Dark Comedy Cuddle Party Executive Produced By Jill Soloway Set For Fest’s Opening Night

Hollywood July 25, 2016- The official selections for the 12th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival sponsored by BITPIX have been announced. Over 400 of the world’s best short films will be showcased during the annual celebration, which has emerged as one of the leading discovery platforms for the next generation of storytellers in Los Angeles. HollyShorts takes place August 11-20 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and other locations throughout Hollywood.

Among the official selections is Cuddle Party, a dark comedy Executive Produced by Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Jill Soloway, creator of Amazon’s hit series Transparent. Directed by Matthew Irving Epstein, Cuddle Party stars Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Michaela Watkins (Casual, Saturday Night Live), and Rob Huebel (Children's Hospital, Despicable Me). Cuddle Party will screen in competition during the festival’s opening night celebration on August 11.

HollyShorts has expanded its presence in Hollywood this year with newly added venues and hotel partners including: the Harmony Gold Theater, Ignited Spaces, OHM Nightclub, the Roosevelt Hotel, Avenue 17 Studios, 33 Taps and The Redbury Hollywood among other major locations. Nearly 3,000 films from every continent were submitted for consideration for this year’s festival.

Another first for HollyShorts, this year’s films will be available for online viewing exclusively for a one-week digital window during the festival through HollyShorts’ official streaming partner BITPIX, which is currently available via web, Roku and Amazon Fire. Festival screening tickets, schedule and all access passes for HollyShorts are now available for purchase starting today at HollyShorts.com.

The 2015 and 2014 HollyShorts Screenplay competition winners have been turned into short films per their Award win prizes and both short films will screen at this year’s festival. Lunchbox Brigade by Kyle Thiele the 2015 HollyShorts Screenplay Winner was produced by Seattle Area Filmmakers and filmed in the Seattle area. The film will screen on Sunday August 14 during the Washington Films program at the festival. The 2014 screenplay winner Open Roads by Mimi Jeffries will screen on Friday August 12 during the Family Drama program at 2:30pm. The 2016 HollyShorts screenplay finalists will be in attendance at this year’s festival with the winner receiving the opportunity to have their short produced by Seattle-based production company Evil Slave.

This year’s HollyShorts official lineup features ground breaking shorts and world premieres. The 2016 festival’s competitive schedule includes some of the following titles, the full schedule can be viewed on the festival’s website:

The August 12 Adult Animation Program features top selections including: Bear Story the 2016 Oscar winning animated short film from Chilean Director Gabriel Osorio, Festival Du Cannes Official Selection Man O Man from Simon Cartwright(UK). The Cannes Film Festival Palm D’or winner, from Lebanese Director Ely Dagher Waves 98 is also in competition in the block.

The team behind the 2014 Oscar winning animated short Mr. Hublot will be at HollyShorts presenting their new short Quenottes (Pearlies). The team consists of Producer Laurent Witz, director Pascal Thiebaux and Animation Supervisor Mickael Coedel. Pearlies is playing on Friday August 12 at 10pm in the Horror program presented by Eli Roth’s The Crypt platform.  Also in the Horror Program is Shant Hamassian’s Night of the Slasher which has won over 35 Awards.

Jim Cummings’ Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning short Thunder Road will screen at HollyShorts in competition on Saturday August 13 at 7:30pm. Frankie Shaw’s Too Legit which stars Zoe Kravitz, Teresa Palmer, Nate Corddry, Clark Gregg, and Lauren Weedman will also screen on Saturday at the 7:30pm program.

The Call of Charlie directed by Nick Spooner and starring Brooke Smith, Evan Arnold and Harry Sinclair will play during the HollyShorts Comedy program on Saturday August 13 at 10pm.

Ian Garrido’s Victor XX (Spain) plays during the LGBT Program on Sunday August 13 at 2:30pm. In the film Victor is unsure if he is really a boy or a girl, so he plays with both identities, but the other people in his life are not as open-minded.

HollyShort’s Visual Effects Sci Fi program takes place on Sunday at 7:30pm, while the The Fantasy Sci Fi is Program is on Monday August 15 at 7:30pm followed by it’s Music Video Program at 10pm.

There will be 2 Documentary programs: one show on Monday August 15 at 12pm and the other on August 18 at 12pm. The Documentary competition includes shorts such as Joshua Neuman’s Johnny Physical Lives, the story of the secret world of two brothers making a rock n’ roll documentary as one goes through treatment for leukemia. When younger brother Jonathan passes away in the midst of the production, older brother Joshua must finish the project on his own. Also included is Bryan Storkel’s The Dean Scream from FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films, which explores 2004, Democratic candidate Howard Dean, who raised his voice, balled his fist and entered political history as a man whose immoderate speaking style cost him a career.

Some of the country’s top film schools will be represented at HollyShorts in the Student Program including NYU Tisch, AFI, USC, AFI, New York Film Academy, UCLA, Chapman among others. The Student showcase is Thursday August 18 at 7:30pm.  

Meko Winbush’s short This Path starring Ryan Rottman screens on Tuesday August 16 at 10pm.

As previously announced, esteemed Actress, Director and Producer Jennifer Morrison (ABC’s Once Upon A Time) will be honored with the 2016 HollyShorts Trailblazer Award presented by Women in Film at the 12 Annual Festival. She will accept the Award during the festival’s opening night celebration.

HollyShorts Film Festival Director and Co-Founder Daniel Sol commented: “HollyShorts is truly the filmmakers festival and we are delighted to present one of the most competitive program competitions in the history of this festival. Our Grand Jury winner last year was nominated for the Oscar, we expect nothing less from this crop of tremendously talented filmmakers. We can’t wait to welcome everyone at HolllyShorts, it’s a must attend for any film lover.”

2016 HollyShorts Sponsors include: 33 Taps, Avenue 17 Studios, BarkTHINS, BITPIX, Crypt, Delmay Partners, Film L.A., Final Draft, Harmony Gold Theater, Hint Water, Hollywood Short Film Association, inDspotlight, Ignited Spaces, Integro Entertainment Group/Robertson Taylor International, Jungle Software, Lexus Short Films, LightSPEED, Lyft, Media Inc. Magazine, Mingle Media, Monster Energy, OHM Nightclub, ProductionHUB, Red Giant Software, Seed & Spark, Stage 32, TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, TinHorn Flats, True Vision Entertainment, Women in Film and Zooppa.

The HollyShorts schedule is now live and can be seen at hollyshorts.com. The top 12-15 winning films from this year’s competition will receive a one-week theatrical run in theaters following the festival, qualifying them for Awards season.