Kansas City's Universal Film Festival Announces Screening Line Up for August 22-24 Event

PTSD & Equine Therapy, Missing US Nuclear Bombs & More

Kansas City’s Universal Film Festival, one of the top 100 film festivals in the United States, will return to downtown Kansas City on August 22-24, 2019. The Red Carpet will open Thursday, August 22 at 6:00pm.

More 40 screenings will take place during this two-day Festival, with over 100 guest filmmakers from around the world who will be on-hand for Q&A’s. Screenings will take place at the Alamo Draft House located at 1400 Main Street in the Power & Light District. UFF’s celebrates the art of independent film by attracting filmmakers and filmgoers, critics, and movie enthusiasts from around the world. Kansas City’s Festival is considered a significant launching ground for up-and-comers in the film industry.

Films have been nominated in the following genres:





●Foreign Film Horror

●Science Fiction


Filmmakers from 107 countries submitted close to 1,130 films. This Festival is an excellent opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to network and promote their work and talents to local, national, and international audiences. The UFF panel of judges is comprised of film industry professionals, actors, independent filmgoers, producers, and Universal Film Festival board members.


Rounded Corners by Paul Check, Drama. Runtime 1:27:00 

A book smart 13-year old girl, raised alone by her Wall Street father, learns about life from her new carefree babysitter over summer vacation.

Midnight at the Riverbend Theatre by Dennis Dey, Drama, runtime 29:00

A runaway realizes a life altering encounter while hiding out in a local theater after hours.

E D I T by Dennis Dey, Drama, runtime 39:29,

The spiritual nature of a young video editor plays a key role in the life of a grieving widow.

Blink by Kayden Phoenix, Drama. Runtime 12:53

If you could get time back at the end, how would you begin? John Delacroix is an ambitious businessman, so much so that he finds himself neglecting what is truly important in his life. After a sudden heart attack, a mysterious women grants him the time he spent blinking to go back and relive his greatest joys and struggles.

Fleeting Youth by Ryan Doyle, Drama, runtime 22:30

“Fleeting Youth” is a coming-of-age short drama about two young musicians struggling to make their mark in an ambivalent world. As graduation approaches, Kendra grapples between continuing to pursue her music duo with her boyfriend Jackson or leave him behind to study music formally, pending her acceptance to prestigious universities.

Where the Great Spirit Lives by Melonie Gartner, Horror, runtime 25:22

Dirke, a war veteran, struggles with personal demons in a small town where he's shunned and misunderstood by everyone. He soon meets Emma, the girl of his dreams. One who doesn't judge him and is accepting. Emma is the only comfort that Dirke has going in his life when everything else seems bleak. Emma has an intense hold on him, and his world will never be the same. It's a love story which love takes place where fantasy and reality cross.

Dreams Come True by Robbie Barnes, Horror, runtime 19:59,

In this surrealistic world, Jack and Sarah are literally living the dream life. But one of them wants to break free from their perfect dreamscape and live a life in a real world, filled with beauty, pain, and everything in between. But doing so might cost this couple everything and turn their dream into a nightmare.

Afreen by Aashish Chanana, Action, runtime 1:48:00

The first dramatic feature film to tackle the disturbing ISIS phenomenon, Afreen takes an unblinking, uncompromising look at the roots of extremism, and offers difficult solutions that the governments, religions, and peoples of the world ignore at their own peril. Two years ago, a failed attack on the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa left two men dead. Now, unbeknownst to the public, another attack plot is brewing in the city of Toronto.

Controlled Breaths of Air by Efemia Fard, Foreign Film, Runtime 30:00

Margaritka, a 70 year-old mother of Nevena and Borislava, marries a Stalin colleague of the same institute after he raped her and she became pregnant. She must marry the person who raped her so she is not the mother of an illegitimate child. Stalin thinks it is commonplace to beat his pregnant wife daily and cruelly.

Friends Like These by Zoran Dragelj, Foreign Film, runtime 1:00:00

After his relationship falls apart, Sal, and his two best friends, sent out to find happiness. A girl who set out to help Sal results in excessive drinking, late nights, and mild debauchery. An ornery tale of lust, sex, mind games and alcohol.

The Journey Back to Normal: A Look at Complementary Therapies to Combat PTSD by Nicole Amelio-Casper, Documentary, runtime 01:05:29

Nicole Amelio-Casper, a Veteran's spouse who spent 20 years in the military community produced this documentary called A JOURNEY BACK TO NORMAL - The film documents 4 key alternative therapies that are impactful at decreasing the negative effects of PTSD. This film highlights three non-profit organizations near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Missouri and one non-profit outside of Philadelphia, PENNSYLVANIA. The film CHRONICLES their unwavering pursuit to help active duty military & veterans in their hour of need. Their efforts are honorable, and SO critical. We need to band together to support and heal our Heroes!

Ondraa Irandaa Aasaigal by Abilesh Ravi, Foreign Film, runtime 28:20

A thriller constrained to time, revolving arround a bunch of eccentric characters nudging through betrayal, love and friendship.

The Nuclear Nightmare Cover-Up by Renee Green, documentary.   Runtime 1:29:33

This documentary is about a B52 with 2 thermonuclear bombs that went by the call sign “Buzz One Four” that crashed on Big Savage Mountain in Western Maryland on January 13, 1964 during a blizzard. The local citizens became the first responders and almost died trying to search and rescue the crew members of this B52 that crashed near the small town of Grantsville, Maryland. Even though this crash occurred over 50 years ago, the people impacted by this event continue with their journey of recovery. This documentary interviews key eyewitnesses to the crash, rescue and recovery of the crew members, deactivating the bombs, security of the crash site along with an admission that there were to use deadly force if necessary, to secure the B-52.

The CruciFire by Christopher Annino, Horror, runtime 21:00

'The CruciFire’ is a psychological thriller. This film exposes predators who choose to do harm to the innocent. The film is about a vigilante phantom that punishes individuals who hurt the innocent. It’s well known that many people that have been victims of sexual abuse are abused by authority figures. This is their story and this is their vengeance. The person who calls himself The CruciFire is a hero for those who can’t speak for themselves. Predators beware you will be found and you will be crucified. The film was based on actual events but fictionalized. This film is in Memory of Mia Zapata and Andrea Tegan Post. Film locations include New England, Florida, Georgia, Canada.

Lift by Alexander Kaminer, Comedy, runtime 1:40:00.

What would you do when your own conscience takes over and gives you the name "Jimmy the Trickster?" This conscious takes money using a miraculous app called LIFT that sets you on an ethereal journey where you'll overcome your own ego, find true love, and finally realize your dream?

Copenhagen Road by Lee Chambers, Drama, Runtime 8:20

Late one-night Craig, a mechanic, reluctantly agrees to help Nicole, a desperate young woman with a flat tire, in a car all too familiar to him. Nicole's mysterious incident on the old Copenhagen Road slowly strikes an eerie note for Craig and brings his own shady past rushing forward.

Split Decisions by Tom Kondilas, drama, runtime 33:44

An unexpected pregnancy forces a working mom to fight for control of her job, family and sense of reality. A magical-realistic dramedy with laser beams (and a strong female lead).

Amin & Akvan by Ali Reza, Animation, runtime 1:16:00

Two young men (Amin and Akvan) one a barber, one a dyer, both experts in their profession, go to a remote town with limited industries to start a new life. Amin tries hard and succeeds in controlling soap production and distribution market. He meets a boy, Farbod, who accompanies him. Amin marries Firoozeh (Farbod’s mother) and starts again the attar shop which is an inheritance from Farbod’s father. Their family of three becomes credible among the people where Akvan finds good income and fame. Mixing jealousy with competition, he colludes with Fariborz, a profiteering and greedy merchant who has lost the distribution of soap market to Amin. In order to besmear Amin’s reputation in front of the ruler, Akvan devises a heinous scheme against the ruler’s life, but in the end, he himself is trapped in the conspiracy and dishonest plot he employs to gain more profit and to defeat Amin.

Temptations by Aashish Chanana, Drama, runtime 30:00

A story of two gorgeous women. Victoria, a stunning supermodel trapped in a loveless millionaire marriage, (played by TATYANA FOREST) to David Broder (played by DAVID PEREZ) and Nicole, a small town Alberta girl struggling to achieve her dreams and searching for LOVE in a tangled web of deceit and murder (played by ASHLEIGH DAVIDSON).

Chosen One by Thomas Meyer, Action, runtime 1:29:26

Chosen One takes you to the Land of The Forgotten Forest, an enchanted place where elves live. Celadriel, a young elf girl, stumbles onto a group of elf archers, who protect the land from the threat of vampires. Showing them of her abilities, it is here that she learns of her destiny, that is written in prophecy. Leaving all that she knows behind, she trains and is tested. When the land is faced with a vampire invasion, led by the villainous Andrasteia, can Celadriel fulfill her prophesy as the Chosen One?

The Immigrant / Her American Nightmare, Drama, runtime 1:36:00

Carmen, saving her own life and the life of her recently born son, escapes from her village, laid waste by violence. In an extreme push for survival, withstanding the worst of dangers, she crosses the border and comes to New York. She believes that her effort is worth it. What wouldn't someone do for their child? What card wouldn't be played to save a life? To have freedom? To be happy? There were many painful times...They exploited her. They abused her. They mistreated her. With her fragile, naive soul, she only increased her confusion, watched her anguish grow and lost her mind. Carmen became one of the so many immigrants who ended up being buried in a dark nightmare. Carmen, like so many others, could not find her American Dream

Boy Who Can See The Wind by Dean Norris, Animation, runtime 5:00

Five-year-old Danny, a recent Mexican immigrant, is not socialising with local youngsters and lives in his dream-world of flying, loves TV's Superman and has the model. His mother dismisses this obsession as a childhood phase, while Grandmother encourages it and suggests Danny should experiment with flying objects. Somewhat frustrated with paper airplanes and models, he enjoys success with kite until Mother's criticism knocks his confidence. Again Grandmother steps in with support and tells story of 'The boy can see the wind'. A stronger Danny is happy to pursue his dream and will become a pilot.

A City Between Us by Maria João Ferreira, Foreign film, Runtime 1:02:16

A woman balances between the love of her dying marriage and an old boyfriend that reappears in her life.

The Treasure by Silvia Gregorova, Foreign Film. Runtime 24:52

Bitter comedy “The Treasure” was based the eponymous neorealist tale by Alberto Moravia from the collection “The Roman Stories (1954)”. The main impulse to write the script came from an actual article from the Czech tabloid about buried Jewish gold. The film takes place in a Czech town and tries bitterly to criticize the absence of piety and the persisting anti-Semitism hidden in some of us. The whole film is illustrated by the music of the Prague Yiddish band and photographs of the Jews.

Discovering Tommie Atkins: The Revelation of His Creek Nation Legacy by Lyle Gibson, Documentary, Runtime 18:20

Part III of An American Story series "Discovering Tommie Atkins: The Revelation of His Creek Nation Legacy" will explore the unique relationship between Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics. The young lady featured in this series was born prior to the 1963 Loving v. Virginia case on miscegenation. The case was responsible for the transformation of racial identity in general to include Native American identity and the blending of cultures. Through her story we will explore the outcome of the 1887 Dawes Act; the first step transitioning Native Americans into U.S. Citizens. The 1887 Dawes Act allowed Native Americans to be treated as individuals rather than as members of a tribe.

The Debt by Mahmoud Shoolizadeh, Drama, Runtime 30:00

A Combat veteran whose life is falling apart unexpectedly faces her past, and it's not what she thought.

The Queen of Screams Presents: A Halloween Special by Jennifer Nangle, Horror, Runtime 25:40

You're invited to Malvolia's Annual Halloween Party! 5 lucky victims attend and, reluctantly, are put to the test to save their lives. Will anyone win?

Manny Fantasma by Michael Carnick, Horror, Runtime 29:19

A paranormal psychiatrist treats a variety of otherworldly patients while battling his own inner demons.

The Overcoat by Sean Mullen, Animation, Runtime 30:00

The Overcoat is a warm and unique Christmas story about an office worker that saves all his money to buy a new coat in time for Christmas, only to have fate take a ghostly hand.

Universal Film Festival Lineup

Kansas City’s Universal Film Festival, one of the top 100 film festivals in the United States, will return to downtown Kansas City on August 22-24, 2019. The Red Carpet will open Thursday, August 22 at 6:00pm.