Early Summer 2017


Winner: Oh Brother by Mia Mullarkey

Jury Member, Ryan Ohm, says:

 Mullarkey sets up a difficult premise depicting the life of a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, but executes the ups and downs miraculously in moments both sweet and sour. Immediately we meet Fergal, whom seems a bit unique. It’s not until later the character’s brother hints to the audience that he is certainly different than most folks. Beautiful settings from Fergal’s unique and cluttered to a point of artistic expression bedroom to Amsterdam’s winding canals and alleys set a vibrant tone for this piece matching Tivnan’s performance wonderfully. Mullarkey creates a truly unique film, that is at times difficult to take in but authentic in it’s frustrations, creating all the more drama in the film.

Runner up: Memoriae by Lucyus Ribas


Winner: The Man You’re Not by Alan Freestone

Jury Member, Ryan Ohm, says:

Alan Freeman crafts a quirky and weird group of characters into a lovable tale of pals on the up and down journey we all know and love, dating. Hidden amidst the full film is microcosms of humor, leaving the viewer never far from smiling. Freeman blends absurdity and authenticity to a tee, creating something so real but at the same time a unique feel. The lead, Charlie, is likable right from the get go and encourages viewers to hop on for the ride and root for him, despite his bad luck and at times, outlandish experiences. The story tells a classic tale in a refreshing manner; using traditional cinematography to let the actors shine without distraction and set in bustling city of personality, this is one film worth more than a few smiles.

Runner up: The Frogmarch by Matthew C Flynn


Winner: Thick Air by Meredith Dobbs

Festival Director says:

It’s perhaps an odd topic to address when considering reviewing a film for being the winner of best production under 5k, but hey ho… part of the joys of being a fest director is taking the notes of your judges, adding your own votes into the process, and, agreeing (or disagreeing with them), and then finding what it is that one can find in the winning film that I can highlight as being its best element. And for me, with Thick Air, it is a rather simple concept: likability.

Audience participation, and identification, are concepts which one would rarely associate with indie micro budget films. Traditional viewers, and the rest of us (those that work on these types of film panels, or those who have made a low budget films), find it hard to participate or identify in micro budget stories. We watch the films intellectually, or technically, and we observe such and such a scene as being good because of this element, or that element and so on…. we rarely discuss the ‘experience’ we had in terms of emotions (unless it is a particularly moving topic – usually one not depicted often on screen), and even less emphasis is placed on the idea of finding ones identification with a character. We can see ourselves identifying with George Clooney in Up in the Air, but not with an unknown actor starring in some low budget film about a bacterial infection. It’s just how it works – and if it didn’t, Hollywood and other film platforms would collapse under the juggernaut of film viewers embracing smaller films.
That isn’t to say that micro budget films aren’t great, like most mediums of art, there are many avenues one can consume a piece. But, in film, somehow, identification and participation from an audience member, in terms of being able to sympathize or project onto the screen’s narrative is somehow of much importance. And, in the case of Thick Air, Meredith Dobbs’ film succeeds greatly. I didn’t pay much attention to the photography, the lighting, the editing et al., and I never really considered its construction once I hit the half way mark of the film, as I was totally consumed by the narrative of Samantha’s yearning for the affection of a new-in-town actor.

Somehow, in those 30+ minutes, I was consumed, and forgot my reasoning way of judgement, and just sat back and enjoyed the film as if it were made for much more than 3.5k. So, this might have been one long ramble of a review, but what more can one say in a positive reflection: Thick Air succeeds where other overpaid filmmakers working on box office epics fail, and, best of all – at the spare change of the cost of a Hollywood epic.

Nominations: My Brother by Nina Volova and Kirill Khachaturov, Dead Ringer by Chris Shenkle, Silent Fall by  by Jarno Vinsencius, Harry Bot 9000 by Seb Cox, The Interview by Marc Gurung


There are not enough entries to run this category this season.


No selections were made in this category.


Winner: Ema by Vladimir Bilenjki

Festival Director says:

There is much about Ema that is familiar ground when tackling the art house genre – there is longing, silent pauses, and perhaps a thud much of talking. Though, that isn’t ever a bad things – as characters in this film become more than ‘present’, time moves at a real moment-to-moment pace, and the scene becomes captured wildly here, with some of the most inventive low budget camera angles one can dream up, as well as set within the windy locales of the Adriatic Coast. A coast we can taste through the air of Ema’s world, existence and presence.

Considering its low budget, the feminist lead character, and the overall feeling that the film is more than just a genre rouse, here to excite and tease… Ema is a character study, one appearing rarer and rarer these days. And as debuts go, in terms of features, this is one hell of a kick ass effort.

Nominations: Free Fallers by Rick Masi, Recovery by Marcus Scott and Heath Hetherington


Winner: Odie, Based on the Odyssey, by Homer by Reyshan Parker

Festival Director says:

Teetering on being a kind of experimental Jean-Luc Godard would concoct – one of his ‘re-imagining of old literature’ films, and an Araki ‘Kaboom’/’Nowhere’ styled Americana, ‘Odie, Based on the Odyssey, by Homer’ is a fascinating, and fairly original take on the Greek classic. Here, stoners and youths run amok on college property, and often encounter, or retell, bizarre incidents of/on their voyages.

The highlights of the film though do not lay in the script, or even the characters for that matter, as they are all fairly cookie-cut archetypes (which isn’t such a bad thing when reworking one of the most studied texts in history), but, they do, the highlights I mean, lie in the skill with which the story is told – actors bring oodles of energy to their parts, and the direction and photography, though often minimalist, is often bursting with fairly exotic film techniques, ones which attempt to present a ‘high’ illusion, and well, simply titillate the viewer, much like a Guy Maddin film would do. All in all, it’s a winner, and one which feels like a classic indie experiment one can’t criticise too much, due to its ingenious presentation of a dusty text.

Nominations: The Other Side of the Door by Ira Farmer, The Frogmatch by Jonathan D’Ambrosio


Not enough titles qualify to run this part of the competition.


No selections were made for this category.



Winner: Toll Booth by Martin Stocks

Toll Booth is not the richest of films, nor is it the most outlandish, or the most ‘peacocking’ presentation of opulence. But it is, first and foremost, a well told story, with an interesting character in its center. A story which, on film, becomes richer through its use of time and space, the key ingredients of any great cinematic vision.

Nominations: The Embroidered Dress by Doğuş Algün, The Pleasures of the Glove by Duane Michals, Oh Brother by Mia Mullarkey


Winner: Nathan Coenen in The Chanctonbury Ring

Coenen’s performance is especially believable – and that, considering the film’s scale, and false period piece, is somewhat remarkable. His energy, and impressive ‘gear-shifting’ expressions of naivete, fear and flirtation, make the film to be of a particular class and energy.

Nominations: Will Millwood in I Just Said That, Ben Van Berkum in Lilt, Adam Cryne in Recovery, Geraden Borthwick in Recovery, Doga Konakoglu in High Calorie


Winner: Mary Rose Naoum in Thick Air

Naoum’s performance is depthful, nuanced and realistic. Her character’s trajectory, and overall behaviour, is often underplayed and humanised.

Nominations: Angel Violet in His First Time, Lulia Benze in Abrakadabra, Jennifer Scott in The Other Side of the Door, Katie Stahl in Under the Flowers


Winner: Vladimir Bilenjki’s cinematography of Ema

Keeping in mind the film’s incredibly tight budget, Ema delivers a very complex series of images – one’s built with ingenuity, creativity and purpose.

Nominations: Roman Wilhelm’s cinematography of The Interview, Rob Moore’s cinematography of Recovery, Manuel V. Isaza’s cinematography of A Scream That’s Trapped Inside, Richie Moore’s cinematography of Crazy Medicine


No selections were made for this category.


Winner: Team P.R.O.F.F by Jeff Kaminski and Jeff Grantz and Steven Teuchert

There is a part of familiarity to Team P.R.O.F.F, but one which is welcomed – a kind of homage to the nature of explorations. This might not be Indiana Jones, but it sure is hell a fun and comedic ride of a ‘truth is out there’ yarn.

Nominations: Eddie Mullarkey’s screenwriting of Oh Brother, Rick Masi’s screenwriting of Free Fallers, High Calorie by Mehmet Tigli, James Wren and Alan Freestone and Fergus March’s writing of The Man You’re Not


Winner: The Chanctonbury Ring by Martin Hession

Though lacking in depth for the locale, and often reliant on an audience’s ‘belief’ that the low key visuals are real in terms of the film’s period… there’s no denying that the genre element, which carries the piece above average, that of the ‘the mystical Gothic horror narrative’ is well and truly alive within this project, and rightfully should be celebrated as a great experience!

Nominations: Marked 4 Life: The Story of Sleepy Lagoon Tattoo by John Trujillo, Directors on Directing by Damien Patrik, Free Fallers by Rick Masi, Unexpected by Jessy Langlois, Dark Entity by Eduardo Ramirez


No films selected in this category.


Winner: Jonathan Chambers’ score of Never Alone

Though minimalist in terms of its contents, Chambers’ score for Never Alone enhances and enriches the film’s tone and mood.

Nominations: A Taylor’s score of City of my Heart, Josiah Cuneo’s score of Lilt


Winner: Meredith Dobbs’ editing of Thick Air

Dobbs’ editing helps bring a particular pace to the rather predictable plot of Thick Air. It is her spacing out of the story, aided by the charming improvised performances of Michael Lopertone and Mary Rose Naoum, which make the project original, fresh and moving.

Nominations: Claire Vandewalle’s editing of The Interview, Javad Emami’s editing of A Scream That’s Trapped Inside, Zacharias Karamalegos and Reyshan Parker’s editing of Odie, Based on the Odyssey, by Homer, Seb Cox’s editing of Harry Bot 9000


Winner: Oh Brother by Mia Mullarkey

This wonderfully written short film is brought to life by its slick direction and quartet of actors, all of whom deliver a beautifully balanced and realistic bunch of engaging performances.

Nominations: Free Fallers by Rick Masi, Team P.R.O.O.F by Jeff Kaminski, Odie, Based on the Odyssey, by Homer by Reyshan Parker


Winners of the special mention prize:

Vusumuzi Mlilo for Don’t Think About Elephants, Kostas Petsas for City of my Heart, Streiflicht by Thomas Rösser,

Special mention for MUA and Costume design: Ita Drew’s MUA and Costumes for Weed & Brew

Special mention for Best Experimental Film: The Velvet Abstract by James Hughes



– Best Genre Piece

No selected scripts for this category.

– Best Technique

Winner: Santa Klawn by Jeffrey Lee DuPree

sharp and humorous, Stanta Klawn is an entertaining read. The throwback to comedy-horror is a welcomed endeavour.

Nominations: The Boys Are Back by Jay Mullings, Barback by Matteo Valentini

– Best Micro Budget Script

No selected scripts for this category.

– Best Character Arc

Winner: Stringers by Hani Richter,

Though somewhat flawed by heavy dialogue scenes, Stringers does have a great message, and characters with interesting goals.

Nominations: Santa Klawn by Jeffrey Lee DuPree



– Best Music Video

Winner: God Came ‘Round by Derek Frey

A wonderfully original music video, boasting a charming performance from Deep Roy.

Nominations: Our Untold Story by Johanned S Karpe

– Best Cinematography

No selections made for this category.

– Best Editing

Winner: Loz Morgan’s editing of Weed & Brew

Resembling a budget version of Julie Taymor’s visions, Loz Morgan’s video is stylised and enhanced through its creative shots, and their assembly.

Nominations: Gilbert Yates and Ian Roberts’ editing of Agnes and Louisa, Our Untold Story by Johanned S Karpe

Please note: When the details of a particular technician of a nomination has not been readily available (such as an editor, cinematographer etc., we have simply referred to the director instead).