2018 Film submissions are coming in and being reviewed, this page will be updated when they are selected.

2017 lineup (scroll down for film synopses)

aDay Playing
Wednesday, July 26 - 7pm-until
  Craft in America: NATURE PG 56 min Documentary
  I Was Always Alex PG 6 min Documentary
  That Kinda Night PG 19 min 23 sec Short
Q&A DEEJ (update: EMMY Nominated) PG 1 hr 11min Documentary
  Splash G 4 min 30 sec Animation
  The Black Ring R 14 min 58 sec Short
Thursday, July 27 - 7pm-until
  Waking Dreams PG 19 min 13 sec Documentary
  Boris & Babette PG 8 min 9 sec Short
  The List PG-13 59 min 21 sec Documentary
  As Large As Alone PG 12 min 32 sec Short
Celling Your Soul PG 48 min 15 sec Documentary
  The Kidnapping of a Fish PG-13 25 min Short
Friday, July 28 - 7pm-until
  Fulfilament G 7 min 33 sec Animation
Q&A The Rise and Fall of Liberty PG 52 min Documentary
  Karma G 3 min 48 sec Animation
  From Dogs to Wolves PG 9 min 58 sec Animation
  Nil: No Blood for Coffee PG 2 min 38 sec Animation
The Tenth Step PG 1 hr 3 min Documentary
  Jeff R 16 min 34 sec Short
KIDS FEST! Saturday, July 29 - 10am
  Splash G 4 min 30 sec Animation
  Oh Baby! G 2 min 24 sec Animation
  Peep & The Paperplane G 11 min 30 sec Animation
  Icky G 5 min 55 sec Animation
  Radiance G 3 min Animation
  Karma G 3 min 48 sec Animation
  Luke G 8 min 14 sec Documentary
  Fulfilament G 7 min 33 sec Animation
  Le Soi G 4 min 17 sec Animation
  Somebody NEEDS You PG 3 min 49 sec Animation
  Behind the Rocks G 5 min Short
  Lee's Choice G 8 min 48 sec Short
  Space Lizards G 2 min 21 sec Animation
  Incubus PG 5 min 42 sec Animation
  A Bakers Dozen PG 3 min 30 sec Short
  The Box G 6 min 48 sec Animation
  Journey G 7 min Animation
Saturday Matinee, July 29 - 1pm
Q&A Come Hell or High Water, Remembering the 1916 Flood PG 50 min Documentary
  Reconstructing Reality PG 11 min 20 sec Documentary
  Unterwasserpapa (Papa Under Water) G 8 min 30 sec Short
  Gertie Gunther Knits a Stitch PG 14 min 35 sec Short
  Shash Jaa': Bears Ears PG 20 min Documentary
The Dunning Man R 1 hr 30 min Feature
Saturday, July 29 - 7pm-until
  Radiance G 3 min Animation
A Day's Work PG-13 54 min 4 sec Documentary
  Foodie PG 4 min 22 sec Short
  Caviar Dreams PG 14 min 50 sec Documentary
Triple Divide (Redacted) PG 1 hr Documentary
  Horseshoe Theory R 12 min Short
*(Schedule subject to change)
 Awards & Party!
Awards will be announced during the PARTY following the final film on Saturday night!

"Craft in America: NATURE"  (56 min, Professional Documentary, CA)
Carol Sauvion
Patricia Bischetti
This episode celebrates the beauty, inspiration, and future of the American landscape. Featuring artists Patrick Dougherty, Mary Merkel-Hess, Michelle Holzapfel, Catherine Michaelis, and Preston Singletary.


"Splash" (4 min 30 sec, Student/Amature Animation, NC)
Gavin Lankford
Alek Kosinski
Noelle Aleman
Adventures at bath time! Bath toys band together to save themselves after being left behind by the boy.


"That Kinda Night" (19 min 23 sec, Student/Amature Short, NC)
Jeremy King
Chelsey Cummings
Clayton Witmer
Michael Samilow
Kev always thought that there was only one girl for him. When an alien invasion destroys the city, he begins to realize how right he was.


"The Tenth Step" (1 hr 3 min, Professional Documentary, Nepal)     

Pia Saengswang Moffatt              

Gerry Moffatt

World-renowned Himalayan expedition leader Gerry Moffatt embarks on an exciting 4,000-mile solo motorcycle adventure across the Himalayas for his 50th birthday, intent on exploring changes he's seen over 30 years of guiding. As challenges and personal tragedies unfold, his adventure unexpectedly helps him discover that the biggest changes over the past 30 years happened inside of him. Inspired to finally revisit a river that almost killed him 20 years ago, Moffatt finds gratitude and closure in the crucible of one of the most dangerous whitewater canyons on the planet. The Tenth Step is an inspiring journey through self-discovery and recovery - set amidst a fascinating backdrop of adventure travel history.


"I was always Alex" (6 min, Professional Documentary, Spain)
Roberto Ruaz
Sancho Ortiz

Casar Fresneda

Sara Cort             
A day in the life of Alex, a boy who dreams like everyone else. He dreams of driving, flying dreams, and dreams of boosting the wolf he carries inside.


"Black Ring" (14 min 58 sec, Professional Short, Turkey)
Hasan Can Dagli
Turgay Dogan
Cem Ozuduru   
Serhat Cinisli
A group of people organizes a special event in an abandoned mansion.


"Waking Dreams" (19 min 13 sec, Student/Amature Documentary, NC)
Brad Jones
Jacob Carah
Waking Dreams is about a disabled young man named Brad Jones who overcomes his afflictions with the power of his imagination. The story drifts between fantasy and reality, combining elements of his real life with imaginative material inspired by the works of noted science fiction author Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game).


"Boris & Babette" (8 min 9 sec, Student/Amature Short, Netherlands)
Merlijn Remmig
Floris de Vos
Bianca Remmig
"A writer has trouble with writing an adventurous story, which makes the young character in his script getting bored. But the story all turns when the young character sees this mysterious girl and suddenly find himself in a great adventure. Age at the time of film completion: 13 years"


"THE LIST" (59 min 21 sec, Professional Documentary, UK)
Annie MacGregor
THE LIST tells the shocking story of one of the worst criminal cover-ups in America's history. The victims, hundreds of abused children.  The perpetrators, Catholic clergy protected by their church.    The inside story of what happened when Philadelphia's District Attorney, Lynne Abraham, heard the church compiled a list of 35 priests guilty of child sexual abuse and asked why they hadn't been brought to justice.


"As Large As Alone" (12 min 32 sec, Student/Amature Short, NC)
Noelle Aleman
Chad Knuth
Clayton Aggeles, Emil Tomosunas              
With his older sister, May, trapped in a coma and their parents caught at an impasse concerning her fate, Noah must act as the bridge between their two worlds to make his sister's final wishes heard.


"Celling Your Soul" (48 min 15 sec, Student/Amature Documentary, MA)
Joni Siani             
Ben Abbene
Enver Perez
In less than a decade, our technology has totally changed the way we interact with one another. But, have we stopped to ask, "how are these changes, changing us?" Celling Your Soul tells the story of how one college professor changed the conversation, asking her students not "what do you think?" but "how do you feel?" You might be shocked to learn the answer! Beyond awareness, Celling Your Soul offers a clear, compassionate understanding of digital dependency along with a sustainable solution to greater balance for living within the demands of a digital world. Schools, colleges and businesses are using this film to create curriculum, school policy on cell phone use and to elevate the conversation to include the paradox of the positive and negative effects of our digital world.


"The Kidnapping of a Fish" (25 min, Professional Short, NY)
Philip A. Ramos
John D. Hay
Patrick Phillips
A mild-mannered man is kidnapped and is forced to figure out if his girlfriend is the cause of his situation in this mixed genre film.


"Fulfilament"  (7 min 33 sec, Student/Amature Animation, United Kingdom)
Rhiannon Evans
Joe Murtagh
Travel around the brain with a little, lost thought and discover what it takes to make a great idea.


"DEEJ" (1 hr 11 min 48 sec, Professional Documentary, MD)
David James Savarese
Robert Rooy
David James Savarese

The Real to Reel Film Festival is happy to present DEEJ as a full length SNEAK PREVIEW:

Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, society's obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and DJ Savarese share editorial control as they attempt to navigate the challenges of representing autism.  DEEJ is a story told largely from the inside, by DJ – not by his parents or autism experts.


"Karma" (3 min 48 sec, Student Animation, CA)
Peter Zhaoyu Zhou
A boy meets a fish in a mysterious forest.


"From Dogs to Wolves" (9 min 58 sec, Student Animation, SC)
Azure Allen
Human stories are as numerous as stars in the sky. This is the story of a young man struggling with the space between the domestic magic of childhood and the sometimes unbearable wilderness of adulthood, who loses his way and finds himself homeless on the streets of San Francisco. This is what happens when dogs become wolves.


"Nil: No Blood for Coffee" (2 min 38 sec, Professional Animation, Canada)
Canada James Turner
James Turner
A man is pulled out of his daily routine and thrown into a war for java juice.


"The Rise and Fall of Liberty" (52 min, Professional Documentary, NC)
Carol Thomson
When developers in Durham, NC, demolish an iconic tobacco auction house in the name of revitalization, they not only displace a community of artists, they also threaten the soul of the community. "The Rise and Fall of Liberty" examines the ebb and flow of Liberty Warehouse's 80-year lifespan, draws parallels with the evolution of downtown Durham, and reveals the often touching, interdependent relationship between the two. It also raises key questions about the tension between the drive for progress and the character of the city.


"Jeff" (16 min 34 sec, Student Short, CA)
Adam Linzey
Sam Shaib
Lareina Joelle
A British electrician working in Los Angeles, questions his sobriety after he thinks he saw his best friend commit a crime.


"Splash" (4 min 30 sec, Student Animation, NC)
Gavin Lankford
Noelle Aleman
Adventures at bath time! Bath toys band together to save themselves after being left behind by the boy.


"Oh Baby!" (2 min 24 sec, Student Animation, MO)
Gigi Harris
An alien meets a human baby.


"Peep and the Paper plane" (11 min 38 sec, Student Animation, Germany)
Christoph Englert
Lucia Scharbatke
While Bird mother Paula is away, searching for food, her son Peep gets unexpected help from a Paper plane, hatching. For Peep the Paper plane comes to life and together they head out exploring the magical world around them. While Paper plane is hopelessly trying to teach Peep how to fly, their friendship is tested by Peeps behavior leading to a dangerous situation where both are in need to be rescued. But their friendship triumphs over their pride and Peep is even able to fly, riding on Paper plane.

An animated short about empathy, nurturing and friendship.


"Icky" (5 min 55 sec, Student Animation, Iran)
Parastoo Cardgar
In the world of people with Rubik's cube head, there is a kid who is different from the others...


"Radiance" (3 min, Films for Children, Yes, New York)
ChiaLing Yang
"Radiance" is a short, semi-autobiographical animation that uses a hand-drawn style. The story centers on a very young girl coping with the loss of her beloved grandmother. Her struggle becomes a journey of self-realization and acceptance.


"Karma" (3 min 48 sec, Student Animation, CA)
Peter Zhaoyu Zhou
A boy meets a fish in a mysterious forest.


"Luke" (8 min 14 sec, Student Documentary, United States)
Dylan Reiss
Luke is a short documentary about an extraordinary young boy named Luke who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby. Never accepting his physical limitations, he strives to be just like any other 9 year old; playing baseball, swimming and bowling. This inspirational film will tug at your emotions, but most importantly, it will make you view the word disability in a different light. 'Luke' celebrates the potential of people with disabilities and the incredible determination that they possess.


"Fulfilament" (7 min 33 sec, Student Animation, United Kingdom)
Rhiannon Evans
Joe Murtagh
Travel around the brain with a little, lost thought and discover what it takes to make a great idea.


"Le Soi" (4 min 17 sec, Student Animation, NC)
Catherine Salisbury
Noelle Aleman
An abstract animated short featuring a single ballerina struggling with the inner conflict of self-doubt and personal growth.


"Somebody NEEDS You" (3 min 49 sec, Student Animation, CT)

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

Dani Bowman

"Somebody NEEDS You" is about a distracted little girl who thinks she's not important. Once she sees that others around her have real problems, she discovers something new about herself. Sometimes we may want to do something big in the world, all the while missing opportunities to help those around us. Written by Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, who co-produced it with Dani Bowman, a high functioning individual with Autism. Featuring the voice talents of the incomparable June Foray (best known for her work on Rocky and Bullwinkle).


"Behind the Rocks" (5 min, Student Short, Canada)
Maia Costea
Lettie Costea
After finding a golden rock in her garden, a girl goes on an unexpected adventure with her friends.


"Lee's Choice" (8 min 48 sec, Student Short, Canada)
Joshua Costea
"After millennia of battling one another using our world  as a battleground, the four Elemental  gods -Earth, Fire, Water and Air- take  human form and come down to earth for one final showdown. After they reach a stalemate yet again they come to a decision - choose a mortal child to be the impartial judge. They find Lee and put the fate of our world in her hands; choose the strongest force and award them dominion over our world or face their wrath. With the likelihood of bringing about the apocalypse no matter who she chooses,  Lee has to use her wits to save humanity's future."


"Space Lizards" (2 min 21 sec, Student Animation, NC)
Zing Grem
Two lizards in space.


"Incubus" (5 min 42 sec, Student Short, VA)
Jacob Chang-Rascle
Incubus tells the story of a boy who sets out on an amateur archaeology assignment with his dad. After he finds a mysterious key, the day takes a turn for the worse, as supernatural powers turn a pleasant afternoon into a nightmare. Director Jacob Chang-Rascle was 14 years old when he made this film.



"A Baker's Dozen" (3 min 30 sec, Student Short, CA)
Isabella Masrouga
When a lonely, anti-social man stops by his usual bakery for his usual one cookie, the baker insists he take a dozen cookies instead. Reluctantly, the man complies, forcing him out of his comfort zone and into unexpected friendships.


"The Box" (6 min 48 sec, Student Animation, Turkey)
Merve Cirisoglu Cotur
The happy life of a Syrian kid alters instantly with the sudden war and he finds himself in a state of struggle. The war changes not only lives, but also the role of his box; first as a carefully built toy house, then as a place to take shelter in a refugee camp with full of dangers and finally as a boat that sails for a journey towards hope.


"JOURNEY" (7 min, Student Animation, Australia)
Radheya Jegatheva
"Alone in space, an astronaut drifts  through the empty void. After finding another astronaut in the same predicament, she gives him a polaroid image of the Earth. They then team up to go on an epic journey across the universe to return to their planet. Will these star-crossed lovers find home?"


"Come Hell or High Water, Remembering the 1916 Flood" (50 min, Professional Documentary, NC)
David Weintraub
The Great Flood of 1916 was North Carolina's (and much of the Southeast's) worst natural disaster 100 years ago.  Besides leading to thousands of landslides and causing extensive damage and loss of life, it came at a time when people were prepared for a myriad of challenges and had skills to protect themselves against most disasters.  A flood of similar proportions today effecting people without the survival skills of our forefathers and foremothers would likely be more devastating.  "Come Hell or High Water" documents the lives that the flood touched, how mountain elders rose to take on the challenge, what we've learned and how we might apply the lessons the Great Flood teaches us today.


"RECONSTRUCTING REALITY" (11 min 20 sec, Student Documentary, Netherlands)
Alice Wong
"I thought the truth about my father's violent death would reveal itself if I investigated enough data on the event. But accessing more information actually made the truth become even more obscure. I discovered how our minds constantly reconstruct reality and turn it into multiple stories. A real story is an oxymoron."


"(Unterwasserpapa) PapaUnderWater" (8 min 30 sec, Student Short, Germany)
Kimia Eyzad Panah
Manuel accidentally puts the life of his best friend, a fish, in danger. To save him Manuel has to fight against his own father. To see in the end, that maybe he and his father are fish, too.


"Gertie Gunther Knits A Stitch" (14 min 35 sec, Student Short, NC)
Marylea Wiley
Sean Rooney
Darren Dai
Gertie Gunther attempts to rekindle her love with her avid racing fan husband Vernon by entering a local knitting competition.


"Shash Jaa': Bears Ears" (20 min, Student Documentary, WA)
Angelo Baca
Five tribes fight to save their homeland by making it a national monument.


"The Dunning Man" (1 hr 30 min 3 sec, Professional Feature, NY )
Michael Clayton
Kevin Fortuna
Connor Ryan, out of a job and dumped by his girlfriend, returns to Atlantic City to try to rebuild his life with the last source of income that he has -- a few apartments in a low-rise condo complex that sits in the shadows of AC's newest and most expensive casino. Unfortunately, Connor's tenants don't want to pay him. In order to get his money, Connor has to take on a pair of Chechen animal trainers with underworld ties, a rap star who parties so hard the neighbors can't sleep, and a struggling single mother who steals his heart...


"Radiance" (3 min, Professional Animation, Films for Children, NY)
Chia Ling Yang
'Radiance' is a short, semi-autobiographical animation that uses a hand-drawn style. The story centers on a very young girl coping with the loss of her beloved grandmother. Her struggle becomes a journey of self-realization and acceptance.


"A Day's Work" (54 min 4 sec, Professional Documentary, NY)
David M. Garcia
90 minutes before he was killed on his first day of work as a temporary employee, 21-year-old Day Davis texted a picture of himself to his girlfriend, excited for their future. Now Day's sister, 17-year-old Antonia, searches for answers. An investigation reveals the issues that led to Day's death and how the $100 billion temporary staffing industry is putting millions of American workers at risk.


"Foodie" (4 min 22 sec, Student Short, NC)
Brendan Malone
Alexander Suggs
A hungry con-man finds a new venture to sink his teeth into.


"Caviar Dreams" (14 min 50 sec, Student Documentary, NC)
Brian Gersten
Liv Dubendorf
Wei Ying
'Caviar Dreams' is a fish-farm-to-table journey through the history, culture, and environmental impact of one of the world's most iconic delicacies.


"TRIPLE DIVIDE [REDACTED]" (1 hr, Professional Documentary, PA)
Melissa Troutman
A "bombshell" documentary about the impact of fracking with exclusive interviews from oil and gas industry leaders, independent experts and impacted residents. TRIPLE DIVIDE [REDACTED] covers five years (2011 - 2016) of cradle-to-grave investigations by investigative news nonprofit Public Herald that featured how regulators and industry kept water contamination off the books. Originally released as a 90-minute feature in 2013, this iteration of TRIPLE DIVIDE is updated with Public Herald's continued investigations through 2016. Narrated by Mark Ruffalo.


"Horseshoe Theory" (12 min, Professional Short, Canada)
Jonathan Daniel Brown
Travis  Harrington
 A weapons deal between a white supremacist and a member of the Islamic State blossoms into serendipity.


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