See the ‘Gravity’ Spinoff Directed by Alfonso Cuaron’s Son and More at Corto Circuito Short Film Fest

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When’s the last time you saw a short film? Most folks have heard of this rarified, almost mythical format commonly associated with film school up-and-comers, but few people outside of the golden walls of the international festival circuit have ever actually seen one of these elusive creatures. Festivals bundle them into hour and a half-long programs that few people care to watch, and an artsy European movie theater might run one before their feature presentation. Then of course there’s Youtube and Vimeo, but most filmmakers wont make their shorts public until years after their festival premiere, if they even make them public at all.

Yet the short film continues to be arguably the most challenging format for filmmakers of all experience levels. Anyone who’s seen those compilations of shorts made by famous directors knows that they’re often not all that good, even though we try to play it off like we liked them. Truth is, packing in an effective story and making an emotional impact on the spectator in a few short minutes is akin to going for a first-round knockout against Miguel Cotto, while a 90-minute feature can easily be won on points with a few rounds lost along the way.

So for those of us who truly appreciate the artistic value of a good short, the venerable Latin American shorts festival and New York institution Corto Circuito will be kicking off its 11th edition tomorrow evening at the King Juan Carlos Center at NYU. Featuring over 45 award-winning fiction and documentary shorts from across the continent, as well as a special programs dedicated to Colombian shorts and Latino directors residing in the U.S., Corto Circuito is the perfect place for to dip your feet in the art of short filmmaking and see the work of both up-and-coming and established filmmakers from across the region.

Here’s a roundup of some highlights.


Director: Jonás Cuarón
Country: U.S.
Year: 2013

Aningaaq, an Inuit fisherman camping on the ice over a frozen fjord, talks through a two way radio with a dying astronaut who is stranded in space (Sandra Bullock), 500 kilometers above Earth. Even though he doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Greenlandic, they manage to have a conversation about dogs, babies, life and death. This short film serves as a companion to the Oscar-winning blockbuster Gravity.


Director: Roberto Fiesco
Country: Mexico
Year: 2013

The unveiling of a statue honoring Emiliano Zapata becomes the site in which the demands of a struggling city are manifested through the speech of a young boy who delivers the commemorative speech.


Director: Claudia Garcia
Country: Colombia
Year: 2014

The unveiling of a statue honoring Emiliano Zapata becomes the site in which the demands of a struggling city are manifested through the speech of a young boy who delivers the commemorative speech.

Tierra Escarlata

Red Land
Director: Jesús Reyes
Country: Colombia
Year: 2014

Andrés, a boy from the countryside arrives at a lost town on the Atlantic coast in search of his brother. He has a photograph as the last track of his whereabouts. In his investigation, Andres will find a village marked by the recent violent reality in Colombia. The silence and indifference of the villagers will mark his route to find his brother.


Director: Eliecer Jiménez
Country: Cuba, Panama
Year: 2014

Five entities, five individual stories… They are linked and indivisible only by the human condition. Everything takes place in a regular day where five people without an official social voice talk and show their lives.


Director: Marcelo Navarro
Country: Chile
Year: 2014

Germans adventurers in 1930 migrate to populate the Chilean Patagonia. Puyuhuapy was founded in 1935. They brought tools and technology, but without the help of inhabitants of Chiloé, it couldn’t be possible. The Chilotes had the knowledge of nature.

Cuento para no dormir

A Bedtime Story
Director: Sergio Ruvalcaba
Country: Mexico
Year: 2014

A woman wakes up in the dark of night without knowing that his nightmare is about to begin. During the next few minutes she will be the victim of a ghost whit the only mission of torture her of fear for his own amusement.


Director: Diego Figueroa
Country: Venezuela
Year: 2013

A mother receives the news that his oldest son is moving to another city far away. Frightened by the fact of being alone, she finds the most sinister way for his youngest son never leave.


Directors: Sebastián Díaz, Beyza Boyacioglu
Country: U.S.A
Year: 2013

Toñita’s is a portrait of the last Puerto Rican social club in Williamsburg Brooklyn and its colorful regulars. Devoted to sustain the club “until she falls”, the owner and community matriarch Maria Toñita resists the neighborhood’s rapid change.

Umbrella House

Director: Catalina Santamaría
Year: 2013

This short documentary reveals the stories of the squatter community – most of them immigrants – that took over abandoned buildings in the Lower East Side of Manhattan reconstructed them and made them into homes.


The Corto Circuito Film Festival is free and runs October 9 – 11 at NYU. Visit for more info.