Oscar Nom Bing Liu’s Rockford Premiere of “What the Hands Do” Headlines 815HORTS Dec 2

Plus Seven Company announced today that 13 short films have been selected for screening at 815HORTS: A 5HORT Film Festival, including Academy Award nominee Bing Liu’s Rockford premiere of “What the Hands Do”. Liu’s latest short film will debut locally during the program’s final prime time slot, followed by an onstage 5HORT Talk interview featuring Liu and moderator Peter Hawley, 815HORTS emcee and director of the Illinois Film Office. The 5HORT Awards will close the evening by awarding 2023 winners for Best 5HORT and Best Local/Regional 5HORT.

Set for Saturday, December 2 at the RPL Nordlof Center, the second annual 815HORTS, presented by the City of Rockford + Rockford Film Office, will feature an 815HORTS Matinees block at 3 p.m., the 2023 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour at 5 p.m., and an 815HORTS Prime Time block at 7 p.m. In addition, The 5HORT Route will be produced as a lunch and learn program from 12-2 p.m. at City Stage Studios, where up to 50 aspiring area filmmakers will learn from industry professionals.

“We’re thrilled to welcome 815HORTS back to Rockford for another year,” says Tom McNamara, City of Rockford mayor. “Rockford has an incredible amount of artistic talent, and this festival is a great way for us to showcase our region’s creative and filmmaking community.”

Of the 13 featured 815HORTS, seven films represent work by Rockford area natives while two selections are the work of Oscar-nominated filmmakers. This year’s 815HORTS include (in order of scheduled screening):

  • 815HORTS Matinees“Because I Love You” (Written by Jacob Guerrero and Corbin Rivers; Directed by Corbin Rivers; Produced by AreVeeSee Productions); “32 White Teeth” (Written by Max Burke; Directed by Nathan Talan and Luca Sauceda; Produced by Lonnie Iske, Nicholas Stange, Nathan Talan, Nick Talan and Luca Sauceda); “PICKUP”(Written and Directed by Sean Wisbey; Produced by Emily Schumann and Keiph Oliver); “Love, John” (Written by Dena Altamore and Shelly Dorani; Directed by Dena Altamore; Produced by Stefan Rorick); “Stevie Bullets” (Written, Directed and Produced by James Forni); “Everything All at Once” (Written, Directed and Produced by Gavin Michael Booth); “KAD (Korean Adoptee)” (Written, Directed and Produced by Katharin Mraz); “A Cloudy Moon” (Written by Aaron Hill; Directed and Produced by T.J. Hill)
  • 815HORTS Prime Time: “THIRSTYGIRL” (Written and Directed by Alexandra Qin; Produced by Brooke Goldman, Alexandra Qin and Esteban Pedraza); “Are You My Mommy” (Written by Paula Jean Hixson; Directed by Gavin Michael Booth; Produced by Paula Jean Hixson, Neil Napier and Sarah Booth); “The Last Step” (Written and Directed by Nick Snow; Produced by Don Hatton); “Barefoot Empress” (Directed by Vikas Khanna; Produced by Doug Roland; Executive Produced by Deepak Chopra); “What the Hands Do” (Directed by Bing Liu; Produced by Laura Wagner; Edited by Collin Kriner; Music by Casey Wayne McAllister)

Between the 815HORTS matinee and prime time blocks, the Sundance Film Festival Shorts Tour will showcase seven films from the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Moreover, attendees will enjoy industry networking opportunities in the RPL Nordlof Center lobby, where food and refreshments will be for sale.

General admission tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students with a school ID and can be purchased ONLINE (or at the door as available). Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, as some featured films include mature content. Ticketed guests will be allowed re-entry.

For updates, follow www.815HORTS.com, the 2023 815HORTS Facebook Event Page and Plus Seven Company social channels (FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn).

REGISTER FOR THE 5HORT ROUTE LUNCH + LEARN: With the purchase of a general admission ticket to 815HORTS, The 5HORT Route: Building a Career Through Short Films is a free lunch and learn session exclusive to the first 50 registrants. The 5HORT Route will be held from 12-2 p.m. at City Stage Studios (821 First Avenue, Rockford, IL 61104), where attendees will learn about leveraging the art of short filmmaking to help create a successful career arc. Panel discussion and Q&A topics include: The Road to the Cannes Short Corner; Building Support Through Social Media; and Networking and Resources for Scaling Your Career. To register for The 5HORT Route, (1) purchase your ticket to 815HORTS HERE AND (2) email Nick@PlusSevenCompany.com to reserve your spot. Registered attendees will be provided lunch.

815HORTS PARTNERS: Plus Seven Company would like to thank the following partners and individuals for supporting 815HORTS:

  • Presenting Partners: City of Rockford + Rockford Film Office
  • Premier Partner: Illinois Film Office
  • Supporting Partner: Ron Clewer
  • In-Kind Partners: RPL Nordlof Center, City Stage Studios, District Bar & Grill
  • Nonprofit Partner: Rockford Public Library Foundation
  • Special Thanks: Dena Altamore, Don Hatton, Peter Hawley, Jerry LaBuy, Bing Liu, Josiah Sjöström

Bing Liu’s Rise to Oscar and Peabody Accolades

Best known for directing “Minding the Gap”—which was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the 91st Academy Awards and won a Peabody—Bing Liu was also a segment director on “America to Me”, which premiered on Starz and was hailed as one of the best TV shows of the year.

Liu also co-directed “All These Sons” with Josh Altman, which won Best Cinematography at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and the Maysles Award at the Denver International Film Festival. Liu’s short documentary “What the Hands Do” had its world premiere at the 2023 Camden International Film Festival. He has been supported by Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices in Documentary, a Film Independent Fellowship and Truer Than Fiction Award, the Garrett Scott Development Grant, the United States Artists fellowship, the SFFILM Westridge Fellowship, the Sundance Screenwriter and Director Labs, the Sundance Institute Asian American Fellowship, and the Concordia Fellowship. Liu is currently developing several fiction and non-fiction projects.

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