returned to the U.S. filled with the Puerto Rican cheap labor that would populate el barrio. Puerto Rico’s colonial captivity is condensed in the “gift” of melting snow.

Directed by Janah Elise Cox

Produced by Allison Ferner and Sue Ariza 

Consulting Editor Carla Gutierrez

Location of production: Puerto Rico


Life Without Dreams

Life Without Dreams is set in the outer space of consciousness, where the surfaces of far out planetary bodies form the terrain for an exploration of 24/7 capitalism, insomnia, and the disappearance of darkness due to light pollution.

Directed by Jessica Bardsley

Location of Production: Massachusetts