Films / Programs

First Look Student Program

The First Look Student Film Section is an exclusive selection of short films reserved for outstanding student filmmakers from around the world. Started in 2000 as a standalone event and dubbed by the Denver Post as "arguably the best niche festival in Denver," First Look continues to focus on finding the brightest new talents in filmmaking and bringing them and their works to Colorado. In addition to the Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award, which was established in 2008, new last year we announced a partnership with Liberty Global that has allowed us to include three new packages of films from international student directors. These films will open your eyes to the incredible work being done at films schools outside the United States with films from Australia, Estonia, France, Israel, Germany, Lebanon, Mexico, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Zambia. To accompany this expanded focus we will award the Liberty Global International Student Filmmaker Award to an exemplary filmmaker in this category.

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  • All About Her

    All About Her

    Lebanon , 2012 , 19 min. Amid New Year’s Eve celebrations, Chady recalls a promise made the year before. He finds himself headed back physically and emotionally to a place where he was deeply affected.... more
  • Anna and Jerome

    Anna and Jerome

    France , 2012 , 24 min. Anna craves a new life for her young son in this poignant story. She and Jerome must come to terms with their diverging lives and their love for each other.... more
  • The Art of Remembrance

    The Art of Remembrance

    USA , 2010 , 11 min. Mexican artist Daniel Valle prepares for Day of the Dead in New York. His attempts to keep his culture alive in a foreign land while remembering lost loved ones have given him a unique perspective.... more
  • The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist

    The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist

    USA , 2012 , 7 min. A documentary tribute to the director’s father, a once-famous jazz guitarist from the Fiji Islands who gave up his career to move to America for the betterment of his family.... more
  • Bella Fleace Gave a Party

    Bella Fleace Gave a Party

    United Kingdom , 2011 , 16 min. An impeccably produced adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's classic short story about an eccentric aristocrat who chooses to throw one last big party.... more
  • CCYL: Chinatown Community Young Lions

    CCYL: Chinatown Community Young Lions

    USA , 2011 , 14 min. The art of the lion dance is celebrated with the Chinatown Community Young Lions. This Chinese New Year club has been presenting this rhythmic dance to New Yorkers for 40 years.... more
  • Crossing


    USA , 2011 , 18 min. In 1960s Georgia, a black teenager defies the rules of segregation and his conservative father when he walks through the front door of his white employer’s home.... more
  • Everybody's Business

    Everybody's Business

    USA , 2012 , 21 min. This documentary explores the tensions between individual choices and collective responsibilities in Vashon Island, Washington, which has become a reluctant poster child for the growing debate around childhood vaccinations.... more
  • First Contact

    First Contact

    Australia , 2011 , 21 min. The lives of a father and daughter eking out an isolated existence in the Australian outback are disrupted by the appearance of a man stranded and near death.... more
  • Folkswagon


    USA , 2011 , 20 min. In this darkly humorous, belated-coming-of-age story, a young Israeli man gets more than he bargained for when rooming with a quirky, eccentric Holocaust survivor in New York City.... more
  • Forever in Hiatus

    Forever in Hiatus

    Vietnam , 2012 , 24 min. A chance encounter with the daughter of a Communist official gives a washed-up pop star, now a bicycle-taxi driver, a new chance at human connection, but with a raft of potential consequences.... more
  • Full-time Ministry

    Full-time Ministry

    USA , 2011 , 5 min. A devout evangelical Christian man struggles by day to keep his religious faith out of the public-school classroom where he teaches. By night, he’s an outsider artist who creates gospel-inspired ice sculptures.... more
  • Glory Days

    Glory Days

    USA , 2012 , 12 min. Jack, a recovering alcoholic and divorced dad, takes his two kids on a trip for a New Year’s Eve party, where he must confront his past and prove his parental competence.... more
  • Installation


    USA , 2011 , 7 min. This short explores the boundaries between art and industry as it documents the process of constructing Richard Serra’s massive steel sculpture Sequence.... more
  • Light


    USA , 2010 , 9 min. A car accident allows a man to journey into his subconscious and rediscover the suppressed memory of his mother's death.... more
  • Living the Dream

    Living the Dream

    USA , 2012 , 15 min. A young gangster has aspirations of quickly moving up the ranks of a modestly sized New Jersey crime syndicate, but soon discovers that cutting corners will lead to troubling consequences.... more
  • Made by Me

    Made by Me

    USA , 2012 , 15 min. A celebration of handmade goods in a mass-produced world. We witness the connection among three Los Angeles artists and their crafts, becoming immersed in the creative process.... more
  • Martha Must Fly

    Martha Must Fly

    Israel , 2011 , 25 min. Martha’s spirit is succumbing to the drudgery of her job as caretaker to an insensitive aging woman; she has little recourse and can escape only into a world of her own making.... more
  • Mee


    Germany , 2012 , 5 min. As a child adopted into a foreign culture, Mee gets lots of questions about her family, her culture, her language. This humorous animation lets her answer, once and for all.... more
  • Narkis


    Israel , 2011 , 10 min. Thirteen-year-old Narkis is ready to become a woman—specifically, her 29-year-old neighbor, Dena. Does she have the courage for the final conquest?... more
  • Of Dogs and Horses

    Of Dogs and Horses

    Germany , 2012 , 30 min. Recipient of the 2012 Silver Student Academy Award. In a last-ditch effort to pay for his beloved dog’s surgery, Rolf bets everything he owns at the horse track. A film about luck, courage, and the blind magic of desperate hope.... more
  • The Other Side of the Rainbow

    The Other Side of the Rainbow

    Estonia , 2011 , 18 min. A punk-noir road trip into a working-class underground, where an erotic game becomes an emotional Rubicon for two lovers who must decide how much they will give and how much they can take.... more
  • Paint Showers

    Paint Showers

    USA , 2011 , 3 min. A gathering storm of paint unleashes a storm of color in this experimental animation.... more
  • Real Talk

    Real Talk

    USA , 2012 , 15 min. Pax and Iggy are best friends, but their bond is broken when Pax discovers where Iggy’s loyalties truly lie.... more
  • Silence


    USA , 2012 , 19 min. A young woman affected by the madness of the French Revolution sets out to avenge her losses by murdering the radical journalist and voice of the revolution Jean-Paul Marat.... more
  • Smoke Songs

    Smoke Songs

    USA , 2011 , 20 min. Described as “fireball punk-rock” by Joey Ramone, Blackfire is a Native American band whose angry and redemptive, traditional and modern music attempts to transfer a dark history into a form of creative expression.... more
  • Spark


    USA , 2012 , 9 min. While a boy waits out his father’s tryst, he is unexpectedly forced to deal with the lady friend’s daughter.... more
  • Step Right Up

    Step Right Up

    United Kingdom , 2012 , 10 min. When his ex-wife cancels the party for his son’s eighth birthday, Dan decides to improvise, and brings along the best clown for the job.... more
  • The Tobacco King

    The Tobacco King

    USA , 2011 , 21 min. After his family farm is confiscated in Zimbabwe, a white farmer attempts to begin again in Zambia. This provocative documentary explores race, history, and work in postcolonial southern Africa.... more
  • Trial and Error

    Trial and Error

    USA , 2011 , 17 min. Dewey Bozella spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. A year after his exoneration, he struggles to become a professional boxer.... more
  • Urban Tundra

    Urban Tundra

    Estonia , 2011 , 15 min. In this moving documentary about homelessness and faith, a snowstorm hits the city of Talinn and a church-run soup kitchen attempts to feed the hungry and save souls.... more
  • Vanishing


    Poland , 2011 , 20 min. A nerve-wracking portrait of a mother desperate to find her kidnapped son. When all other avenues are exhausted, she is forced to take matters into her own hands.... more
  • Where Is Joel Baum

    Where Is Joel Baum

    USA , 2012 , 29 min. A tragic accident brings unexpected consequences in the home of a Hasidic rabbi in contemporary Brooklyn.... more
  • The Words in the Margins

    The Words in the Margins

    USA , 2012 , 15 min. 31-year-old Axel is learning to read for the first time with the help of his friend and tutor, Steve, a Kenyan immigrant.... more
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