The films in this year’s Official Selection cover a broad spectrum of topics and themes, with the intention of representing as wide of a swath of human experience as our submission pool allowed. These are not films that seek to give easy answers or leave their stories wrapped up in a neat bow, but to shine a light on the driving forces that define our lives: the passage of time, redemptions, regrets, the trials and tribulations of relationships, depression, anxiety, tragedy and its aftermath.

As in previous years, the 2018 selection includes films from countries such as Brazil, Iran, Russia, Belgium, France, Canada, South Korea, Ireland, England and the U.S. The filmmakers have captured singular stories that we are proud to show. Often they are also focused on a single character or two characters conversing. None of these films intends to offer grand polemic statements, but each tells us something about the world and human experience in a minimalist form.

In addition to geographic diversity, we have seen a number of different styles and genres. Dramatic shorts are dominant, although there are also some seriously funny comedies. No Sex, Be Open, and The 9th Annual Community Opposite Day are all excellent entries in the comedy genre. Four animated films — Encantado, Illusory, VISCID, Count Your Curses — veer towards the surreal, each having a fascination with the marriage of picture and sound. Films in the Documentaries block highlight local oddities and how people define themselves by their jobs. A Corner for August, Homecoming, and Prisoner, A Visual Poem engage with the ever-rising influence of anxiety and depression on college students. Growing Alice and Blessed Days are focused on individuals at the opposite ends of the age spectrum and concern themselves with memory and one’s relationship with physical spaces. Schoolyard Blues, which will surely be a standout for many, is a touching Swedish film about brotherhood and how one’s identity is shaped by familial relationships. The fascination with family, how it shapes identity and how it is transformed by the passage of time permeates much of the films in this year’s Official Selection but is strongest in the documentaries Casa, Home, Leaving and Vacation with Chris.

We look forward to screening these films and more on Saturday, April 28, primarily because we think these films deserve to be seen by as wide an audience as possible and on the biggest screen possible (which in this case happens to be screen in Greg Hall 112). We hope that these films will engender discussion about the topics and issues represented regardless of one’s background. We hope the resonance will be loud and clear.