Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 Award Winners

New Hope Film Fest recognized the following films at our 3rd Annual Awards Ceremony. Top jury awards will be announced through a superbanner on's Film channel from July 30-August 5.

Brush (Shiyan Zheng, Australia)

Jury Awards


Best Picture (Danny Award)

Winner - Brush (Shiyan Zheng, Australia)
Honorable Mention - Dalai Mongol (Levi Chen, Mongolia, USA)
Nominees - Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story, A Rogue in Londinium, The Pact, No One Will Know, The People You Know, Blame It On Immigration

Best Documentary 

Winner - Only a Number (Steve Besserman, USA)
Honorable Mention - Let Us Talk (John Lavall, Sierra Leone, USA)
Nominees - Empire: The Whitewater Story, Street Journeys, Axis of Light, Don't Know, We'll See, From Nomad to Nobody, The Grove

Best Short Film 

Winner - Cluck (Michael Lavelle, Ireland)
Nominees - Can't Dance, The Ballad of Sandeep, La Piece, Not Dark Yet, Kiyumi's Poetry, Little Ones, Grounded

Best Music Video 

Winner - No Head (Gabriella Loutfi, Joyous Noise, Radio Mojo, USA)

Indie Spirit Award 

Winner - Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story (Bill Haley, USA)
Honorable Mention - A Rogue in Londinium (Whitney Hamilton, USA)
Nominees - The Pact, No One Will Know, Halloweenville, 7 Years Underground, For Goodness Shakes!

Artistic Spirit Award

Winner - Empire: The Whitewater Story (Daniel Doran, USA)
Nominees - The Cost of Creativity, Blame It On Immigration, Knocking on the Devil's Door, Anecdote, Grounded, Dalai Mongol

Best Student Film

Winner - Hath No Man (Linus Koh, Australia)
Honorable Mention - Waiting for the Turning of the Earth (David Evan Giles, Australia)
Nominees - Erik Zamani, European Son, Heartland, I Am Alive, Faceless, Heavy

New Hope Award

Winner - Running Through: The Jordan Culbreath Story (A. D. Pearson, USA)
Honorable Mention - Ordinary Joe (Carlo Gennarelli, USA)
Nominees - RETT, YERT, No Greater Pain, The Last Race, Project Hopeful, Run

Cultural Spirit Award

Winner - Let Us Talk (John Lavall, Sierra Leone, USA)
Nominees - Knocking on the Devil's Door, Carbon for Water, No Greater Pain, Broken On All Sides, Heartland, Street Journeys

Bufonesco Award (Best Comedy)

Winner - The Pact (Matt Toronto, USA)
Nominees - For Goodness Shakes!, Chin Up, The Ballad of Sandeep, European Son, Can't Dance, Delivery Boy, Elevator)

Retro Sensation Award

Winner - Strumpet (Wolfgang Lehmkuhl, USA)
Honorable Mention - Black Mask (Filipe F. Coutinho, Portugal, USA)
Nominees - For Goodness Shakes!, Behind the Scenes: Silver Patriot

GLTB Spirit Award

Winner - The Grove (Andy Abrahams Wilson, USA)
Nominees - Anecdote, Little Ones, Times Dances On, Un Buen Hijo 

Best Animated Short Film

Winner - Squeaky Business (Cheryl Cabrera, USA)
Nominees - Ad & Subtract, Elevator

Audience Choice Awards

Best Feature Film - Dalai Mongol (Levi Chen, Mongolia, USA)
Best Documentary - Dancing on a Volcano (Gary Merz, Chile, USA)
Best Short Film - Bump (Marc Dickerson, USA)
Best Student Film - For Goodness Shakes! (Tyler Merens, USA)
Best Mid-Atlantic Film - Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and
     New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. (Matthew Pillischer, USA)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Erik Zamani

Hi everyone! I just got to screen another short film I wanted to spread the word about, Sezen Kayhan's Erik Zamani (A Time for Plums)--it's a deeply-felt, whimsical film I think NHFF filmgoers will love. I hope you had a great time at last week's festival, and found some new favorite films!

Erik Zamani
Dir. Sezen Kayhan

Sezen Kayhan’s Erik Zamani  (Time of the Plums) follows a little girl with a secret, and the enigmatic, animated way she perceives. The film also captures something of Toni Morrison’s or Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s magical realism. Erik Zamani is set in the real world but vibrates with imaginative energy: pink and purple chimes tinkle as the protagonist (the unnamed little girl) walks by; yellow sun falls on her grandfather’s face so she can see every contour and shadow. The most striking image of the film is a painting that melts to the little girl’s touch: as the colors run together, the face in the painting morphs through grotesque and gorgeous shapes. This shot alone makes it difficult to imagine Erik Zamani is a student film.
Kayhan also pays great attention to sound design. Ambient noises are amplified, and form a striking contrast against silent moments. Both become uniquely important to the story and the little girl’s perception, as well as the viewer’s. As integral as the visual is, the aural landscape of Erik Zamani creates the feeling that objects have a life of their own.
As the close tie between character and environment suggests, meaning comes from internal realities, not external ones, in Erik Zamani. In contrast to Jean Renoir’s films, for instance, where meaning comes largely from social interactions, inner realities, and the ways they mark one’s experience matter to Kayhan. The world of the film also seems deeply personal, as the last line of the film indicates—this is a world that is thoughtfully, tenderly rendered.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Panel Discussion on Race and Incarceration

One of the benefits of a cutting-edge, independent film festival like NHFF is the chance to explore meaningful subject matter, and whether you agree or not with a filmmaker's perspective, such opportunities present a valuable opportunity to enrich our culture.

Monday night at New Hope Arts Center is such a night, as debut director Matthew Pillischer has organized a serious panel discussion that will follow his screening of Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. 

Panelists will include Angus Love, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and Board Member of the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Also invited but still unconfirmed are several representatives of the New Jersey Association on Correction and Therea Shoatz of Philly's Human Rights Coalition.

This is New Hope Film Festival's first-ever panel discussion. The audience will have a chance to ask questions during a Q&A.

The show begins Monday, July 9th at 7 pm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


In this haunting and beautifully produced short, a preacher struggles to keep his wife alive throughout her several suicide attempts, but soon realizes that the only way to save her soul is to sacrifice his own.

Heavy is a first project for writer/director Jessica Nicholas, a university student in Southern California, yet it exhibits nothing but professional quality throughout. You can watch the trailer here: Heavy Trailer