Winter 2021

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


Jury Competition

Winner: Silver Flask by C.S. Hughes

“The biggest takeaway of Silver Flask is a double whamo serving of audience expectation and smart filmmaker style. The project may be small in scale, and even tight on a budget… but the final product is memorable, and something that one can take something away from – a rare treat in the small short film category, and even more so… a rare thing within the low end of film budgets.”

Traumgesicht by David de la Reza
Urban Wolf by Zef Cota
Irony by Henry Meredith
Manhedonia by Simon Bates

  • Short Films:

LIFE… by Mirlande Amazan – Nominated: Short – More than $10,000 – “This film is slick! – in fact, I’ll go so far to say: Amazan’s work should actually be that of a standard film release. This sort of production should be consumed by the masses (because it is that polished, accessible and interesting).”, Best Actress: Stacy Ann Rose – “Rose just hits her tone perfectly. What an impressive performance.”, Nominated: Best Director – “There is a sense of ease here, it almost comes as second nature… the world appears real, the tone is engrossing.”, Winner: Best Screenplay – “Amazan’s script is important, impressive and memorable.”

You Say Nothing by Gray Hughes – Nominated: Short – More than $10,000 – “The scale and presentation is quite grand, despite the small and intimate nature of the story.”, Nominated: Best Director – “Hughes presents the Derry of 1969 with great care. There’s texture here – there’s detail. I can smell it, I can taste it. It is rather impressive work.”, Nominated: Best Actor: Isaac Heslip – “What a bold and brave performance from this young man.”, Winner: Best Score – “The music of this short film is haunting and memorable.”

Love Bites by Andrew Rothkin – Winner: Special Mention: Best Credits – “They are so smooth and classy.”, Nominated: Short – More than $10,000: “The film carries itself with confidence – it has a strong understanding of pleasure derived from genre and performance.”, Nominated: Best Actor – Keith Hines: “Hines gives a great performance as the male love interest.”

The Grand Scheme by Matt Mirams – Winner: Short – More than $10,000 – “A classy production which understands how to handle its budget and production scale.”, Winner: Best Ensemble Cast – “Everyone is dancing on their toes in this… doing their best. It’s fantastic!”, Winner: Best Cinematography – “This short film has been shot with such a careful gesture, the camera glides, it dances… it actually reminds me of Madonna’s W.E.”

Als die Welle brach … / As the wave broke … Nominated: Best Editing – “The film has a slightly loose feeling of a Terrence Malick film. It’s interesting.”

The Treasure by Silvia Gregorova – Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “The collective team seems to be quite great in this.”

Zero-Sum Game by Amir Hossein Farrokhi – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000 – “The film’s use of locale and situational horror is greatly enhanced by its poetic understanding of cinema.”

The Gull’s Shriek by Ava Ghahremanifar – Winner: Best Actress: Raha Dourandish – “Dourandish is a revelation!”

Blue Ruby by Noah Stratton-Twine – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000, Nominated: Best Screenplay – “The project is really quite amusing, and the charm it holds of a Paris destination short is mostly delivered through the retrograde and the strong comedic performances.”

Coathanger by Russell E Hopkins – Winner: Best Genre Film – “This is a barking riot of hilarity… but it is also a little bit of a character-actor’s film, which is quite nice to see (and rather rare).”

The Purse: A Dream in Two Acts by Emily Woodworth – Winner: Best Actor (Nathan Woodworth), Winner: Best Writing – “The Woodworths rock the house with this one!”

Clarity by Eben Skilleter – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000 – “In this sobering film, the script and performances shine… in reality though, it is a very minimalist presentation, and a well balanced act on such a small budget.”

Foster by Henry Meredith – Nominated: Best Actor (Oli Meredith), Winner: Special Mention – Best Monologue (Writing and Performance) – “Meredith’s performance is razor sharp.”

Under the Surface by Trevor Hagen – Winner: Special Mention – Best use of effects “The digital cinema world has arrived, and Hagen has used it to the best of his abilities in this sci fi short film.”

Urban Wolf by Zef Cota – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000 – “The use of budget in this short is undeniably impressive – this is a full scale Hollywood style product. But it is also just a slice of the cake (not the whole meal). And also, sadly, the film does miss the chance to include some socio-political element to its ‘urban’ locale (think Candyman).”

Traumgesicht by David de la Reza – Nominated: Best Cinematography – “Though de la Reza’s style is great, and Groothof gives a great silent performance as Ana, it is Karner’s photography that really shines in this project.”

Me, Donkey (Ik, ezel) by Evy Vinck – Winner: Special Mention – Best Experimental Film – “Whacko weirdo wonderful.”

Potato Potato by Miguel Guzman – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000 – “The use of the restaurant setting is very endearing and sweet.”

Path of Rebirth by Nicola Savino – Nominated: Short – Less than $5,000 – “With its small budget, this film finds a great way of raising the genre and tone to a eerie level of relish.”

Winter’s Dream by Ian Adema – Nominated: Best Actor: Benjamin McPheeters – “McPheeters lives in a great setting and atmosphere generated by Adema.”

The Burning Trace by Jonathan Haver – Nominated: Best Actor: Alexey Ekimov, Nominated: Best Director, Winner: Special Mention: Best Black and White Film – “The mix of art, both visual and audio based, is heightened by this film’s use of black and white, the sharp lead male performance and the playfulness of the entire event!”

Irony by Henry Meredith – Winner: Short – Less than $5,000 – “An impressive little film set in a set that, eh – well… so, we had a bus stop film sent to TMBT a few months ago, and it was made for much more than this… so, hats off to the Meredith duo, who deliver such great performances in a public space with no budget in hand! The sense of a locale and people in this film is very precise.”

Manhedonia by Simon Bates – Winner: Special Mention: Best Use of Primitive Cinema – “The short has multiple elements at hand which are very primitive (film language) based: the performance, the cinematography, the edit… it is all very textured, very smart and very brainy. All in all – highly recommended to all.”

  • Feature Films:

The Take Out Move – Winner: Best Feature made for less than $5,000 – “This film proves that you don’t need much to make something slick, kickass and vibrant!”, Nominated: Best Actor: Jeremy Sless: “What a cool performance! Recalls a sort of French New Wave very chilled vibe.”, Best Writing: Andrew Simonian: “The comic lightness of this film is really quite unique in the indie scene.”, Nominee: Best Ensemble Cast: “The hangout vibe of this project is just fantastic. The cast keep it fresh throughout. So much energy! – I’d personally have loved to have made this film with this team. It looks like a hoot and it shows in the final product.”

BASTION by Pierre Udren – Winner: Best Director – “Who is Pierre Udren? When will he deliver a new film? And – he MUST make more films. What a delight!”, Nominated: Best Actress: Mélodie Mayer – “Mayer reminds me of Sandrine Bonnaire – She’s got a grasp of physical acting that’s quite great!”, Nominated: Best Cinematography: “The film’s striking black and white photography is grand!”, Nominated: Best Editing – “The film’s structure provides an interesting sense of tone – it slips in and out of spaces with delicate edits.”

THEM by Ignacio Maiso – Nominated: Best Cinematography – “The film looks great, but it does seem to be missing a bit of a heart.”, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast: “The performances of this film are well rounded and quite enjoyable.”

Veneer by Maximillian Aguiar – Nominated: Best Feature made for less than $5,000 – “The film’s main jewel is its understanding of character. Ultimately, it really has a lot of fun keeping things cheap and minimalist.”

Nineteen by Tyna Ezenma – Nominated: Best Genre Film, Nominated: Feature – More than $10,000 – “Ezenma’s film is a moving and genre drenched delight.”, Nominated: Best Actress: Echelon Mbadiwe – “Mbadiwe is startling in this performance.”

Big Trouble in Seattle by David Fowler – Winner: Feature – More than $10,000 – “Big Trouble packs a lot of big heat. There’s a large ensemble here ready to grin their teeth in a variety of genre typical scenes, as well as a real sense of locale and smart indie tricks. This film is very market-ready, and ought to be shown to sales agents to be sold.”

  • Special Mention:

Winner: Best Homegrown Film: Making and Unmaking by Shaun Rose and Andrea Stangle – “The film is obviously a self-reflexive project. It won’t appeal to many… but it does hold one important message: the making of films is not only for the few (with access to millions), but rather the many (with access to a camera?) – film is an art form which can be made by all, and it should be… Making and Unmaking is an authentic look at a chapter of a filmmaker who should persevere and keep making fiction films.”

  • Quarantine Films:

Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Kate J Miller – Special Mention: Best Stop Animation – “The film has a simple charm that is very much the product of our current situation.”
Long Distance by Ashna Sharan – Nominated: Best Writing – “The simplicity of this story is moving and well thought out.”
Hidden Nowhere by Grace Fox – Nominated: Best Genre Film – “There’s something quite funky and fun about this sci-fi double act film. The cast are especially bubbly in the unsuspecting country setting.”
Bell Jarred by Alexander Fingrutd – Nominated: Best Quarantine Film – “The film finds the minimalist fascinating, and so do we!”, Nominated: Best Cinematography – “Startling in its design, the look is a textured feast.”
Henrietta by Jessy Holtermann – Nominated: Best Actress – “This one-woman show is quite amusing thanks to Holtermann’s commitment to its minimalist content.”
My Dear Quarantine by Ewa Maria Wolska – Winner: Best Quarantine Film – “So charming, so beautifully handcrafted. What a delight!”
The Decisive Moment by Ben Lovejoy – Nominated: Best Actress: Asia Nisciur – “This did feel at times like a master and coverage task set by a university (to prove one understands the concept) without the need for an actual plot beyond someone sitting around and doing something simple – but the saving grace is Nisciur, who brings a bit of warmth and comedy to the simple situation.”
At This Time in My Death by Elee Mittan – Nominated: Best Quarantine Film – “Once one gets past the video call chat (something that has become a terrible requirement of the lockdown genre), the film unlocks a great horror genre vibe… all the while being produced and situated within a restrictive space.”
Fatima’s Job by Max Hayes and Nathalie Canvin – Winner: Best Editing – “The film’s greatest strength is its remixed and plastered visual presentation. Interviews are thrown around the screen with a variety of different digital presentations… it really takes the whole video conference and interview set-up to the next level.”
The Mountain by Ioan Jones – Nominated: Best Quarantine Film, Nominated: Best Cinematography, Nominated: Best Score – “Ioan Jones and Seimon Lea provide a consistent visual and sound based palette. It is beautiful.”
Another Father by Joe Lueben – Nominated: Best Quarantine Film – “It’s intimate, it is small, and it is very cosy.”
I Have a Rat by Freyja Pakarinen – Nominated: Best Director, Nominated: Best Actress, Nominated: Best Cinematography – “All in all, this team works so brilliantly together… Perhaps the only downfall is in itself the scale – a product of lockdown… the short seems at times smaller than the efforts of the team. They deserve a bigger canvas to paint on!”
In Isolation by Edmind C. Short – Nominated: Best Director, Nominated: Best Ensemble Cast – “The style of the film is perhaps the most unique of all the quarantine shorts, and it is specifically that which helps elevate the project above others… however, one should add that the cast is very much supportive of this – the camera dances around them, and they seem to respond in the right way whenever it hits them.”

  • Webseries:

Maxime Boudreault: Road to the 2020 World’s Strongest Man – Nominated: Best Webseries: “One has to love the visuals of this webseries – its gritty and grainy, and it has this sort of raw quality about it.”
The Cab’ – Nominated: Best Webseries: “Comical and sharp, this ensemble piece rings echoes of Veep’s earlier seasons.”
Paladin: The Brotherhood – Nominated: Best Webseries: “Well, this is a whole load of fun! There’s something retro about this even, recalls the heyday of 2000’s fantasy TV shows.”
The Coroner – Winner: Best Webseries: “From the perspective of cinema purest, this is a hard webseries to love – why cut out parts of films to make a new product?… but one must say the delivery is sharp, and the concept is very original.”, Nominated: Best Actor: Stefan Godin: “Godin appears as if he could have been a cast member of any of these films. His performance is, therefore, somewhat timeless and very cinematic.”
Marsh and the Moshki-Mallow – Best Webseries: “This is disturbing stuff (in the best of ways).”


  • Best Genre Script:

Winner: Meddle Like Hell by Michael Mantsourani – “What a joy is to be had from Meddle Like Hell. This has a great deal of genre potential!”
Find Her by Michael Walsh-Rose – “It’s got great potential to be a lot of fun. It does though, just at moments, feel more like a film than a show…”
Out of my Comfort Zone by Ivy Vale and Rick Reil – “This has a bit of a showstopper feeling to it. Like, had this been the late 80’s, it could be one of those John Hughes’ productions.”
Fairytale? By Aubree Sweeney – “Amusing and fun, this one has a storyteller vibe that’s quite cool. If produced, it would be best done with a strong colouring of genre to double down on what has already been established within the script.”
The Breaking Point by Tiffany L. Coleman – “The script carries a sense of drama that has a hint of a thriller in it. It’s quite interesting.”

  • Best Micro Budget Script:

Winner: Frayda by Raffaele Paolo O’Neill – “With its potential, this is a solid minimalist drama that has strong locations ready for use within the North London area.”
One More Guest? by Suzy Miller – “Compact, to the point and charming… this script is ready for filming.”

  • Best Character Arc:

Winner: The Drive Back by Justin Guidroz – “Intimate, smart and moving. A very impressive script.”
Seen, Unseen by Anita Palathingal – “This is a solid character driven film.”
Stop by Paul Burt and Rich Dampare Smartt – “The short is actually ready to shoot. It has a great feeling to it.”
Fugue by A J Maryn – “Perhaps dense at times, this script really relishes its various personas… and naturally, so do we!”
Frayda by Raffaele Paolo O’Neill – “The script is well researched (though perhaps at times too much so – obsessing over the ‘behaviour’ traits of a social group rather than the supporting roles at hand – ie a brother is no more than a brother etc)… but all in all the key part here is the lead persona, Frayda, who is a character that audiences will love to watch come alive.”
Dancing with the Devil by Ezra-Quinn Watson – “This one has a great deal of heart to offer its potential viewers.

  • Best Technique:

Winner: The Troupe by Micah Gallagher – “With the right director, this could be one hell of an impressive and stylistic film. The script is very concise about what it is doing.”
Monkey Motordome by Phil Nohl – “The script is written with a strong understanding of writing formats. It’s an easy, bold read.”
Conga by Rob Lancey: “The script is rather classy and clear about how it works.”
The Collector by Roland Johnson – “This is a hefty project, and I’m sure a hard one to see made… but the script is intelligent and impressive just the same.”
Soul Deer by David Mintzer – “The script has a great sense of character to it, and by this I mean the voice in the writing… there’s an authentic individual behind this.”
Two Nights at the Pine Street Inn by J Christopher Haslip – “Written with a great understanding of its subject, this script is quite heavy and moving.”


  • Best Music Video:

Winner: Heart of Steel – “The visual story here is greatly enhanced by perspective, character and a consistent understanding of space (that being, the space which the characters are in on the screen). All in all, Henry Meredith is a filmmaker we’d love to see a film from… and needless to say, this one of the best videos of the year so far.”
Lala Land – “Julius shows us a cool LA land… but it is really the personal connection, done mostly via mobile phone, that keeps this video intimate and special.”
Black Sheep – “Intimate, and yet epic. What a beautiful video!”
Tori Leppert – home – “The video is a personal trip that’s quite intimately done and comical.”

  • Best Cinematography:

Winner: Black Sheep – “What a beauty!” – let’s get one thing clear: Gianvincenzo Pugliese should be making films… his images, his understanding of cinema… it’s just very pure.”
I Wanna Do Christmas With You (Again) – “The videos use of retro effects is greatly enhanced by the placement of the camera, and the understanding of broadcast photography (the video actually looks like a soap opera gone wrong – in the best of senses, I mean… we’ve got Santa chained up!).”
Heart of Steel – “This video is a visual delight.”
Afterlife – Edenhill – “This video is on fire – Meredith shows off his lighting skills in this 90’s style music video. Slick stuff!”
Escapement – “This macro photography heavy video is a feast for the eyes.”
Byrd – Gør Det her – “Fucking awesome!”

  • Best Editing:

Winner: Byrd – Gør Det her – “The edit feels physical, it is a VHS retro delight!”
Inherent Rhythm – “The red grade here is sublime.”
George Floyd: Say Their Names – “The use of montage, which sees the video incorporate slogans and images, is a very smart and interesting use of tools which are closer to art installation and art performance than your average music video… it is stronger thanks to this self-awareness of the media. A stronger grade and even some editing effects (glitch, VHS effects etc) would provide the video more of a retro feel, which would further enhance the video’s already established visual motif.”
Make America Love Again – “The visual motif of various TV sets is quite amusing… the only real downside is we never see anyone watching the video itself, and therefore it feels all a bit heavy-handed with the use of stock footage… all in all though, the edit is quite fun.”
Leopard Society – “Funky might be a polite term for this video. Brian Perniciaro really turns up the volume on wild animal with his edit of this video.”

  • Special Mention:

Best Animation: iLL Opera – Chapter V: Woke – “The visuals really use animation, in its particular style, in a great modern digital form.”

Special Mention: Geneva Jacuzzi’s CasketWinner: Most Wild Music Video: “This video really shows off how wild one can get with a bit of character invention. The use of phones in combo with a retro ring and visuals to match is wild in the best of ways!”