KCET’s 22nd Annual Fine Cut Festival of Films Reveals Finalists, Judges, On-Air Schedule

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Los Angeles public broadcaster KCET has announced the student finalists for its 22nd annual Fine Cut Festival of Films, which will air as four one-hour episodes starting Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 10 p.m.

A collection of short films from Southern California student filmmakers, Fine Cut finalists are vying for prize packages in the categories of documentary, animation and narrative short films, as well the Jack Larson Southern California Student Filmmaker Award, which singles out one student’s strength as a storyteller.

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Besides airing on KCET, the Fine Cut festival will also air nationwide on Link TV starting Thursday, Sept. 30 at 11 p.m., and more films will stream at kcet.org/finecut.

The panel of judges for this year’s competition included Variety deputy TV editor Michael Schneider, director Varda Bar-Kar (“Fandango at the Wall,” “Big Voice”), director Emily Cohen Ibañez (PBS’ “Fruits of Labor,” ), screenwriter and producer Weiko Lin (“100 Days,” “Miki”), producer and editor Tanya Meillier (“Gather,” “Capitalism: A Love Story”), writer Kelly Younger (“Muppets Now,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet”), actress Karimah Westbrook (The CW’s “All American”), Outfest Fusion and Outfest Now artistic director Faridah Gbadamosi and Gaumont Television’s Kimberly Dennison, senipr VP/creative executive, animation and family.

Short films were required to be 25 minutes or under. Winners will be announced during a private awards ceremony event in late September.

Over 350 films were submitted during April and May by filmmakers enrolled in more than 30 Southern California schools. Final films selected included themes of climate change, mental health, and LGBTQ relationships. Almost 70% of the finalist filmmakers were people of color and almost 70% of the finalist’s films were directed or produced by a female.

Here’s the 2021 Fine Cut finalists schedule:

“Life Disrupted”- Weds., Sept. 29 on KCET at 10 p.m. and Thurs., Sept. 30 at 11 p.m. on Link TV

A 94-year-old Glacier National Park ranger reflects on his life in “Your Friend, Ranger Doug,” a documentary from Chapman Univ. Occidental College’s “Well, It Wasn’t Supposed to be This Way” documents young couples during the pandemic. UCLA documentary “The Beautiful Colors of Jeremy Sicile-Kira,” follows with CalArts animated shorts, “Wolf and Cub” and “JUMBO,” as well as CSULB’s “Lamppost.”

Filmmakers: “Your Friend, Ranger Doug,” –co-directed by Claire Jantzen/Sara Rose Nell – Chapman University / “Well, It Wasn’t Supposed to be This Way” –directed by Naomi Miyamoto– Occidental College / “The Beautiful Colors of Jeremy Sicile-Kira” –directed by Aaron Lemle– UCLA / “Wolf and Cub” –directed by Marvin Bynoe– CalArts / “JUMBO” –directed by Jennifer Nie– CalArts / “Lamppost” –directed by Chinh Mai– Cal State Long Beach

“Games, Competition, Rivalry”- Weds., Oct. 6 on KCET at 10 p.m. and Thurs., Oct. 7 at 11 p.m. on Link TV

An overzealous man obsessed with a competition game show risks it all in “American Champion,” a dark comedy from Chapman University. A former Olympian delves into the mysterious phenomenon of “Target Panic” in a documentary from CSULB. CalArts animations “FRANKIE THE HOT DOG: Gymnastics Star” and “Hopper’s Day” follow with CSULB drama “I Didn’t Mean It,” and Chapman University documentary “Abuelita’s Puzzle.”

Filmmakers: “American Champion,” –directed by Jimmy Alcorn– Chapman University / “Target Panic” –directed by Madeleine Braun– Cal State Long Beach / “FRANKIE THE HOT DOG: Gymnastics Star” –directed by Lee Witz– CalArts / “Hopper’s Day” –directed by Jingqi Zhang– CalArts / “I Didn’t Mean It” –directed by Adriana Morales– Cal State Long Beach / “Abuelita’s Puzzle” –directed by Christian Hurley– Chapman University

“What Went Wrong”- Weds., Oct. 13 on KCET at 10 p.m. and Thurs., Oct. 14 at 11 p.m. on Link TV

When a college freshman inadvertently witnesses a drunken encounter, she is compelled to investigate whether it was consensual in “Cassandra” from UCLA. After adopting a girl from the orphanage, a Chinese lesbian couple is forced to search for the meaning of family in “When the Tide Rises,” a drama from USC. Followed by “Parallel Barking,” “Stolen,” and “Beyond the Drama,” animations from CalArts.

Filmmakers: “Cassandra,” –directed by Lia Lenart– UCLA / “When the Tide Rises” –directed by Alex Jiang– USC / “Parallel Barking” –directed by Christina Woo– CalArts / “Stolen.” –directed by Christina Giordano– CalArts / “Beyond the Drama” –directed by Siti Lu– CalArts

“It Shaped Me”- Weds., Oct. 20 on KCET at 10 p.m. and Thurs., Oct. 21 at 11 p.m. on Link TV

USC documentary “Not Just a Name” explores the stigma and racial bias experienced by African Americans with unique sounding names. A high school girl must choose to leave a physically abusive father or stay to protect her siblings in “Paz,” a drama from Chapman University. Follow by CSULB documentary “The Home I Never Had” and “Il Bello Di Nonna,” an animated short from Woodbury University.

Filmmakers: “Not Just a Name,” –directed by De’Onna “Tree” Young-Stephens– USC / “Paz” –directed by Andrew Gutierrez– Chapman University / “The Home I Never Had” –co-directed by Jourdan Amen/Yuliana Franco– Cal State Long Beach / “Il Bello Di Nonna” –directed by Lauren Gregorio– Woodbury University

Here’s a promo for this year’s showcase:

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