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The Lake County Film Festival

November 3-16, 2020

Lake County, IL

While the global pandemic means that we have to take the majority of the 10th Lake County Film Festival online, we still have the same amazing programming, and with our live Q&A's with filmmakers, and 24/7 chatroom, we've tried to maintain the same festivalness that makes in-person film festivals so exciting. During the festival, join a live chat on the films here.

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Festival Program

Bleeding Audio
91 min Documentary Directed by Chelsea Christer

After building a tight-knit music community in the Bay Area, The Matches broke out and became an internationally touring act and grew a thriving cult fanbase worldwide.

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

80 min Drama Directed by Ivan Bordas

Cabarete follows the story of Somalia, a good-hearted teenage kitesurfer from the Dominican Republic is training for an upcoming tournament in Cabarete. Once in Cabarete, the town’s hedonistic nightlife quickly catches Somalia’s attention.

Death of a Rockstar
92 min Animation, Sci Fi & Fantasy Directed by Röckët Stähr

2164: When rock n roll is banned, a group of rebels, lead by a mad scientist, attempt to start a non-violent revolution by waking up the docile masses via a cloned rockstar sent on a guerrilla tour to "rock n roll them free from their misery".

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

Feelings To Tell
94 min Drama Directed by Wen Li

After falling into sleep, Jiang, a young painter, finds himself in a Taogu village where he meets a mute girl, Jiu'er and her foster father Old Bai who believed firmly in ancient Xiangchu gods. As an observer and participant of the dream, the veneration they showed to the gods deeply touched Jiang.

Insert Coin
101 min Documentary Directed by Josh Tsui

This is the amazing behind-the-scenes story of one of the greatest video game studios of all time – Midway Games. The company pioneered the concept of live action gaming, with massive hits like Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam. | Preceded by Tutorial? > SKIP

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

John Wayne Gacy: Defending A Monster
89 min Documentary, Crime Directed by Marc Menet + Scott Prestin

The true story of the lawyer who defending one of the most evil serial killers in history. 

Love Is Not Love
94 min Romance, Drama Directed by Stephen Keep Mills

Early December, New York City, and everyone is in the hunt for love. Why? Because they haven’t found it and because they haven’t found it, they make it into a myth and chase the myth instead.

Molto Bella
91 min Drama, Comedy Directed by Alexander Jeffery

In the Sicilian town of Taormina, an aspiring poet in search of inspiration meets a folk singer trying to write a follow up to her breakout hit. Their chemistry sparks collaboration, challenging each other to express their thorniest secrets, growing closer all the while.

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

94 min Drama, Comedy Directed by Jack C. Newell

A grieving widower travels cross-country in a stolen pick-up truck, determined to scatter his wife's ashes in Chicago.

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

79 min Documentary Directed by Sarah Moshman

In a post #MeToo world, Nevertheless looks at the ways in which we can shift our culture and rebuild through the lens of 7 individual people's stories of harassment and assault in the workplace or school context.

Picture Character
80 min Documentary Directed by Ian Cheney + Martha Shane

Picture Character explores the complex, conflict-prone, and often hilarious world of the creators, lovers, and arbiters of emoji, our world’s newest pictorial language. | Preceded by All The Possibilities...

Queen Of Lapa
73 min Documentary, LGBTQ Directed by Theodore Collatos + Carolina Monnerat

Larger-than-life actress, cabaret performer, activist, and proud sex professional, Luana Muniz - arguably one of Brazil’s most recognizable transgender personalities, shapes a new reality for a new generation of transgender sex workers in her hostel. | Preceded by A Normal Girl & Graceland

86 min Thriller Directed by Kd Amond

Upon her mother's death, a young woman is reunited with her estranged, mentally ill sister and forced to re-visit her family's murderous past. | Preceded by Sound & Together Til The End

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

Seasons Of Change On Henry's Farm
83 min Documentary Directed by Ines Sommer

Set on an idyllic family farm in Central Illinois, this timely documentary follows organic farmer Henry Brockman as he grapples with the future of farming on personal, generational and global levels. | Preceded by The Bee Keepers

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage
100 min Drama, Romance Directed by Chris Hansen

A tempestuous romantic drama in seven vignettes that chronicles an interracial marriage, telling a story of turmoil and tenderness as two people try to make their relationship last. | Preceded by Prologue

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.

Stories I Didn't Know
74 min Documentary Directed by Melody Gilbert

A search for her Irish ancestors leads a woman down an unexpected path to a family secret about a sacred piece of land. | Preceded by Reparations

The Blackout
77 min Comedy, Drama Directed by Danila De Carlo

As hurricane Sandy descends upon New York, leaving destruction in her wake and plunging the city into darkness, a group of friends and neighbors come together and discover the joys, heartaches, and pleasures of human connection.

The Palindromists
91 min Documentary Directed by Vince Clemente

The Palindromists is a documentary delving into the history of palindromes while following the world's greatest palindromists as they prepare for the World Palindrome Championship.

Through The Cracks
93 min Documentary Directed by Ben Scholle

One juror called it “the worst possible crime.” Does the worst possible crime warrant the worst possible punishment?

Una Great Movie
96 min Comedy, Drama Directed by Jennifer Sharp

As a screenwriter takes notes from Hollywood executives, her beautiful diverse movie about a black woman traveling to Mexico, slowly becomes a romantic comedy with an all-white cast. | Preceded by Call Center Blues

We Don't Deserve Dogs
84 min Documentary Directed by Matthew Salleh

A contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives. People need dogs, and perhaps they need us, but what do humans do to deserve the unconditional love they provide? | Preceded by American Ocelot

Available to view in Illinois and Wisconsin only.


Where She Lies
100 min Documentary, Thriller Directed by Zach Marion

A deathbed confession ignites a mother's search for her baby believed to have been stolen at birth.

Woman Of The Photographs
89 min Drama, Romance Directed by Takeshi KUSHIDA

A misogynic photographer discovers for the first time in his life the joys of loving a woman, this one confused about her self-identity and self-esteem, by helping her in her perceptions of herself with his photographic retouching skills.

51 min

One of the few good things to come out of 2020 is that the Black Lives Matter movement has reached majority support in the United States. These shorts cover the breadth of what the movement is about, from the final words of those lost, to the protests in the streets, to where people stand (or don’t) on the National Anthem.

Action! Shorts
44 min

This collection of exciting short films is bookended by two fun and lively action films in the spirit of Edgar Wright & Luc Besson. At the center is a thrilling and tense film about a hunted woman.

Always Punch Nazis
47 min

In this collection of short films, Nazis get what they deserve.

Death & Life
46 min

Death & Life pairs a short documentary about a funeral director creating a new natural burial ground in Tennessee with a fun narrative short about a support group for people who have accidentally been declared dead.

Escape Plans
48 min

What do you do when you are in a war zone and have a child in your care? Make Escape Plans. Alina, starring Alia Shawkat from Arrested Development, is about women smuggling a three-month old baby out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Variables is about a teenage mathlete escaping the Bosnian War.

41 min

A collection of experimental short films.

Guns, Guns, Guns
42 min

All of these films are about gun violence.

Local Shorts
41 min

A collection of films created in the Chicagoland area.

Losing My Religion
42 min

Three tales of religious people who begin to doubt their roles within their respective faiths.

Modern Romance
39 min

Craiglist, ghosting, sex robots, and more. The future is here, and the future is weird.

Music Shorts
44 min

A collection of dramas, a documentary, a comedy, and a music video, all revolving around the magic of music.

45 min

Some festivals call it The Late Shift, Midnight Madness, or the Graveyard Shit, but the ideas are all the same: short films that are so shocking they need a warning label attached. While I’ve never programmed one before, I have gleefully put this collection together for you, and I knew I was on the right track when two of them bothered me so much I didn’t even want to read their descriptions again.

Queer Shorts
44 min

This program has the L, the G, and the B.

Science Fiction Shorts
51 min

Science Fiction Triple Feature.

Shorts With Kids
49 min

Historically, it’s been hard to find enough independent short films aimed at younger audiences to program an entire shorts block. This year was no different. I was, however, able to program a collection of films with children in them.

27 min

These shorts are all about the magic of photography.

The Fourth Wall
48 min

Shakespeare, The Marx Brothers, Ferris Bueller, Deadpool, Airplane!, The Muppets, Monty Python, Goodfellas, Do The Right Thing, and many, many more films have used the device known as breaking the fourth wall to pull the audience into the fictional world they’ve created. These films all relate to breaking down this barrier in one way or another.

The Souls Of Black Folk
48 min

Here is a collection of shorts that highlights the humanity and trials of Black Folks. Each film in its unique way examines the human experience, holding stereotypes up to close scrutiny and dispelling them at the same time.

This Woman's Work
50 min

A collection of shorts about women in the workplace.

53 min

Before the global pandemic, in the halcyon days of 2019, one country was spoken about more than any other: Ukraine. But as typical Americans, how much do we know about the Ukraine? I found these snapshots to hold subtle, but important insights into what makes Ukraine what it is today.

We Love Short Shorts
44 min

Historically, this program was always our best attended. Offset from the serious dramas, and 20-minute epic short films, these programs were filled (sometimes with as many as 20 short films) with short, snappy films of all types, some as short as a minute. Today, most of those films move straight onto YouTube (or even TikTok), so our average length is longer, but this program remains a home for fun and silly short films.



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