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Winners Winter 2023

Best Art/Experimental
At The Fence
At The Fence

Director/Writer/Producer: Max Albrecht

Cinematographer: Anna Liepelt

Country: Germany

Project Type: Short

Overview: A journalist on the cold trail of their missing grandfather discovers a fabled house overlooking a remote town. As their investigation continues, they discover disturbing evidence of extradimensional experimentation and unearth their grandfather's fate.

Director Biography: Born in the south of England and raised in the north, while studying a physics degree at university Max identified film-making as a way to combine his various creative interests, including writing, visual composition, acting, and composing songs and soundtracks. Max is a lifelong fan of sci-fi, horror, fantasy and surreal films, and draws upon his own scientific knowledge and medical experience of surviving cancer at an early age to colour the philosophies behind the characters and worlds in his films.

Best Long Short, Best Student Director
Cheese and Onion

Director: Shaun Stone-Riley

Writer/Producer: Mark Quinn

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: ‘Cheese and Onion’ is a police crime drama highlighting how a small dispute can escalate out of hand and lead to tragic consequences. Set in present day rural West Yorkshire, the narrative follows a police sergeant as she takes revenge on her husband's young mistress. Highlighting the abuse of power, injustice and the destruction of a young woman’s dream, Cheese and Onion is a story that audiences of all ages and walks of life will find thought-provoking.

Director Biography : I'm working class, mixed heritage, Gen Z with a passion for grass roots, hands on filmmaking. I seek to give a voice to narratives that deal with specific cases of austerity and Injustice and its effect on northern working-class multiculturalism. something close to my heart.

Best Feature
The Whirlpool
The Whirlpool

Director: Den Hook

Writer: Olga Loyanich

Producers: Olga Loyanich, Alexander Kalushkin

Country: Russian Federation

Genres: Thriller, Horror, Mystery, Drama

Overview: Beauty Lyuba is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her relationship with her husband has come to a standstill - she is tired of enduring bullying and insults, but cannot find the strength to leave. Together with her friends, Lyuba goes on a retreat in the Russian outback, where shamans perform secret rituals to help the wards face their fears. But it so happened that Lyuba's main fear is a meeting with herself. And from yourself, unlike the clergy, do not run away.

Director Statement: This project is very important for us not only as a film, but also as a massage to all young woman in the World about abuse and how it goes and also it is our manifestation against an abuse.

Best Original Score
The Fate of Cysalion

Director/Writer/Producer: Marc Blasweiler

Country: Germany

Project Type: Musical, Feature

Overview: The Fate of Cysalion is a three-hour live-action musical that blurs the line between film and theatre. It is the centrepiece of a fantasy saga that tells an epochal story of heroes, villains and ancient powers. The story takes place in a distant place called Cysalion. In 1898, the boy Tayen Knightway is sent on a risky mission by the last living Vartori and ponders seminal events that took place some two hundred years earlier. An epic adventure unfolds before the viewer's eyes as two young girls embark on a breathtaking journey amidst kingdoms and empires.

Director Statement: This film will always be special to me because there were many triggers for it. On the one hand, there was always this dream of making my own film, which would then be shown on the big screen in the cinema. On the other hand, I often got strong feedback from my sweet wife Ariane, my family, friends and acquaintances that I should make a film of my theatre and musical productions.

Best Short

Director/Writer/Producer: Radhakrishnan Gopal

Country: India

Project Type: Short

Overview: A Group of so called INTELECT NAXALS, who are plotting a huge rally against the GOVERNMENT'S (LITHIUM) project to protect the soil from environmental impact. A corrupted MINISTER (POLITICIAN) setting up the team of COPS to stop the protest, because he has a personal benefit in the project, if it is signed between the GOVERNMENT and one Multinational Company. So, what is next and the end? Somehow only the mankind is responsible for all environmental impact, ultimately mother nature suffers taking the brunt of all destruction.

Best Feature Screenplay
Cold War Reboot

Writer: Joshua A Cohen

Country: United States

Genres: Spy, Action, Thriller

Overview: An FSB spy hunting an oligarch team up to stop a Russian terrorist attack on NATO Headquarters

Writer Statement: "Cold War Reboot" is a Euro-spy action thriller, in the vein of Bourne, Bond and Ronin. This is meant to film majority in Greece, and launch a new action franchise.

Best Drama Short
The Relented

Director: Steve James Moore

Writer: Connor Wulfric

Producers: Connor Wulfric, Steve James Moore

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Action & Adventure, Distopian, Thriller, Short

Overview: After two decades of political and economical turmoil, society has broken down. We follow Mitchell, a young man and newly declared Dissent, surviving alone as hunter gatherer in the wild for the past 18 months. As Mitchell makes his way through dangerous territories, on a slow route to the Freeland when he finds himself in an interaction he thought not possible.

Best Comedy Short
Pak Life

Director: Mike Doxford

Writer: Zara Janjua

Producer: Zara Janjua

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Comedy, Short

Overview: A seemingly innocent chat up turns into some stereotyped ideas about race and identity.

Best TV Script
Let's Talk About Sex
Let's Talk About Sex

Writer: Marissa Zumbo

Country: United States

Genres: Drama, Comedy, Television Script

Overview: When the new editor-in-chief of a smalltown florida magazine wants employees to write about sex, it turns the city upside down and forces everyone to re-evaluate their Intimate lives.

Best Director

The Cadaver
The Cadaver

Director/Writer: Volkan Özgümüş

Producers: Volkan Özgümüş, Erkut Altındağ

Country: Turkey

Project Type: Horror, Thriller, Short

Overview: Three medical schools students organize a spoofing ritual on the school cadaver for fun. The results of this ritual will be fatal.

Best Actor (Sam Strickland)
Going Nowhere

Director/Writer/Producer: George Walker

Key Cast "Wyatt Woodley": Sam Strickland

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Long Short

Overview: Tasked with bringing more tourism to the Yorkshire town, a local man struggles to hold the community together, as a crew documents the whole peculiar experience.

Best Animation Short

Director/Writer: Bruno Urzi

Producer: Alex Sellen

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Animation, Short

Best Documentary Short
Ink and Gold: An Artist's Journey to Olympic Glory

Director: Zakea Page

Producers: Zakea Page, K.W. Miller

Country: New Zealand

Project Type: Documentary, Short

Overview: A young New Zealand artist and athlete wins the 2020 Youth Olympic Games medal design competition and fulfills a lifelong dream to perform at the opening ceremonies.

Director Statement: As a child, it was always a dream of mine to win an Olympic medal. Designing the medals and performing at the 2020 Lausanne Youth Olympic Games was both a humbling and invaluable experience in which I realised the value of risk-taking, rising to meet a challenge, and taking part in the Games. It is my belief that sport and art require a strong drive for excellence, dedication, and detail. Having traveled around the world, I witnessed how art and sport both bring together communities and people of diverse backgrounds. Artistry and competition bridge barriers of language and foster connections, mutual understanding, and respect for one another. Drawing synergy from both art and sport, my performance at the Opening Ceremony was a statement against the stereotypical art vs sports dichotomy that New Zealand youth are very often forced into. The documentary highlights the connection between art and sport to demonstrate that investing in both is culturally beneficial for New Zealand, the world of sport, and humanity. It is an opportunity to share what I learned and experienced - a reflection on my individual Olympic journey and the fact that we are all multi-faceted beings. It is my hope that the audience develops a deeper understanding of the beliefs and values that went into my performance - values that align with the Olympic movement which I take pride in as an artist, an athlete, and a New Zealander: Innovation, creativity, and an appreciation for beauty in diversity.

Best Feature Documentary
J'Accuse! A cry from the killing pits of Lithuania
J'Accuse! A cry from the killing pits of Lithuania

Director/Writer/Producer: Michael D Kretzmer

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Documentary

Overview: A documentary film that tears apart Lithuania's policy of holocaust denial and its official hero worship of mass murderers.

Director Statement: This is a film about honour and justice. It tells the story of a huge injustice and a modern scandal: the Lithuanian government's official policy of using lies to protect known mass murderers. Murderers Like Jonas Noreika, who murdered 14,500 Jews in conditions of unbelievable cruelty. Among his victims were a kindergarten class from the town of Plunge. These children are the symbol of my film, it's voice, and the reason I made it.

Best Thriller/Horror Short
Enter the Room

Director/Writer: Harry Waldman

Producers: Lance Eliot Adams, Harry Waldman

Country: United States

Project Type: Short

Overview: A young adult (Brian) is visited by his brother, Jeremy, who needs a place to stay as he settles into his new city. The two polar opposite personalities begin to clash as Jeremy's presence poses a threat to Brian's way of life. Brian's uptight personality and unreasonable living standards rub off on Jeremy, creating an incredible amount of tension. Bad blood, stemming from a traumatic past event reveals the shocking truth of the brothers' current situations, as Brian struggles to differentiate between reality and his worst nightmares.

Director Statement: I try to create powerful films that make the viewer feel a wide range of emotions and convey ideas that will linger in the viewers' minds long after the credits roll.

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short

Director: Farhad Bakhtiarikish

Writers: Farhad Bakhtiarikish, Human Esfandiar Nia

Producer: Tilde Westrup

Country: Sweden

Overview: An unhappy married man who still believes in true love finds himself in a dilemma when meets a woman in a virtual dating app called RIFT.

Director Statement: Through this film, I hope to explore the complexities of modern relationships and the search for true love in a digital age. The main character's belief in true love, despite his current unhappiness, adds an additional layer of depth to the story and allows the audience to see the world through his eyes as he grapples with this difficult decision.

Best Short Screenplay
Sirens of Silence
Sirens of Silence

Writers: Matt Townsend, Ellana Blacher

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short Script

Overview: A professional couple book a relaxing break in an AirBnb Lodge in a remote place named 'Silence'. The owners are not the innocents they seem to be and have their own plans for the couple staying in their home.

Honorable Mention
Letters for Lost Lovers

Director: Faisal Ahmad

Writers: Faisal Ahmad

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Long Short

Overview: An intimate portrait of two lovers suffering from dementia and their fractured existence, set across three timelines and centred on the true, tragic love story of Héloïse d'Argenteuil and Abélard in 12th century France.