Borscht Filmmaker Bernardo Britto Accepted to Sundance 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Miami will be represented at the Sundance Film Festival, arguably the nation's most prestigious film event, by the filmmakers of the Borscht Corporation.

Sundance announced its short film program yesterday, including Yearbook by Miami filmmaker Bernardo Britto. The five-minute animated short will mark Britto's first experience at the Utah festival.

"It was pretty exciting," Britto says of learning he'd been accepted to Sundance. "I felt really good about the movie but I never actually expect that these things will work out. And when they called me I had just won an award for my previous animation a few days before, so it was an insane week of unexpected, amazing things happening."

Yearbook, created by Britto and produced by Lucas Leyva, Brett Potter, and Ben Cohen, joins films like this year's #PostModem, 2012's Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, and 2011's Xenoland, the first Borscht short to be accepted to the festival, in the ever-growing list of acclaimed work coming out of the Miami group. Britto's The Places Where We Lived screened at the Borscht Film Festival in 2012 before going on to festivals like SXSW.

"It's nice to peek my head out of my dark animation hole and see that other people actually like what I made," Britto says.

Yearbook, according to Britto, tells the story of a man attempting to collect the entire history of mankind, with a pretty intense deadline -- the planet's about to explode.

"He's a dumpy kind of guy with poofy hair, and the whole thing is basically just a monologue about how we're all going to be forgotten and nothing matters," he explains. "It's really funny."

That kind of dark hilarity characterizes many of Borscht's films, something Britto attributes, in part, to the city where they're made.

"Miami is just a weird place. All of Florida is, I guess, but Miami especially," he says. "One of my favorite descriptions of the city is something Nathaniel Sandler wrote in an essay for Lucas Leyva's short film Reinaldo Arenas. He said, 'Miami requires a certain Camusian acceptance of the absurd.' I agree with that 100%. You can't live here and create work and ignore its absurdity."

"And unlike most other major American cities, Miami still feels undefined to me," Britto continues. "Which makes it a really exciting place to make stuff in, because you get to help define the city in a way that's honest and sincere and isn't just Miami Vice. I'm really happy that my movie can stand side by side with another Borscht movie that feels completely different like Julian Yuri Rodriguez's C#CKFIGHT as an example of the work that's coming out of Miami. I think somewhere in between the many differences in our two movies is probably the true nature of Miami."

Visit Borscht Corp at borschtcorp.com, and Sundance at sundance.org.

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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