FINE CUT Festival of Films

Eight acclaimed entertainment industry judges select Southern California student short film finalists for 20th Annual FINE CUT Festival of Films

KCET, a producer of award-winning and diverse original content for public media, announced today the eight industry judges, 14 short film finalists and the episodic lineup for the 20th annual FINE CUT Festival of Films, a collection of short films from Southern California student filmmakers aired as a television series for the twentieth season. Funding has been made possible for this season’s six episodes by The Bridges / Larson Foundation. A variety of prize packages valued between $2,500 and $10,000 will be awarded to the winners with one receiving the opportunity to be a part of the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker showcase at the Cannes International Film Festival in May of 2020 thanks to a partnership with The American Pavilion, the epicenter of American hospitality and communication at the world’s largest film market. All short films selected as finalists in the FINE CUT Festival of Films will be included in a series of half-hour broadcast episodes on KCET public television in Southern California that will air starting Wed., Oct. 2 at 9 p.m., with many films available for streaming at
Finalists and winners in each category were determined by an industry panel of eight esteemed experts that included film/TV producer Effie T. Brown (Dear White People, Project Greenlight), actress/writer /composer Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Homecoming, Without a Trace, Broadchurch), story artist Michael Herrera (Angry Birds the Movie, Wreck It Ralph 2), Chief Film Critic/KCET Must See Movies Host Pete Hammond, Variety Senior Editor/KCRW “Screengrab” Host Mike Schneider, International Documentary Association’s (IDA) Director of Programming and Policy Claire Aguilar, documentary filmmaker Kimmie Kim (Live from New York!, Songwriter) and animator/writer/producer Van Partible  (Pete the Cat, Johnny Bravo).
Over 400 films were submitted during May and June of this year by filmmakers enrolled in 42 Southern California schools (34 collegiate level and 8 grade schools). Finalists were chosen from the short films (25 minutes or under) submitted in the categories of Documentary, Animation and Narrative shorts. Winners in each of the three categories as well as one filmmaker who will be chosen as The Jack Larson Southern California Student Filmmaker Award​ (which recognizes one filmmaker’s strength as a storyteller) will be announced at a private awards ceremony and screening event on Thurs., Sept. 26.
Each of the three winning filmmakers will receive valuable prize packages, while The Jack Larson Southern California Student Filmmaker Award​ will receive a $2,000 travel stipend toward their airfare and accommodations in Cannes as well as a $10,000 Keslow Camera Package. Additional prize package items to be distributed among the winners in each category include two $2,500 Quixote rental packages, three EP Movie Magic Bundles, an International Documentary Association Master Class, ZBrushCore from Pixologic, a one-year license of Storyboard Pro from Toon Boom, Animation Total Textures bundle from 3dtotal, Final Draft 11 software and tickets to the 2020 Spring KCET Cinema Series.
All semi-finalists and finalists of the 20th Annual FINE CUT Festival of Films will be invited to a half-day workshop roundtable at CBS Studio Center, designed to provide tomorrow’s generation of filmmakers with opportunities to engage with various entertainment industry experts in the film, unscripted television, animation and documentary fields.
As a celebration of twenty years of FINE CUT, every Thursday beginning Sept. 5 a “Throwback Thursday” post on will highlight the films of notable winners from previous years.
The 2019 FINE CUT finalists and episodes will air as follows (*schedule subject to change):
Fight”- Weds., Oct. 2 on KCET at 9 p.m.
In “The Moon and The Night,” a film from Chapman University’s Erin Lau, a Native Hawaiian teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dog fight.  Followed by “Prey,” an animated film from Cal State LA’s Jing Sun depicting the natural cycle of human society.
Play”- Weds., Oct. 9 on KCET at 9 p.m.
In the wake of NFL superstar Junior Seau’s suicide, coaches and families tackle the dangers and rewards of playing youth football in “Delay of Game,” a documentary from USC’s Shaun Dikilato.  Then, “888 Tours,” an animated short from CalArts’ Jennifer Nie that follows a tour guide’s quest to stay on schedule.
Come Alive”- Weds., Oct. 16 on KCET at 9 p.m.
In “Teddy Mate,” a film from USC’s Rommel Villa, children bond with magical teddy bears that eventually transform into their perfect human life partner.  When one teddy changes unexpectedly, a strong-willed young woman must face her uncertain future. Then, award-winning documentarian and American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase filmmaker Megan Rossman, explores the Lesbian Herstory Archives in “Love Letter Rescue Squad.” Finally, in “Gallery Experience,” an animated film from USC’s Jinghan Tian, a young girl has a magical experience visiting a gallery for the first time.
Separated”- Weds., Oct. 23 on KCET at 9 p.m.
In “Lalo’s House,” a film from USC’s Kelley Kali starring Garcelle Beauvais, two young sisters must escape a child sex trafficking ring after being taken from their home in Jacmel, Haiti. Followed by “Starlight,” an animated film from CalArts’ Robyn Romain that explores long distance love.
Save Me!”- Weds., Oct. 30 on KCET at 9 p.m.
When a pair of mismatched U.S. Marshals are sent to the Kansas frontier all the evidence points to something dark and sinister waiting for them in “Bleeding, Kansas,” a thriller from UCLA’s Daniel Lafrentz.  Followed by “Assembly Required,” a film from Chapman University’s Christian Whittemore about a woman literally falling apart. In the final short film, take a road trip with director Hau Nguyen and his Orange Coast College’s Food Riders as they try to eliminate campus waste.
You’re Crazy”- Weds., Nov. 6 on KCET at 9 p.m.
“Divided,” a film from Chapman University’s Brynne McKee, Jackie Palacios, Benjamin Allen, and Jack Mullinkosson, is a comedic and pointed look at the post-2016 American political divide. Followed by “Shoot the Moon,” an animated film from UCLA’s William Rowe about two ambitious cats attempting to reach the moon from inside a cardboard box.
The festival is a tribute to FINE CUT founder Jack Larson who was an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer who may be best known for his portrayal of photographer/reporter Jimmy Olsen in the 1952-1958 television series “Adventures of Superman.” In the late 1990s Larson approached Southern California’s KCET with the idea of creating a student film series that would provide talented students with the much-needed opportunity to have their short films selected for television broadcast. Larson understood how difficult it was for young filmmakers to get broad exposure for their work because, typically, student work is only seen at special screenings and film festivals. Larson thought that public television was an excellent platform for providing critical visibility to emerging filmmakers. KCET shared Larson’s enthusiasm and together they created FINE CUT, which continues to be a flagship program for KCET today.
Funding for FINE CUT is generously provided by The Bridges/Larson Foundation
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This article was released by KCET.