Bryan Cranston, Blair Underwood, Jennifer Morrison Lead Hollyshorts Film Festival Jury (EXCLUSIVE)

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Bryan Cranston, Blair Underwood and Jennifer Morrison will lead the jury for this year’s Hollyshorts Film Festival.

They will be joined by Stephanie Laing, Joanna Quinn, David Dastmalchian, Adaku Ononogbo, Janina Gavankar and Jeremy Swift.

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Set to open Aug. 11 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and virtually through the BITPIX platform, the festival will screen a number of short films including Steve McQueen’s prostate cancer documentary “Embarrassed,” starring Idris Elba, Ben Proudfoot’s “Mink!” about the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rory Keenan’s “Bump,” starring Gemma Arterton.

Also screening on the opening night are Frank Chi’s “38 and the Garden,” Mike Kearby’s comedy “The Problem with Time Travel,” Tara Westwood’s “Triggered” starring Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Robert John Burke, “Coral Amiga’s “Crosshairs” and Evan Miller’s “Thoughts and Prayers,” which features Adrianne Palicki and Zachary Levi.

Meanwhile Russell Goldman’s “Return to Sender” – which is produced by Jamie Lee Curtis and stars Allison Tolman – will open the Epic/Dread Horror program.

In a statement, Curtis said: “On my sister’s 64th birthday she was sent walking sticks. She asked me if I sent them. I said I hadn’t and it began a creepy odyssey of where things she had never ordered came from. I shared that story with my director of development at Comet Pictures and co-writer of our feature film, ‘Mother Nature’ Russell Goldman and ‘Return to Sender’ was his response. Russell is a graduate of Wesleyan and the two of us appreciate so much independent filmmaking and the wonderful opportunity that shorts give filmmakers to tell stories in condensed forms. As a producer, I am particularly happy and proud of Russell and this wonderful effort made for nothing in a matter of days. Luckily, Allison Tolman agreed that the story had merit and a tense through line that made for a thrilling Short. She is sensational in the movie and we are very, very happy it has been selected as the opening night film.”

Hollyshorts programmers Nicole Castro, Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont said: “It’s truly a pleasure to announce this year’s official selections for HollyShorts as we embark on our 18th anniversary of the Oscar-qualifying festival with two Academy Award winners this past year and six nominees. This year, we have a record of 41 countries represented in the official selections, which truly speaks to the global impact short films are having. We can’t wait to share these incredibly talented short films at this year’s festival and thank all the filmmakers who have submitted along with all of our amazing staff and incredible sponsors for supporting us.”

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