Spring 2017

Note // find your laurels here (all categories) // Details about how to list your nomination/award on IMDb can be found here

Jury Prize


Feature Film Winner: Sadoum by Christophe Karabache (Link)

Jury Member, Karel Tuytschaever says:

The world which the tormented main character of ‘Sadoum’ inhabits is what pulls the viewer into a poetic trip of his search of identity.

As part of a city full of violence, aggressiveness, and feelings of loneliness, he searches for who he is. His boyfriend is a lost ship. So he starts to play a cat and mouse game of attracting and rejecting a woman, in the hopes to find his true self?

The aesthetics of the film are well chosen. The colors often underline the various aspects of this persona’s journey. The actors play sometimes quite grotesque beings, which suits the overall story, and gives a great emotional layer to the lead’s neurosis.

Some images within this film remind me of ‘The Balled of Sexual Dependency’ by the photographer Nan Goldin. The main themes of her early pictures are love, gender, domesticity, and sexuality; these frames are usually shot with natural light. She has affectionately documented people looking in mirrors, in bathrooms and barrooms, sexual acts, and the culture of obsession and dependency.

Runners up: The 5 Year by James Christopher (Link), Zehn.Zwanzig by Rafael Bettschart (Link)


  • Short Film Winner: Godless by Fergus March (Link)

Jury Member, Karel Tuytschaever says:

‘Godless’ features a very particular and interesting environmental approach to its weaving of different people’s narratives, which brings together a common project. What brings them together in this space, and brings them together at the same time is friction with the outer world. This particular approach, which the film takes, brings a focus on how people interpret a certain topic, and how they project an idea of identity on what that identity could be, not what it actually ‘is’. Its through this common ground, which the idea of identity, and the being, becomes something else via the media of film.

Realism is added to the film largely through the film’s well performing cast – who bring an absurdist mood and touch to the film’s content. Furthermore, the scenario is well written and well constructed (here, the realist and fictional story feed each other).

The DOP delivered a good tonal shift throughout, providing different styles for the ‘story’ (more documentary style), and the ‘movie’ which the characters had made together.

Lastly, praise is due to Simon Cotton, whose performance as Julian was the perfect balance between the absurd approach (humour), and its emphatical duality, making it a believable as a person.

Runners up: Burn In Hell by Jarno Lee Vinsencius (Link), L as in Light by Damiana Acuña (No Link), The Date by Michael Beddoes (Link)


— please note: Our jury votes independently to the selection committee. Also, these reviews have been translated, and then edited. 


Main Competition

  • Best Feature Film made for less than $5,000

Winner: Sadoum by Christophe Karabache (Link)

Festival Director says:

With a particular experimental style, ‘Sadoum’ navigates through varying different locales, scenarios and arcs of human life. There’s much to appreciate about this film – its editing is often full of creative bursts, the framing calculated and artistic, and most of all, for its rather modest budget, the film appears as a first class art house product. Sure, the digital photography at times ages the project a little, and it occasionally feels perhaps out of sync with our current dialogue of cinema –  but, at its core, the film is incredibly unique, original and unpredictable.

Nominees: The Bird May Die by Hamid Tamjidi (Link)

  • Best Feature Film made for between $5,000-$10,000

Winner: Zehn.Zwanzig by Rafael Bettschart (Link)

Festival Director says:

Rafael Bettschart’s Zehn.Zwanzig isn’t breaking new ground. In fact, we’ve all seen this film before over and over. And that’s mainly because it is one of the simple and most loved tales: the young person returning to their hometown. The difference here though, unlike most ‘return-to-home’ stories, is that Eric Lingens’ persona return to find that it isn’t so much that he has changed, but rather the locals have. His past has been replaced, altered and reshaped. And it’s here, with a touch of the modernised city, that Bettschart’s Zehn.Zwanzig finds its home – it, like Ozu Yasujiro’s urban tales, captures the world we live in, and the positive and negative ways in which modernity shapes our lives.

Nominees: Nymphadelle by Quentin de Jubécourt (Link), The 5 Year by James Christopher (Link)

  • Best Feature Film made for more than $10,000

There are not enough submissions to run this category.

  • Best Short Film made for less than $5,000

Winner: Lucid by James Cates and Andrew Greco (No Link)

Festival Director says:

‘Lucid’ might be one of the best low budget short films I have personally ever seen. Horror, as a genre, seems to be a bit of a favourite among frugal filmmakers, but it’s rarely successful or even jumpy. Here, however, with a strong beam of sun coming in from outside, distracting me from the dark image, I’m still on the edge of my seat, and I still get the chills, and I still jump (and this is the third time I’m watching the film; though, the first time watching it with the knowledge that we have chosen it as a winner). There’s much to admire about what this film achieves in such a short amount of time, and I definitely am jealous of this little wonder. Congrats to all those involved!

Nominees: L as in Light by Damiana Acuña (No Link), Bait by Ryan J. Smith (Link)

  • Best Short Film made for between $5,000-$10,000

Winner: Impervia by Patrick Devaney (Link)

Festival Director says:

With its 30 minutes plus run time, Impervia comes across more as a chapter in The Twilight Zone TV series, than just a standard short film. The project is steeped in an authentic science fiction class clash – a kind of post-modern Dickensian tale about a family on the outskirts of a modern city that wants rid of them. The project does fall short on its ambitions, the digital filters often over stylizing the entire experience, which includes numerous flashbacks and animation sequences. However, overall, the project stands strong, existing as an enjoyable viewing experience steeped with entertainment, melodrama and a futuristic moralistic dilemma of how our society might treat those living outside of the modernist city hustle.

Nominees: No Hidden Extras by Ian Smyth (Link), Godless by Fergus March (Link)

  • Best Short Film made for more than $10,000

Winner: The Guilt List by Tereza Horak (Link)

Festival Director says:

With smooth and eclectic textures, Tereza Horak’s The Guilt List is a well polished, and well executed period piece short film. The presented narrative is a fantastically timed debate – this being the age-old fear of foreigners, the ‘Red Scare’, and the ‘far left’ ideology in general, all of which seeps into an evening Tommy shares with his potential in-laws during the early 50’s. Furthermore, the project carries a well delivered technical quality. Shy of the opening credits, which appear as fading 90’s stylised typewriter font (which simply feels askew with the rest of the film), the entirety of the project is a marvel; and incredibly impressive for a first time director.

Nominees: Apartha by L H Dodgers (No Link)


Other Categories

  • Best Webseries

Winner: Orazio’s Clan by Riccardo Bernasconi (Link)

Festival Director says:

There is a very particular scale to Orazio’s Clan – the type which is rarely seen in webseries, particularly ones which are produced independently. It’s a bold genre piece, and realized with a rich eye for detail and texture.

Nominees:  Once, Not Twice by Ricci Sebastien and Virgilia Giambruno (Link), Clever Girl by Joe Zappa (Link), So SOHA by Lauren Terilli (Link), DogGone It by Jeff Sumner and Dennis Larkin (Link)

  • Best Actor of the season

Winner: Demis Tzivis in Burn In Hell (Link)

As the tortured individual, Demis Tzivis’s performance in Burn in Hell is sharp, well layered and moving.

Nominees: Simon Cotton in Godless (Link), Vincent Cheikh in Sadoum (Link), Jared Cook in Tethered (Link), Tim Casey in Harry Stands Up (Link), Kyle Roark in Lucid (No Link)

  • Best Actress of the season

Winner: Maire-Cécile Gueguen in Sadoum (Link)

With independent film, there is often a feeling of compromise. With Maire-Cécile Gueguen’s performance however, there isn’t a whiff of such a notion. Her performance in Sadoum is pure, energetic, uncompromising and open.

Nominees: Tifani Ahren Davis in Clever Girl (Link), Selah Batiansila in The Lost Keys (Link), Michelle Jones Pellicer in L as in Light (No Link), Rachel Parris in Godless (Link), Hanneke Talbot in The King (Link)

  • Best Direction of the season

Winner: Damiana Acuña’s direction of L as in Light (No Link)

A consistent vision runs through L as in Light. It is a rich perspective – within the few minutes we spend with these characters we become aware of their world, their life, their dreams, and perhaps our own lives. There is much to admire with this film.

Nominees: Christophe Karabache’s direction of Sadoum (Link), Fergus March’s direction of Godless (Link), Michael Beddoes’ direction of The Date (No Link), Ryan J. Smith’s direction of Bait (Link)

  • Best Cinematography of the season

Winner: Leslie Montero’s cinematography of L as in Light (No Link)

Montero’s cinematography is delicate, and soft. There is also a grand beauty to it too, she gives us the kind of images which haunt us. It is very similar to the work Blasco Giurato did for Cinema Paradiso.

Nominees: Lucas Tucknott’s cinematography of No Hidden Extras (Link),  J.B. Lawrence of Stomping Ground Music Video (Link), Oscar Chan’s cinematography of Godless (Link), Artur Gubin’s cinematography of The Guilt List (Link)

  • Best Writing of the season

Winner: Fergus March and James Wren’s writing of Godless (Link)

With a multilayered script, James Wren and Fergus March deliver Godless – a critic about a film, or perhaps the nature of film itself, the idea of a ‘God’ being proven to not exist, and a buzz word savvy world, all on the edge of boiling over. With its strong array of characters, and varying plot pacing, Godless is a winner, and a film containing a firm ability to shift gears; which is incredibly rare in short form.

Nominees: Rhys Lewis’s writing of No Hidden Extras (Link), Patrick Devaney’s writing of Impervia (Link), Tereza Hirsch’s writing of The Guilt List (Link), The 5 Year by James Christopher (Link), John McGovern’s writing of Harry Stands Up (Link)

  • Best Score of the season

Winner: Nor Seyedmorteza’s scoring of Lucid (No Link)

Nor Seyedmorteza’s score haunts Lucid through and through, adding the chill factor, to an already quite suspenseful horror.

Nominees: Lucas Lambert’s scoring of Nymphadelle (Link), Sani Baladi’s scoring of The Guilt List (Link)

  • Best Genre Piece of the season

Winner: Bait by Ryan J. Smith (Link)

Clara Butler says:

A shocking and eclectic horror, that manages to truly frighten on a limited budget, ‘Bait’ harnesses traditional conventions of the genre, but also manages to forge its own path. Full of twists and turns, as well as an inventive cinematographic style, ensures its success in this category. The use of special fx and a strong, convincing performance through the lead actress, Rebecca Von Nielsen, push this film over the top in a collection of strong contenders.

Nominees:  Orazio’s Clan by Riccardo Bernasconi (Link), Signed, Sealed and, Delivered by Joseph Cox (Link),  Burn In Hell by Jarno Lee Vinsencius (Link)

  • Best Editing of the season

Winner: Christophe Karabache’s editing of Sadoum (Link)

As with Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work, Karabache’s editing of Sadoum generates a particular pace and feeling – one which often helps to determine the shape of the film’s arcs, a scene’s atmosphere, and our experience of the film. It is through this main element of editing that allows the film to be elevated into a well rounded cognitive experience.  

Nominees: Quentin de Jubécourt’s editing of Nymphadelle  (Link), Kevin Anton’s editing of Mile (No Link), Marcello Masina’s editing of The Shadow of Two Flies Upon a Pin (No Link), Andrew Greco’s editing of Lucid (No Link)

  • Best Music Video

Winner: Mad for Love by Maggie Chastettin (Link)

With a slick technical delivery, Mad For Love is a one of the finest indie music videos one can imagine.

Nominees: Saturday Night by Alex Walker (Link), Linda by Leandro Corinto (Link)

  • Special Mention

Winners of the Special Mention category: Dear International Community by Henrik Friis de Magalhães e Meneses (Link), Nymphadelle by Quentin de Jubécourt (Link), Helheim by Bettina Toth (Link), The Fantasmagori by Michael Treder (Link), Disclosure by Alkiviadis Papadopoulos (Link)


Screenplay competition

  • Best genre piece

Winner: Infinity by Chris Bonneau (story by Chris Bonneau and Heather Ellingwood) (No Link)

‘Infinity’ is loaded with a series of solid genre stabs – in fact, its pride and joy moments are its reliance on genre motifs, and almost retro styled scenes of traditional investigatory scenarios.

Nominees: Under The Knives by Adam Lane Sturkenboom (Link), Resurrection Time Conspiracy by James Carroll (Link)

  • Best technique

Winner: King Smoking by Wynn Reichert (No Link)

Wynn Reichert’s writing comes with a particular skilled set of clear edits, direct screenwriting syntax, and great clarity.

Nominees: Malingerers by Chastity Lively (No Link), An Affair In The Greek Island by Slavica Bogdanov (No Link), Tazmin Base by Patrick Devaney (No Link)

  • Best micro budget material

Not enough titles meet this requirement for this part of the writing competition to run.

  • Best character arcs

Winner: Edna’s Dearest Possessions by Ozge Gozturk (Link)

Edna’s persona is one for the ages – she’s bold, she’s lost, she’s on-the-edge, and she’s also human.

Nominees: L.A. by Matthew Spriggs (No Link)

  • Best Teleplay


Winner: Transylvania by Agnese Pagliarani (Link)

With a new take on the vampire tale, Pagliarani delivers a great new thriller scope to the somewhat dusty classic of Dracula’s tale.

Nominees: The Girls in the House by Tara Leigh (Link), Whiteface Mountain by Alvin Taylor (No Link), Youth Can Age Ya by Ed Vela (No Link), Tidewater by Carrie Thompson (Link)

* Please note: some categories vary in number of nominations based on the quality and quantity of submissions. There is a maximum of five nominations and one win per category.