Spring 2021


SPRING 2021 | Festival Laurels (all categories + nomination laurel + special mention laurel)

  • Jury Prize

Winner: KAMALOCA by Christophe Karabache
“Karabache delivers another nightmare. His characters are stones that we are subjected to. They are thrown at us. We feel their every hit. His photography is engaging. He is a true auteur.”

Nominees: Velvet Crush by Michael Boston, Summer Lane Drive by Kirk Flash, His Name is Ray by Michael Del Monte, To Planet 2000 by Changyi Yu, Kold by Andrew Vandaele


FILM

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

Behind the Door by – Winner: Special Mention: Best Black and White Cinematography (Erfan Ehteshami) – “At its core there’s a great performance here… one which exists in the light and dark shadows of a person’s individual life – this is greatly enhanced by the film’s choice of black and white photography.”
Roadkill by Aliza Brugger – Winner: Best LGBT Film Project – “The film has a great pair of duo lead performances in its central construction, one which provides a great many tones to the film.”
Duckman – Nominated: Best Actor (Duckman, himself) – “Like a Harmony Korine film, this is a bonkers experience.”
A Bitter Pill by Luke Martin – Nominated: Best Actor (Alex Francis), Nominated: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000, Winner: Best Screenplay – “The film’s use of budget is very impressive – the canvas is much larger than the brush etc. … but that revelation aside, the film has a really impressive core message. It’s intimate, nicely written and very nicely delivered by Alex Francis.”
Last Ride by Soda Persi – Winner: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “Is it very simple? Yes. Is it a little cheesy? Yes. But above all … does it have entertainment value? Is it an engaging tale of people who we rarely see (age-wise) on the screen? Yes and Yes. This is a perfect example of what a small budget can be, in the good sense.”
Daniel & Kendra by Eben Skilleter – Nominated: Best Actress (Yasmine Holness-Dove), Winner: Best Actor (Joseph Emms) – “Some of the camera work is a little touch and go at times (more cinematic flavoring would be awesome)… but that aside, the core simple plot is a lovely presentation of intimacy by Skilleter, and above all the two leads are quite great, especially Emms’ simple and sensitive performance.”
The Beloved Country by Selma Cath BenAyed – Nominated:Special Mention: Best Experimental Film – “A wild fusion of media forms – this is an engaging and often expressive film.”
Renovation by Bjarke de Koning – Nominated: Best LGBTQ Film Project, Nominated: Best cinematography – “This film has a great sense of place and time, there’s real character here and a vibrant idea of how the filmic image can be used to enhance a film’s perspective.”
Love Conquers… by Eric Bendross – Nominated: Best LGBTQ Film Project, Winner: Best Editing – “The delicate performances, and smart engineering of the film’s pace is one of its many highlights.”
Under The Sun by Eben Skilleter – Nominated: Best Genre, Winner: Special Mention: Best Buddy Film – “It’s rare these days to see a simple short film about quiet chatter amongst friends. It’s minimalist and calm.”
Playing Opossum by Julie Elkins – Winner: Best Art Direction – “The film lives in a world of its own, and it has some great artistry to it!”
Byte by Ross McGowan – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “Comical and overall great in terms of its understanding of the narrated pastiche.”
“POOR MAGIC”’ by Studio VIROSA – Winner: Special Mention: Best Experimental Film – “This strange, almost silent film, explores a dreamland of its own making. Quite fun.”
The Other by Zahra Torkamanlou – Nominated: Best Director – “The intimate nature of this short film is compelling – it is the clear and bold voice of a feminist filmmaker. There’s much to admire here.”
Time’s Arrow by Ian Roberts – Nominated: Best Art Direction – “The film certainly has a unique setup… and it delivers on those visuals.”
Once a Hero by Andrew Kadikian – Nominated: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000, Winner: Best Score (Jordan Bennett) – “The film’s production values are quite impressive, and the score helps hone in on that human touch.”
The Washerwoman by Obi Ejikeme – Nominated: Best Director – “There’s a real sense of style and pace here. Quite enjoyable. Perhaps a larger project would suit better… it didn’t feel like we had finished.”
Script by Piero Cannata – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “Hilarious and Gothic in equal parts.”
A Shoreditch Tale by Milo Brennan and Harriet Williams – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “The film’s core selling point is its exaggerated comical cast. The two leading ladies especially steal the show.”
Sell It To Me a Different Way by Zack Travis – Winner: Special Mention: Best One Take Film – “I wish the film had more than its unique single take… It is a beautiful expression of minimalism, and there’s great acting here… but even adding credits will help make this film more like a film than just a glimpse into family drama. All in all this is great though, it just needs that ‘seal’ of official film branding to identify it as such, so it isn’t lost in the digital strastfier of video content.”
Below A Dark Wood by Bill Slovic – Nominated: Best Actor (Jesse Massaro) – “Massaro nails a certain physical stillness which really enhances the performance and pace of this film.”
SINGULARITY by Manish Balakrishnan – Nominated: Short Film made for less than $5,000, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “This film packs a great sense of locale and character into its short run time. There’s a real sense of purpose and individuals.”
Prayer by Rahul Barkley – Nominated: Best Actress (Serena Collins), Nominated: Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “A beautifully shot satire. It’s funny and rather bold thanks to its leading lady.”
We Are The Same by Saeed Bahman – Nominated: Special Mention – Best Concept – “The film’s use of inanimate objects, which come to life, is a great idea for a minimalist film… especially fans on a roof.”
Kold by Andrew Vandaele – Winner: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “Kold is a beautiful beast of a film. Philosophical and dark.”
Imaginary Scene by Neda Goodarzi – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “The elegant 3D animation is very impressive.”
TARNAEH by Mohammad Tayebi – Nominated: Best Actor (Hamed Nassaj Bokharaie), Nominated: Best Actress: (Reihaneh Reihany), Nominated: Best Director – “The short is intimate, but also somewhat grand – the look is beautiful and the performances are very engaging.”
Lavender by Andrew Ball-Shaw – Nominated: Short Film made for less than $5,000, Nominated: Best Director – “The film boasts a great series of scenes, all produced with a careful touch for detail and style.”

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

The Truth About Us by Jason White – Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “The film’s core success lies in its framing around four characters stuck in doors attacking and defending themselves away… it’s almost theatrical, if it wasn’t for the fact that the camera takes us around them… nicely made.”
Jesus of New York by Joe Benedetto – Winner: Best Actress (Ashlee Macropoulos), Best Screenplay –
“The concept and the set up is very original and funny… and Macropoulos is hilarious!”
Refuge by Mehmet Tığlı – Nominated: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Best Director, Winner: Best Short Film made for between $5,000-$10,000 – “Shot with great care and love, this short film carries a great sense of authorship and style… not to mention the human heart.”
Flirting with Food by Paul Edward Foulkes – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “This film is a fantastic blend of comedy and documentary… there’s a kind of Jean Luc Godard feeling about it – a challenge of minds in a beautiful setup.”
To Planet 2000 by Changyi Yu – Nominated: Best Short Film made for between $5,000-$10,000, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast, Winner: Best Director – “This film packs more charm and character in it than most shorts – the greatest touch as well is the ease of the style, consistency of tone and the overall production values of this character-driven piece. Excited to see what Yu produces next!”

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

Velvet Crush by Michael Boston – Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast, Winner: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Director – “Michael Boston is back with a crackly fun feast. What a joy this is! In fact, let’s just be honest… where’s a feature film by this guy?! – His cast is funny. His plot is wild and engaging… and the photography, smoothed with a Jazzy score, is almost a too-classy affair for the character’s insane lives. All is a joy here.”
Eight Count by Joe Basile – Nominated: Best Screenplay, Nominated: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Actor (Christian Bulich) – “The choice to bring focus to the commerce of individual fighting in the ring, rather than the boxing ring itself, is quite unique… Here is a short film set in the more interested in the intimate aftermath setting of a getaway car, one which has become the setting for a more tonal domestic performance than the potential boxing gloves action (which would have been dull and predictable). Ultimately, the tone choice is both interesting and moving… and helps serve a very satisfying viewing experience”
Nasarawa State: Elimination and Beyondby Stephen Maud – Nominated: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Cinematography, Winner: Special Mention – Best Documentary – “Beautifully shot, informative and delicately done… Nasarawa State is a reminder of third world efforts to implement long term health solutions – but it is done with a great keen eye for beauty in the image and an understanding of the local’s communities.”

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

Oh Jeff! By Chris Rourke – Nominated: Best Writer, Nominated: Feature Film made for less than $5,000, Winner: Special Mention: Best SFX – “Oh Jeff is full of vibrant moments of hilarity – and these are greatly enhanced by the cast that brings them to life and well… the sound effects that make it all POP! off the screen.”

Behind the Scenes by Öystein Thorsen – Nominated: Feature Film made for less than $5,000, Nominated: Best Actor (Öystein Thorsen) – “With the perspective of this film firmly placed on the lead performer (who is also the director), this film finds an internal conflict for its lead character – the kind that is then propelled onto the screen largely through the actor and the deliberate and unsettling camera angle choices. It’s skillful and rewarding.”

KAMALOCA by Christophe Karabache – Nominated: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Best Music (Michel Duprez, Gauthier Keyaerts), Nominated: Best Editing, Nominated: Best Genre Film, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “Bold, dark, haunting… It comes as no surprise that Karabache is back with yet another daring film – though here perhaps the surprise is actually the film’s locale, the detailed cyber narrative and of course: the cast who go as far as any cast usually would with indie films… there are many performances here that stun the viewer… this film is like a cattle prod (in the best of senses).”

#Goals by Blake Alexandros – Nominated: Feature Film made for less than $5,000 – “The film’s cinematography somewhat drags it down a bit… mainly making it feel somewhat disorganised and haphazard (many shots don’t cut well together, and the framing often feels not so carefully positioned for the performers movements)… however, the script, the concept and the delivery are very impressive for its budget, and the project is truly a great first feature effort from it’s director. Great use of local talent and a solid sense of production value within geographical settings.”

POSTCARDS FROM SICILY by David Gräber – Nominated: Best LGBTQ Film Project, Nominated: Best Director – “This film has a great sense of texture and atmosphere. It is really quite engaging and beautiful. A little longer (ie 90 minutes) and this would have been a fully fledged loveable standard feature film.”

Before Breaker Wakes by Charles Stanley – Nominated: Best Actor (Ron Cazolari), Nominated: Best Actress (Cassandra Enzler), Winner: Feature Film made for less than $5,000 – “The film’s main asset is its clear sense of style and genre. It also uses its budget to its advantage, yielding to its limitations and thinking around them…. Rather than say, trying something beyond their means. The other key dazzling element is its cast, specifically the performances of Supporting Male Cazolari and Leading Lady Enzler.”

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

No selections in this category.

  • Feature Film made for more than $10,000

Highlights of the Moon by Jon Wheeler – Nominated: Best Feature Film made for more than $10,000 – “A little long-winded at times, but quite nicely shot. The locale of Canada and the UK are nicely mixed culturally.”
His Name is Ray by Michael Del Monte – Winner: Feature Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Music – “It is hard to separate the pure fascination one has with the content from the film’s well-produced content. It is an impactful story, and one told with the greatest care to attention, technique and respect. Quite bold. Very impressive.”

  • Web series

To Be Continued by Becky Edmunds – Nominated: Best Editing – “The content is very intriguing, but it is the montage which really holds the key to the film’s key technical achievement.”
Summer Lane Drive by Kirk Flash – Winner: Best Web Series, Nominated: Best Director, Nominated: Best Writer – “The work of a genius. Nothing more to say.”
Remember my Name by Sonny Vrebac – Winner: Best Ensemble Cast, Nominated: Best Genre Project – “Everyone is at their top game in this. Great characters, great cast… especially Justine Kacir and Cheyne Fynn. Also, the script is hilarious.”
Quarantine Short Films
Q Mommas by Ashna Sharan – Winner: Best Quarantine Film – “It is endearing that in the final season for our lockdown films, we finally have one centered on homeschooling and the impact it has had on children and their mothers.”
Headless Again by Maria Sundby – Special Mention: Best Dance Film – “A beautifully made dance film…. Some amazing shots and edits.”
Covid Tales: House Party – Nominated: Best Quarantine Short Film – “The film boasts a great cast of characters, coughs and trance music.”
Wish You Were Gone by Joseph Hearsey – Nominated: Best Quarantine Film, Nominated: Best Screenplay – “Delicate in its detail, and full of energy – Hearsey directs a solid cast through a very thoughtful and humanist script.”
American Dream by Edward Shimborske – Nominated: Best Actress (Evelyn Shimborske) – “The film is largely set around a single person’s existence in isolation – it is impressive to see how much Shimborske (Evelyn) is such a key part of the liveliness of this post-apocalyptic world.”

SPECIAL MENTION

Inside the Polyptch by Davide Minotti – Winner: Unique Drama-Doc Project – “The film is its own type of story entirely – it tells its tale in a unique blend of fiction and reality.”

Sparks by Netta Shalev – Winner: Best Social/Historical Film – “The film captures a culture and a time, and much like Anthony Doncque 1992, it has a great many nuances to explore in its content and the social history which shaped the lives of its characters.”


MUSIC VIDEO
Aurora by James Barany – Nominated: Best Music Video Editing – “The VFX, all produced in post, go a long way in harmonising the moody tones of the vocal group.”
Sasha & The Shades: “Smiles” Music Video – Nominated: Best Music Video Cinematography – “A stunningly well shot music piece… the green light is almost Hitchockian.”
Quantum Love by Monika Peczeli – Nominated: Best Editing – “The edit and images recall the early 2000s and their digital fears.”
Ulrichs 1867 by Sven Niemeyer – Nominated: Best Music Video Cinematography, Nominated: Best Music Video, Nominated: Best LGBTQ Project – “This slick social video is full of interesting lighting technique and solid dancing… it also has a sort of movement in its set up – the exterior and interior and world’s apart, and yet both very human areas.”
For My Homies by Ludmilla Muse – Nominated: Best Music Video Editing – “The edit of this video is quite skillful, and brings about a rather playful arena for the singer to inhabit.”
Brokenera’s “Hold the Beat” by Flo Pizzarello – Winner: Special Mention: Best Animation – “With some fantastical colours, this ghostly music video is eye-popping.”
imlost2lookaround – RIFT by Charlie Douglas-Hamilton – Winner: Best Music Video Cinematography, Nominated: Best Music Video – “The surreal imagery is quite amazing… but it is really the cinematography where the magic is at – the fluid camera brings about a kind of Gaspar Noe violence… it’s great!”
Peace Marc – Tell Me by Cristian Omar Jimenez – Winner: Best Music Video, Nominated: Best Music Video Cinematography, Winner: Best Music Video Editing – “This is the most polished and professional music video of this season – the edit screams MTV style.”
Say You Will by Rachel Koumparou – Nominated: Best Music Video – “The use of locale, dance and colour is quite great… reminiscent of those 90’s music videos, with standing/dancing figures lost in abstract spaces.”

SCRIPT COMPETITION
Best Character Arc
Winner: Princess Lady by Stacey Petrov – “There’s a real sense of frailty and darkness here. Lots of great texture.”
Nominees:
The Wolfe-Pointe by Julianna Pitt – “Reminiscent Cat People – that is to say it is a classy merging of European tragedy and the American Gothic. Quite great.”, Her Seventh Death by Virginia Austin – “Kavita is quite an incredible character who lives a great epic life in these pages.”, Anna Z by Dario Gorini – “Though the formatting is at times strange and almost poetic, the script is largely carried by a great set of characters with a clear trajectory.” Viable by Omonefe Kemete – “What characters! Oh it is exciting.”, Shigmo by Ishq Pradhan – “It is too long, but it is an epic and the character’s arc is very unique and engaging.”
Best Genre Script

The Lake House by Andrea Carlisle – “A page turning genre delight.”
Nominees: Under The Law by Aubree Sweeney – “This script is a pure genre delight. It almost reads like a traditional Hollywood Western with dusty streets and breathy shots.”, Death Valley by Ryan Enever – “One can already see the genre selling posters. It’s an easy sell.”, Lost in Control by Maria Massei-Rosato – “The film’s overall arc shines in a clear drama yarn. This is a human character film – full of stakes that change lives.”, Hacked by Alison Valente – “There certainly is a particular genre at work here… one that might be better suited to TV… but it is a lot of fun!”, The Real Thing by Matthew Papadopoulos – “Hilarious, solid concept for an easy sale. With the right director this could be a seriously fun experience to watch.”
Best Micro Budget Script

Winner: Exposure Management by Philip T Brewster – “The scale and fun dialogue make this an easy ‘go and shoot it now’ film.”
Nominees: Princess Lady by Stacey Petrov – “Though there’s a tennis court in this one, it still reads as an easy low-key shoot (in a good way!).”, RIP Spike Jones by Lucy Shaw – “The script does have some period piece elements, but all in all it seems quite contained and therefore quite an easy one to see made without too much hassle… it also really has a great ‘buy in’ concept, which would do well on a crowdfunding campaign.”
Best Technique

Winner: The Wolfe-Pointe by Julianna Pitt – “Shy of the Act subheadings structure, this script flows with a great sense of style and understanding.”

Nominees: Death Vallue by Ryan Enever – “There’s a great many slick moments in this where the page becomes a very direct tool with which to express Vallue’s vision.”, Miscalculated by Alyxandrya Prynce and Romel Xavier Moralez – “It almost feels too long, but it is very very well written.”, Youth And Age Flower by András Attila Farkas – “What a beautiful concept, one with many layers and many ideas brewing.”

Special Mention: A Gentle Push by Eoin Ryan – Winner: Best Ensemble Cast – “Scripts rarely have such great characters working together. The dialogue around these beings really jumped out of the page!”