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In Short Cuts Programme 8, we are presented with social and cultural portraits illustrating life and change in different parts of the world. We investigate a U.S. chicken farm suspected of animal cruelty and abuse, follow an idealistic Alergian girl in her dreams to join the army to fight for her home, and meet a migrant family whose plans are thwarted by a giant teddy bear. We begin our journeys from humble roots, but the sky’s the limit where we end up.

The Hedonists –  26 minutes

Three lackadaisical Shanxi coal miners find themselves out of a job in The Hedonists. What begins in the offices of a stark mining facility soon blossoms into scenic establishing shots and artistic compositions. Wiry humour begins to emerge as we watch these displaced 40-somethings optimistically try their hand at different lines of work. The film is also skillfully scored, with music that blends elegance and cultural significance playing out against the tongue in cheek humour presented visually on the screen.

Battalion to My Beat – 13 minutes

Battalion to My Beat takes us through the world of a young girl living in an Algerian refugee camp, caught between the carefree airs of childhood and the looming responsibilities of a young woman, our main character’s emotions bubble to the surface as she rebels and acts out. Her idealism leading to attempts to run away and join the army, with thoughts of freeing her homeland from occupation. This is an endearing iteration of the feminist spirit and coming-of-age by director Eimi Imanishi.

Andy Goes In – 16 minutes

In Andy Goes In, an unconventional activist – whose name isn’t Andy – infiltrates a factory chicken farm. He poses as a farmhand, armed with a hidden camera, and gets himself a job on a farm known to a) torture and mistreat animals and then b) supply to multinational corporation Tyson Foods, who in turn are suppliers for McDonalds. In this daring expose we see the great lengths these impassioned men go to in attempts to document this nefarious partnership.

Other films included in Short Cuts Programme 8 are The Last Leatherman of the Vale of Cashmere, which looks at the changing times and shifting cultures of one man’s former cruising strip; and Fluffy, an immigrant story about a Belgrade family preparing for their move to Canada when their daughter’s new friend throws a wrench into their plans.