Fantasia 2023 shorts program review: The biting brilliance in ‘BORN OF WOMAN’ wows again.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logo


(2023 shorts program)

Born of Woman 2023 banner

Fantasia’s top-tier showcase of intimate auteur genre visions returns with eight works from six countries that will leave you shaken and amazed. 


A crashed pilot seeks a way out of her unfamiliar and harsh surroundings. As her hopes of rescue fade, memories become her saving grace and doom. This beautifully lit short takes advantage of its pace. A final reveal shocks.

Se Dit D’un Cerf Qui Quitte Son (Said of a Deer That Sheds Its Antlers)

A black comedy version of The Lottery, this film kills off its eldest family members, and everyone is cool with it. This laugh-out-loud absurdist short had me grinning uncontrollably. Salomé Crickx has a real winner here.

Only Yourself To Blame

In a sharp look at rape trauma and its eternal demons, filmmaker Noomi Yates‘ 8-minute short creates a powerful statement that speaks volumes.

Sweet Tooth poster 2023Les Dents Du Bonheur (Sweet Tooth)

What begins as a bring your daughter to work story quickly spirals to a darkly absurdist commentary on class. The production design and cinematography have you believe this short is a timeless French narrative drama. Director Joséphibe Darcy Hopkins takes us down the rabbit hole of deranged power structure, revenge, and respect.

The Taster

A near-future scenario plays the backdrop for director Sophia Bierend‘s Fantasia short. A young woman becomes the official taster for a high-ranking general. Learning about the recent demise of her predecessor, her insight into the fearmongering of her new environment grows clearer. Mandy Peterat‘s production design is top-notch. THE TASTER is one hell of a treatment for a feature. It screams franchise development.

Madeline Brewer in PRUNING


Racism and folklore come together for a sweet tongue-in-cheek revenge tale from Michelle Krusiec. It is a satisfyingly smirk-inducing addition to the program.


Writer-director Nicole Mejia‘s visual metaphor for generational trauma comes to life through a beautiful combination of Seth Macmillian’s camerawork, Alain Emile’s music, and performances. Its inevitability haunts you.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022 review: Feeling leads to healing in Nicole Mejia’s brilliant directorial debut, ‘A PLACE IN THE FIELD.’

Unresolved trauma, redemption, and one big promise drives war veteran Gio’s epic road trip. The subtlety of the film’s opening moments tells us precisely who this man is. Taking life one day at a time since returning from war is a deliberate decision. As his journey continues on the open road, so does his perspective on life and others.

Khorri Ellis is the perfect foil for Don DiPetta. The nuance of this performance will stick with you. I want casting directors to take notice here. DiPetta as Gio plays the entire gambit of emotions. The resentment and simmering anger are hiding just under the surface. Surrounded by a strong supporting cast, DiPetta’s vulnerability captivates. Ellis and DiPetta have chemistry that makes A Place in the Field extraordinary.

The use of natural light gives the film life. You cannot ignore the cinematography. The pack symbolism is clever. The juxtaposition of coyotes and Gio’s fallen brothers is unmistakable. Alongside progressively artistic flashbacks from his time in the field, the screenplay is both poetic and cathartic. The emotional pull of A Place in the Field is indescribable. It creeps up on you in a way you won’t notice at first. You feel Gio’s grief and anxiety palpably. If nothing else, it will make you wonder how much we’re doing for soldiers who return from war. When we have police officers get a psych test after they discharge their firearms, it is clear we’re doing the bare minimum for our veterans. PTSD cannot be ignored. A Place in the Field is a real win for Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022 and for the inevitable wider audiences to come.

For more information on Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022 click here!