2023 Festival Lineup (Note the block “letter” for ticketing via Filmfreeway)




Tenth Anniversary Edition

Sponsored by

The Smith Group

Casa de Montecristo 

Ross Brewing

Heritage House – Sotheby’s

A Shared Universe PodcaStudio


The Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival Crew welcomes you to the Tenth Anniversary Edition of our beloved little celebration. We are excited to host you, and honored that you chose to share your art with us. We encourage you to indulge and explore beautiful Asbury Park, and to reach out to the fellow creatives you meet on this beautiful day.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Diana Cordoba, Gliknis Ortiz, all of our sponsors and benefactors, and especially to all of the casts, crews, and staff that created the movies in this book. This would not be possible without you!


THE SHOWROOM CINEMA –  707 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park New Jersey 


  • BLOCK: H   (11:00 – 12:30)

Laria (10:00) Dir. Isaiah Gomez – At the final stage of her journey, a Knight faces her anger & grief.

Oswald (7:07) Dir. Julian Perello – A prospective student taking a tour of campus has his skepticism of the supernatural world put to the test.

Compromise (11:34) Dir. Wenhan Zhang – A woman being faced with life struggles of work, job and family has to come to a compromise to avoid consequences

Heatwave (3:00) Dir. Jordlyn DeLeon – A villager attempts to save his community from a volcanic eruption.

Candy Heart (1:23) Dir. Jordlyn DeLeon – Two gummy bears escape their jar during the night.

Film Ketchup (3:41) Dir. Britney Harrington – A concerned student investigates the use of a film reel applicant when it starts to go missing.

Once Upon a Brick (1:14) Dir. Nate Green – Little Red delivers treats to her grandmother, but things go wrong.

Il Tetto (The Rooftop) (9:41) Dir. Gabriel Wertz  – A father goes back to his old ways. When his daughter finds out, she decides to run away – taking her back to the one place where everything felt safe.

Fitting In (3:37) Dir. Mark Leschinsky – Symbolic social-impact film that draws a parallel between fitting into shoes and fitting into society, and, in doing so, it inspires us to embrace our unique personalities.

Dead Inside (5:54) Dir. Ashley Wimbush – Adam’s girlfriend, Ella, is a zombie, but he doesn’t mind. But are there consequences for loving a monster?

A Case of You (9:53) Dir. Gabriel Werts – A young man journeys to find answers about his absent mother.

The Housekeeper (4:53) Dir. Maya Zeidman – The journey of a housekeeper as she cleans a home, slowly discovering the family’s dark secrets.

Hardcore (9:57) Dir. Madeleine Case – Sarah falls in love with August, the reckless drummer in a band. Before their love story can play out, she finds herself suspended between life, death, and motherhood and is forced to make life altering choices.

Krampus on Campus (5:07) Dir. Nick Barth – While setting up for a film festival, students must confront an unwelcome presence.

The Essence of the Ridges (2:33) Dir. Austin Kim This film shows what we should be fighting to keep, rather than change. It shows the beauty of winter and issues of climate change through skiing.

  • BLOCK: I   (12:40 – 1:50)

There are Bees in the House (15:07) Dir. Morgan Saelens – Asa returns to her childhood home and as she begins to settle back into her home life and routine, she suddenly begins to hear the buzzing of bees. 

The Interrogation (13:00) Dir. Zenghiok Ng – Kai’s war against social LGBTQ discrimination, a journey of internal redemption.

Herrings (8:28) Dir. Keith Chamberlain -Dramatic web series about Frank Briggs, a former skip tracer who helps people disappear in plain sight by disguising their digital footprint.

Desert Sky (14:25) Dir. David Hartstone Caught in a deadly war between magic and technology, a space princess joins forces with her father’s enemies. 

Street Chess: Community, Care, and Competition. (18:56) Dir. Eugene Yoo Street chess…Its community, and their stories.

  • BLOCK: J   (1:55 – 2:55)

Isla Nena (4:33) Dir. Maya Zeidman – 

Two Americas (11:51) Dir. Asher Elias Anantham – Explores the impact of past and present Federal housing policy on racial segregation.

Wishmaker (3:56) Dir. Christina LitvaitisA young star creature named Nova embarks on her first mission as a Wishmaker. Tasked to grant the wish of a little girl on Earth, Nova must learn to overcome her fears and anxiety to fulfill her dreams and mission.

Shadowtown (39:52) Dir. Johnny Cruz – Over the course of a summer day, the lives of four young adults intersect while each faces their own quarter-life crisis.

  • BLOCK: K   (3:00 – 4:15)

Holly Hill (14:39) Dir. Jack Foley The lives of three couples intertwine one evening at the Holly Hill Motel.

White Noise (13:43) Dir. SanMartin Garcia – A young woman struggling with chronic pain attempts to avoid surgery, but scoliosis isn’t the only thing causing her pain.

Past Prologue (13:45) Dir. Brian Russell – An interracial couple reconnects after 60 years. 

Dumb in an Elevator (1:58) Dir. Joe Territo – Two strangers ‘share’ a moment on an elevator.

Forever Friend (20:00) Dir. Jeff Evans-Todd – A young woman wakes up in her childhood home, where she encounters an old friend who’s there to deliver some challenging news.

Bad Beat (11:48) Dir. David Ambrose – Charlie is set. He’s got his own place now and his brother has left him in charge. But a phone call and a briefcase threaten to upend everything he’s worked for,

  • BLOCK: L   (4:25 – 5:00)

Anya (5:53) Dir. Chris Davies When a sinister entity emerges from the forest on a 1970s Halloween night, a young woman’s true motives are revealed – and her future is decided forever.

Just Kiss Me (5:59) Dir. David Musolf – A guilt-ridden husband’s dreams turn into nightmares as a monster stalks him, seeking a kiss.

The Farmhouse (6:50) Dir. Joshua Land, Victor Fink – A teenager finds himself stuck on a farm in a mysterious game with deadly implications.

VRDLK: Family of Vurdulak (13:16) Dir. Samuel Chou – A traveling diplomat that is caught in a snowstorm and forced to take shelter with a poor Serbian family.

  • BLOCK: M   (5:05 – 5:55)

Upon Reflection (2:15) Dir. Johnny Cruz – When Julia goes to retrieve a tool from the basement, strange things begin to happen.

Caregiver (5:00) Dir. Rafel De Leon – A graduate student interviews a young volunteer caregiver for his class project, but something isn’t quite right.

Bidding War (7:37) Dir. Spencer Cohen -A young couple’s desire to buy a home puts them at a crossroads. It’s a war, kill or be killed.

In The Twilight (33:34) Dir. Ryan Callaway – A single dad, Amos, struggles with raising a daughter, and with his own tormented nature. Then, he meets Isabelle!

  • BLOCK: N   (6:00 – 8:10)

Real Criminals (14:53) Dir. Jackson Mirmina – A struggling scam artist plans the robbery of a local bake shoppe.

A Cosplay Life (14:51) Dir. Herb Cremer, Joe Cremer -A popular High School girl must duel her arch nemesis in order to prevent her nerdy secret identity from being exposed to the world.

Altered (9:37) Dir. Jenn Marinello – Anne is ten minutes away from walking down the aisle. The world around her has other plans.

Brewtown (20:00) Dir. Jim Mauro Two college grads struggling to find their way after graduation decide to start a brewery using unconventional and illegal methods.

Secrets – Zach Fields (3:24) Dir. Bill Klages, Ben Drumm  When you get lost in someone’s eyes, it’s easy to daydream about them. Music video of artist Zach Fields’ original song “Secrets.” 

Lord (14:09) Dir. Ajiosha Kilmov, Hirofumi Najada – The brutal Lord of a band of renegades sets out on a robber raid across the desert inhabited by nomadic mutant tribes and monstrous beasts in the post-apocalyptic world.

A Dream of Hawaii (10:26) Dir. Thomas Smoor Isaksen – In a world covered in plastic, Pete leads a nomadic life where he dreams of the pearly white beaches of Hawaii. Will his long journey bring him to a place not covered in plastic waste?

Four Walls – Episode 1 (6:13) Kgosana Monchusi, Menzi Mzimela, Juvais Dunn – Grace Molotsi, a married nurse from the township, feels trapped and at her wits end due to an abusive husband. When she finally takes the decision to end his life, her house is invaded by two thugs on the run from a cash-in-transit robbery gone wrong who take her hostage. 

Space Panther – Hey Woman (2:38) Dir. Megan Gale A young woman’s meteoric rise to glam rock stardom is not what it seems.

Far Away Man (4:15) Dir. Wil Allen The timeless story of a human’s experience following trauma, the struggles they and their loved ones can experience, and the hope and freedom available at the end of a journey of process and vulnerability.

Cuz You’re My Girl (3:58) Dir. Robert P. Barnett, Benjamin Steeper -A fun and funny WWE love story parody with a happy twist! 

What’A’Bucket (6:50) Dir. Sergiy Pudich – A young couple watches an old TV show where the detective reveals clues about the husband’s cheating. Will they stay together or follow the detective’s bits of advice and destroy their relationships?

Simply (8:07) Dir. Zeid Adnan AbuOdeh A man trying to commit suicide but keeps getting interrupted. Then he changes his mind but life intervenes.

People of the Port: The Story of Milwawkee’s Jones Island (27:08) Dir. Claudia Looze – The tale of an often-ignored part of the city: From Indian village to French-Canadian trading post, Yankee shipyard, Polish fishing colony, and urban infrastructure hub, Jones Island has supported five distinct cultures through five stages of economic development on one narrowly circumscribed piece of land.

Reunion (8:00) Dir. Jonathan Nagel – Middle-aged ex-bandmates, Mike and Charlie, reunite to pay tribute to their late friend/bandmate, and the night spirals when Mike pushes to get the band back together.

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  • BLOCK: F   (11:00AM – 12:15)

The Shape (10:39) Dir. Brandon Lang – Inspired by the “Halloween” film franchise, The Shape follows Mike and Harry’s endeavor to film a piece on the 1978 Murder Spree when things take a turn for the worse.

Gustav Spicy (9:54) Dir. Raymond Kleinschmidt -An aspiring culinary student struggles to craft the perfect recipe for a cooking competition featuring her favorite celebrity chef.

The Great American Short Story (4:20) Dir. Daniel Maggio – A writer secludes himself in a cabin to write the Great American Short Story. He quickly becomes more interested in creating the perfect environment for writing as opposed to doing any actual work.

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie (15:00) Dir. Christen R. Carter – When Carla prepares her husband’s favorite meal, the family recipe gets a new twist brought on by many years of the same old.

Swindled (5:51) Dir. Mo Zapata – A lady is on the lam but who and what is she running from and why?

Welcome to the Theatre (24:30) Dir. Matt Provenzano – Community theatre actors talk about their love/hate relationship with an old dilapidated chapel theater filled with mold, bugs, and a lifetime of memories.

  • BLOCK: E   (12:30 – 1:40)

The Decision (11:22) Dir. Anthony Carvello – While behind bars, a mafioso hit man finds himself fighting for his freedom and his dignity as his boss pushes him to take the fall for every ruthless act they’ve committed in tandem.

Donuts (12:40) Dir. Peter Crawford Beverly serves up coffee, donuts and empathy to a pair of Chicago police officers who have been thrown together as partners.

Symptomatic (9:43) Dir. Sonia Gumuchian – When a young woman begins working closely with a celebrated doctor, she is torn between staying silent about her boss’ inappropriate advances or making noise about a man with a spotless record.

Lova’s Game (14:20) Dir. Mohammed Elmzhagi – While on a trip to France, English linguistics professor Dr. Isaac Keiser must decide the fate of his relations

hip with his younger, wild girlfriend, Francesca, after he learns the disturbing details of her erotic love affair.

Chipper (20:47) Dir. Shaun MacLean – After receiving a mysterious letter, a wayward son returns to his childhood home to wrestle with a dark family secret.

  • BLOCK: D   (1:50 – 2:50)

Peter the Caterpillar (5:16) Dir. Elizabeth Kirshtein – Peter the Caterpillar navigates a wondrous and treacherous new world.

Cold Feet (7:29) Dir. Daniel Villalba – A frantic groom-to-be having reservations about his wedding attempts an escape, until intervened by his mutual friend who shuts down the chaos

Drive (8:44) Dir. Robert Monegan -A New York taxi driver and an uptight passenger share a bumpy ride.

Service Me! (3:20) Tom Cavanaugh A woman pulls into a gas station, but instead of asking the attendant to “Fill it up!”, she makes some odd requests!

The Pinch Hitter (8:54) Dir. Jim Harkins – A young couple wants to have a baby, the husband has a low sperm count. They ask his idiot brother to be the sperm donor.

Pearly Gates (14:51) Dir. Loring Murtha – Patricia bites off more than she and Todd can chew when she agrees to let Rebecca’s aunt stay with them for what turns into an open ended visit.

Interracial Couple in a Cheerios Ad (3:52) Dir. Christine Lakin – An advertising team brainstorms a way to make the world’s most inclusive commercial. 

The Man From Granada (14:57) Dir. David Musolf – An actor must win the lead role in “The Man From Granada” stage play to capture the heart of the actress he loves.

  • BLOCK: C   (3:00 – 4:00)

Banjii & Mayuri – “One Way Ticket” (5:21) Dir. Mayuri Joshi – One of seven part music video series, based on Banjii & Mayuri’s real life and the eastern concept of the 7 chakras. Each episode highlights one chakra with Episode 5, the expression chakra, introducing performer and choreographer from India, Maitreyee Joshi, who is Mayuri’s younger sister.

Yo Andrea (7:28) Dir. Brian Russell A middle-aged man hatches a plan to win the woman of his dreams.

Hard Feelings (15:43) Dir. Rick-kendy Noziere – A young man tracks down a former cop deemed not guilty in a killing to get him to tell him what really happened that fateful night.

East River Story (28:54) Dir. Bruce Gorman – A disgraced Wall Street banker arrives at the East River Walk with the intention of killing himself, rather than turn himself in the next morning as arranged by his criminal defense attorney. He strikes up a conversation with a homeless man. With sunrise only hours away, the two men are forced to face certain truths about themselves that will change their lives forever.

  • BLOCK: B   (4:10 – 5:30)

April At the End of the Month (6:00) Dir. Tim Disbrow – She wanted some time to herself. It’s not going well.

Sugar (29:28) Dir. Evan Galiffa, Travis Huhn – A short film about childhood trauma and masculinity. A young craftwork apprentice accepts a dinner invite from his mentor and finds himself in a strange and uncomfortably intimate situation.

The Dispatcher (4:04) Dir. Debbie Miller Nelson – Day in the life of a 911 Police Dispatcher from Woodbridge, NJ when her personal life intersects with her professional one.

Filipinos Get Some (20:00) Dir. Mike Manese – A guy runs into an ex-girlfriend on his way to meet his friends at a picnic to propose marriage to his current girlfriend.

Darwin Fick (19:15) Dir. Joe Benedetto – When a famous author develops writer’s block, an unusual option arises.

  • BLOCK: A   (5:45 – 7:00)

Bunco Babes (24:22) Dir. Kevin Bible – Dramedy about twelve New Jersey women in their sixties who play a monthly Bunco dice game. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to hold a match in a few months as one of their own either dies, or moves to Florida. Tonight’s no different.

Suddenly (4:20) Dir. Nic Gregory – The journey of a lightning bolt from sky to ground highlights the saying “life flashes before your eyes”.

Dismissal Time (29:33) Dir. André Joseph – When a black high school student in a reputable prep school becomes the victim of a vicious form of cyberbullying, his history teacher makes it her mission to bring those responsible to task 

There’s Something Wrong With Paul (12:30) Dir. Mark Clauburg – Recently released from prison, Paul is reunited with his siblings over dinner. Some are not ready to forgive just yet, as a dark family secret is revealed.

Loved (14:00) Dir. David Joseph Higgins – A Crazed Plumber Risks Both His Career And Prison When He Finds His Wife In Bed With Another Man.