Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Award Winners

The David Dance, Directed by Aprill Winney
Special Award

Lifetime Achievement Award - Susan Seidelman

Film Jury Awards

Danny Award, Best Picture - The David Dance (Aprill Winney, USA)
   Nominees: All in Time, The Break-In, Three Hours, Leaves of the Tree, Best Man in the Dark,

Best Director - Aprill Winney (The David Dance)
   Nominees: Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue (All in Time), Marcus Ovnell (The Break-In),
                      Alfred Padilla (Best Man in the Dark), Kevin Newbury (Stag), Edward Lyons (A
                      Man on the Edge), Boris Kunz (Three Hours)

Best Documentary - Omo Child: The River and the Bush (John Rowe, Ethiopia, USA)
   Nominees: The Syndrome, Inside Peace, After the Wave, Southeast 67, Red Dot on the Ocean,
                      Finding Jenn's Voice

Best Student Film - The Loyalist (Minji Kang, South Korea, USA)
   Nominees: Mobile, Finding Home, Hands of Flame, Sin Frontera, Room 731, Gumball, Once in
                      a Good Many Million Times

Best Alternative Feature - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
   Nominees: The Break-In, Best Man in the Dark, Return to Nowhere

Best Foreign Film - The Break-In (Marcus Ovnell, Sweden)
   Nominees: The Three Musketeers, A Spring Has Passed By, Three Hours, #Illusion, A Man on the
                      Edge, Grandpa's Debtor, Barefoot

Best Biography - Red Dot on the Ocean (Amy Flannery, USA)
   Nominees: Bob & Inge, Hope for Steve, Run Free: The Story of Caballo Blanco

Best Experimental Short - Enfilade (David Coyle, Australia)
   Nominees: The Solipsist Awards, Hands of Flame

Best Short Film - Aurora (Pascal Fontana, Puerto Rico)
   Nominees: Mail.Man, American Standard, In the Blind, A Man on the Edge, Night and Day,

Indie Spirit Award - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
   Nominees: Return to Nowhere, Best Man in the Dark, Aurora, The Break-In, In the Blind,
                      Finding Home

Best Animated Film - Hands of Flame (Steven Markowitz, USA)
   Nominees: Croissant Man

Female Eye Filmmaking Award - Effloresce (Kathleen Davison, USA)
   Nominees: Lightheaded, Hidden Heart, Normalcy, Girl, Fear Not, Finding Jenn's Voice

Best Sci-Fi Film - Listening (Khalil Sullins, USA)
   Nominees: Enfilade, Persistence of Vision

Best TV Pilot - Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot (Jeffrey Engelson, USA)
   Nominees: The Three Musketeers, Upstairs

Best Comedy - Mail.Man (William Ayedelott, USA)
   Nominees: Best Man in the Dark, Homophonia, The Solipsist Awards, Moving On, Upstairs,
                      Fear Not

Student Cultural Spirit - The Fever (Hong Kim, South Korea)
   Nominees: Take a Stand, Once in a Good Many Million Times, Hands of Flame, Sin Frontera,
                      Finding Home, Room 731

Cultural Spirit Award - The Syndrome (Meryl Goldsmith, USA)
   Nominees: Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey, Omo Child: The River and the
                     Bush, Inside Peace, Southeast 67, Hope for Steve, I Once Was Blind, Finding Jenn's

New Hope Award - Inside Peace (Cynthia Fitzpatrick, USA)
   Nominees: Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey, Omo Child: The River and the
                     Bush, Southeast 67, Hope for Steve, I Once Was Blind

Artistic Spirit Award - Hope for Steve (Matt Moore and Sarah Spicer, USA)
   Nominees: Red Dot on the Ocean, Into the Haven, Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish
                      Odyssey, The Syndrome

LGTB Spirit Award: The David Dance (April Winney, USA)
   Nominees: Homophonia, Effloresce

Best Music Video - Black Sheep (Robin Parker, USA)
   Nominees: Need You More, Hands on Me, Panic Button, County D, Francesca

Film Audience Choice Awards

Best Webisode - Croissant Man (Tulica Singh, USA)
Best TV Pilot - Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot (Jeffrey Engelson, USA)
Best Music Video - Black Sheep (Robin Parker, USA)
Best Art House Feature - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
Best Documentary - Inside Peace (Cynthia Fitzpatrick, USA)
Best Short Film - Decisions (Mark Harrison, USA)
Best Student Film - Hands of Flame (Steven Markowitz, USA)
Best Mid-Atlantic Film - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)

Script Competition Awards

Best Script - Across the Pond (Andrea Harding)
   Nominees: Eraser, White Crow, Under Pressure, Small Rain Down, One White Crow, Under
                      My Roof

Best Teleplay - The White Crow (Paula Rogers)
   Nominees: Sherryvale, Eraser, Skinnyfat

Best Sci-Fi Thriller - Eraser (Kim Godfrey-Hempsall)

Best Action Thriller - Under Pressure (Eric Carlson)
   Nominees: Samson, Sailfish

Best Period Script - Homestead (Lindsay Waite)
   Nominees: Samson, Victoria of Murray Hill, White Crow, Skybound, A Solid Man of Boston

Best Short Screenplay - Small Rain Down (Joshua Hinkson)
   Nominees: Drive-By

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Persistence of Vision

Nathan has a vivid imagination and engineering skills to match.

When he invites his restless neighbor Karen over to share his fantasies, her husband is none too happy about it. Nathan's intentions are innocent in an almost child-like way, but someone has a gun, and things are about to get very strange.

Filmmaker Scott Campbell lends a prodigious vision and remarkable special effects to this 12-minute short—a must see for sci-fi fantasy fans.

You can watch the trailer here: Persistence of Vision Trailer

Finding Jenn's Voice

Homicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy.

This powerful documentary brings a long-standing, horribly overlooked issue into the light of day, where domestic violence experts, law enforcement officials and survivors of intimate partner homicide attempts combine forces to educate an unknowing public. 

Producer/writer/director Tracy Schott is a social worker with an MSW from University of California - Berkeley's School of Social Welfare. In 2000, she earned an MS in Telecommunications and left her field for new challenges in media production. Finding Jenn's Voice brings Schott's career full circle, making ample use of her multiple talents. At once thought-provoking and stirring, Jennifer Snyder's story reaches into your heart and calls out for change. 

You can watch the trailer here: Finding Jenn's Voice Trailer

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Crossing the forest is a harrowing journey for six-year-old Aurora, a homeless immigrant child who is abandoned by human traffickers. Having no place to go, Aurora wanders into the mountains, where she finds a cabin. Max, the owner, returns home to discover the girl. Now he has to decide what to do with her. 

Laced with Christian undertones and heartfelt sentiment, this tender short film by Puerto Rican director Pascal Fontana explores the boundaries between civilization and the wild, generosity and selfishness, and compassion and indifference. It does so with long, reflective moments of silence. By keeping dialogue to a minimum, Fontana lends the wilderness a sanctuary-like feeling, as if to remind us the decisions we make, regardless of where we happen to be, have moral consequence. 

You can watch the trailer here: Aurora Trailer

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Syndrome

Shocking is one way to describe this incendiary new documentary. 

What would happen if the criminal justice system and the journalists who rely on its integrity were manipulated by expert witnesses driven not by justice, but by money, career advancement and ego? The Syndrome follows a group of doctors, scientists, and legal scholars who assert that Shaken Baby Syndrome, an established disease responsible for hundreds of prosecutions per year in the United States, is just this type of fraud. 

Filmmaker Meryl Goldsmith teams with award-winning investigative reporter Susan Goldsmith to document an unimaginable nightmare for defendants and a gross abuse of America's court system. Certain to generate heated debate and backlash, this documentary unflinchingly identifies those who have built their careers around and profited from Shaken Baby Syndrome, then systematically deconstructs their motives. For this reason, this is a film that some people do not want you to see. 

The Syndrome is presented in the style of a brilliantly cogent legal argument, advocating an immediate halt to what is nothing more than a modern-day witch hunt. Watch the film, then decide for yourself whether something deserving of investigation is afoot. 

You can watch the trailer here: The Syndrome Trailer

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gumball and Alien Communications

Kris and Kurtis Theorin, two student filmmakers from Pennsylvania who also happen to be brothers, joined forces again after screening their debut, Retreat, at NHFF 2014. Their highly polished results are Gumball and Alien Communications, which they co-directed. Clearly, this fraternal duo is on a roll.

Gumball tells the story of a young woman who breaks into a diner with the intention of doing mischief only to stop in her tracks after discovering the remnants of a love story. The other film features a boy and girl trying to overcome some coming-of-age awkwardness while in the midst of encountering something even more foreign and incomprehensible than each other—a functioning, sentient, and perilously touchy robot from another planet. The alien machine could be the common ground they are seeking, but it also might be their undoing.

You can watch the trailers here: Gumball Teaser and Alien Communications Teaser.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Need You More

This music video by Philadelphia singer-songwriter Robert Liz features the song Need You More, a lush, haunting and thoroughly involving track from his upcoming album. "The song begins as a distant echo," writes director Jonathan Kobryn, who felt he needed to go in a new creative direction to capture Liz's themes of friendship, separation and dependence.

The static on the television screen suggests a connection that is coming through, but only partially—a friendship Liz would grasp if only he could dial into the same wavelength. Kobryn further accentuated this faltering dynamic through the staccato manner in which he audio mixed the trailer.

This fine official selection of the New Hope Film Festival will be screened along with other music videos, and the music-themed feature All in Time, on Saturday, August 1st at Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater. Music lovers, this is for you.

You'll find the trailer here:  Need You More Trailer