Summer 2023

SUMMER 2023 | Festival Laurels (all categories + nomination laurel + special mention laurel)

Jury Prize

Winner: Scrap of Paper 

“At its core, Scrap of Paper comes as a surprise – it is a well-designed project that, on its budget, outperforms expectations. The pace is lovely, and respectful of the efforts made by the actors.” 

Nominees: Suspicious Minds, Out of Frame, The Big White Veil Mistake, Belle, Same But Different 

Special Jury Prize – New Horizon

Winner: Psychiatric

“This is the first iteration of the interactive film that our festival has seen in a successful presentation. The performances are strong, the photography is clean, and even the edit makes sense with its interactive elements. Technology is an added tool, rather than a distraction. This is perhaps a rare sight of what film could become.” 


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

Out of Frame – Nominated: Best Director, Winner: Best Score – “Texture, VFX and silent performances are well and truely alive in Out of Frame. This short is magical.” 

Bike Cops – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “Comical, fun and a lot of running around. This is an exciting offering for the internet scrollers.” 

Bad day for Contemplation – Nominated: Best Score – “The music and sound effects help hone the film’s locale and sense of anxiety well.” 

In the Backseat – Nominated: Best Score – “The film’s cyberpunk soundtrack, and tinting, retro fits this film into the early 2000’s. It is fun and rather unique.” 

Belle – Winner: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Best Director – “There are many moments of tension, stark photography and bold splashes of emotion. This is a real treat”

They Hunger – Nominated: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “This collection of dangerous characters is brilliantly stitched together with some lovely tense moments, sharp dialogue and stunning black and white photography.” 

Psychiatric – Nominated: Best Actress (Ava Shong) – “A strong performance is presented here, despite the complexity of multiple choices. Shong appears natural in all circumstances.” 

It’s John – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “The film enjoys a blend of genres, including time travel, found footage and comedy. Oh and period piece. It is a fun experience, and recalls the mini-DV era of the mid-2000’s.” 

Break – Nominated: Best Score, Nominated: Best Editing – “Break builds tension with its edit, and often uses rises to get a solid sonic atmosphere.”

The Big White Veil Mistake – Winner: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000, Nominated: Best Screenplay, Nominated: Best Genre Film, Nominated: Best Actress (Emily Beeson), Nominated: Best Actor (John Potvin) – “With two strong leads, this fantastic script enjoys tonnes of charm and amusing moments. There’s a lot to admire in this breezy project, as it is pure fun to watch.” 

Lone Robots – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “Though slow at times, this dystopian take on a robot film, which is also a silent, has many enjoyable and interesting moments.”

Losing the Plot – Nominated: Best Actor (Brian Coe) – “Coe grounds the film, performing as an actor in performance. He balances the ideas of naturalism (well, that of an actor’s idea of naturalism) with that of a performance, which is clearly exaggerated.” 

Nirvana – Winner: Best Editing – “The experimental editing of this project sort of elevates it, making it a unique experience.”

You’ll Love my Friends – Winner: Best Actress (Taylor Carpenter) – “With less to play with, Carpenter provides her character a lot of stillness and self-awareness. It is an interesting retro project that excels through tone.” 

Free Lunch – Nominated: Best Screenplay, Nominated: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “Comical, and well delivered, this character-focussed film carries many moments of excitement.” 

Scrap of Paper – Winner: Best Actor (Toby Redpath), Nominated: Best Actress (Dorothea Jones), Nominated: Best Director, Nominated: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “The filmmaker of Scrap of Paper should move towards features, as it is clearly where he is ready to position himself. This film flexes many moving moments of drama between its characters, and a strong feeling of locale, time and physical space.”

Mort Ou Biff – Nominated: Best Short Film made for less than $5,000 – “Rather dramatic, and stylish, this film excels in its use of the urban locale and the ideals of guerrilla filmmaking. This is a raw pleasure.” 

A Real Life – Winner: Special Mention: Best Art Direction – “The film’s locale, and how it is composed, is perfectly arranged and staged with a real eye for precision.” 

Static in the Ether – Nominated: Best Screenplay – “The film’s best bits are comical jabs from the scneario in the script. This is a lot of comic fun.” 

Axé, Salvador! – Winner: Special Mention: Best Documentary – “Presenting a very particular art community, this documentary does a great job in finding various moments to really provide a taste for the culture we are visiting.” 

Us, Janus – Winner: Best Ensemble Cast, Nominated: Best Cinematography – “A fantastic production which presents community in a natural space. This film evokes real emotions.” 

Piece of Cake – Nominated: Best Screenplay – “This skit based short is an amusing sweet delight.” 

Writers Block – Best Actor (Tiarnan Doherty), Nominated: Best Cinematography – “We have a lovely tactile celluloid image in this film and a solid performance from Doherty, who brings a sense of energy to an otherwise tired narrative of characters fighting for a voice in fictional situations about fiction being created.” 

Same But Different – Winner: Best Director, Winner: Best Screenplay, Winner: Best Genre Film – “Delivered with a great set of performances, lovely dialogue and some great musical tone, Same But Different is a complete pleasure of genre and words.”

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

What Found Me In The Woods On A Night Like Tonight – Nominated: Best Editing, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast, Nominated: Best Actor (Kelton White), Winner: Best Short Film made for between $5,000-$10,000 – “With snappy dialogue, a lovely firelight vibe – this gang of odd characters shooting off dialogue brilliantly is a winner. The film’s above-average consistency, in terms of production values, makes it feel like an authentic feature film that could have been sold. Long story short, we hope Kelton White moves on to feature filmmaking rather promptly.”

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

Suspicious Minds – Nominated: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Director, Nominated: Best Actor (Ed Malone) – “Blending materials, this retro funky-town film is a whole lot of fun. Greatly enhanced by some lovely caricature performances.”

The Little Girl Eater – Nominated: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000, Nominated: Best Actress (Penny Rose Kettle), Nominated: Best Genre Film – “Dark, gloomy and a whole lot of scary, this project leans greatly on a young performance that delivers a great sense of realism. The photography is lovely and really showcases the higher budget and geographic landscape where the film is shot. This is a perfect Halloween treat!” 

Vital Instruments – Nominated: Best Screenplay, Nominated: Best Score – “The film’s tone is quite consistent, and leans heavily on certain ideas of genre style, though without evoking genre motifs – instead, this is a solid drama, disguised as a horror.” 

The First Night: Nominated: Best Cinematography, Winner: Best Short Film made for more than $10,000  “Without hesitation, this is a bombastic short film full of emotion and scope. The feeling of the local setting really appears to be rich, detailed and very impactful on the sense of realism. This might be a small town – but we get to see so much of it in a short time. This is a very impressive short film.” 

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

Not enough entries for this category to run.

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

The Best Gifts – Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “A great tapestry of family history is explored here. Theatrical in some of its presentations, the film greatly relies on actors to bring life to the complicated subject and style.”

  • Feature Film made for more than $10,000

Love and Doom – Winner: Best Screenplay, Nominated; Best Ensemble Cast – “In the micro-budget realm, this is the midnight show that everyone should love. This drive-in art house effort, which has a strong desire for nice pace and careful dialogue, is very beautifully put together, and nicely delivered by its cast. It has some Jim Jarmusch vibes.” 


Winner: Best Web series – Let’s Get Two: The Rocket City Trash Pandas – “With a particular focus on community, the Pandas are audience winning content, as it brings the flavours of a particular locale and its traditions the eyes of an audience member unfamiliar with this setting. It’s presentation, in the best sense, wins you over.” 

Nominee: Best Web series – Kalamanch – “Connecting a variety of characters together, Kalamnch brings the comedy to acting school. The highlight is actually the age group of performers, who are not youngsters, but instead very ‘human’ characters.”


Rngleader – Reclaimed – Nominated: Best Music Video – “With a great look, and a strong sense of photographic texture, Reclaimed looks retro cool.” 

Atrium “Warrior in the Garden” – Nominated: Best Music Video, Winner: Best Editing – “Fast cuts help accentuate the brashness of the whole video. It is gritty and bold.”

Last Tree on Earth – Nominated: Best Cinematography – “The use of the mirror effect helps highlight the impressive photography.” 

Circus – Winner: Best Cinematography – “Crisp, atmospheric and dramatic, this is a fun viewing experience.” 

Cats. Why do we need them? – Winner: Best Music Video, Nominated: Best Cinematography – “Rich with colour, and dramatically delivered – this story filled video is a stunning atmospheric experience.” 


  • Best Character Arc

Winner: Birdyboy – “Frankly, we are disappointed this isn’t a film. This is a great character story. There’s so much texture and dialogue to love.” 


The Calling – “With a strong lead character, specifically one of a more mature age, a role is given here that is ageless. This is a great use of character building, and an example of how the persona may become a tool with which to reimagine genre. Horror has a new home here.” 

Cardboard Coffin – “A tough, but very moving and impressive script. This wouldn’t be the easiest film to sit through, for all the right reasons. Empathy is the core emotion that an audience would need to find to endure the experience.” 

The Survival Of Monica Coghlan – “The various character arcs of this script provide much opportunity for actors to really delve deep into the physicality and nuance of these roles.” 

Donavan Emery, The Android & Himself – “Carrying an air of trauma, this project excels in its humanistic attributes. There’s a lot of potential here for nuance and originality.” 

  • Best Genre Script

Joint-Winner: Broken – “Following the war tradition, this script explodes on the scene with a fascinating angle of a female protagonist. The story is fresh, and moving, all the while very classical in script form.” 

Joint-Winner: As Scared As You – “A twisted horror delight with a lot of exciting ideas.” 


Brujo – “Though an unconventional format, this is a narrative steeped in cool style.” 

Dark Waters (Refunded entry)*

Magic Mountain – “This would make one very exciting project. There’s so much here for an Art Department to love. Unfortunately it is rather pricey for an indie production, but a lot of fun! – we hope to see it in the future.” 

Newbreed – “Slick, exciting and pop filled, this script carries the nostalgia of the MTV era.” 

  • Best Micro Budget Script

Winner: The Death Café – “With a great sense of independent filmmaking, this script excels as one of the best indie feature scripts we’ve had.” 


The Day, Asteroid comes – “As narratives go, this script finds a way to present big ideas in a big scale, but within reason. One could produce this script as a micro budget film with effective visual effects, and it would be a great genre film with great production value. This is a great script for the digital era of filmmaking!”

  • Best Technique

Winner: Step – “The film’s style is interconnected with how it is written, making the reading experience almost cinematic. This is really fun stuff.” 


The Death Café – “This script is a fantastic blend of genres, and is very entertaining and rich. It recalls Gondry’s Human Nature, with its endless possibilities for creativity.” 

The Barrowman – “Using pre-established narrative tools from a British show, this script excels at being precise with its style and story. It is quite brilliantly written.” 

*due to refund, review has been withdrawn.