2024 Schedule

Explore the exciting films coming to Unspooled!
In this Section

Thursday, May 9

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4:00-5:30 Student Commercial and Documentary Shorts

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
 -- Nya Quinn Harrington, IDEA Charter School (Wausau)  

"Scratched: A Vinyl Revival"
-- Molly Jackson  

"Foundry Club"
-- Kyle Lehman  

"BULRUSH Campaign"
-- Reed Miles Theship-Rosales 

"Close to Home"
-- Benjamin Peterson  

"Becoming Mad Mardigan"
-- Sullivan Tracy Weiss 

-- Cody Bender 

"Uncommon Denominator - The Underlying Story"
-- Kevin Danny Alvarado  

"Behind the Fire Fight"
-- Lyndsey Krist and Brinna Molaison 

6:00-7:00 Student Narrative Shorts (U.S.)

-- Gunnar Payne  

-- Kyle Knitter 

-- Reed Miles Theship-Rosales 

"Stalker Stalker"
-- Ayse Kiray 

"Dying Up Here"
-- Tyler Glor, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee 

-- Director Ethan Kulinski 

"Phase III"
-- Numark Ricafranca 
"Phase III" is Numark's Senior Capstone Project that was produced in his last year of Film School. He wrote "Phase III" as an inspiration to when he first moved to the United States, realizing that there are abundant opportunities in the US.
The premise of the story is inspired by the nation of North Korea, where citizens have no knowledge about the outside world and are held by the nation's strict government rules. In order to create a whole new dystopian nation for the film, Numark invented an entire language which he finds as one of the most difficult parts of creating this film.

The poster and six stills from the film Phase III. The poster has a girl silhouetted before a circular tunnel that leads to a bright natural landscape with the yellow text "Phase III". The tagline "No Joy. No Meaning. No Life." is written in yellow text along the top. Beside this are six stills from the film. The first shows a girl in a yellow coat walking on pavement beside a thick hedge. The second is a highly saturated image of a girl in yellow staring at a red lunch tray on a blue table. The third is an image of an orange butterfly resting on a finger. The fourth image is a darker version of the image from the poster. The fifth shows two figures crouched down and hugging each other in a barren landscape. The final image shows a cafeteria full of people in bright yellow uniforms.
8:35-9:00 Student Narrative Shorts (International)

-- Bamdad Aghajani and Arian Navabi, Iran  

"Resurrection under the Ocean"
-- Serkan Aktaş, Turkey 

-- Luis Sánchez, Escuela Nacional de Artes Cinematográficas (ENAC), Mexico 

"Dutch Blue"
-- Alice D'Andrea, Italy 

9:00-9:30 Student Horror Shorts

-- Bennett Michael Johnson  
After his estranged father's untimely death, a young man is haunted by a vivid apparition. In an attempt to find solace and move on from his grief, he accepts an unexpected invitation to dinner. However, his search for healing takes a dark turn when he falls prey to a manipulative individual who masquerades as a well-wisher but is actually a wolf in sheep's clothing. This manipulator exploits the man's vulnerability for their own mysterious gain, and the man's life begins to spiral out of control. He must confront the harsh reality of his situation and fight to regain control, but it may be too late.

The poster and three images of the film Vessel. The poster shows a person lit by a candle holding a piece of torn notebook paper. The other images show a graveyard with the film's title over it, a girl hunched over a table with a candle on it, and a group of people standing around a table.

-- Numark Ricafranca  

"The Broken Shell"
-- Benjamin Mohr 

"The Wasp’s Nest"
-- Max Helmueller 


Friday, May 10

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5:00-6:20 Feature Documentary: Marqueetown

No one fights to preserve a multiplex, but some people will risk everything to save a marquee. Through booms and busts, Delft Theatres Inc. - and its innovative gem, The Nordic - endured in Marquette, Michigan for almost 100 years, even as the world changed endlessly around them.
Local kid Bernie Rosendahl’s modern crusade to restore the historic arthouse to its former glory leads filmmakers to discover a hidden cinema empire in the Upper Peninsula. Portraying the fascinating history of motion pictures through one iconic screen - and featuring dozens of Michigan locations and characters - Marqueetown is a true story of chasing your dreams, redefining failure and success, and reembracing the enduring magic of cinema.

Written and Directed by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson
Based on the work of Bernie Rosendahl
Executive Producers Kathleen Glynn and Diana Milock
Original Score by Andrew Dost
Music Supervision by Willa Yudell
Additional Photography from Jack Deo and the Estate of Gary Graver
Main Titles by Henry Gretzinger

6:30-7:30 Shorts (Part 1)

"Awakening Wanda"
-- Joel P Sacramento, Madison, WI

-- Noelle P. Wilson and D Andrew Hartfield, Hudson, WI 

"ARENZ: The Final Quarter"  
-- Director Jacob Phillips  
Rising from small-town roots to collegiate basketball stardom, Lauren Arenz’s dreams are challenged by a season-threatening injury in her last year. As she battles to salvage the rest of her career, Lauren confronts the ultimate decision: walk away from the game of basketball or fight to play in “The Final Quarter”.
Watch the trailer now!

7:45-8:30 Shorts (Part 2)

"Enter the Room"
-- Harry Waldman, Chicago, IL

"Shrunken Head"
-- Kevin Paul Miller 

"Hell is Sugar-Free"
-- Lukas Medin, Minnesota 

9:00-9:45 Nonic Short Films

"Cow Boy"
-- Director Arayna Birch 

"The Disappearance of Norah McCloud"
-- J. Scott Sibley 

"Bunny Backrooms"
-- Josiah McClelland 

"The Black Spot"
-- Carter E Aakhus, Eden Prairie, MN  


Saturday, May 11

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12:00-12:45 All-Ages Student Animated Shorts (International)

-- Saniya Paliwal and Vatsal Bucha, India 

"Little Stray"
-- Kieran Latta, New Zealand   

-- Belal Abosamra, Egypt 

-- Vatsal Bucha and Sudeep Kapoor, India 

-- Diana Valeria Mosquera, Vancouver Film School, Canada

-- KIM SUNGJAE, Japan 

12:00 PM Feature Animation: Pigsy

Pigsy is a street-smart loser who often messes things up. One day, he is chosen to enter the new world, to become a symbol of success. He can finally make grandma proud. Soon after, though, it turns out to be a mistake.

Pigsy does not want to be treated as a joke anymore. He makes a secret deal with Bull Demon King. He stays in Sanzang’s group, and gives the information to Bull Demon King who wants to achieve eternal life. In exchange for information Bull Demon King promises to show him a secret passage to the new world.

As Pigsy completes his tasks, he discovers that Bull Demon King will take many people’s lives in order to achieve immortality. Even his grandma is in danger.

He must do everything in his power to stop this together with his partners. He must save Sanzang, grandma, and everyone else.

The poster for and three stills from the animated film Pigsy. The poster shows an anthropomorphic pig clinging to a rope and swinging toward the viewer while two people run the same direction. Behind them, we can see an anthropomorphic monkey with a bo staff and a large anthropomorphic bull wearing a suit. The text "Pigsy: Good Life Pay Life" is in the foreground. The first still shows the pig and monkey from the poster talking with the humans from the poster. The second shows the monkey and bull fighting. The third shows a futuristic speeder flying through a cyberpunk city.
3:00-3:40 Student Animated Shorts (International) Part 2

"Freedom St. 24/2"
-- Galya Bistritskaya and Katerina Eli, Israel 

"Half Empty"
-- Katarzyna Orłowska, Poland  

"Travel Bug"
-- Elie Haf Walters, United Kingdom  

"0:00 A.M."
-- Yuanshen Yang, China   

"The Present"
-- Arowan Parker, South Africa  

-- YINYI WU, China  

"Awaiting the Sun"
-- Monica Maheswari W. Indralista, Indonesia 

"It Will Pass Away"
-- Nan Yao, China 

"Operatie Operatie"
-- Nina Fock and Jordi van Ieperen, Netherlands 

-- Jitka Nemikinsová, Czech Republic 

6:00 Keynote Speaker Ellie Nikoo

Ellie Nikoo, a woman with brown hair and brown eyes, is smiling at the camera. She is wearing a blue shirt.Ellie Nikoo is a passionate animator originally from Iran and now residing in Denver, CO. She initially pursued Physics during her college years. However, a collaborative animation project with friends reignited her passion for animation. She pursued her formal studies as an MFA student in Animation at The University of Art in Tehran, Iran, while also immersing herself in Iran's 2D animation industry.

In 2014, Ellie immigrated to the United States with her husband and was accepted into Virginia Tech's MFA in Creative Technologies program. There, she delved into 3D animation, expanding her skill set and artistic horizons. Transitioning into academia after graduation, Ellie found fulfillment as a teacher but ultimately realized her longing for more hands-on involvement in animation creation.

Motivated by her deep-seated love for animation, Ellie redirected her path, prioritizing her artistic endeavors. This led her to PBS Wisconsin, where she now works as an animator and animation director, bringing her childhood dreams to life with each frame she animates.