The Katy Universe

By Patrick Muhlberger | Comedy
A woman goes to a wedding and develops superpowers.

Katy goes on a drunken, drug-fueled bender at a friend’s wedding, and finds herself in the midst of a panic attack… or maybe she’s actually developing develop telekinetic powers.

As she makes her way through the reception area after the wedding is over, she encounters a floating samosa, calls her ex, ponders the immense scale of the universe and wonders… just what exactly is she doing with her life, anyway?

Writer-director Patrick Muhlberger’s jewel of a comedy has a visual and narrative freshness to it, refashioning elements of action, musical and other genres into a playfully existential yet profound examination of feeling overwhelmed and insignificant in an often bewildering world that often feels like a formless void more than anything else.

The short is essentially a monologue, but from beginning to end, the dialogue arcs and travels over immense emotional territory as Katy tries to make sense of her life on the edge of panic. The film’s central performer, Mary Holland, hits both the comical and dramatic notes with power and ease, and she’s able to render both the profound and petty concerns she grapples with in a relatable, sympathetic way.

Visually, the short is an absolute treat, and each image of the film glows with a vibrant color palette, often shapeshifting with particularly clever camera choreography. The overall visual sensibility is an often madcap, fantastical exploration into both Katy’s subjectivity and the way the cosmos can offer both crisis and comfort in the midst of a breakdown of meaning.

Katy’s maelstrom of emotions are charted by a mixture of a dynamic, inventive mix of special effects and camerawork, whose sweep and movement make full use of the single set the film is shot on. The camera moves with the grace of dance choreography, emphasizing both the character’s discombobulation and her increasingly nebulous tether to reality. When she goes into full superhero mode, the elements all combines into a heightened climax that is hilarious, cosmic and full of despair all at once.

Like his other equally inventive short “Pop Music,” Muhlberger use his singular visual sensibility to explore difficult emotional territory, giving voice and light to the hard, almost unanswerable questions we all face at some point in life. The film is beautifully reminiscent of French New Wave director Jacques Demy’s own musicals, whose candy color palette and sweeping Hollywood-style camera explored the tensions between ordinary life and the yearning for more resonance. Here, it takes the visual tropes of both musicals and action films, but subverts them from their typical uses of awe, escapism and “entertainment.” Instead, “The Katy Universe” uses cinematic spectacle and magic-making to spin, dazzle and deliver an audience into a deeper emotional journey, to both the inner reaches of the heart and the ends of the known universe.

You Might Also Like:


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.