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Winners Summer 2020

Best Art/Experimental Short
Journey to the ONE
Journey to the ONE

Director/Writer/Producer: Natalia Duzhenko

Director: Olha Hdulia

Country: Ukraine

Project Type: Short

Overview: A captivating exploration into a young man’s journey to find happiness in the arms of his soul mate. An exciting collision of emotions, expressed through the dance and led by the beat of your heart-it’s accentuating the bitter lows of loneliness and the exhilarating highs of passion, romance and love.

Best Drama Short, Best Original Score
Laugh Club

Director/Writer: Jindřich Vosecký

Producer: Ing. Miloň Terč

Sound: Ludvík Nedvěd, Marek Fialka

Country: Czech Republic

Project Type: Short

Overview:The society had been stabilised. The majority of diseases, the poverty and the unemployment had been eliminated. Happiness had been awaiting the human kind – but happy they have been not. Out of nowhere a wave of suicides has started to spread over the land. Enriko, a promising scientist, takes the best of the situation and starts the Laugh Club. Laura, a young introvert woman, decides to sign up for the Club after her sister dies, hoping to find a lost joy of life.

Best Long Short
A Well Respected Man

Director/Writer/Producer: Rickey Bird

Producers: John R. Blythe, Leonard Mcleod II, Adam Beck, Thomas Haley, Steve Sanders, Rachel Bird

Country: United States

Project Type: Long Short

Overview: Jim gets a promotion of a lifetime the same day the world may be struck by a large asteroid. Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) and Thomas Brill.

Director Statement: I wanted to make a short film that had a message. The message here is to hug your loved ones daily. Because in the end. They are all that really matters.

Best Actor (Justin Timpane)
The Distanced

Director/Writer/Producer: Justin Timpane

Producer: Daniel Ross

"Manny: Justin Timpane

Country: United States

Project Type: Short

Overview: Across time and space, an unlikely romance forms between two star crossed lovers, each trapped in a quantum bubble of isolation. When Manny, a sarcastic video blogger wakes to find himself in Quantum Isolation, his only companion is Heather, a vibrant single mother who can only communicate via video chat. Through their communications, we see the joy of love in bloom, and despair as that love is tested. Can Manny and Heather make it through this isolation... or will they remain... THE DISTANCED

Director Statement: The message of this film is one I think we all need to hear right now. Whether you take this time to do the things you always meant to, or whether you are just focused on making it through: there are NO BAD CHOICES. They're all worthy.

Best Feature Documentary
Diagnosing Healthcare

Director/Writer/Producer: Paul Roberts

Country: United States

Project Type: Feature, Documentary

Overview: Diagnosing Healthcare offers solutions for the COVID-19 crisis. The film is an exploration of health care with human rights at the center that offers innovative solutions for all humanity.

Director Statement: The notion of creating a health care reform documentary resulted from frustration with moving health care reform through congress. For that reason, I had the idea of creating a documentary with the goal of introducing health care reform to the general public. The hope is to inspire a grassroots uprising which places pressure on congress to enact change for the better. However, the proposed solutions introduced in the film apply around the globe, not just in the U.S. My mission, therefore, is to change health care for the better around the world. The health care solutions proposed enhance care while easing the burden on world economies.

Best Short Screenplay
Come Along, Harry Higgins
Come Along, Harry Higgins

Writer: Kevin Machate

Genre: Scifi, Western, Adaptation

Country: United States

Project Type: Short Screenplay

Overview: This script is based on O. Henry's 1903 short story "A Retrieved Reformation" in which I kept the primary circumstances and plot, but changed the names, some details, and added SciFi elements. Set in 1899, successful safe cracker Harry Higgins decides to hang up his drill for good when he meets the woman of his dreams, only to be tailed by the constable that put him away once already. This script would absolutely fit into the mold of a 1960 Twilight Zone episode.

Best Thriller/Horror Short

Director/Writer/Producer: Max Balter

Writer: Bogdan Solomaha

Country: Ukraine

Project Type: Short

Overview: Together is a short horror film about solitude and anxiety during self-isolation caused with COVID-19 quarantine in 2020. It tells the story about a girl who is living alone and senses that someone or something else is in her flat.

Best Short, Best Cinematography, Best Edit
Silent Movie

Director/Writer: Melo Viana

Producer: Sandra Zawadzki

Country: Brazil

Project Type: Short

Overview: The story shows three children (two boys and a girl), in the mid-thirties, setting up a movie frame projection room. They build a projector with an empty shoe box with two holes with the size of a film frame. Inside the box they put a burnt-out bulb without its filament and filled with water. This bulb is used as a lens. Children had to wait until the bulb burned out. Those electrical bulbs were rare in those days... The short film proposes, as a background, to expose the history of cinema from the transition between silent and spoken cinema. This exhibition is made through the frames with references to the most representative films of the transition, covering the specific period between 1930 and 1934.

Best Animation Short


Directors/Writer/Producer: Jerry WANG

Country: Canada

Project Type: Short

Overview: A story about two Gemini brothers' journey on the earth. The Older brother wants to enjoy the trip himself, but his younger brother always follows him and makes a lot of troubles.

Director Statement: An animation student graduating from Sheridan College, I like everything fantasy, colorful, and emotional.

Best Environmentally Conscious Documentary Short
Fighting the Flames

Director/Writer/Producer: Glen Strindberg

Country: Australia

Project Type: Short

Overview: An out of control bushfire, no escape route and you're running out of water. An inspiring story of an old gold prospector striking it lucky, in life.

Director Statement: Fighting the Flames was born from the changing environmental conditions within Australia and the never die attitude of the old mining prospectors that still remain. Vick is an 85 year old tough as nails prospector, that reflects what it takes to survive in the Australian bushland. No matter what the situation there's always a funny side, even if its life and death. Stories like Vick's are important, if we as film makers don't make an effort to share their experiences they will disappear, never to be told. This is an incredible story of survival, but to Vick and his unassuming nature, its just life.

Best Feature Screenplay / TV Script

Protector of the Emerald City
Protector of the Emerald City

Writer: Kevin J. Howard

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Country: United States

Project Type: Feature Screenplay

Overview: Michael, an archangel hiding amongst humanity while harboring a deep resentment to God, is called back into service to thwart a powerful demons plan to unleash hell on earth.

Best Microfilm

Pick up at the Garden Party

Director/Writer: Nick von Schlippe, Zuzana von Schlippe

Producer: Zuzana von Schlippe

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: In the new Social Distanced world, how are the grand Ladies of great stately homes and their butlers coping with their garden parties?

Director Statement: We both had a clear vision to deliver a social distancing period piece comedy inspired by the 1920/1930 silent movies. It was our Caesar Pictures Ltd 48hrs challenge. Filmed on Saturday, completed and premiered on YouTube Monday 6pm.

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short
The Wish & The Wisp

Director: Vashmere Valentine

Writers: Vashmere Valentine, C. J. Pumpkins

Producers: Taviana Frazier, Vashmere Valentine, Anna E. Lawrence, Andrew Huckaby

Country: United States

Project Type: Short

Overview: Two bickering siblings learn the true value of friendship and the magic of believing, when they find a real wish and encounter the menacing creature who wants it back!​

Director Statement: The Wish & The Wisp is a dedication to the many fantasy films of the 70s and 80s. As both the writer and director of this project, I felt a need to study not only these films but also the directing style of storytellers that help bring movies like “The Never Ending Story” and “The Princess Bride” to life. I wanted to make sure TW&TW would have a natural feel of fantasy, which is why I strayed away from the conventional use of CGI in films today. It is my hope that viewers will escape reality when they see TW&TW and allow their inner child to get lost in the world of fantasy once more.

Best Documentary Short
Peshmargas From Britain

Director/Producer: Kamaran Karym

Writer: Shaho Osman

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: This is a short documentary film produced in the North of Iraq/ Kurdistan Regional Government. this film is talking about peshmerga struggle fighting against ISIS with limited artillery. in this documentary we focus on British Kurdish voluntaries who have returned from the United Kingdom to defend their homeland in the battle against ISIS. They have left behind a comfy life in the U.K. to stop barbarism of ISIS in their tracks. They fight for an idea and belief. The volunteers we focus on are not the only people who have joined peshmarga, in fact there are hundreds of them fighting in the front line and some have given their life to humanity and freedom.

Best Feature
TORN - Dark Bullets
TORN - Dark Bullets

Director/Writer/Producer: Dan Rizzuto

Writer: Joshua Mazerolle

Producer: Scott Bailey

Country: Canada

Project Type: Feature

Overview: A raw and unapologetic look into a police shooting, racism, and the connections they share.

Director Statement: As a child, I was raised and adopted by a Black Family in the US before I moved to Canada. As the only white child in a group of predominantly minority friends and family, I witnessed but was never the focus of direct racism. I saw, as a white person, how my African American friends were treated differently by the Police than I was. I co-wrote Torn Dark Bullets as a story to try to explain not only the experiences and feelings of my friends and family but those of the policeman. I wanted to let my audience come to their conclusions about not only the black family in the story but also the policeman, it was important to me everyone had their say right or wrong. I like the idea of letting the audience agree or disagree on what is being said by all the characters in the story without trying to force a certain narrative.

Best Sound Design (Feature Film)
The Shell
The Shell

Director/Producer: Yuehua "Bryce" Wang

Producers: Yuehua "Bryce" Wang, Logan McDonald

Sound Designer: Gabriel Freeman

Genres: Drama, Action, Crime

Country: United States

Project Type: Feature

Best Comedy Short

Wishful Thinking

Director/Writer/Producer: Mark A.J. Nazal

Writers/Producers: Dana De La Garza, Khadijah Maulana, Erica Juliet, Danilo Hernandez, Joe A. Arciaga

Country: United States

Project Type: Short

Overview: Set during the 2020 Quarantine in Los Angeles, Wishful Thinking is fantasy comedy about a selfish woman who discovers magic in her life when she realizes that not everything is all about her.

Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design
The Eve

Director/Writer/Producer: Luca Machnich

Country: United States, Italy

Project Type: Short

Overview: The director is a grandnephew of Anton Machnich, one of the movie pioneers in Italy, who opened the first movie theaters in Italy, in Romania and in Ireland (the latter in partnership with the famous writer James Joyce) in the early 19th century. He studied film direction at the Los Angeles Film School after working as a production assistant in several screen and TV movies (also with Ettore Scola). He authored "Spaghetti Nightmares", one of the best books on Italian fantasy and thriller movies which was published in Italy (M&P edizioni) and in the United States (Fantasma books). The extended Italian version was very much appreciated by the fans of the genre and the film critics.

Director Statement: THE EVE is a story that echoes the style of the great American thriller writer Robert Bloch (whose novel "Psycho" was filmed by Hitchcock) in its macabre irony, of Dino Buzzati, the most important Italian fantasy writer in its longing for the transcendent and the desperate waiting for an opportunity of redemption from a tragic life, and of the great American fantasy fiction writer Henry James in its interior monologues and in the psychological narration of the leading characters. Instead, it distances itself from a certain Italian film genre that was exploited until the end of the 19th century and whose formulas now appear repetitive. The film gives the opportunity to explore in an international film language the purity and fantasy of a child's world violated by the cynicism of the world of adults, and to narrate it through the dilated times of dream and imagination in the setting of a Christmas that has nothing joyful and mystical and where the waiting for another future, symbolized by the bell tower, is the leading character of the story.

Best Student Director

Left Behind

Director: Carla Begg

Writer/Producer: John Stuart

Country: United Kingdom

Project Type: Short

Overview: A depiction of the stark reality of drug deaths in Scotland. This short film shows a glimpse of how drug related death affects the relationship of the family left behind. With drug deaths totalling over a thousand each year in Scotland, Left Behind is a hard-hitting short film that explores the social issues of drug abuse and how those who are directly affected cope with the aftermath. The film depicts the conflicting emotions between a mother and father as they struggle to deal with the loss of their son and how grief can either tear their relationship apart or bring them closer together. Left Behind seeks to provide an insight into a serious issue faced by many families in Scotland.

Director Statement: My move into directing has been sparked by wanting to make films that are powerful and meaningful from the script to the screen, through storyboards and careful shot selection. I have a background in animation and that has given me a skill set that helped transition into film making. I'm extremely excited to begin submissions of Left Behind to film festivals around the world. Our film was created on a budget that barely cover the cost of catering but I believe we exhibit strong production values and a really compelling film which gives the audience a glimpse into the world of a broken family after a tragedy. This story is told with zero dialogue.

Best Editing (Feature Film)

Alaska Long Hunters

Director/Writer/Producer: Mark Rose

Producers: Isaac Rush

Country: United States

Project Type: Feature

Overview: Experience what it was like to growing up among the dangerous game, hunting the massive caribou herds and absorbing the greatness of the county.

Director Statement: Mark D. Rose is a new Director to the industry, writing from a non-fiction standpoint yet crafting a life story that's catches the attention. This his first film (he as "Assistant to the Director"), Rose found himself picking up the work from a seasoned professional as a hands-on Producer, brought his first project home - about Alaska. **Alert** Rose just signed a pre-production agreement to take his first film, Alaska Long Hunters, on to a full length feature project, coming in 2022!