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How These 4 Directors Got Their Shorts Produced and Distributed By The Weinstein Company and Lexus


Meet the filmmakers and see why their visions stood out.

Filmmakers Alexis Michelik, Jeannie Donohoe, Kev Cahill, and Damien Walsh-Howling attend their world premiere at the Napa Valley Film Fest

Frank Micelotta

Lexus Short Film Series has once again financed four extraordinary short films from emerging filmmakers that were produced and internationally showcased in the collaboration with Lexus and The Weinstein Company. The project — which was launched in 2013 with the stated goal of “supporting up-and-coming filmmakers to realize their dreams” — entered its fourth edition this year.

The four winning filmmakers from Season 3 faced stiff competition, having been chosen from a group of over 4,400 applicants. Each of the applicants submitted a previously produced short film that was watched by a 10-person committee led by Landon Zakheim, one of the short film programmers for Sundance and co-founder of The Overlook Film Festival.

Every film was given a numerical rating from 1-5. Just over 80 filmmakers were then selected to write treatments based on the theme of “Anticipation.” After reading the 80 treatments and identifying the top 20 applicants, top executives from The Weinstein Company and Lexus International made the final decision on the four projects they would produce and distribute.

“The most amazing thing about Lexus Short Films is giving these up and coming filmmakers what they need to take an idea from beginning to end, and at the same time, no mandate to use a Lexus in the movie,” said Joey Horvitz of The Weinstein Company.

After playing at film festivals around the world, the Season 3 shorts are now available online and Amazon Prime.  The online premiere coincides with the launch of Season 4, announced at the Tokyo Short Films Festival, which will be built around the intriguing theme of “Transformation.” Writer/director Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water,” “Sicario”) will be joining the selection committee and reviewing Season 4 submissions. For more information about how you apply, click here.

Below, take a look at what the talented Season 3 winners did with the theme of “Anticipation.”

“The Nation Holds Its Breath,” by Kev Cahill

Winner of the Best Direction Award at the LA Indie Film Festival

Zoë Fairbourn, The Weinstein Company: “We read the script and knew right away that the theme of Anticipation here was different, and a nice complement to the other films.  What was exceptional though, was Kev’s comedic timing and his ability to bring his story to life in a way that only a great director can do.”

Director Kev Cahill is writer and filmmaker with a VFX background (“Fantastic Beasts,” “Thor: The Dark World”). Cahill is also known for his first short film, “More Than God,” which qualified for an Oscar and screened at nearly 40 festivals winning 12 awards. 

“Friday Night,” by Alexis Michalik

Winner of the Audience Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival

Joey Horvitz, The Weinstein Company: “The way in which Alexis strategically weaves and builds the tension in “Friday Night’ is masterful, especially with a story everyone can understand and a backdrop ripped straight from the headlines.”

Alexis is an actor and filmmaker who has starred in several television movies and series. After directing two short films, “Au Sol,” in 2013 and “Pim-Poum le petit Panda,” in 2014, Alexis continues to pursue his writing career and will direct his first feature film “Escort Boys.” Michalik has also won 5 Molière Awards (National Theatre Award in France) for his Drama “Edmond.”

“Messiah,” by Damian Walshe-Howling

Official Selection Raindance, Newport Beach Film Festivals

Joey Horvitz, The Weinstein Company: “With such majestic footage, ‘Messiah’ is not only a visual postcard for the beautiful Australia, but a humorous take on the hero’s journey, a story as old as civilization itself.”

Damian is an acclaimed actor and filmmaker best known for his latest short film, “Suspended” and debut short film “The Bloody Sweet Hit.” Damian has a passion for storytelling which has taken him all over the world in pursuit of culturally diverse stories and roles.

“Game,” by Jeannie Donohoe

Winner of the Best Short Film at the Julien Dubuque Film Festival.

Zoë Fairbourn, The Weinstein Company: “We all loved how Jeannie seamlessly and successfully showed how gender lines can be blurred. It was great casting, writing, and directing that all came together in this film.”

Jeannie Donohoe is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She has written and directed several short films, including “Lambing Season” (named one of the “Best Short Films of 2014” by Indiewire) and Public. Jeannie is currently developing her first feature-length film, “Flock.”

[Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Lexus and The Weinstein Company in support of Lexus Short Films Season 3. Lexus Short Films are now available on Amazon Prime Video and Call for entries for Season 4 are now open. Click here for entry details. You can view past IndieWire coverage of the Lexus Short Film series here.]

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