Shorts Program: Speculative Presents

  • Art of the Real

Recording or photographing is strictly prohibited.

The shorts in this program present striking takes on contested histories, changing landscapes, and precarious futures, and reckon meditatively with such matters as environmental degradation, spectres of industrialization, and collective traumas. Using techniques and modes of science fiction, creative staging, animation, and tinting, these films are pockets of memory and resilience, as well as evidence of creative possibility for future worlds.

For this program, please click the menu button in the upper right hand corner of your player window to select the next video in the playlist.

See more at Art of the Real, presented virtually nationwide from Nov. 13-26. Explore the lineup and get tickets here.

Program Features

Missing Time

Morgan Quaintance, 2020, UK

An investigation into individual and collective amnesia, Morgan Quaintaince’s film draws from stories of alien abductions, hypnosis, and decolonization to map the role of forgetting in the production of the self.

Field Resistance

Emily Drummer, 2019, USA

Our ecologically fraught present gives way to dystopian visions in Emily Drummer’s documentary-cum-science-fiction, which examines environmental devastation in Iowa as a means of thinking through the antagonism between nature and humanity.

Becoming Alluvium

Thao Nguyen Phan, 2019, Vietnam/Spain French with English subtitles

In Phan’s latest poetic and eclectic work, resplendent watercolor animations and understated images of daily life meld to yield a meditation upon Vietnam’s turbulent history through the figure of the Mekong River.

We Have Always Known the Wind's Direction

Inas Halabi, 2019, Palestine Arabic with English subtitles

Fragments of landscapes and voices cohere into a rich exploration of the unrepresentable in this film about the possible burial of nuclear waste in the South of the West Bank and the invisible networks of power that control the region.

A Thousand-Year Stage

Daphne Xu, 2019, China/USA/Canada, Mandarin and Chinese regional dialects with English subtitles

Xu’s film spotlights the local residents and migrant workers of Xiongan New Area (a Chinese “megacity” in the making) as they grapple with urbanization and perform choreography amid the region’s many non-places. Sweetly sentimental karaoke numbers and the materialized anxiety of a landscape on the brink of radical transformation movingly ground the abstract forces that shape this modern world.

Bonus Content

Art of the Real Trailer
Art of the Real 2020 takes place on November 13 - November 26 with virtual screenings nationwide!
MUBI: Hand-Picked Cinema
For the fifth consecutive year, the curated streaming service MUBI is a proud partner of Art of the Real. Virtual attendees can access 30 days of great cinema FREE at
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