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Apricot

Ben Briand’s film, “Apricot (2009),” is a lovely story of two people out on a date, The man asks the girl questions of her first love and her first kiss because he doesn’t seem to remember his. This film used flashbacks really effectively. They were made to look fuzzy and not really connected in anyway, which was exactly how the woman was explaining her childhood.  This film gave a deep feeling of nostalgia and the fun of being a kid and doing so many cool things and having close relationships.  What is good about this short is that it isn’t very complicated.  There is not much going on besides the cafe scenes and the flashback of the two characters.

Check it out here!

As stated before, short film are becoming more popular as time goes on.  They have already become extremely popular in Europe and will continue to grow in the United States.  In an interview between Tetsuya Bessho, founder of the British Short Shorts Festival and J@pan Inc, he states, “We are entering a time where short films are becoming a major marketing product; their circulation is growing and one day very soon, a short film industry will become a true reality (The Business of Short Film).”  It seems that now is the time for any movie lover to really get into the short film category.

Because many shorts can now be viewed online and be distributed cheeper and faster, festivals have started to migrate to the online community. But at the end of day, a true film lover always gets the best experience from watching films in theaters.  Short film festivals are great opportunities now to mingle and network with people interested in the same topics as either the filmmaker or the viewer.  At film festivals one could view a wide variety of different films, especially international films, that one wouldn’t usually have access to.  If more people see how great short film are in the first place, they are sure to hop on the band wagon and become short film festival lovers too.

As for the future of short film festivals, it can only go up from here.  More short films are going to become specialized in a certain genre, or will be more widely accepting of more genres.  Things will become globalized and more and more international short film festivals will come to life.  There definitely will not be any decrease in online short film festivals, instead viewers will seek out other technologies rather than the computer in which to watch these festivals.  Only time will tell how things will shape up. but one thing is for sure, short film festivals are only getting started.

For more information on short film festivals visit Dana’s Short Film Blog!

Source:

“The business of short films.” J@pan Inc 86 (2009): 40-41. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 May 2011.

6.Holly Shorts : Holly Shorts Short Film Festival takes place in Hollywood, California from August 11-18.  This is one of the more prominent short film festivals in which students can submit their work.  Films must be 30 minutes or less and must be documentary, webisode, music video, live action or animation.  And this time for the first time ever they are accepting a new form of short in the commercial category.  Here guests can screen films, speak with industry panels; attend workshops and parties and finally the awards ceremony at the end. This year the winner for best film can expect to win a prize of $10,000 to use in postproduction of an upcoming product.

This festival mainly focusing on starting careers for filmmakers and putting them on the right track through networking. For more information visit their blog.

7. NYC Shorts: This film festival held from September 23-24 is one of the shorts non-online film festivals.  Obviously taking place in New York City, this festival was made as the opening page states, “ by filmmakers, for filmmakers.” It includes, comedies, documentaries, lgbt, student, foreign language and animation.  NYC shorts prides themselves on the quality of films that shown in the festival.  They are said to promote “ provocative and entertaining films.”

What also makes this festival different from most is that three different people founded it.  David Barba, Jennifer Pellerito, and James Pellerito.  All three have a lot of experience in the film industry and accept films from all around the world into the festival.

8.A3F: This is more of a competition then a film festival, but it seems like a really interesting and fun thing to be apart of.  A3F stands for The Almost Famous Film Festival and is located in Arizona.  Basically, it is a short film festival in which participants work through challenges and see who does the best.  They tend to support filmmakers in Arizona and all throughout the southwest.  There, filmmakers can go through workshops to intensify their skill, have mixers with the filmmaking community.

Some challenges that take place there is a 48 hour challenge, in which filmmakers have to make a film within 48 hours, One shot, in which filmmakers must create a film by only using one shot, and a music video contest.

9.Lunafest: This festival is only concerned with women.  Started by LUNA, a nutrition bar company for women, this traveling short film festival supports women filmmakers first and foremost and then raises awareness of women issues.  They are dedicated to donating funds to organizations that raise money for causes like breast cancer, and for the community. Basically, the traveling festival goes from October to June each year, any organization that supports women can have the chance to host the event in the town of their choosing.

Films are chosen based on their mission, “ by, for, about women.” They say the stories need to be unique and original, that send out powerful messages.  Lunafest likes to choose out films that they think Hollywood would never touch, so the more hidden and untold story, the better.

10. Chicago Horror Festival : This festival is exclusively for scary short film.  Located at the Portage Theater in Chicago Illinois, horror movie directors and lovers come together for three nights of fright, September 23-25.  All films are independent and awards are given out for Best Short, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Special Effects, Best Screenwriting and finally Best Comedy Horror.  Each winner will receive a certificate.  This festival is interesting in the fact that it only revolves around one genre, but it seems to work well.  The festival started in 2003 and has only gone up since then.  There, you can expect viewing all sorts of gory horror films as well as have discussions with directors and industry professionals.    

Here is a list of some of the short film festivals available in the United States.

1.LA Shorts Festival : This will be the 14th annual year for this festival happening this summer from July 21-29.  This film festival has a wide variety of genres to choose from, anything from action/adventure, to horror, all the way to musicals. The winner of this year’s festival for LA Shorts Best of Fest will win a $60,000 Panavision camera package in which they can use on their next project.

Robert Arentz founded this festival in 1997.  It is accredited by The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, which means that winners of this festival are eligible for Academy Award nominations. There, moviegoers are welcome to view the film along side filmmakers, educational professionals as well as people in the entertainment industry. Some things to expect when visiting the festival is “ coffee chats,” which are meetings with important people in the industry which include distributers, and directors, having an award ceremony for winners of the festival, and if not anything else but watching a bunch of fantastic films for a week.

2.Hill Country Film Festival : This festival, which started in 2010 in Fredericksburg, Texas, was from April 28-30.  Although it is quite new to the short film festival circuit, it is still a festival worth looking at.  This festival celebrates not only filmmakers from Texas, but it also admits films from around the world.  Here, the general public is also allowed to come, watch films and take part in question and answer interviews and festival parties.  This festival caters to the independent filmmakers more and tends to accept films that are of a lower budget then others.  There main focus is to take all the glitz and glamour out of the festival and make it all about watching films.

Some awards offered at this film festival are for, Best Short, Best Texas Film, Best Actress/Actor, Audience Award, and Visionary Award.

3.Manhattan Short Film Festival : Taking place from September 25th through October 2nd, This festival is different than the rest; in that this is not a film festival that takes place in one spot, it is a global event.  That is, they send their films to partnering theaters around the world for viewing and it is up to the audience to vote on the film they like the best.  This festival is much more about the experience of viewing a film and about showing audiences new and innovative short films.  Not only does the festival accept short film but it also accepts screenplays.

This festival only accepts, dramas, comedies, animation, documentary, and experimental.  The best thing about this festival is that it is very interactive with the audience since they get to vote for the winners.  At least six of the festivals winners have come to be nominated by The Academy.  One last extra piece of information is that their website has what is called, “ Film of the Week ,” which shows a different film every week from past winners of the festival.

4.DC Shorts Festival : This festival, which runs from September 8-15 seems to be one of the few festivals in which only accepts all filmmakers but makes a special focus on Washington DC based filmmakers.  The festival, which takes place in Washington DC, has a great variety of genres but only accepts them from new and established directors.  This festival is more exclusive in that it offers inclusive packages for people to pay one price and attend all of the films they would want.  During the festival there is opportunities for filmmakers to have discussions, as well as go to workshops to learn more techniques and network with industry professionals.

DC Shorts Festival admits only films that are shorter than 20 minutes long but likes to receive a wide variety for the general public to watch during the program.  Winners of the festival could receive anything from cash prizes to film stock, and all filmmakers receive personal feedback from all the judges upon viewing the film.

5.Miami Short Film Festival : Started in 2002 by William Vela, this festival started out as a “ rented space and a projector and some 50 chairs to accommodate the cast. (MsFF)” Their goal is to mostly support local filmmakers while also looking at international filmmakers as well. This festival caters to film at 30 minutes or less and accepts foreign film, animation, documentary, experimental, local, and music video.

It takes place from November 14-20 and what is interesting about this film festival is that it is pretty cheap to get tickets to screenings.  What is even better is that they accept donations and for a donation of $50.00 you are guaranteed all the available screening, the member newsletter, and opening and closing parties of the festival.

Film festivals are now more than ever becoming part of mainstream society.  It’s the perfect place for filmmakers as well as the film obsessed.  There are the “big” film festivals, full of actor and actresses, like Sundance and Cannes, but those aren’t of concern for this piece.  This is all about short film festivals.  With the invention of the Internet, short films have become more easy to access and are being watched ever day.  A short film is a film that doesn’t quite reach the length of a feature film,(The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences define it as less than 40 minutes) but that doesn’t make it any less worth watching.  To the uneducated in short film, one might think of Pixar animated shorts when they first think of short films.  But, short films can be anything, they can be in the form of a narrative or they can be experimental, and they can take form of live action or animation full with drama, tragedy, and comedy but in a more concentrated way.

While short films can be found anywhere, short film festivals are the place to go to see some of the best.  The great thing about these festivals is that now, there are not only short film festivals all around the United States, there are thousands more around the world.  Knowing about all these short film festivals would be amazing, but there is not enough time in the world to go to all of them, so we’ll focus more on American short film festivals.

FUTURESTATES second season was mostly related to the first season’s futuristic vibes, but differed in some  senses.

The first film, “Beholder,” directed by Nisha Ganatra is about a couple living in a gated community protected by the government.  The couple decides to have their first child genetically altered to contain only the best genes possible trying to avoid the homosexuality gene.  This film deals a lot with rules and how in ” gated communities” or in certain bubbles of society certain rules must be followed at all time, and if they are not, it can result in the excommunication of the residents.  Sasha, the main character has to deal with the struggle of getting receiving treatment against the homosexual gene, or leaving the comfort of her gated community, Red Estates.  The reason for her questioning the treatment is because she came from a gay family and her parents left her in the community to give her a better life.  She ultimately had the choice of changing her baby to fit in, or escaping the society to give her child a better life.  This film was a very emotional film, and was very sympathetic towards Sasha.  I believe that she ultimately made the right decision in the end though.

The second film of the season is “Remigration” directed by Barry Jenkins.  This film explored the feelings of a family who left the city and gets recruited to go back years later.  They are chosen by government like officials to join a remigration organization in San Francisco to become middle classs Americans working in service jobs.  The catch is that they will receive top of the line medical care which their family needed because their daughter, Naomi, has respiratory problems and needs treatment.  This film did a good job of showing the family’s thought process throughout the entire time through the organization.  It seems as though it they are against the entire organization, but at the end, become apart of it.  It kind of feels like they sold out to the organization, but at the end of the day, they did have really good reason to conform.

The season’s third film, “Asparagus” was directed by Robby Henson.  Interestingly, this film is about and Asparagus green house and the engineer, Dekard. Deckard is a very simplistic character at first.  He does everything the controlled green house structure tells him too and just hangs out in there.  When he meets the fertilizer delivery girl, Elena, he quickly starts to like her and they go out on a date.  In their futuristic society, they go into a dating compatibility center which shows their whole future in mere seconds. While this makes Dekard hesitant of starting a relationship with Elena, he thinks twice and decides against what the computer tells him.   When Dekard makes this decision, it is interesting that the decision was made to move the one asparagus that did not belong with the enhanced one and planted it outside.  This film brings to light the power of humans and their capability of making their own decisions despite what technology has told them.

The next film in the series was titled, “Spring of Sorrow,” directed by by Suzi Yoonessi.  This film takes place in a world where everything has become barren and there is little to no water.  It revolves around two sisters and the ones struggle to help the other while trying to get water for the other.  The little sister creates a fantastical story about going to the Spring of Sorrow to retrieve water for her sister.  In the end the film teaches about environmental  responsibility.  The younger sister learns not to take things on the earth for granted, and if she works well with the environment, it will give back to her and give her water.  The  yellow coloring in this film really make it seem like the world is overtaken by heat and that there is not much plant life left.  It really puts into perspective how humans take care of the earth and how they don’t have responsibility.

The fifth film in the series is, ” Digital Antiques,” directed by JP Chan.  This film is about a world that is so far advanced of what it is today, that CDs and DVDs have become antiques.  In this film, a man named Kai visits the Digital Antique shop in which he tries to find a device to help him play a CD that his mother left for him after she died. The store owner takes him to into a tunnel in which everything is so piled up everywhere.  Whats interesting about this film as in others is that most of these FUTURESTATES films have multicultural characters.  This is different in the sense that it shows that hopefully in the future the world will become more acceptable with biracial couples and families.  This film also highlights the fact of how now technology becomes old so fast.  The film is supposed to take place in the year 2036.  in the grand scheme of things that really isn’t too far off from now.  It does provoke thinking and kind of scares me to think that the world will become so obsessed with technology that new technologies will only last a short time.

” Exposure,” directed by Mia Trachinger is about a government agency that is trying to expose the whole worlds population to a vaccine that will save people from a disease.  While some are running away trying to avoid this, the government will stop at nothing to vaccinate the general public.  Once everyone becomes vaccinated, everything seems to be fixed and everyone becomes happy but soon after that things start to break down and people start to get sick.  This film provokes thoughts on how much trust we as the public put into the government and believe that they have our best interest at heart.  The film is shot to show future things like phone calls that can be made while looking at each other through the wall, but everything else seems to look the same. This film puts more emphasis on the governments advancements and the years to come and whether they should be held to such a high standard.

” The Dig,” directed by Bennet Cohen is about a group of of explorers working at a site in which they are researching an ancient civilization.  They come to the site to get clues on how the civilization dealt with global warming before them.  The only thing wrong is that the environment is going down quickly and the diggers are desperate to get answers. In midst  of all the chaos, the the diggers find what used to be the United Nations and a try to have ” faith” as the old civilization did.  This film was created the future to look much more dismal than all of the other shorts.  It also put into perspective that what is happening now, wont last forever, and that we need to take care of the things that we have so things wont get burried in a cave for later generations to find.

“White,” directed by Sayeeda Clark is about a man living in New York City in the worst of global warming conditions.  While trying to get money for his wife and new baby, he resorts to selling the pigment in his skin.  This film was very interesting.  I knew that changing pigments in the skin was very possible, but I never thought about it getting to the point in which you don’t get rid of it because you want to get rid of it but instead give it up for money.  Even though this film shows clearly the bad effects of global warming and the extreme heat of the future, it still showcases the fact that humans will still be human and not robots.  It shows that emotions will stay intact that that there will be human connections rather then machines everywhere. This film felt more realistic to the situation now, than most of the over films in the series.

” Worker Drone,” directed by Sharat Raju is based on an outsourced office working in India, who works for Americans.  There is an interesting form of globalization in the film.  The workers in India are asked to play this video game, little do they know they are actually fighting a war through the video game.  Wouldn’t that be nice, to fight a war while using a video game?  If this would ever come to be a reeality, that the United States outsources a company so that they can fight our wars on a game, the world will become even worse of a place than it already is.  This film is a very scary prediction of what the world could be like.”

Overall the FUTURESTATES shorts were all very interesting to watch.  They provoked a lot thought, especially in me, about what is to come in the future.  The worst part about it, is that there really isn’t much that we can to to prevent things, we can only take responsibility now and try to fix things as they come.  I’m really glad I got a chance to see them.

FUTURESTATES shorts are film made by directors predicting the future of America and the world.  These films may not take place in the near future, but they deal with conflicts that will impact our future generations.  While they may be fantastical, many of them seem very realistic in what could happen.  The majority of these shorts are made to make the future seem bleak, without hope or faith, and unappealing.

Usually I am not a fan of  futuristic films, but both of the seasons for FUTURESTATES did such a good job with engaging me as a viewer and holding my attention throughout by making it seem very realistic.  The characters in all these films were very easy to identify with.  Most of them were middle class Americans that didn’t seem to fit in anywhere they were placed.  There was a reoccurring theme in the first season of making it to the “other side”. This is important because usually America is portrayed as the greener side of the yard, but these films shed a different light.  That was not the case here.

The first film in the first season was ” Fallout,” directed by Ben Rekhi.  This film which was shot in live action, was then turned into black and white animation.  The story of a man, Damien, seeking his love after a disastrous nuclear bomb was quite an emotional one. Each shot was focused on the characters emotions, whether it be the main characters or people in the background.  Eventually the evacuation brings them together as they try to get away from a bomb that will neutralize them.  Towards the end, once they are hit with the bomb, green light washes over them and they are neutralized and now have the means to start a better life and new life for them.  Even though, the couple was battling demons of their own, they figure that their relationship is worth fighting for because it could leave an any moment, which is what happened to the city.

I feel like this film was one of the less futuristic films, but it still covered the main idea of nuclear weapons.  They cause so must distress and displacement.  The city was somewhat symbolic to the couples relationship.  It was destroyed by a bomb, like theirs was destroyed by constant fighting, but in the end the neutralization not only allowed for the city to rebuild but also the relationship as well.

The second film of the season was “Mister Green,” directed by Greg Pak.  In this film global warming has become a reality.  Rivers have overflown and the temperature rises in the middle of December.  Now it is the job of the Mason Park to tell the public of the problems the world is facing because scientists could not fix global warming before it started.  Once meeting with an old friend, Mason.  After their meeting he discovers he has become an experiment in which the nature of the human race has changed.  This film has a very powerful message.  For one to start a change, one must become a change.  Throughout the film Mason was saying that not enough was done, but he also didn’t have power to change anything himself.  By changing his genetic make up to lower his carbon footprint, he could make a difference in the world but getting people to try and change.  It was interesting to see that he became sort of plant-like in the sense that he needed a lot of water to survive and carbon dioxide.  This film definitely put into perspective the amount of time and energy that needs to be present in a change cannot happen with out the person becoming the change.

The next film was “PIA,” directed by Tanuj Chopra.  This film is about a couple, Syama and Rakesh, who seem to be on the right track in terms of happiness, when Rakesh suddenly dies and Syama decides to donate his organs to the government.  The government, which makes robots named PIA to go around and do service jobs, puts Rakesh’s organs in a PIA who eventually gets found while entering the black market.  This film is quite interesting in the fact that the film is about government made robots.  To some it might seem like a far out thought, but it is something that has crossed my mind from time to time.  It was interesting to see how these robots are made to not have any emotions, their movements are not fluid, they squeak and make noise, so why was it that the PIA that contained Rakesh’s organs had emotion and memories.  I think that there is something to be said about this film and the comment that it makes about human emotion being even greater than machinery.  Not that robots are necessarily good, but in this situation, it gave Rakesh a chance to visit his daughter again, even if it wasn’t in his human form.  I believe that is a very strong message.

” The Plastic Bag,” was next, directed by Ramin Bahrani.  This film discussed the journey of a plastic bag from it’s perspective about a relationship with a human who he calls his maker. This film was quite interesting because it breathed life to something so normal and mundane in our life.  A plastic bag to me has never had any feelings, but this film certainly gave it human characteristics.  His whole journey is made to find his human but in the end, returns to the ocean, where he could blend in with the wildlife and belong.  The way in which the film was shot also gave the bag human qualities.  The scenes usually had the bag drifting through the air which added a lot of movement to the film as well, which was nice.  Overall the film was nice to look at, and entertaining to watch, but I felt that it didn’t really have much to do with the theme of the FUTURESTATES shorts.

” Play” directed by David Kaplan and Eric Zimmerman, was an interesting take on virtual reality.  In this film there is no distinguished line between what is real and what is a game.  I mean it would be nice to reset reality when things go bad, but at the same time it will become boring, which I think the film points out.  It seems as if in each layer the players are trying to reach an exit point, but once they are close to leaving the virtual world, they end up continuing on to the next level.  It seems as if the film isn’t so much criticizing technology itself, but the relationship that people have with technology and their obsession with it.  The really great thing about this film is that it has really good transition from character to character.  It gives a sense that each character can penetrate the layer of the other and everyone is interconnected.  Again resembling technology.  Here is a section describing the film from the FUTURESTATES website,

Play has the structure of a puzzle, and is not meant to resolve into a single explanation or interpretation.  Rather, the film is a meditation on our present day of hyperconnectivity and information overload, using videogames as the metaphor for the very human search for meaning and identity.”

“Seed” directed by Hugo Perez deals with the seed corporations and a boy scout-esque group called the Sprouts sworn to protecting genetically modified seeds before anything else in their lives.  It is set in a time after world famine and riots, so the seed company is serious about the seeds becoming contaminated with bad seeds. Juan the main character is quite an interesting character.  He is entirely  devoted to the Sprouts, because he has lost his mother in a food riot.  You would think that he would do anything to protect his father because he is the only thing that is left, but he doesn’t.  It seems that his father was illegally dealing with bad seeds and Juan is torn between being devout to the Sprouts or being loyal to his father.  To me, it seems as if Juan makes the wrong decision at the end.  I would never turn on my family, but then after thinking about it, Juan sees the Sprouts as his family.  The leader takes care of him and to him, he feels like he is making a difference in the world by keeping all the seeds well.  I can see why he decided to turn his father in, but I don’t think he will eventually realize the gravity of his mistake.

“Silver Sling” directed by Tze Chun is a film about futuristic surrogacy in which the period of carrying the babies becomes three months instead of nine.  Although this film is set in the future, it could definitely be something that happens currently.  Lydia, a Russian immigrant, decides to go through with this process in hopes of making more money to get her brother to the United States.  Lydia finds comfort in her nurse who allows her to see that there are more options for making money then to sacrifice ever being able to have children again.  This film is something that is always going to be relevant.  People sell themselves everyday now to surrogacy for money.  Whether the birth is accelerated or not, the issue still exists today, especially with the lower class.  There was one line the the film that really stood out to me.  ” ..In a world where you shouldn’t have to wait for anything.”  That quote stuck out to me because that is that way some things are today.  Everything is so fast paced, and it could only get worse to the point where people don’t have the patience to wait the normal nine months to have a child.  If this becomes a reality, it would be very upsetting.

“Tent City” directed by Aldo Velasco is about a man working at an eviction agency which is a government agency that evacuates people from their homes and sends them to live in Tent City.  This film was interesting in the way that it paralleled the story that Matthew told his son, Ivan, to his real life.  Overall the film is very dull in setting.  Their house, although taken, still seems vacant and empty.  The black and white stills from the story also seem empty as well, with works with the type of life they are living.  It is sad to see that although Matthew does not enjoy his job, he does it for his family without knowing that they don’t agree with his job either.  This film really put into perspective the fact of doing something you love no matter what.  Despite the fact that Matthew lost mostly everything in the end, he still had his family together. They could embark on a new journey, whether it be good or bad because at least they had each other.

” The Other Side” directed by Amyn Kalderali is a film about a futuristic barren town in which a family of three tries to escape from.  Out of all the shorts from the first season this was my favorite.  This film mostly had to do with immigration between the United States and Mexico.  While mostly the United States complains about immigrants from Mexico crossing over, this film inverts that and says that in the future, Mexico will become the better place to live.  We never see the perspective of Mexicans and how they view American’s coming into their territory it was a fresh take on the matter.  While this didn’t make Mexico seem like the nicest of places, towards the end of the film ( criticizing Americans not bothering to learn Spanish) it is exactly the way the United States is treating Mexico right now.  This was a very refreshing film that definitely put into perspective the United States relationship with Mexico.

” The Rise” by Garret Williams is about a elderly couple that has nothing left in the house that they built, so they decide to sell it.  When a younger family comes by offering a price, the owner becomes unwilling to sell.  Throughout the whole film there are ocean sounds which make the neighborhood seem like a beautiful beach town, which clashes with everything the characters are staying.  They make the place seem deserted.  This film seems to comment on the older generation versus the younger generation.  While the elderly are eager to leave the town they are worrisome of leaving their house, while the younger family is eager to move into the deserted neighborhood, even in the destructed condition that it is ( under water).  This film was quite emotional and the shots throughout showed that very well.  The use of closeups and perspective shots made the whole feel of the film come together.

And finally, the last film of the season was ” Tia and Marco” directed by Amie J. Howell.  This film was about a woman’s day on boarder patrol service in which she encounters a young immigrant boy breaking into her house.  This film was one of the more futuristic feeling films.  Every thing had a manual, and there weren’t many things that weren’t mechanized in her house.  Everything seemed to be owned and run by the government because it was mandatory to service the border patrol. I think it was important to see that although Tia tired to fight it, she became attached to the immigrant and felt a connection with him despite the fact she was arresting immigrants a day earlier.  I think it was important that we know she was pregnant.  It especially made sense when Marco asked if Tia could lie to the border patrol and say she was his mother, because I feel like that made her more sympathetic to him since she had taken care of him the night before.  It ended kind of sad, she never properly got to save Marco and shed have to live with that for the rest of her life.

For more information on the shorts click HERE !

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