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Winners Spring 2024

Best Art/Experimental Short

The Deepest Dance

Director/Cinematographer: André Musgrove

Writers: André Musgrove, Ariadna Hafez

Country: Bahamas

Genre: Action, Dance, Underwater, Sport, Fantasy, Music, Indie Film

Overview: In the crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas, underwater performer and professional dancer Arianda Hafez conducts a choreographed dance routine at depth on a variety of sunken shipwrecks while holding her breath. Directed and filmed underwater by Bahamian filmmaker André Musgrove, he combines his years of local knowledge and underwater expertise with the skills of Hafez from Spain to bring this performance of underwater mastery to life.

Best Microfilm


Director: Richard Thompson

Country: United States

Genre: Animation

Overview: A machine comes to life in a 3D animation short inspired by Charlie Chaplin.

Best Documentary Short

Still, life
Still, life

Director: Priya Woods

Producer: John English

Country: United Kingdom

Genre: Documentary, Short, Student

Overview: Grief has many unsuspecting customers. A stoic Scottish father and his daughter sit down for a pint, 18 summers after a life altering diagnosis which changed everything and nothing at all. Through the use of interview and archive, the film contrasts between a past life of warm chaos and the cold, still, reality of the present. This short is the story behind the “local” in the pub, exploring the crippling effects of love and loss, of which we all hold within.

Best Environmentally Conscious Documentary Short
Tap Talk - Meet the Crew

Director: Ryan Bijan

Producer: Ron L Perrin

Country: United States

Genre: Documentary

Overview: Sediment that collects on the floor of potable water storage tanks is often overlooked. It can go for years, sometimes decades, "Out of Sight and Out of Mind". The USEPA has identified sediment as being a habitat that bacteria, protozoa, and even viruses can use to get a foothold in a water system. Neglecting the housekeeping of a water storage tank can become a threat to the health of any water system and as a result, can threaten the health of their customers.

Director Statement: The subject of clean water and its accessibility is something I've been passionate about for years. In creating this documentary, even my eyes were opened to the realities faced by many communities in our own backyard.

Best Drama Short
He is not my son

Director/Writer/Producer: Antonio Orbe

Country: Spain

Genre: Drama

Overview: Parents adore their children but they can't handle it all. Four different couples of parents with children of various ages suffer from their children's addiction. They start by forgiving them and helping them. Years go by and the children's lies and deceptions continue. More than 100,000 (one hundred thousand) deaths from fentanyl overdose in 2021 in the US

Best Long Short
"OUT-OfSIGHT and OUT-OF-MIND what is in your drinking water"

Director: Ryan Bijan

Producer/Writer: Ron L Perrin

Country: United States

Genre: Long Short, Documentary

Overview: There is a serious danger lurking in America's water systems. Join Potable Water Diving Contractor Ron Perrin, along with microbiologists and a former EPA employee as they discuss the problem. Ron Perrin is a diving contractor in Fort Worth Texas. Specializing in diving in potable water. Since 1997 his company has been inspecting and cleaning potable water storage tanks and towers. They have worked in 14 states. This has given him a very unique perspective on the country's drinking water distribution systems. Last year they inspected over 850 potable water storage tanks and cleaned about 150. The problem is about 700 needed to be cleaned. Many had never been cleaned. There is no regulation that requires water tanks to be cleaned in most states. Why does it matter? A water storage tank is the last stop water makes between the water treatment plant and your tap. Over time sediment builds up on the floor of most storage tanks. This can add up to inches or even feet of sediment. Tank sediment can become a safe habitat for bacteria, protozoa, or even viruses. Keeping the tank clean allows treatment chemicals to do the job they were designed to do. It is important that water utility managers understand the importance of keeping water storage tanks clean.

Director Statement: The subject of clean water and its accessibility is something I've been passionate about for years. In creating this documentary, even my eyes were opened to the realities faced by many communities in our own backyard.

Best Feature Documentary
All I Ever Wanted

Director: Carlos P Beltran

Producers: Maria Alicia Ruiz, Hector Do Nascimento, Priscilla Torres

Country: United States

Project Type: Documentary, Feature

Overview: All I Ever Wanted is a riveting 7-year journey through the high-stakes world of professional basketball, showcasing NBA icons like Kevin Durant, Kyle Lowry, and Manu Ginobili. This deeply personal documentary unveils the untold story of Greivis Vasquez, former star of the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets, as he confronts the challenges of a sudden, career-ending injury. The film reveals the emotional, physical, and financial challenges that emerge in the aftermath of an athlete's worst fear coming true.

Director Statement: This is not the film I wanted to make. Not at first. When we began production in the fall of 2016, we set out to document a comeback story. As a young Latin American pro-athlete raised in some of the poorest parts of Venezuela, Greivis Vásquez would inspire millions by overcoming a debilitating ankle injury and finding his way back to the National Basketball Association. As a fellow Venezuelan, I wanted to tell this story. But, over the years—after every conceivable hurdle—we ended up with something more powerful. By 2018 experts had deemed his condition “career-ending.” After six-years in the NBA, it was clear he would never play professional basketball again. But Greivis Vásquez kept on pushing. And, behind the camera, so did we. The story then became an intimate character study: What happens to Icarus after he gets burnt? It was a gamble. We continued filming—with minimal funding and an even smaller crew—stretching every resource at hand. And so, the seven-year-long production followed Greivis through three surgeries, one political uprising in South America, countless meetings with the best orthopedic doctors in the world, a pandemic, and a divorce. This film is the product of stubborn perseverance. We believed that, regardless of the outcome, we would learn something from Greivis’ blind ambition. Ultimately, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. I am proud of what this film stands for. We are certain that this story will both inspire and guide youth (Hispanic and otherwise) to fight for their dreams while holding on to that what matters most: family.

Best Short
Country Dogs

Directors/Writers: Ali Moniri, Philip Kaat, Bertan Can

Producers: Sten Toom, Ali Moniri

Country: Estonia

Genre: Drama

Overview: In the quiet expanse of the countryside, an unlikely relationship forms. The film opens with a young runaway, cloaked in leather and exuding a naive bravado, who encounters an eccentric, old homeless man. The boy, in his silent rebellion, plans to escape his old life, not knowing this strange encounter will shift his course. The old man, with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes, begins to weave a captivating story about a friend of his, an escapee from prison, who made his way to the city in search of freedom. As the narrative unfolds, the boy becomes deeply engrossed, finding a mirror to his own tale of adventure. However, the story takes a grim turn when the old man's friend meets a tragic end, devoured by a pack of city dogs. This jolts the boy back to reality, making him question the path he's on. The old man, with a shrug of his shoulders, departs, leaving the boy at the crossroads of decision. In a moment of clarity, fueled by frustration and a newfound wisdom, the boy curses under his breath and decides to return home, leaving audiences to ponder the old man's intentions. Was the story a cautionary tale to guide the boy, or just a ramblings of a lonely old man? "Country Dogs" is a short comedy that treads the fine line between humor and absurdity, exploring themes of freedom, fate, and the unexpected mentors we find in the most unlikely places.

Director Statement: Even the very process of this film seemed destined. Faced with the difficult challenge of finding an English-speaking old man in Estonia for our cast, we received only one response - from an Englishman who had never acted before, recovering from a recent stroke. His unexpected perfection for the role and our collective improvisation brought the vision to life in a matter of weeks, embodying the essence of our storys tribute to life's fateful twists.'Country Dogs' is a testament to the magic of spontaneous decisions and the incredible stories they conjure. All you have to do is trust your gut.

Best Comedy Short, Best Actor (Daniel Bapeck)
Love in a Library
Love in a Library

Directors: Andrew Syers, Marc Andrew Julien Holmes, James Day

Writer: Andrew Syers

Producer: Marc Andrew Julien Holmes

Country: United Kingdom

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Black and White, Silent movie, Slapstick, madcap, Action, Adventure, Comedy Drama

Overview: Hopeless romantic Henry McCloud while returning an extremely late library book falls in love with the world’s toughest librarian, Amy Turbulence. Little does he know that his attempts to woo her will drop him into a mad cap adventure and the murky world of politics.

Director Statement: I produced a silent film comedy set in a library because it appeared to be the most appropriate place for this genre. The genesis for this work was a Film Jam One month challenge; the theme being 'silence'. Film Jam is a film making organization. I aimed to create a film with the humour and sweetness of a silent comedy film by the likes of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. At the same time I wanted a library to feature in this story since libraries are at the most risk of extinction than they have ever been. And the library in this story is very much endangered by the politician, Malcolm Darkwell who wishes to bring back the 'Dark Ages'.

Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Edit
Blue Snakes

Director/Writer: Iago Montgomery-Jarvis

Producers: Iago Montgomery-Jarvis, Dean Bloomfield

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type:Drama, Short

Overview: Blue Snakes delivers a gripping tale of revenge, redemption and the cost of standing up to corruption. It blurs the lines between right and wrong and follows Vince who is battling personal demons and mental health whilst seeking to make amends for past mistakes. Set in a backdrop of escalating crimes and city life encompassing the strains, the hate and the travesties sent to test the strongest of characters.

Director Statement: I had spent nearly two years writing both a novel and the script for the film and knew I had to start the filming process, I had such an amazing time bringing the cast and crew together to make this short film and had to choose some great scenes which I knew could portray the plot and expose some of the character traits. This will appeal to people who love crime dramas and revenge thrillers. The full feature will be packed with intrigue, action and revenge scenes which gather momentum and really expose the characters motives and underpinning agendas.

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short


Director: Jenny Simpson

Writer: Benjamin Sitton

Producers: Georgia Seymour, Benjamin Sitton

Country: United Kingdom

Genres: Fantasy, Drama, Comedy

Overview: The Mad Hatter grows tired of the fantastical world of Wonderland and seeks to find Alice in modern day London. But by complete accident, Hatter finds himself working a white-collar office job; the CEO of the company? Alice herself.

Director Statement: Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beautiful stories, ‘Hatter’ is told from the unique perspective of the weird and wonderful Mad Hatter. The film blends realism and fantasy, and grounds one of Caroll’s most iconic characters in a familiar and modern environment to explore ideas about alienation and isolation in the face of a capitalist environment. Also close to both mine and the film’s heart, is the importance of friendship, with Hatter undergoing a similar journey to Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, discovering that even though we may feel both disconnected and discontented with our immediate surroundings, our friendships and relationships are always the most valuable part of our lives, as we seek to navigate unfamiliar and hostile environments. ‘Hatter’ is made for lovers of the bizarre, and acts as a love letter to childhood nostalgia and fantasy. It’s for those who feel like they can’t find their place in the world, and for those who know there’s no place like home.

Best Thriller/Horror, Best Director


Director/Writer/Producer: Omar Hashem

Country: United States

Genres: Horror, Thriller, Suspense

Overview: In a parking lot, Omar's life takes a terrifying twist when he becomes the target of an unstable abductor. With time running out, Omar must muster all his courage to outwit his captor and make a desperate bid for freedom.

Director Statement: This film is inspired by a true story that happened to the director himself. It motivated him to write it because it contains many emotions we experience in our daily lives and addresses topics we defend and believe in. I am deeply thankful to the team of actors, crew, and family for making this possible. I am also, and always, grateful to the organ donor and their family for donating their lungs, enabling me to fulfill my dreams. This film and all its successes are dedicated to my donor and their family.

Best Feature
Just like me

Directors/Writers/Producers: Andreas Bjarne, Fredrik Thelander

Country: Sweden

Project Type: Feature, Student

Overview: The movie is about the somewhat peculiar but spontaneous Maria (28) who wins 250,000 SEK on a scratch-off lottery ticket on TV. She dreams of a typical "Svensson" life, which refers to a common, ordinary Swedish family, but she's not quite sure how to get there. So, when the TV host asks her what she will do with the money, she says, "Anyone who wants to have coffee with me will receive 1000 SEK." Her calendar quickly fills up with people who want to have coffee with her, and one thing leads to another, and somewhere over there, perhaps that ordinary life she desires exists, or maybe not.

Director Statement: In 2006, I met Maria at a theater event. She was someone who didn't fit in. Someone who stood out. She tried her best, but people rejected her. They thought she was strange, and the things she said and did were odd. You could almost see that it made her sad, that no matter what she did, it was wrong. That encounter with Maria stuck with me. I thought about how much she tried and attempted to be herself, but still, it went awry. I started to think that we've all been Maria at some point, and we all are at times. Just like her, we've been told to be ourselves, that's when we're at our best. That's when we become true to everything we do, the person we want to be, and how we want to live. But how do you know that, when everyone keeps rejecting you? When nothing you do is ever good enough? When all your attempts turn out wrong? When you see a goal but don't know the way to get there? When everything you desire is right in front of your eyes, but you can't reach it? No one lets you in, and that panic rises as you are so close, yet you see it slipping through your fingers. It's right there in front of you, and you can't afford to fail, because this might be your last chance. You've never been this close in your entire life and now it's all going wrong. This feeling, this struggle, is what I wanted to convey through Maria to all the boys and girls out there, and let them know they're not alone and it won't be forever. One day they will reach their goals. One day they will be loved. One day they will be let in. One day their dreams will come true.

Best Student Director, Best Original Score

Director/Writer: Dezmo DeGano

Producer: Theo Mars

Country: United States

Project Type: Student, Short

Overview: Emma and Alex and themselves in a surreal place,questioning how they got there. They encounter Dan, a man in a Hawaiian shirt, who reveals they are dead. Dan decides to interview them to determine who gets a second chance at life. He asks various questions to determine who is best fit. Ultimately Emma and Alex both score 4251, leaving them with a choice: sacrifice themselves to let the other one live or both face an empty, lonely, painful death.

Director Statement: 4251 was created to share a powerful message that changed my life for the better and it would be great if my audience could get a glimpse of what I have discovered. The message is simple, we only have one chance with this life and although it may not look like it, we can create anything as a possibility regardless of the situation we are dealing with. I watched friend after friend going into college and careers that they did not choose, instead they pleased their parents or took a safe and reliable career path that would give them security. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people that demanded I go after journeys that seemed interesting in which I could see myself doing at a high level and enjoying the work. Never mind the statistics of how many people get to be an astronaut. I went after what would be worth my life and knowing I’d rather go for it and fail than to regret that I never tried. I discovered that I love storytelling and filmmaking and pursue that as my career and craft because I can’t see myself spending my creative energy on anything else. To inspire and be inspired, to feel all there is to feel as a human being the deepest depths and the highest highs in a way that viewers feel alive. Creating films brings all of that alive and real for me personally every time, and my aim is to convey that to my audiences. This film deals with the regret of living a life of safety and comfort in juxtaposition to living a life you love and get to create. No matter what you believe happens after you die, you only live this life once. With that shoving a message in someone’s face isn’t my style and the audience is less likely to take home the message. Comedy makes it easier to process and relate to a challenging topic more easily. 4251 is a dark comedy, dealing with a heavy subject with a fun and dry humor.

Best Feature Screenplay / TV Script
Overwhelming Darkness
Overwhelming Darkness

Writer: Steven A Hart

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Screenplay

Overview: After accidentally killing a child murderer, a jaded crime reporter plummets over the edge into a violent journey to rid her city of the criminals that she despises. But what price must she pay as she starts to become the very thing she hates?