Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Award Winners

Film Jury Awards

Danny Award, Best Picture - The Tailor's Apprentice (Jeff Lehman, USA)
   Nominees: Wallabout, Give & Take, Golem, The Resurrection of Tony Gitone, Rooftops

Best Alternative Feature - Golem (Adam Deutsch, Israel)
   Nominees: The Anarchist's Birthday, The Resurrection of Tony Gitone, Wallabout, The Lengths

Best Documentary - No Problem! Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmamas (Yasmin Kidwai,
   Nominees: The Silent Epidemic, Mona Lisa is Missing, Be With Me, Being George,
Best Short Film - Trip in a Summer Dress (Janine Turner, USA)
   Nominees: Love is All That Matters, Oblivion, Acceptance, The Fay, Lambing Season, Monsura
   is Waiting

Best Experimental Short - Recursion (Sam Buntrock, USA)
   Nominees: Tesla, The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam, Storytelling

Indie Spirit Award - The Lengths (Tim Driscoll, USA)
   Nominees: Give & Take, The Tailor's Apprentice, The Anarchist's Birthday, Golem, The Lengths

Best Animated Film - Light Me Up (Ryan Walton, USA)
   Nominees: Life of a Lego, How to Avoid Annoying People, Mechanical Cow

Best Biography - A Place of Truth (Barrett Rudich, USA)
   Nominee: The Sax Man

Best Mid-Atlantic Film - Being George (Nyler Abdou and Adya Beasley, USA)
   Nominees: Sky Blue Collar, Moving Mountains, The Tailor's Apprentice, Available)

Artistic Spirit Award - Recoil (Evan Matthews, USA)
   Nominees: A Place of Truth, Moving Mountains, Changes by Brushstroke

Best Student Film - Telleth of Those Who Dwell in the Water (Roy Ambriz, Mexico)
   Nominees: Sophie, Home, Unidentified Flying Reality, Recoil, Dry Rain, Night Shift, Derailed

Student Cultural Spirit Award - The Broken Mirror (Hannah Kilcoyne, UK)
   Nominees: Tears and Blood, Dither: The D.I.Y. Sound

New Hope Award - Spirit of the Sato (Ellen La Torre, USA)
   Nominees: No Problem! Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmamas, Tears and Blood, Be With Me

Cultural Spirit Award - Moving Mountains (Jeanie Clark, USA)
   Nominees: Nandan Mela, Kala-Bhavana and Santiniketan: A Collective Spirit, Sikhs Formaggia,
   Pursuit of Truth, The Silent Epidemic, No Problem! Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmamas,
   Moving Mountains

LGTB Spirit Award - Lambing Season (Jeannie Donohoe, USA)
   Nominees: Passing Ellenville, Talk It Up TV: Dwayne Wynne, Sky Blue Collar

Female Eye Filmmaking Award - Sophie (Liz Fisher, USA)
   Nominees: Trip in a Summer Dress, Moving Mountains, Acceptance, Storytelling, Antebellum,
   The Broken Mirror

Best Sci-Fi Film - Recoil (Evan Matthews, USA)
   Nominees: Citizen's Band, The Invaders, Recursion, Unidentified Flying Reality

Best Webisode - Talk It Up TV: Dwayne Wynne (Rick Walters, USA)
   Nominees: Investments: The Series, The Invaders, Lines & Asides

Best Web Series - Investments: The Series (Steven Strickland, USA)
   Nominees: The Invaders, Lines & Asides, Talk It Up TV

Best Comedy - Give & Take (Scott Andrew Kurchak, USA)
   Nominees: The Anarchist's Birthday, Available

Best Comedy Short - The S Word (Jesse Stewart, USA)
   Nominees: No, No, You First, Sky Blue Collar, New Year's Resolutions

Best Director - Jerry Ciccoritti (The Resurrection of Tony Gitone, USA)
   Nominees: Evan Matthews, Eric McGinty, Adam Deutsch, Maureen Quinn, Roy Ambriz,
   Guillem Gutierrez Saura, Jeff Lehman

Best Music Video - Yes is My Favorite Word (Mak Azubike, USA)
   Nominees: Ganesh is Fresh, Brakes, Tocondo El Sol, Milk, Any Other Way, Five Past Ten

Best Pop Music Video - Tocondo El Sol (Vadim Lasca, Venezuela)
   Nominees: Only Me

Best Alternative Music Video - Brakes (Jennifer Nicole Stang, USA)
   Nominees: Fallen Sun, Skeleton Army

Best Experimental Music Video - Fallen Sun (Ivan Andrijanic, USA)
   Nominees: Skeleton Army, Splish Splash, Mechanical Cow, Tesla

Cultural Spirit Music Video - Milk (Victoria Taylor, USA)
   Nominees: Ganesh is Fresh

Best Singer-Songwriter Music Video - Any Other Way (Dillon Garland, Canada)
   Nominee: Five Past Ten

Best Inspirational Music Video - Ganesh is Fresh (Deborah Harse, USA, India)
   Nominee: Five Past Ten, Tesla, Tocondo El Sol, Yes is My Favorite Word

Script Jury Awards

Best Script - Miami Feist (Debra Zarne, USA)
   Nominees: Holy Mackeral!, Mass Exodus, Murmansk Run, Lost Cause, Boonville Redemption,
   Nobody's Child, Naughty or Nice

Best Narrative Feature - Lost Cause (David Schroeder, USA)
   Nominees: Hollywood Gospel, Breed of Crows, D.T., Lean Not on Your Own Understanding,
   Slave in the House, The Earth Below

Best Teleplay - St. Anthony's (Matthew Feely, USA)
   Nominees: Brewski, Papercuts

Best Comedy - Naughty or Nice (JoAnn Hess, USA)
   Nominees: Miami Feist, Holy Mackeral! Amazon Con, Bonding in Brooklyn,

Best Sci-Fi Thriller - Falling Star (Dylan Brann, USA)
   Nominees: Messiah, A New Birth of Freedom, Time and Again, American Harvest

Best Action Thriller - The Trail (Yvonne Paulin, USA)
   Nominees: Lost Treasure of the Mayans, Vultures Run, Lost Cause, The Night Witches, Breed
   of Crows

Best Period Screenplay - Daniel and the Lady (Joy Gee, USA)
   Nominees: Gabriel's Bones, Grace, Aurora, Slave in the House, The Earth Below

Best Psycho Thriller - Sinner (Christopher Graves, USA)
   Nominees: American Harvest, The Trail, Boonville Redemption, Messiah)

Best Short Screenplay - Viva Radilla (Brian O'Neill, USA)

Audience Choice Awards

Best Art House Feature - The Lengths (Tim Driscoll, USA)
Best Documentary - Riot on the Dance Floor (Steve Tozzi, USA)
Best Short Film - Acceptance (Gene Gallagher, USA)
Best TV Pilot - Jersey Chasers (Margaret Anderson, USA)
Best Webisode - Talk It Up TV: Dwayne Wynne (Rick Walters, USA)
Best Music Video - Skeleton Army (Brandon Pro, USA)
Best Student Film - Sophie (Liz Fisher, USA)
Best Mid-Atlantic Film - The Tailor's Apprentice (Jeff Lehman, USA)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life of a Lego - One Bad Day

Attention all cartoon fans!

Student filmmaker Adam Boyle knows what it's like to have a bad day, a nightmarish day, and don't we all. He also has the animation skills to express this common angst through Lego characters who are hell-bent on giving their rivals one very bad day, too. Watch them battle it out in this wild and creative animated short.

Here's a link to the trailer: One Bad Day Trailer

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Electricity permeates the world in this experimental homage to Nikola Tesla and electronic innovation.

Part short film and part music video, and whether accidental or not, also a surreptitious promotional video for Tesla Motors, this highly polished documentary focuses on the enormous influence that Nikola Tesla has had on what Southern California-based director Sharon Doyle refers to as mankind's fourth industrial revolution. Tesla invented the electric car in 1918.

A brilliant inventor and visionary, Tesla sounds holisitically New Age in this quote: "The desire that guides me in all that I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature in the service of mankind." He asked us to think in terms of our relationship with earth's natural energy and then to power the machinery of tomorrow's future with it; for this and other contributions, he holds significant importance in the history of technology, yet he is almost forgotten.

Sharon Doyle is an ardent futurist and environmentalist who sees in the electric car a chance for a cleaner, more stable future. Her production values are stellar, so come ride with her in the Tesla she created. You can watch the trailer here: Tesla Trailer

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Sherwin, a young scientist, does what a best man should never do on his best friend's wedding day: he loses the ring. That would spoil the party for most weddings, but Sherwin has other, most creative, ideas.

He's going to slip back in time, steal the ring from his former self, and race to the wedding before his former self notices. If the two iterations of himself tangle over the ring, it could initiate the grandfather paradox—then anything could happen. It might even destroy the universe. He jumps back 90 minutes in time, then a second time and a third as he tries to get the procedure right, but one other big complication stands in his way: each time he does this, he creates another version of himself. 

Now he must hide from all of them.

This heady, sophisticated and thought-provoking short film from New York has all the ingredients of a sci-fi psychological drama—with a comedic twist. You may want to watch this one twice because the intricate plot moves at light speed. Filmmaking team Stanton Nash, Antonio Marion and Sam Buntrock nail their experiment called Recursion and lead actor Rob McClure delivers. 

You can watch the trailer here: Recursion Teaser

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lambing Season

Lambing Season is the offbeat tale of Bridget, an American woman who travels to the Irish countryside to track down her long-lost father. Posing as a stranger, she embarks on a convoluted plan that leads to nowhere. That is, until nature intervenes to break the ice. Turns out father and daughter, although long estranged, have far more in common than biology. 

Directed by LA-based filmmaker Jeannie Donohoe, who created the work for a Columbia University final project, Lambing Season is an authentic, tongue-in-cheek and thoroughly delightful escape into the Irish countryside, where magical things happen to those who know where to look. And Donohoe does: she shot the film entirely on location, and Ireland's naturalistic, intimate feel is beautifully captured. 

You can watch the trailer here: Lambing Season Trailer

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Tailor's Apprentice

Inspired by true events surrounding a young, Hasidic Jewish man's efforts to smuggle ecstasy into the United States, The Tailor's Apprentice points a needed spotlight on a poison often associated with American youth. Debut producer and director Jeff Lehman does much more, however, as he plumbs the depths of a struggling father-son relationship—in what would seem an unlikely situation if it weren't based on a true story. The portrait of a stern but loving father who is as solid as a rock dealing with his lost, prodigal son will tear your heart with pain, because Lehman means business, and to his immense credit, he never flinches from his difficult material. 

The Tailor's Apprentice is a courageous film, a moving film, a beautiful film, an unexpected film, and a film to remember. You can watch the trailer here: The Tailor's Apprentice Trailer

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Family Bible

On the day of his mother’s funeral, a grief-stricken son is surprised by the last-minute arrival of his estranged aunt. When she objects to his inheritance of the heirloom family Bible, battle lines are drawn.

Much more is simmering beneath the surface; she is harboring a dark secret about the family—something the son doesn't know about his parents. How can he take this Bible when she is owed so much? She remains in great pain. How can he possibly give up this heirloom, at this time and place, in the midst of his pain, to an estranged relative who treats him with arrogance and contempt?

First-time producer/director Connie Wilkerson, an assistant professor in the Department of Film & Media Arts at the University of Utah, intensifies the story of a funeral and a woman's death with a long-buried issue that agitates the present, showing us how the consequences of actions can outlive their kindlers. 

Here is the preview: The Family Bible Trailer

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Spirit of the Sato

An estimated 200,000 homeless dogs spend their short lives on the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. Project Animal Worldwide, which is based in Monmouth County, New Jersey, seeks to help these sato (stray, mixed breed) dogs through education, support, spay/neuter programs, and most heartwarming of all, through U.S. adoption. 

The documentary portrays the plight of the satos and how Project Animal and animal welfare leaders in Puerto Rico are working together to help these abandoned and desperate animals. The film features a special appearance by renowned canine advocate Cesar Millan, who speaks movingly about the need for global spay/neuter programs in the context of 4-5 million dogs who are euthanized around the world annually—a sobering and profoundly sad statistic of 21st century life. 

Spirit of the Sato is proactive and focused, yet its mission goes far beyond the boundaries of Puerto Rico—no doubt, pet abandonment is a huge problem within the mainland United States and elsewhere. This film is the product of a globally minded organization and individual. Ellen La Torre, President of Project Animal Worldwide and the film's director, asks her audience some important and probing questions. How do we foster caring and compassionate treatment of animals, especially those who are the most vulnerable and helpless, in a throwaway society? And if we can raise the level of human awareness and consciousness, what else can we do to make the world a better place for everyone?

You can watch the trailer here: Spirit of the Sato Trailer

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Give & Take

It's Chanukah in the New York apartment of an All-American, upwardly mobile couple. When the husband, Mitch, surprises his wife Ellie with the news they'll be returning to Buffalo for a job offer he landed, Ellie agrees, reluctantly, to abandon her acting dreams and go with him for the greater good of the marriage. 

She is, after all, a traditional Jewish girl. The only thing that excites Ellie about this plan is the proximity of Buffalo to her favorite place in the world, a tiny amusement park called Candy Island, where she once forged glorious memories. 

Once settled in their new home, with Mitch proving he's thoroughly a dud, Ellie does what she knows she must do: she picks up the local community paper, scouts out theaters, and goes for auditions. It's better for her, and if she can be happy again, the marriage will be stronger. Local theater has never been so dreadful, it turns out, albeit amusing and social, so this wobbly lifeboat she built for her marriage might, just maybe, keep Ellie and hubby afloat. 

And it starts out that way, but her innocent dalliance with The Big Stage turns serious when she meets James, a smooth-talking and single director, who casts her in some very Off-Broadway roles. How will she juggle her now complicated life in a small city? And what will her return to Candy Island as an actress mean for her fate?

Written by Gail Golden, who might have war stories of her own to tell, and directed by Scott Andrew Kurchak, a Canadian citizen who lives in Buffalo, Give & Take is a delightful spoof on community theater—on how life unfolds at a smaller scale. The film mirrors its protagonist's vision because it, too, is the product of actors with a passion for production, in this case a first feature film.

In small town theater and independent filmmaking, the odds are long and the journey is never easy. New Hope Film Festival applauds this team for succeeding. 

You can watch the trailer here:    

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Anarchist's Birthday

Wickedly offbeat humor is the host attraction in this mordant and subtle comedy from the Bristol area of England. Produced with loving care on a truly indie budget, the film marks a first feature project for writer/producer/director Patrick Blake.

In what can only be called a surreal and, shall we say, tall tale, a bumbling vicar leads an angry farmer, a suicidal anarchist, a clueless delinquent and his half-girlfriend on a witch hunt in some fields outside Bristol. What starts as a barely organized operation soon descends into chaos, and the anarchist, determined to leave this world on the same date he entered it, at last finds the anarchy he long lacked—all under the auspices of a church and a government community service program. 

The result is hilarious, even if you're not laughing out loud. But there's much more than comedy going on here. 

To wit, who are the anarchists, anyway, and what are the targets of Blake's satire? If a lone wolf in an impersonal world suddenly finds meaning in a lowly witch hunt, and a pillar of the community sees justice and salvation in it, then what, on Earth, are the authorities leading this charade all about? If authorities are fools at best and a radical ideology—the idea of burning the whole lot to the ground—offers no antidote, then everything is reduced to absurdity. The comic relief of human incompetence, the exposure of pure impulse and fantasy—these are the fragile structures that hold Blake's idea of civilization together.

And that is almost funny, too. You can watch the trailer here: The Anarchist's Birthday Trailer

Monday, June 2, 2014

Telleth of Those Who Dwell in the Water

In this lyrically jaw-dropping period piece from Mexico City, a young man named Rufario Salamanca is sent to Nueva Espana (New Spain) in order to serve Friar Bernardino, whose lifelong mission is to document every, tiny thing that grows in the region. Guided by a mysterious native woman, and together with his mixed race brother and the friar, Rufario sails into swampy waters, finding marvelous beasts—all main characters of ancient pagan tales. One of these creatures, the axolotl, is of particular interest to him, for he finds in the myth of its creation an escape from what has long seemed an imposed destiny. His search for true identity crystallizes when he spies his reflection on the wise lakes of New Spain, where salamanders have chosen to be, but not to evolve. 

Inspired by the writings of Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun, De Sabandijas En El Agua (Telleth of Those Who Dwell in the Water) sinks deep into the soul. Mexican student helmer Roy Ambriz, who both wrote and directed the film, lulls you to sleep with a song—a strange, exquisite tune through which fantasy, and aspirations for heaven, are melded from art, to dream—to reality. 

You can watch the trailer here: Telleth of Those Who Dwell in the Water Trailer

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Investments: The Series

In this hyperkinetic, addictive and thoroughly hip web series, two siblings named Jay and Jaliyah are determined to avoid getting stuck in the system. They run away from a foster home and into the hands of a nefarious politician, known on the street as Mr. Robby, who promises to invest in their lives if they'll only do one, little—deadly—favor for him. They do it, and life is great.

For a while. But several years later, when Jay has one too many drinks and reveals his sordid past to his girlfriend, Sasha, things quickly spiral out of control; now the siblings need to decide how much more they're willing to do to avoid Robby's backlash and protect their high-flying lifestyle—their investment. 

With an electrified theme song by hip-hop artist Dox of Aquavibe, and acting performances-as-case studies in how to connect with your scene partner, this web series exudes more than a splash of the "it" attitude needed to build a following. We're doing our part by bringing it into the Festival—an urban offering in our broad lineup. You can watch the trailer here: Investments: The Series Trailer

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Ricky, a young painter from Brooklyn on the front of the Hipster Movement, is getting his first taste of success. But happiness evades him; his life flounders amidst unhealthy family dynamics, confusion over an artistic movement that lacks moral absolutes, and burdens of past heartaches kept secret. These heartaches, long tucked in his subconsciousness, are dredged to the surface when his teenage sister, Sailor, confides in him her unwanted pregnancy.

Overnight, his work grinds to a halt—his creative flow corked by demons he would rather ignore—while his little sister incessantly pleads for help. Thus begins an intimate journey into a troubled family's dynamics.

As a discussion of unwanted pregnancies, Rooftops leaves more questions than answers, but the film digs deep when it comes to family relationships—how unresolved baggage is often passed down to the next generation, which hardly has the life experience to sift through what is sound advice versus what is an older person's inner, and veiled, projections. In the midst of such dysfunction and selfishness, teenaged Sailor is left blowing in the wind and fending for herself. Rooftops is the product of a brother-sister collaboration between Megan and Josh Mayes, who are based in New York.

The overall effect is powerful: fine acting and cinematography lend Rooftops all the soulfulness and aesthetic one would hope for in a film that employs the motif of the tortured artist. You can watch the trailer here (parental discretion is advised): Rooftops Trailer

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Dry Rain

The Dry Rain tells the story of Laura and Jack, a married couple separated by fate. Laura has been in a coma for over a year and Jack, overwhelmed by the situation, is about to make the hardest decision of his life.

Just when her life appears over, Laura wakes up, but she does so within her subconscious—a place where a struggle between two worlds is about to take place.
Created as a thesis short for New York Film Academy, this exquisite film by Guillem Gutierrez Saura delivers magical realism in a modern sense; without veering from the possible, it's simultaneously neurophysical in explanation, and elevating. 

The Dry Rain subtly suggests that as much as we might understand the material world, we don't begin to understand what lies beyond it. You can watch the trailer here: The Dry Rain Trailer

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Anka Nowicki (Alexa Yeames), a college junior in Philadelphia, suddenly inherits her parents' billboard company; now she must run the business over the summer while debating whether to drop out of school. To ramp up her marketing campaign, she affixes "Available" on one of her properties.  

Enter Ralph Moretti (Gordon Palagi), a local pizza delivery driver and community college flunkie. When he reads "Available," he's thinking something entirely different—now Anka has two big decisions to make. 

Written, directed and produced by Michael Gibrall, who bases himself in Virginia, this Mid-Atlantic film offers a cleverly absurd twist to the romantic comedy genre. The result is both engaging and lots of fun. 

You can watch a preview here: Available Preview

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


When a mysterious young woman stumbles onto the property of a reclusive and burned-out widower, the pair enters a remarkable realm of magic and self-discovery. She has no recollection of her identity, but she possesses untapped powers. He firmly knows who he is, but as much as he wants his family life back, the dream is beyond his capability.

Who is she? Can he help her? What will they accomplish together? 

Shot in Ojai, California as a Chapman University final project, this student film by NHFF helmer
Jason Pangilinan reveals its Southern California roots with a big screen feel and a wonderful level of Hollywood polish. It's hardly surprising that Home is also a pitch for a feature film. 

You can watch the trailer here: Home Trailer

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Teenager Mary Roberts is a frequent eyewitness to crimes in her town—so she says. The department tasks a rookie police detective, John Stark, with handling Mary and her incessant "helpfulness." They spend many, tense hours in an isolated interrogation room as Stark relentlessly probes her contradictory stories. 

Until he pulls out the truth. She can't believe what she's saying; it's not at all what they expected. 

This superbly crafted short film by Stefanie Black, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker with roots in neighboring Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, is an impressively taut psychodrama that takes you on a complete journey, and reveals so much, in only ten minutes. You can watch the trailer here: Storytelling Preview

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Violinist

Sebastian, a ten-year-old boy, wants to be a violinist like his grandfather, Peter. His father, Will, forbids it because he believes Sebastian won't amount to anything and will become a failed artist like his grandfather. 

One day at school, Sebastian sees a flyer for an upcoming concert; he shows it to his grandfather. Together, they conspire behind Will’s back to practice for the concert. Perseverance and relationships are severely tested. 

This refreshingly truthful film isn't your typical protege story. Director Pablo Nicolas Raganato is after something more intimate: instead of glorifying success, the film celebrates love in spite of it, and in doing so, Raganato subtly but powerfully shakes the foundations of what men in a family are pressured to do and asks, instead, what they ought to do. 

The Violinist comes to us from Miami. For a preview of this fine student short, you can visit the film's website: The Violinist Website

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Last Shot

A bartender is closing for the evening when his last customer orders a shot. Never one to refuse a sale, the bartender agrees to serve him, but grows uncomfortable when the man proceeds to dedicate each shot—five in all—to people who share one thing in common:

They’re dead.

The stories grow more unsettling. A man draws a gun. And the last shot may be a deadly one. 

This neo-noir short by director Greg Popp comes to New Hope via Glencoe, Illinois, where the filmmaker is based. A loaded film with an indie edge, Last Shot combines Chicago style with the bravado and danger often associated with the Windy City. You can view the trailer here (parental discretion advised): Last Shot Preview

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be With Me

Autism. The painful diagnosis is familiar to many parents today. According to recently released CDC statistics, 1 in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed, and it's even worse for boys—1 in 58. Be With Me is the real life story of a mother who fought back; she refused to accept such a debilitating life sentence for her son.

The story of Be With Me began in 1996, when Lori and Jim Cairns could see their 2-year-old son, JR, slipping away. The diagnosis: mild to moderate autism and mental retardation. Doctors predicted JR would be institutionalized by age 17.

The family was crushed and overwhelmed: at the time, autism remained poorly understood, few local resources were available, and the wider medical community considered recovery, as a practical matter, impossible. But inspired by the groundbreaking book, Let Me Hear Your Voice, Lori pursued a then-new therapeutic approach called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Lori brought various ABA experts to Arizona to help JR and invited parents of other diagnosed children into her home to watch the therapists work with her son. 

The results were astonishing. You can watch the trailer here: Be With Me Preview

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Five Past Ten

Shot on locations of Lanzarote, Las Canarias (Canary Islands) — in such otherworldly landscapes as Las Salinas Del Janubio, El Golfo, El Lago Verde, Timanfaya, and Puerto Del Carme — this highly atmospheric music video explores themes of home and physical desire through space rock-like musicianship and tectonic, primal imagery of Earth. Director Lara Celenza of Italy incorporates a motif of the American western, as well.  

The inspiration for this NHFF Official Selection is Italian blues rock musician Nico Greco's studio album, Stone Three Home (2013), which he says is all about finding your home, the place where you truly belong. Celenza develops his concept through her deft use of Eastern religious imagery, sunlight, and a broken down, isolated edifice that says less about home as an ideal where you return than it does about a place where you already exist. 

Five Past Ten will be screened with music videos from around the world. You can watch the trailer here: Five Past Ten Trailer

Saturday, March 22, 2014


In the midst of the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides have seen things that will haunt them for the rest of their days. But two Union soldiers are more concerned with what's waiting for them back home. Together by chance in the same regiment, they find themselves clashing with more than just their common enemy. 

The production values alone make this period drama an impressive student debut, but there is even more reason to take note. Retreat began as a short story by Pennsylvania teenager Nick Theorin, whose older brother Kurtis adapted it into a screenplay; their brother Kris Theorin, also a teenager, directed and edited the film. They received their funding through a Kickstarter campaign.  

This film is a shining testimony to the dedication and talent of a new generation's emerging filmmakers, who often get things done through their own drive and organizational skills. You can check out the preview here (parental discretion advised): Retreat Trailer

Friday, March 21, 2014


Acceptance is the story of a mother's journey through the seven stages of grief after finding out her nine-year-old son, Josh, has Asperger's Syndrome.

Based on filmmaker Laura Shapanus's real life experience, this self-financed short has plenty to say and lots of heart. Acceptance will move you and stay with you long after the final credits have rolled. You can watch the trailer here: Acceptance Trailer

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Insomniacs is an emotionally charged, romantic drama about two lost souls who connect through a shared misery.

One restless night, on opposite sides of a London flat complex, Jade and Theo are suffering from insomnia. Burdened by lovesickness, Theo spots a light on during these late hours: he observes Jade from a distance, becoming intrigued by a young woman who suffers from a similar affliction, then attracted as he watches her move about.

In the manic episode that follows, Jade escapes to the rooftop and Theo follows. And sparks soon fly. Filmmaker Charles Chintzer Lai, who bases himself in Brooklyn, delivers this kinetic short film with delightful cinematography and a realistic sense of what it's like to be single in a megacity. 

You can watch the trailer here: Insomniacs Trailer