Winter 2017

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


Jury Prize

  • Jury Prize

Feature Film Winner: Wishbone by Ali Atshani (Link)

Jury Member, Stephen Hunt says:

While this Iranian take on the “bunny-boiler” concept was always bound to shie from the steamy clinches of Fatal Attraction, it laughs in the face of more disturbing boundaries to boldly go where few have boldly been.

Meaning, where the 1987 American film ends in the predictable happy ending of rough and raw justice for the female screwball, Wishbone doesn’t. Instead, all three of its central protagonists are sucked slowly but surely into a black and bitter chaos in which everyone loses, badly. Focused utterly on a married man who she helped to scratch his seven-year itch, an Iranian twenty-something quagmired in adolescence, confused by hero worship and high on puppy-love knows nothing of adult compromise. For her, true love is a righteous war of patient attrition waged and won by an abused-but-forgiving heart. All she has to do is explain simply and quietly, over and over, why her love must prevail.

It’s her winy, sickly-sweet, broken-record like voice in his ear that shreds his patience and grates on his nerves. As she won’t be sent away, bought off or threatened, he tries surely self-defeating appeasement. He’s in her flat on her bed and remembering their good times. Her heart’s racing, she knows she’s winning until his frustration and rage explode.

Having seen this film, I’d rather endure the wrath of an American boiler of all things cute and cuddly than the disquiet of a calm, wouldn’t say boo-to a-goose, Iranian twenty-something.   

On the downside, the Wishbone sub-titles were often inadequate and the film took a while to get going. But once it shifted gear, the story was compelling, well-acted and entertaining. Thanks to lighting, sound, cinematography and directing born out of awareness of Hollywood norms, the result was a twenty-first century, Eastern gem.    

Runner up: Who’s Watching Oliver by Richie Moore (Link), Greed by Nigel Evans (Link)

Short Film Winner: Darkness Falls by Jarno Vinsencius (Link)

Jury Member, Stephen Hunt says:

There was no way of telling that this beautifully shot film was made on a shoe-string. From the opening aerial shots of snowy treetops, this film screams class. This was the best ever example of low budget drone filming that drops us straight into the drama.

Wearing a coat and boots, a lone young woman prostrate on the snow comes round. She’s bruised, confused and disorientated as she tries to figure out her situation. A sound from nearby trees has her up and running. We’re pretty much alongside as she weaves through trees in the several inches of snow covering the uneven terrain. We take sequences like this for granted as they’re all one with what state-of-the-art dramas on the big screen have to go to great pains deliver and make it all look easy.

And that’s the point; this is anything but a state-of-the-art drama on the big screen – its been made for a fraction of what a big film spends on catering.  The fact that its to the standard of a studio-financed production points directly to a particular kind of movie magic that cheap independent ventures must conjure up; top quality with little or no money.

While the actors deliver professional work but with no standout performances, it’s the combination of skills behind the camera that makes Darkness Falls a winner.  That said, there is one production issue that many a director / writer falls into. While they pride themselves on being story-tellers they confuse that with being story-writers. Consequently, the storyline of Darkness Falls fails to unfold satisfactorily and for just that reason, the story is neither compelling nor credible.

Runners up: Head Space by Emma Huibregtse (Link), Bad Sheriff by Ben Bernschneider (Link), Cold Is My Brother by Troy Moth (Link)

— please note: Our jury votes independently to the selection committee.


Main Competition

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

Not enough titles to allow for this category to be a competition.

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

Winner: Inside by Andrés Arce Maldonado (Link)

Festival Director says:

Over the last few years I have become obsessed with restricted or under lit images. There’s of course something positive to be said for the well balanced, and clear cinematography types: the ones with correct lighting elements, and well weighed light channels within an image – but, there is one issue with it: we see it all the time. With the moving image medium becoming somewhat of an over used practice to share information, report live news, and simply provide endless amount of ‘entertainment’, it is rare to see natural, or even original versions of its practices and technology.

Here though, with ‘Inside’ we get just that. The performances are raw, the image, which is often unregulated, focused in patches, and graded with a particular heightened sense (be it too dark, distant; or up close, intensely bold with colour), collectively allows for a very delicate and precise filmic experience – the type which abbas kiarostami would have championed.

Nominees: C.R.Usher by Richard Groen (Link)

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

Winner: Who’s Watching Oliver by Richie Moore (Link)

Festival Director says:

Richie Moore’s ‘Who’s Watching Oliver’ is actually what I’d hoped Franck Khalfoun’s ‘Maniac’ would be like. I mean, I did like ‘Maniac’ quite a lot. It was creative with its POV angle… but here’s the thing: I wanted to actually watch Elijah Wood’s performance rather than be Elijah Woods. Because he’s great.

Anyways, back to Moore’s film – I got my wish here. I can see Russell Geoffrey Banks, and he’s a killer, and he’s kind of comedic – a kind of Tom Hanks comedic type. The film’s grim, but also funny (something ‘Maniac’ actually could have done with in terms of balancing its tone), and it’s a really fantastic little gem. It’s consistent in terms of its visual quality, the sound is crisp, and the locations provide a really great variety of scenes, and well, with such a small cast, one must admire and praise the efforts of the filmmakers at hand; as everything is fairly well rounded off.

Ps. Oliver, please don’t kill me for this review.

Nominees: Wishbone by Ali Atshani (Link)

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

Winner: The Gathering by Alkiviadis Papadopoulos (Link)

Festival Director says:

The Gathering has a particular domestic feeling to it – a kind of modern Yasujirō Ozu taste.

The film’s main focus, which stems around one character who seems to keep everything afloat, is a mother who is preparing her family’s meal… despite the fact that the so-called family isn’t what it was before: it isn’t happy, it isn’t ‘together’, and it isn’t satisfied with simply spending time together.

The high point of this film is just that – it is inherently about our time, a ‘modern’ Greek tragedy inflicted with the ‘now generation’ of immediate gratification, TV blaring in the background, and the degrading nature of communication.

Nominees: Darkness Falls by Jarno Vinsencius (Link), Blues Ain’t Nothin But by Ashok Gazula (Link), Cold Is My Brother by Troy Moth (Link), Unfolded by Kristín Ísabella Karlsdóttir (No Link), Bare Romance by Karel Tuytschaever (Link)

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

Winner:  Bad Sheriff by Ben Bernschneider (Link)

Festival Director says:

Pulp, as a written format, has somewhat become demystified over the last few decades. A once thriving bargain basement part of both the literary and cinematic format of the 40’s and 50’s, is now a kind of over used expression which has been designed off of, or mimicked from, the Tarantino feeling. ‘Bad Sheriff’ fancies itself as the more academic sister, or perhaps brother (this is a rather masculine film), and it achieves just that – its pomp and plush, just like the modern pulp films, but it is also more than that – it is a technical mastery, it is a quick sickly sweet drag race down the block with no seat belt on. Its fucking awesome (excuse my French)!

Nominees: ReWrite by Crash Buist (Link), Two Old Folks by Cosmea Spelleken (Link), The Muse Will Find You Working by Wade Koch (Link)

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

Winner: Living Idle by Ramana (Link)

Festival Director says:

With beautiful art direction, and an intriguingly quick manoeuvring narrative, Living Idle makes for an emotional film – it has purpose, it has a saddening story, and it has a lick of revenge to it.

The dark and rainy scenes, which I do not wish to ruin, excel the film above average for its budget and scale – creating an atmospheric space with which the tale of Ma Durga’s punishment can play out.

Nominees: Una historia con Cristo y Jesus by Oldren Romero (Link), Emotional Motor Unit by Adam Nelson (Link)

  • Best Webseries

Winner: Hooked by Luca Vecchi (No Link)

Festival Director says:

There’s loads of style here – it’s punchy, it’s energetic, it’s engaging, it’s crass… it’s basically what makes TV great.

Nominees: Vitals Online by Alexandra Books (No Link)

  • Best Music Video of the season

Winner: Music City by Kristian Kane and Lewis Carter (Link)

Filming with animals is notoriously difficult, but appears to be easy going here. A charming music video, full of heart.

Nominees: Ode to Nature, the four seasons by Kee H Ng (No Link)


Other Categories

  • Best Cinematography of the season

Winner:  Jarno Vinsencius’ photography of Darkness Falls (Link)

Vinsencius’ photography of Darkness Falls is moody, restrained and well executed. Its this kind of cinematography which draws the viewer in, and captures their interest.

Nominees: Edward Chettleburgh’s photography of Promises by (No Link), Nic Barker’s photography of Dead Sharks (Link), Pratham Mehta’s photography of ReWrite (Link), Tania Freimuth’s photography of Kid Gloves (Link)

  • Best Actor of the season

Winner: Wynn Reichert in In Aggression (Link)

Reichert’s performance is one of those quieter deliveries. A subtle and engaging front type. Very rare to see something so well developed in a short film made for this budget level.

Nominees: Crash Buist in ReWrite (Link), Adam Huber in Head Space (Link), Brian K. Palmer in Kata Muktu (Link), Francesco Falabella in Inside (Link), Dayron Moreno in  Una historia con Cristo y Jesus (Link)

  • Best Actress of the season

Winner: Ivana Pantaleo in Inside (Link)

A very dark energy runs through Pantaleo’s performance in Inside. It is mesmerising to watch, and incredibly well delivered.

Nominees: Michelle Langlois-Fequet in Perceptions (Link), Julianne Carioto in C.R.Usher (Link), Shaunte Tabb in Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But (Link), Anna Genisariotou in The Gathering by (Link)

  • Best Score of the season

Winner: Simon Heeger and Christian Vorlander score of Bad Sheriff (Link)

This 80’s electro pump sound beats the Drive-esque ‘Bad Sheriff’ to life. Its this fuel which the film runs on, helping open its world, and close it when the shooting is over.

Nominees: Tamara Barschak and Gavin Irvine’s score of 2:40 To London’s (Link), Jeremy Eliosoff’s score of Mont Royal 2016-09 (No Link)

  • Best Genre Piece of the season

Winner: Greed by Nigel Evans (Link)

There are bursts of colour in this film: a particular palette of excess. And the same can be said about the characters, who hop through the film’s musical numbers. It feels like a great throwback to a nearly dead type of film: the drive-in rock n’ roll melodramas of the 70’s.

Nominees:  Stranger In The Dark by Jr Michael (Link), The Baby’s Crying by Bob Pipe (Link), Born Again by Jason Tostevin (Link), Bad Sheriff by Ben Bernschneider (Link)

  • Best Direction of the season

Winner: Bare Romance by Karel Tuytschaever (Link)

Bare Romance is tactile, primitive (in the cinematic sense of non-talkies), and above all is a unique experience. The film lingers in your mind long after the final frames have faded, and there’s no denying there are many different elements at play here: a very particular form of the image, a particular type of editing, a particular type of character. Highly recommended.

Nominees: Jarno Lee Vinsencius’ direction of Darkness Falls (Link),Ben Bernschneider’s direction of Bad Sheriff (Link), Andrés Arce Maldonado’s direction of Inside (Link), Unwritten by Pascal Pernix (Link), Wade Koch’s direction of The Muse Will Find You Working (Link)

  • Best Writing of the season

Winner: Oldren Romero’s writing of Una historia con Cristo y Jesus (Link)

Una historia con Cristo y Jesus may be a martyr picture we have seen before (ie Boys Don’t Cry, Prayers for Bobby etc.), but yet, here – in an art house setting, the film we have seen before has been somewhat reshaped; its re-newed itself, is relevant politically, and a fantastic romance stemmed out of social injustice.

Nominees: Stefanie Davis’ writing of BS Meeting (Link), Jason Tostevin’s writing of Born Again  (Link), Cosmea Spelleken’s writing of Two Old Folks (Link), Emma Huibregtse’s writing of Head Space (Link), Paola Migneco’s writing of Inside (Link)

  • Best Editing of the season

Winner: Trace Taylor’s editing of Kid Gloves (Link)

There is a particular tenderness to the way Taylor has cut this short film – it is both carefully managed in terms of its technical skills, as well as a moving and tone sensitive in design.

Nominees: Nic Barker’s editing of Dead Sharks (Link), Guillermo Angeles’ editing of Shadow (Link), Wade Koch’s editing of The Muse Will Find You Working (Link), Cleo Alexandra Ford Wilson editing of Emotional Motor Unit (Link),  Karel Tuytschaever’s editing of Bare Romance (Link)

  • Special Mention

Ghosts of Burgundy by C.J Hodgman (Link), Nod by Jake Hunsicker (LInk), Things To Do In Tokyo by James Morton (Link), Shiver by Damian Overton (Link)


Screenplay competition

  • Best genre piece

Winner: Out of Town by Paris Dylan (Link)

A comedic touch ignites this script. Will their journey succeed or not? who cares! It’s all about the characters, and the quick witted dialogue.

Nominees: Du Froid (Out of The Cold) by Jasper Musgrave, Perceptions by Ian Wilson

  • Best technique

Winner: The Wonderful by Demitra Papadinis

Like with Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Demitra Papadinis’ script of The Wonderful (based on The Life of the Saint Christina Wonderful by Thomas of Cantimpré) is a fantastic throwback to the archaic tongue and attitudes of these rough bygone eras. Its with its language, and fearful nature, that the story shines.

Nominees: Triskel by Brian K. Palmer, Eelam by Thanmye Lagudu

  • Best micro budget material

Winner: Out of Town by Paris Dylan (Link)

With its small cast, contained locations, and frugal narrative, Out of Town is a cost effective winner!


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