Sundance Festival Announces 2024 Short Film Program

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Update: On Jan. 23, the Sundance Film Festival announced that the Short Film Jury Award in Animation was awarded to CalArts alum Phoebe Jane Hart (Film/Video MFA 23) for “Bug Diner” — her CalArts thesis film.

We didn’t stop laughing at this from start to finish. It has that magical effect of making you walk around all day with a smile on your face. The dialogue was incredibly written and the animation style was amazing… there’s also never been a better bug’s voice done on film. The winner of the Short Film Jury Award for Animation is Bug Diner, directed by Phoebe Jane Hart.

Sundance’s jury citation

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Sundance Institute announced the 53 short films and the 40th Edition Celebration Screenings that will screen at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, from Jan. 18-28, 2024. Two CalArtians—Phoebe Jane Hart (Film/Video MFA 23) and Christopher Rutledge, special faculty in the School of Film/Video—were included among the eight titles of the Animated Short Film Program.

“Bug Diner,” written and directed by Hart, a graduate of CalArts’ Experimental Animation Program, is a dark comedy in which a “dissatisfied marriage, a secret crush, and workplace fantasies come to a head in a diner run by a mole with a hot ass.” 

“Larry” by Rutledge and Takeshi Murata follows a dog who loses all notions of shape and time while “balling like Shaq.” 

Both films will premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City on Jan. 19, with other in-person screenings to follow. They will also be available to watch online through Sundance.

Related: Sundance 2024 Announces Feature Film Program

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PUBLISHED BY Christine N. Ziemba

Christine is the director of Content at CalArts, responsible for the Institute's editorial in both print and online platforms. In addition, she oversees CalArts' social media accounts. In her spare time, she writes about the Santa Clarita food scene at

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