A mixture of fiction and nonfiction storytelling, these seven formally innovative short films offer unique perspectives on different facets of youth culture in China.

Something Blue / 夏天和陈路
Li Chen, 2023, China, 15m
Mandarin with English subtitles
World Premiere
On the eve of her wedding, Lu is taken by surprise when an old flame arrives unannounced at her doorstep, with a plea for one last adventure: a daring journey across the China–North Korea border. 

Now.Here / 一时一刻
Zhao Hao, 2023, China, 12m
Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere
An adolescent substitute goalkeeper reflects on a crucial game-changing moment. Before the fleeting glory eludes him, he wanders in between memories, searching for a reason to be here and now. This wildly applauded Berlinale-nominated film from director Zhao Hao and cinematographer Zhang Jiahao (Brief History of a Family, NYAFF 2024) boasts head-turning storytelling and aesthetics that will enthrall audiences from beginning to end.

Shape of the Elephant / 大象的形状
Sam Kuwa, 2023, Japan/China, 8m
Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere
A hallucinatory, hand-crafted 2-D animation about prepubescent years of repressed sexuality, Shape of the Elephant articulates the director’s ever-changing impression of the mystical elephant that accompanies him while growing up. Using the metaphor “the elephant in the room,” the film lays bare the often-overlooked aspects of sex education in most Chinese families. 

Present Tense / 明天的派对
Guan Haotian, 2023, China, 23m
Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere
One winter in Xiamen, Jiang and Yu meet at a nightclub for the first time, dancing away with wild abandon and basking in the afterglow of youthful exuberance. Two youthful spirits get lost in the moment as flashing dance lights and heart-throbbing music fuel their affection. However, two days later, when they meet again, Jiang begins to realize that their story had already ended before it truly began.

A Summer’s End Poem / 夏日句点
Lam Can-zhao, 2024, China/Switzerland/Malaysia, 15m
Min dialect with English subtitles
North American Premiere
In the southern Chinese city of Chaozhou, a country boy decides to exhaust his savings on a stylish city haircut. This seemingly simple decision leads to surprising results. In this Berlinale-winning short film, director Lam Can-zhao captures a poignant moment of a teenager bidding farewell to his childhood and embracing the bittersweet nature of growing up—shortly before the end of the summer holidays.

When a Rocket Sits on the Launch Pad / 火箭发射时
Liu Bohao, 2023, China/U.S., 12m
Mandarin and Szechuan dialect with English subtitles
dAt a basketball camp in the mountainous Liangshan region, 15-year-old Fang talks about her dreams. But life keeps pushing her into an indeterminate path: her phone falls into the water, the stairs are endless, and adults seem to decide her future. Meanwhile, the rocket launched from a nearby base carries her thoughts up, up, and away.

Fire of Last Night in Yimi’s Woods / 一木林森 昨夜的火
Yue Yue Niao, 2024, China/U.S., 29m
Mandarin with English subtitles
World Premiere
In 2022, an inexplicable fear seized Shanghai. A young journalist vanished along with her unfinished documentary. Today, a group of survivors traces her shadow to the woods. Together, they confront the darkness, seeking answers to the three missing years. Original music by Chinese post-rock band Hualun (An Elephant Sitting Still soundtrack).