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Winners Spring 2021

Best Art/Experimental Short

On / Off

Director/Writer: Nicolas P. Villarreal

Producers: Nicolas P. Villarreal, Alessandro Squitti

Music: Michael Brennan

Country: Argentina

Project Type:Short

Overview: Endless distractions threaten to destroy creativity.

Director Statement: ON / OFF relays my view of today's technology and how social media can be a considerable distraction to creative minds and discipline. Something that can derail you inadvertently from a passion that you may have and dedicate less time to neglecting it. It's my imagination and perspective of how geniuses like Frida Kahlo, Da Vinci, Beethoven, and Tesla would have interacted with it as well as their attitude and decision making towards their work with their counterparts today. My favorite films, shorts, features, documentaries are the ones that leave me thinking about the content after the fact, questioning my life and or inspiring me. I hope this film does the same about how we interact with technology and social media and shows us how there could be a possibly different future utilizing it for something productive, creating things that we feel we have to get out there. Hopefully, it will make them go back to that passion that they have and the urge to create something that they have been keeping in the back of their minds. You can use social media and technology for your work, but it can also be a black hole that sucks you in it. I hope the film's message leaves the audience questioning their attitudes towards their passions and thinking if they are sacrificing something great that they could be doing by inconsequential and ephemeral social media content that won't affect their lives positively.

Best Feature, Best Editing, Best Sound Design, Best Actor (Stuart Ashen)
Ashens and the Polybius Heist

Director Riyad Barmania

Writers: Riyad Barmania, Stuart Ashen

Producers: Riyad Barmania, Linton Davies, Stuart Ashen

Key Cast “Ashens” Stuart Ashen

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Feature, Comedy

Overview: A heist like no other. A motley crew of misfits hunt down an infamous 80's arcade game that can supposedly control people's minds. But is the legend all that it appears? Can the No-Confidence Crew get to it before it's too late? And what do lawnmowers have to do with it? The clock is ticking.

Director Statement: Ashens and the Polybius Heist is the culmination of years of work on the script, story and characters, to ensure the experience will be something the audience will truly love. In directing the film I wanted to push the boundaries of what was considered possible for a project of this nature - to be totally cinematic in look, sound and feel. I wanted to create an experience the viewer will remember and carry with them. I wanted to tell a funny and entertaining story but one with a real emotional underpinning, because that is where you connect with the audience and have a lasting impact. It is a fast, fun, silly movie with a big heart. I hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Best Comedy Short

Fuck The Honeymoon

Director/Writer: Joshua Thornton-Allan

Producers: Denise Moreno, Jake Parker

Cinematographer: Guido Cavaciuti

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: When Lizzie agrees to go on an “alternative” first date with Nathan she had no idea it's a couples counselling session. Forced to confront their flaws, foibles and personal hangups they come to the realisation that the best way to make a relationship work might be to skip the dating part altogether.

Director Statement: What happens when you’re single but tired of dating? Could you skip the dating part and start the relationship straight away? Is it insane, or just crazy enough to work? F*** The Honeymoon is an oddball comedy that explores the often tiresome reality of modern dating, and questions whether there’s a better way. The short is ultimately about opening up, about being ourselves with another person even if it’s painful, and being brave enough to share what we really want out of life.

Best Feature Documentary

'Trans Pecos'

Director: Nicol Ragland

Cinematographer: Corbett Jones

Producers: Nicol Ragland, Anna Rau, Corbett Jones

Country: United States

Project Type: Documentary, Feature

Overview: Trans Pecos is a timely intervention weaving together the issues of land and water rights, while painting an honest portrait of what is to come if we allow oil interest to supersede public good. It is a cautionary tale meant to inspire people from every walk of life to take action and work toward change that can happen if informed citizens and those in power hold oil and gas companies accountable. A documentary that uncovers the truth in Far West Texas and one pipeline reflecting the beginning of the invasion of one of the last American frontiers.

Director Statement: The ambitions of TRANS PECOS intersect with the objectives of voicing the importance of constitutional land rights that create a democratic foundation. For these reasons, TRANS PECOS is a timely investigation of a new chapter in America’s exploration and exploitation of the natural environment. The observational and cinematic approach in filmmaking aspires to unify both subjects and audiences, rallying traditionally disparate populations for a common good through the belief that empathy fosters compassion which in turn fosters accord.

Best Original Score
To Glory Land

Director/Writer/Producer: Fadi Awad

Composer: Fadi Awad

Country: Canada

Project Type: Music Video, Short

Overview: Fadi Awad is a Canadian Multi-Awards Winner Music Artist as well as a Billboard and a Multi-Charted one, who’s Awarded as a Music Composer, Songwriter, DJ, and Producer. He’s in the Industry since 1986. Studied music & orchestration, High Studies in International Business Management, and holding a profile full of Valuable Records & Honorable Titles. He worked in many top radio stations & night clubs, played in many top music events, and collaborated with may top artists Worldwide... He introduced many music genres to several markets... He achieved many successes & was behind many successful projects... His presence in the Industry since 1986 helped him selecting what’s beautiful & good from every genre that popped up, that’s why he composes many good music genres successfully!... Fadi is truly considered a One-Love international artist who worked with many big artists and Celebrities from several Countries in many Art projects... His music was charted in many radio stations and in many National Charts (USA, Germany, UK, Australia, France…) as well on Billboard, DRT, Euro Indie Chart, World Indie Chart, in the top digital stores, and more…

Best Trailer/Teaser
A Long Way Home
A Long Way Home

Director/Writer: Harrison Bell

Producer: Josiah Martin-Lofters

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Animation, Student, Short

Overview: An orphan seeks out her biological mother on the far side of America.

Director Statement: A Long Way Home is a very personal story about a young girl's journey to find her birth mother. It is a story about loss, and family, and reconciliation.

Best Microfilm
I am here
I am here

Director/Writer: Stan Amsellem

Producers: Stan Amsellem, Marc-Antoine Riou

Country: United States

Project Type: Short

Overview: Paris, March 2020, the hospital is boiling. Marc, an introverted accountant working there, is the witness of his colleagues dismay. He feels powerless. He'll then seize the opportunity to take control of his destiny by chasing his hidden dream every night to give comfort to people around, and maybe a little bit for him too.

Director Statement: "Impose your luck, cherish your happiness and move toward your risk. While they'll watch you doing, they'll get used to it." René Char

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short

Director/Writers: Dan O'Leary

Key Cast “Jacob”: Alexander Arran Cowan

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Sci-fi, Feature

Overview: A young software programmer converses with an AI, pushing its limits on his morning commute to work.

Best Short, Best Director
Lost & Hound

Directors/Writer: Ben. J Smith

Producer: Lucy Turner

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: A sweet old man enjoys a wonderful day with a friendly dog he finds in his garden.

Director Statement: Lost & Hound is my director debut. I really wanted to make a film with my pride and joy, Freddy the dog, thus writing this film began. Now the finished piece is available for your viewing pleasure, and I hope you enjoy it.

Best Animation Short

Directors: Jordan Coles, Ross Green

Producer: Priya Shah

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Animation, Student, Short

Overview: Two boxing toys do battle for mastery of the ring.

Writer Statement: I wanted to create a fun battle between two toy boxing robots, fighting in the style of real life boxers.

Best Thriller/Horror Short

Director/Writer/Producer: Piero Cannata

Country: Italy

Project Type: Short

Overview: Two screenwriters, a ghost story, the night that goes on. Who will put an end to this?

Director Biography: Piero Cannata, screenwriter and director, was born in Palermo in 1974. After attending a course in film and theater directing, he began producing horror and dramatic short films, appreciated and awarded in various international festivals. His works, imbued with a strong pessimism and a melancholy irony, speak of human beings and their weaknesses, but also of hope and desire for redemption.

Best Short Screenplay
Dead Meat
Dead Meat

Writer: Cassie Burton

Country: United States

Project Type: Short Script

Overview: When five friends get together for Friendsgiving, nothing is as it seems - and the suddenly sentient turkey is only part of the reason.

Best Drone Short
Princes Bridge & Swan Street Bridge - Melbourne Australia
Princes Bridge & Swan Street Bridge - Melbourne Australia

Director: Lawrence Gerver

Country: Australia

Project Type: Experimental, Short

Overview: Melbourne's grandest and oldest Bridge. Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, Princes Bridge connects St Kilda Road to Swanston Street alongside Flinders Street Railway Station. A bridge has crossed the river at this point since 1845, the present Princes bridge being the third bridge across the Yarra at that location, a need to handle increased shipping traffic on the Yarra River and the river was widened to cope with this. The Swan Street Bridge provides a vital connection, linking Melbourne’s CBD with its world-renowned sporting and recreation precincts. The Swan Street Bridge Upgrade as a significant opportunity to improve the pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and to enhance the urban design quality of the bridge. The design provides for a highly functional river crossing, with streamlined circulation paths that operate under both daily and highly congested event conditions.

Director Statement: Over the past years, and in the coming ones, to wander out there, to capture the beauty of nature and its timeless architecture, which are fast fading away before our very eyes.

Best Student Director

Director: Bryan Lee

Writer: Matthew Siu

Producer: Nishtha Dogra

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short, Student, Thriller, Fantasy, Suspense

Overview: Bruised teenage girl Shukumei wakes up to go to School. She looks at herself in the mirror, touches her eye bruise and it hurts. A pain she must go through every day since that incident. Living in a small village in the country land of England with her mom, she endures the laughs and the bullying. One morning, after taking her pills, someone shouts at her. It is Goodwin, he’s brainless and inoffensive but this time he’s just too loud. This time Shukumei cannot take it anymore. Shukumei runs after Goodwin, she gets close to his house but when she opens the door he is not there anymore. Something hurts, one of her bruises disappeared and the rest of them start merging into a map. The next day, Goodwin is announced dead…

Director Statement: I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker when I turned 15. It all started with a Youtube Channel I created with a few friends of mine. I am passionate about directing and editing but I also take a special interest in photography therefore I am quite versatile. My ultimate goal is to succeed in the film industry in South Korea where I feel the most inspired. I am passionate about the Asian culture but more particularly about the Japanese and Korean cultures. This first film of mine was about mixing the western culture where I'm from and the oriental culture that I'm inspired about. This film AZA was inspired by my little brother's disease and unmeasurable passion for the Japanese culture.

Best Feature Director
Kaali Maati

Director/Producer: Hemantkumar Mahale

Writers: Hemantkumar Mahale, Anil S. Raut

Country: India

Project Type: Social Drama, Biopic, Feature

Overview: This is a biopic of a farmer from Pune District who yields harvest of gold from the black soil. Dnyaneshwar Bodke is the central character of this story. After a basic secondary education and a nine to five job, he was certain that this was not a life that he wanted. He decided to do farming on his own farm land. An office job was any day better, than farming which did not yield anything but losses, was the advice given to him by his parents. But he stayed firm on his decision. Get married before quitting the job… was the advice given by his parents, as no father would want his daughter to get married to a farmer. Dnyaneshwar agreed, though reluctantly. He left his job to do farming full time and surrendered his fate to the soil. With hard labour and complete dedication, he tilled the soil so well that miracle happened. A loss making farmland was thus transformed into a successful enterprise with a turnover of 400 crores. We have all seen the stories of farmers who lost hopes and committed suicides. Now, we want to depict the story of Dnyaneshwar, who could change the course of his life with sheer will and courage. We are sure that this film will encourage the younger generation to look at farming as a good career and will help improve farming’s image in the society’s psyche.

Director Biography: Mr. Hemantkumar Mahale is basically an Event Organizer since 1978 and have achieved Highest Viewership (60 Crores+) in the world on YouTube for his live shows. He has awarded by India Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, Limca Book of Records, Golden Book of World Records and World Records India for his achievement in Music. He has completed his bachelor of Dramatics Degree in Aurangabad University. He has produced and directed a Marathi Feature Film “WhatsApp Love” and released all over Maharashtra on 12th July 2019.

Best Cinematography
Built Lands

Director/Writer/Producer: Arturo Dueñas Herrero

Cinematographer: Álvaro Sanz Pascual

Country: Spain

Project Type: Documentary, Feature

Overview: In the late 60s a group of artists decides to settle in a village in the ‘darkest-deepest’ Spain. Today only Felix Cuadrado Lomas still remains there, determined to reflect the landscape which surrounds him: the lands built by those who work on them.

Director Statement: "El título de Tierras construidas se fundamenta en que ellas mismas se presentan en la naturaleza elaboradas y construidas como creación de la mano del hombre, y en la obra artística también se presentan recreadas, interpretadas y construidas por la mano del autor, surgiendo así una simbiosis entre el hombre y el medio. Creo que el hombre está formado por la influencia del paisaje que lo circunda y, al mismo tiempo, él modifica, identificándose con el trozo de tierra en que habita y trabaja, adquiriendo la obligada necesidad de amarla, cuidarla y defenderla de toda agresión interna y externa."

Best Environmentally Conscious Documentary Short
Growing Peace in the Middle East
Growing Peace in the Middle East

Director/Writer/Producer: Steven Hoffen

Country: United States

Project Type: Documentary, Student, Short

Overview: A 7th grader from New York is inspired by a visit to Sindyanna of Galilee in Israel - a unique non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working together to create social change from the ground up. He spends the year during the pandemic inspired to document the new hydroponics project at Sindyanna, which strives to enhance Arab-Jewish cooperation, while creating economic opportunities for Arab women.

Best Long Short

The Tyro

Director/Writer: Rami Hilmi

Producer: Mery Bernabei

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Comedy, Drama, Short

Overview: "TheTyro" is a 25 mins short filmed in Lee on the Solent in Sept 2020. The Tyro is the story of a young fighter seeking revenge for his father. To defeat the champion, Everest seeks the help of a retired master, who will teach him the true essence and balance of the traditional discipline. A story and script of Rami Hilmi, this film is based on nothing but harsh reality. This is the real story of when Rocky meets The Karate Kid.

Director Statement: Although we have faced multiple obstacles, due to Pandemic and lockdowns trying to plan our shoots. We have adapted to the restrictions that were in place, following the guide lines, we crew & cast came out stronger, finding a way to shoot a film with a story, without violating any of the Pandemic restrictions . This is where 'The Tyro' was born.....

Best Drama Short, Best Actress (Eileen Grubba)
Dark Hearts

Director: Kevin Van Stevenson

Writers: EIleen Grubba, Tim Majka

Producers: Eileen Grubba, Kevin Van Stevenson, Brock Waidmann, Rhonda Waidman, Judy Goldsworthy, Nannette D'Aquila

Key Cast “Kelly”: Eileen Grubba

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Drama, Short

Overview: A look into the lives of a couple whose child has gone missing. After living with the disappearance of their only child for months, they have no choice but to move on with life. But when ladybugs appear, Kelly believes it's a sign her daughter is still alive. Her husband isn't so quick to believe. One clings to the last bit of hope she has, the other is at his wit's end. Both hoping for a miracle the next time the phone rings.

Best Feature Screenplay / TV Script

Face Painters

Writer: Giovanni Sanseviero

Country: United States

Project Type: Screenplay

Overview: When dementia overwhelms a guilt-ridden funeral director, his son, an illiterate casket builder, has no choice but to bring in his sly college-smart brother to save the business.

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