Short Film: PETITION FOR ALIEN SPOUSE, 10min., USA, Drama

It’s the year 2044. Humanity now shares Earth with the Quortans, an alien species of intergalactic space travelers. Alex and Sonia are a loving human-Quortan couple. Their relationship is put to the test when they face a series of personal questions at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Alex and Sonia try to prove their relationship is real as the interview starts to spiral.

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Short Film: THE REBOUND, 10min., USA, Comedy

Allie wakes up in an unfamiliar bed the morning after a recent breakup.

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Director BIO: Minka Jakerson (EVA AND RAMONA)

DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY AND SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY
Minka Jakerson studied cinematography at The National Film School of Denmark and has since worked with moving images in various contexts and collaborations.
In 2012, she directed the short film THE YEARNING ROOM which premiered at the Gothenburg International Film Festival and competed at the Berlinale Generation Film Festival 2013.
Beside cinematography assignments Minka is currently developing her first feature film at Cinenic film. Her directorial work is mainly concerned with private and intimate stories set in a wider political context.

Director Statement

I was born in Sweden but my parents come from the Czech Republic. I have long wondered, how the division between East and West affected the individual’s most private sphere – our self-esteem. As a child, I started to sense and experience a value scale in which the ”East” was considered inferior to the ”West”. After persistent nagging on my part, we changed our family name from Jakersonova to Jakerson to erase my Eastern European background. Much like Eva in EVA AND RAMONA, I experienced a big status shift when I visited the Eastern block for the first time as a teenager. Suddenly I became someone and everyone was curious about me because I came from the West.
Ramona, in contrast, experienced a loss of status as the GDR was absorbed by West Germany.
Overnight she became an ”Ossie” – a second class citizen in her own country.
In EVA AND RAMONA I wanted to wok with an associative narrative. By weaving together documentary, fiction, archive and personal photographs the film work as a reflection on the status difference between East and West – but also on how authentic friendship
can restore our sense of self.

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Short Film: EVA AND RAMONA, 15min., Sweden, Romance

Eva and Ramona met in the summer of 1971 as ten-year-olds in the former GDR. They formed a lifelong friendship across the border between East and West. Later, their friendship was banned by Stasi. Despite their strong bond, there are unresolved issues between them. Eva decides to invite Ramona to Sweden to resolve the past. Through their friendship, our understanding of how the wall between East and West affected the individual’s self-esteem deepens.

Project Links

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Short Film: ONLY TEMPORARY, 7min., USA, Relationship

A couple try to figure out if their breakup is really temporary.

  • Trey Chadwick Director
  • J. W. Nicikowski Writer
  • Natalie Coccagno Producer
  • Camilla Graham Key Cast
  • Eric Rigby Key Cast
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Director BIO: Jackie Chang (MEET YOU THROUGH THE LIGHT)

Jackie Chang is an independent short film director on internet, now studying in Pittsburg State University from Kansas. Jackie’s filming style is usually dark, or dark humor, sometimes little romantic.
Award Record :
2019. The True Devil – Crimson Creative Award – Silver Award in video caetgory

2020. Drug Cop- KAB Student Broadcasting Award, Mention in Entertainment program

2020. Hunt In Lovely Afternoon – Oregon Short Film Festival , official selection

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Short Film: MEET YOU THROUGH THE LIGHT, 5min., Taiwan, Romance

Capture you, through the light and shadow.
A shy boy who is really into photography , met a mystery girl through his camera. The girl is also taking picture around the street. Is he going to step forward and talk to her ? Or keep hiding behind and watch her ?

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Director BIO: Mel Orpen (DON’T LET GO)

Mel Orpen is an award winning director and writer with her MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she was the recipient of the Mary Pickford Endowment and Barbara Corday Fund scholarships. 


At USC, Mel was selected to direct the Multi-Cam Sit Com Pilot, “Baking Bad,” the story of two estranged sisters who inherit their mother’s bakery and “USC Comedy LIVE,” USC’s live sketch comedy TV series (think SNL).



Mel has directed 17 short films, 3 of which are currently on the festival circuit and all have received multiple Best Short Film and other award nominations—including the comedy short, “Action Movie Trailer,” which has received two Best Short Film nominations.

Along with lighter fare, she’s focused on personal dramas about issues of injustice and social inequality. Mel wrote and directed the dramatic short “Don’t Let Go,” based on her experiences with LGBTQ bias surrounding the death of her fiancé. Currently nominated for 9 awards, including 3 Best Short Film awards. it will be making is North American premiere at the Idyllwild Festival of Cinema.



Her USC thesis film “Retribution,” inspired by her experience going through the U.S.’s very broken court system, has already won 2 Best Short Film awards and a Special Jury prize in addition to other nominations. “Retribution” was also awarded a Caucus for Writers Producers Directors Foundation and Annenberg Foundation Finishing Funds Grant.

Mel’s feature film script, “Typhoid Mary,” was shortlisted for the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Best Screenplay at USC. Her short script, “Your Teeming Shores,” was shortlisted for USC’s Advanced Narrative Production Workshop. And her TV pilot “The Naked Truth,” based on her unique childhood, has received network interest and she will be taking it out later this year.

As a child, Mel fell in love with the epic tales of King Arthur’s knights as they strove to make the world a better place. To her surprise, learned she could earn a degree from Princeton University studying English and Medieval Studies, where she was also an All-American Division I Varsity student-athlete. She started her career in genre publishing but fell in love with film and TV after crewing on an indie feature. She began writing, then relocated to Philadelphia, where she networked her way from film festivals to working on set.

Prior to USC, Mel worked as an Assistant Director for independent and union film and TV productions in Philadelphia and New York. There she worked with Oscar and Emmy Award winning producers, directors, and actors on films that appeared in the Sundance International Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival and Philly Qflix among others.

In preparation to direct, she studied acting, improv and sketch, became a company member in the Ward Studio Company International Residency, a Meisner Technique theater company; and main stage performer for the Philadelphia Improv Theater Company.

Mel produced and directed “It Gets Better—Philly’s Video,” the City of Philadelphia’s collaborative It Gets Better Project video featuring former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter—which was featured in the “One Day on Earth” global documentary feature film project.


After losing her fiancé and facing LGBTQ bias, Mel earned her Political Fellowship from the Center for Progressive Leadership, was selected for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s national Campaign and Candidate Training program, then helped elect Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state Representative. She also lead actions and campaigns in support of LGBTQ civil rights; was a Community Board Member for The Daily Intelligencer, her hometown newspaper; and volunteered on behalf of literacy, social justice, and reproductive rights.

Through these experiences Mel realized storytelling won campaigns and chose to become a filmmaker to tell transformative stories to address the issues that we face as a society by focusing on telling stories centered on complex women and diverse LGBTQ characters dealing with issues of social justice and equality.



Mel continued to serve her community at USC as the Graduate Council Production Division Representative (alternate), US Comedians Executive Board Member and Social Chair, as a member of the Queer Cuts LGBTQ film club and the Women of Cinematic Arts where she also serves as a mentor. She was inducted into USC’s Delta Alpha Pi academic honor society.

Mel is an active member of Women in Film and JHRTS.

She has also worked as the assistant to veteran director Andy Cadiff.

Mel has shadowed Jonathan Frakes on The Orville; Alex Rudzinski on A Christmas Story LIVE musical; Beth McCarthy-Miller on The Greatest Showman live musical commercial; Jon Rosenbaum on KC Undercover; and Mark Cendrowski on The Big Bang Theory. She is also a regular guest director in Mary Lou Belli’s on camera comedy acting and scene work classes.

She is a proud dues paying member of SAG-AFTRA.

Director Statement

“Don’t Let Go” is inspired by Ms. Orpen’s personal experience of losing her fiancé and the challenging family dynamics and systemic LGBTQ bias that she had to face to carry out her final acts of love for her beloved. This story is intended to honor the many LGBTQ people in the world who have experienced injustice and inequality and still seek reconciliation through non-violence.

She is passionate about the power of film and television to educate, inspire and transform the world we live in. Diversity, inclusion, and LGBTQ civil rights and social justice are important themes in all of the projects she writes and directs.

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Short Film: DON’T LET GO, 9min., USA, Romance

When Sam and Reggie get engaged, their future seems bright–until a terrible car accident leaves Reggie in a coma. And Sam must confront Reggie’s homophobic mother to fight for a place at her hospital bedside before it’s too late.

Project Links

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ROMANCE Festival 1st Scene Reading: Date With Destiny, by Michael Brody

Everything happens for a reason…Finally the reason.

Two people on separate paths find themselves inextricably drawn together, raising the possibility that destiny is neither predetermined nor random acts of coincidence. Maybe destiny is just the fulfillment of a promise made in a previous life.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Voice/Drive: Geoff Mays
Sarah: Kyana Teresa
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