2021 Official Selection.png
_edited_edited.png

Best Shorts

The Best of Friends

Directed by Eyal Tzadik, Yotam Kislev

This is a tale of two beggars.
A friendship that could end miserably. Sasha prepares Simon for a meeting with the woman who ran him over with her limousine. A ridiculous heir. If they succeed, Simon could live a better life, and Sasha will stay alone in the streets.

 

Peter deVries Concert Violinist 

Directed by Rick FItts

Recovering from two mid-career shoulder surgeries, violinist Peter deVries is reestablishing his career. Peter plays Mozart, Kreisler and talks about his life passions.

Free Order

Directed by Brian Sheehan

A delivery driver becomes involved in a customer's family situation.

3:35 to Boston 

Directed by Kay Barnes

A military wife, struggling to balance all the pieces of her life, breaks down when she realizes the life she had originally planned for herself may not be possible.

Money Chase

Directed by Christian Haynes, Jeffrey Jordan

Two jobless guys are looking to pay their rent before they get evicted. They come up with the idea to rob someone's house that they know to get the money. The robbery seems to go as planned, until one of them ends of dropping one of the bags. Two teenagers end up finding the bag and try to figure out what they want to do with the money. Eventually, the teenagers and robbers run into each other, and it's an all out chase.

The Hat Box

Directed by A.J. Ogilvie

A fashion model with a penchant for telling lies – and a burned reputation to boot – comes into the possession of what may be a long-lost piece of American history.

Drive

Directed by Rhode Bouassa

Discovering an unwelcoming letter from her estranged father, a young girl and her two friends go on a mission to save her brother.

Crossing Over the Dark

Directed by Jordan Ellis

A withered old man metaphysically recalls the deepest memories of his late lover.

Myrtle

Directed by Patricia McCormack

Myrtle, a trailer park Mom from Indiana, cooks dinner for her son. But something's not quite right. This kitchen is anonymous, industrial, and Myrtle's working to a deadline. As her composure unravels, we realize that 21 grams is all that separates life from death.

The Fuzzies

Directed by Josh Funk

A man wakes up locked in a strange bathroom where something is lurking behind the walls.

Inspiration in Nature

Directed by Lily Gontard

Dee Bailey creates 2D paintings of nature using modelling clay as her medium. When she was the artist in residence in Tombstone Territorial Park, she gained a deeper understanding of why she makes art about nature.

Death Returns

Directed by Jeff Corpening

When Mr. Bookman’s time comes, things don’t go as smoothly as he hoped. As it turns out, Death holds a grudge.

Armistice

Directed by Lee Bailey

In late 1944, an American paratrooper attempts to find his line near the Belgian-German border. His unique, precarious situation forces him to make unthinkable moral decisions. The ripple effects from those decisions have immediate and life long ramifications.

In Limbo

Directed by Lucas Tran

In Limbo Two coworkers ushering in the newly deceased.

Trace Amounts

Directed by Benjamin Nason

Jace Atherton works in the cutthroat, high-tech world of Artificial Intelligence development. When Jace's boss gives the order to fire one of her best employees, Jace's world gets flipped upside down with Jace mysteriously waking up on her couch having no memory of how she got there. Now, Jace must spend the day trying to convince authorities a crime has occurred, figure out what happened and why.

All Shook Up

Directed by Matthew Ramsaur

Danny, an awkward yet kind physical therapist learns to overcome his fears through lucid dreaming.

THE SPINNING MAN

Directed by Jordan Rosenbloom

In the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, a lone radio DJ seeks connection.

#LOLASJOURNEY

Directed by Ana Lydia Monaco

LOLA (Drama) - Blamed for her ailing health due to her size, a life-threatening medical emergency pushes a young woman to advocate for her life.

End Game

Directed by Bruce H Gill

Prequel Awakens 2021 A young man learns the truth about his parents' death and begins a convoluted journey to a dark world, manipulated by an entity that appears to have no existence.It's Already Begun...

Boxed

Directed by Wanjiru Njendu

A fictionalized short film based on the true story of the terrifying daring escape of Henry "Box" Brown, an enslaved man who used creativity to escape from slavery in 1849 by mailing himself to freedom.

Love & Coffee

Directed by Brian Adam Kline 

After a night of work, siblings gather to relax over a cup of coffee and the conversation turns philosophical on the topic of love. Does it even exist?

Farmer Cee 

Directed by Clark Ivers

This film introduces us to Farmer Cee, a single Black woman building a family farm in the south. Focused on growing medicinal plants, including hemp, with an ecological conscious and an unwavering social justice commitment, Farmer Cee is a story of resiliency and perseverance in an agricultural industry that has yet to reckon with its systemic oppression, in a nation that is in racial turmoil.

SUNRISE 

Directed by Michael Pearce

Hoping to strengthen their relationship, a father and his daughter are thru-hiking on the Appalachian Trail with a scout troop until they fall behind and meet an unwelcome traveller.

Good Morning! This is Lana...

Directed by Sergio M Vaccaro

The truth behind a cheery wake-up caller's life in the 1970s South begins unraveling with each call she makes. Shot on 16mm Kodak film, over the course of 3 days, in Brooklyn, NY by a local NYC cast and crew.

Black Coffee

Directed by Vito Lyles

A woman and a man sitting in a coffee shop toy around with the idea of a simple kiss between strangers.

Paws

Directed by Bonnie Webster

An Alien visits Earth only to discover it has been overrun by zombified household pets. It tries to ascertain what happens by combing through found footage from Research Triangle Park and NC locals.

Dandelion

Directed by Jörg Viktor Steins-Lauss

An elderly man remembers the full life of love he has lived, with the help of a wish he made on a dandelion years before.

Endangered

Directed by Alex Wroten

The world of easy-going teenager Roger Burns flips upside-down after he’s seduced into a late night swim with his girlfriend and contracts a rare, endangered parasite.

All Roger wants to do is get back to adolescent frivolities and basketball, but everyone from his parents, to his doctors, to animal rights groups, have their own opinions about what he needs to do with his life.

EXIT PACKAGE

Directed by John Gray

A black comedy, quarantine era murder mystery - a ZOOM meeting for a corrupt investment company goes horribly wrong. Made completely through ZOOM, with all of the actors working from home.

HOUSEHOLD DEMONS

Directed by John Gray

A young boy is forced to deal with the entity that possesses his mother.

Sweet Nothings

Directed by Christian Klein

A young man of the near future wistfully searches for love on a dating app, only to find that it has been corrupted by a seductive new marketing system.

Through Darkness I See You

Directed by Jesika Kula

Torn from her family at the age of 4, Eugenea, a Métis teen living in foster care, takes matters into her own hands, to find her stolen family.

ZAP!

Directed by Philip C. Sedgwick

An astronomer sharing online backyard observations of the center of our galaxy has a run-in with mosquitoes and a not so trusty bug zapper.

The Sun Still Shines

Directed by Rita Blitt

The Sun Still Shines' explores the possibility of the sun reappearing each day, giving hope, despite the devastation of the global pandemic and environmental disasters.

Misplaced Trust

Directed by Cynthia M. Uhrich

MISPLACED TRUST is a thriller about four women who are shocked to learn they are all romantically entangled with the same man. While they await his arrival at his love nest, it becomes increasingly apparent there will be consequences for his betrayal.

A Known Omission

Directed by Kent Wiley

A young writer's stability is jeopardized by revolutionary actions from her creations. A dialectic on storytelling.

Little Moments

Directed by Andrea Calevo

“Piccoli Momenti” is the first cinematographic work by Andrea Calevo. The short film investigates the origin of happiness and was shot in Lerici and La Spezia with amateur actors. The protagonist of the story is a depressed and demoralized boy, in search of the key to his happiness that he has long been unable to find. From a reflection on the origin of this mood, a journey inside himself but also outside, through beautiful landscapes and views, riding his bicycle, symbol of freedom and redemption. And at the end of this race, the catharsis of the character is realized, who manages to review the beauty of small things, simple, daily but, at the same time, satisfying and comforting. That's where happiness was hiding, just in the small moments we always take for granted, even in a simple smile crossed by chance.

Strays

Directed by Jerry Keys

Erin Jacobs lives under a dark cloud of abuse with her volatile husband Royce. She has no light in her life until she meets Johnny D, a disfigured and mentally challenged man, who like Erin, lives in a dysfunctional home filled with cruelty and neglect. The summer of their budding friendship ends with the two "strays" confronting the abusive Royce in a violent showdown.

Spare Parts

Directed by Negan Fu

While drafting an important email to his lover, a British robot is faced with a series of reCaptcha tests that question his existence in a primarily human world.

Dreamer

Directed by Vergi Rodriguez, Diana Zollicoffer

Lily Cruz, a DACA recipient, travels on a medical volunteer mission and upon returning to the USA a TSA agent isn’t so welcoming.

MEDDLE

Directed by Gillian Darling

Acclaimed Haida Manga artist, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, pushes the boundaries of the art world by challenging the divide between contemporary and so-called “Native Art”. With humour, kinetic innovation and expansion of traditional and contemporary forms, Yahgulanaas directly confronts the tension he identifies as arising from a legacy of historic racism that persists within and beyond the Western Art World. Drawing from influences on both shores of the North Pacific and his place in today’s world, Yahgulanaas's work addresses the seminal issues of our time.

MICKEY HARDAWAY

Directed by Marcellus Cox

A Young Sketch Artist visits a well renowned psychiatrist as his life begins sprawling out of control after years of Physical and Verbal Abuse has taken a toll on him.

Practice

Directed by Kevin Murray

Guns. Knives. Clarinets. Armed mercenaries shan't disrupt one of Winifred Aldridge's music lessons.

Another Relationship

Directed by Jeff Corpening

The tragic story of a man who tries to save his relationship.

_edited_edited.png

Best Student Film

Patterns

Directed by Ian Wagner

Patterns is a short, arthouse film about mental illness and addiction. It follows Forest Chandler, a housekeeper and photographer who maintains a careful balance between his work and his passion, until a new object of obsession takes control.

Going Out

Directed by Wes Shiflett

Christiane, a young woman living with anxiety and depression, has to go visit her family today, but finds herself unable to leave her room.

Off Beat

Directed by Peleg Leilien

Maor [30] , a failed drum teacher, is forced to live in the rehearsal room where he teaches. The only bright spot in his life are the lessons with Netta [27], a student he tries to impress.

Moth On Fire

Directed by Kiddo Pan

Moth on Fire is a 3D animated rap music video.

An ordinary moth wants to prove itself by going through the fire, which is considered brave, strong and therefore respected by others. But soon it finds out that this so-called heroism behavior is deadly and is a conspiracy by the power holder. With the purpose of being heard and uncovering the truth, the moth plans to do the challenge in the smart way…

can't talk, a movie's on

Directed by Anna Evtushenko

A young woman thinks that nothing is real, and it turns out she's right. Somebody's watching her — but who?

 

Mary's Berries

Directed by Steven Johnson

MARY'S BERRIES is a character-driven inquiry into Mary Johnson's life, a woman taking on countless roles ranging from being a mother, a wife, a caretaker, and a farmer. Due to a series of unfortunate events, she has not only been thrust into such responsibilities, but shackled to them out of the kindness of her heart and fear of vicious scrutiny.

 

POKÉMIME

Directed by Marquise Jones

3 mimes engage in playing poker. 1 mime wages all his money on a game and loses his hand to mime 3. Mime 1 is given a date by which he can pay back his loses. Mime 1 searches high & low for any money he can find to help pay his debts but comes up short and is found by the other 2 mimes and in a display of violence & anger they take their frustrations out on the mime who owes them money. This story is without dialogue. The story is carried on by non verbal communication and music to help immerse you in the development of the plot.

 

Glove

Directed by Tony Holland

The true story of Richard Glover Jr., a 27 year old Veteran, who struggles with life after the Army.

The Hidden Trail

Directed by Cameron Wilson

About to head off to his freshman year of college, a son is excited to spend one final day with his father, until some life altering news makes him question everything he’s ever known.

Future's Resistance

Directed by Duncan Lauer

In this animated documentary, a young Lebanese woman recounts her story about the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. Through helping with the clean-up, and the protest that followed, her faith in her country comes into question.

Skippy Hippy

Directed by Maxwell Rousso

An amateur punk rock band in rural North Carolina struggles to leave on time for their first big gig in Brooklyn when their lead singer is nowhere to be found.

Annie's Voice

Directed by David Smith

With the help of her little brother, a high school senior tries to overcome her stage fright as she participates in a local Open Mic night event.

75° West

Directed by
Thomas Parrish V, Zachary Parrish

Civilization has fallen after a prolonged pandemic. Two brothers wander through a post-pandemic world, trying to survive as they travel across the US countryside. They journey toward 75° West, surviving as best they can on what they can find as they try to avoid human dangers along the way.

Ruth & Nick: A Confectionery Tale

Directed by Carter Rostron

This stop-motion animated short tells the bittersweet story of Nick, a piece of candy who falls in love with a girl who seems out of reach. This film was made by 15-year-old Carter Rostron of Kansas City, using cardboard, construction paper, and a bunch of candy.

Godfrey's Light

Directed by Darian O'Neil

A gas station attendant discovers a strange connection between herself and a criminal scheduled for execution on live television.

CALIFORNIA

Directed by Tracy Mathewson

Calli, a young woman trying to make it in LA, wants to have a relationship with her father back in England but has to come to terms with the phone call that changed everything for her. It’s a story about family, responsibility, and how Love is not turning your back on someone even when they’ve failed you.

Word Association

Directed by Blake Kinsey

In a world where music obsession is a problem. A failing music therapist must breakthrough with her client, a Stevie Wonder obsessor, to pay her rent.

Lightforce, Loveforce, Lifeforce

Directed by Lily Frame

A personal essay film documenting the struggles, from the point of view, of a budding artist with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Santa Maria BBQ at The Hitching Post

Directed by Tyler Little, Beau Manning, Frank Lopez, Daniel Medina

A inside look at the style of BBQ grilling known as "Santa Maria Style" from an establishment that has done it for years.

New Normal

Directed by Benjamin Wuori

Social distancing shouldn't stop a good fight, right?

Mental: Diagnosis and The Mental Illness Experience

Directed by Alissa Fagin

Mental is an exploration of mental illness experience as it compares to the construct of mental illness diagnosis. The film follows Hannah, a dynamic college senior, as she navigates her five diagnosed mental illnesses at Brandeis University. Hannah’s journey with her past, her environment, and her everyday struggles offers an intimate look at her psychology, and challenges the notion that complex mental illnesses can be reduced to descriptions found in a controversial guidebook. The film’s artistic cinematography captures the subtleties of Hannah’s illness experience, and paints an emotional picture of what it means to live with mental illness.
Hannah’s story is contextualized by interviews with two experts in the field. Set against a black background, the interviews critique the psychiatric diagnostic system, despite its ability to validate people experiencing mental illness. They discuss the diagnostic system’s rudimentary understanding of mental illness, and the public’s reluctance to criticize or question this system. The film closes with a powerful scene of Hannah performing with her a cappella group, which plays an incredibly therapeutic role in her journey. This final scene encourages viewers to open their minds to understandings of mental illness that go beyond our primitive diagnostic system, and make room for less conventional ways of healing mental illness.

Toomsboro

Directed by Liam Tangum

Two brothers in a small Georgia town find a large sum of money in a crashed car and have different ideas about what to do with it.

Translating Livia Ming

Directed by Patrick Wei

An Asian American woman loses her passport the day before she’s set to fly to China for the first time. She embarks on a journey to find herself and her passport.

Up and Away

Directed by Samuel Lewis Walker

Short and sweet; This art piece is a visual representation of the feeling of “flying.”

_edited_edited.png

Best Mid-length

The Legacy Sessions

Directed by William D. Ashton

Isolation and punk music are the coping measure a sullen teenager uses to drown out the hurt she feels from her mother's death. But a friendship with an edlerly woman in a retirement home slowly helps her express and overcome her grief.

Treehouse

Directed by William Austin

A reclusive construction worker is stricken with grief after witnessing the sudden, tragic death of his brother. Tortured by guilt, he struggles to build a treehouse—the unfulfilled dream of their childhood.

Spirit of the Cinema

Directed by Zack Fox

Filmed in North Wilkesboro, NC at the Historic Liberty Theatre and in Winston-Salem, NC - A family-owned movie theater struggles with letting go of the past and switching from 35mm film to digital cinema to keep the theater open. . . A love letter to 35mm film, movies, and theaters... which so desperately need our love and help right now.

Calf Rope

Directed by Bradley Hawkins

During the summer of '66, a former rodeo champion and cattle auctioneer from Oklahoma bonds tightly with his young grandson from suburban Pennsylvania while teaching him a few tricks from his previous trades. Shot entirely in rural Pennsylvania, Calf Rope captures the intense love that grandparents often share with their grandchildren and the legacy that lives on long after they have gone.

Departure

Directed by Gabriel Heckel

In Departure, a troubled man (John Edgar Barker) tries to make sense of recurring dreams about a boy he’s never known. However, after an unexpected visit, he learns a powerful truth that will change his life forever.

Halfdanr

Directed by Lance B. Witmer

The bastard son of a Viking farmer and his slave must outshine his legitimate brothers to win his father's love, and purchase his mother's freedom.

Shepherd's Song

Directed by Abby Fuller

Growing up in San Francisco, Jenya saw the world around her changing and after the death of both her parents, she became desperate to find a sense of belonging and connection. The film explores her journey as she embarks on a new path restoring ecosystems with the help of her flock of sheep. Through her journey, the film invites us to think about our ability to participate meaningfully and intentionally with the natural world, and to see that by healing land there an opportunity to heal ourselves.

JUST A PHASE 

Directed by Kent Faulcon

Hannah Morse, a frustrated low-level JPL-Lab researcher, has her whole world turned upside down when she stumbles upon a mysterious device becoming the target of some dark and dangerous forces. 

_edited_edited.png

Best Feature Film

What?

Directed by Alek Lev

WHAT? is a black and white, not-so-silent comedy about a struggling deaf actor, sick of agreeing to increasingly humiliating tasks just to get a role, who decides to take matters into his own… hands. 

Mina Martin

Directed by Anthony Petrucci

In this impressionist poem-dream, three outlier students cross paths amidst deadly shootings at their high school on Long Island, NY, and struggle for meaning in the ephemera and loneliness of life.
Toprak
Directed by Sevgi Hirschhäuser
TOPRAK is the dramatic story of a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions, and religious heritage. Since the death of his parents, the teenage Burak has lived with his uncle Cemil and grandmother in a remote Turkish village. The small family unit has been trying to make a living by selling fruits. While the religious Cemil is satisfied to live his life in poverty, Burak struggles to leave for the city and attend university. When grandmother falls sick, both Burak and Cemil have to make tough decisions that will change their lives forever.
Oh Crappy Day
Directed by Jon Lance Bacon
An aspiring young filmmaker hopes to find love through online dating -- if he can just keep his OCD on the down low.
The Pharm
Directed by Ryan Tyler Altman
US Military veteran turned pot farmer, Sam Paxton, develops an experimental strain of marijuana, that combats cancer. The very disease that killed his mother. When word of this reaches the ears of Big Pharma, Sam finds himself at war once again. This time on his own turf. His pot farm.
A Story Worth Living
Directed by Vanessa Leonard
Allison Foster and her childhood best friend, Melissa, find themselves attending the same college. Wanting to end her junior year strong, overachiever Allison receives a class assignment that goes beyond the classroom and encourages her to perceive life in a more positive light. Coming from a family that has a past of dealing with mental illness, Allison strives to obtain a more optimistic view with the help of her new boyfriend, Jacob Russell. However, Allison's merry shift of focus may be short-lived, as she did not foresee what was about to change everything.
Love is not Love
Directed by Stephen Keep Mills
Early December, New York City, and everyone is on the hunt for love. Why? Because they haven’t found it and because they haven’t found it, they make it into a myth and chase the myth instead. That is not love in this romantic drama of fantasy, fate, and yearning.
The Star of Light Cone
Directed by Mengxin He
Experimental, Feature
_edited_edited.png

Best New Music Video

"Dear Knoxville"

Submitted by Mike Anderson

Zach Sears is the Knoxville artist known as "Z". While discussing the recent gun violence in Knoxville with his best friend/barber Marquis Blair at his local Knoxville barbershop, Marquis and some of his clients inspired "Z" to write and perform his current video project "Dear Knoxville".

The Hurting Times

Directed by Erik Jacobsen

This is the official music video for Barnaby Bright's 2020 single, "The Hurting Times.” The video is a collage made up of 8mm family movies as well as digital footage taken at home by the musicians during the lockdown. In the midst of the pandemic, Barnaby Bright shared this project in the hopes that it may bring some peace and connection to people in the midst of their own hurting times.

Coretta

Directed by Jessica Elizabeth Davenport, Jeaneen Lund

“Coretta” is a music video that features protest signs designed by Jessica as well as a robot mural honoring Coretta Scott King. The mural was commissioned by Strictly Elizabeth and created in collaboration with Robot Muralist. This song is a single off the Strictly Elizabeth album Contemporary Construction released May 28, 2021.

The Mood Kings - 'Dust and Bone' Official Music Video

Directed by Tony Murnahan

The main character of the "Dust And Bone" video carries those lyrics on a letter — half of it, anyway. It's been ripped in two, and she stumbles through the forest in search of the rest of the torn page. Once she finds the cabin, it's a sure bet she'll be climbing inside. But what she discovers inside those narrow rooms of the house defies easy description, and her quest to solve the puzzle is not without its own cost. Tony Murnahan is an experienced hand at generating mystery — many of his videos are chronicles of journeys to exotic places — and here, he balances tension, beauty, and indeterminacy to tell the story of lovers divided but not entirely broken.   

Silence

Directed by Marci Mazzarotto

Music video for "More than Words" by The Foes of Fern, a band hailing from Asbury Park, New Jersey , USA.

Spotlight 

Directed by L. Ash

"Spotlight" is the official music video for Barnaby Bright's 2021 single. The narrative explores fame and celebrity in the volatile age of social media. This animation is made up of 6,800 hand drawn frames that were assembled and digitally composited in Adobe After Effects.

Butterfly

Directed by Joey Gizzi 

Butterfly is a Hip-Hop song by iYo the Philosopher. The song is inspired by and dedicated to his partner.

_edited_edited.png

Music Video Of The Year

Who Am I

Directed by Aubrey Shafer, Michael Shafer

Mental health crises are all too real and yet often taboo for many first responders. Shafer, a firefighter and rapper, takes us into the mind of a firefighter and 16 year old girl who are struggling, and shows us the ripple effects our actions have.

The Mood Kings - 'Dust and Bone' Official Music Video

Directed by Tony Murnahan

The main character of the "Dust And Bone" video carries those lyrics on a letter — half of it, anyway. It's been ripped in two, and she stumbles through the forest in search of the rest of the torn page. Once she finds the cabin, it's a sure bet she'll be climbing inside. But what she discovers inside those narrow rooms of the house defies easy description, and her quest to solve the puzzle is not without its own cost. Tony Murnahan is an experienced hand at generating mystery — many of his videos are chronicles of journeys to exotic places — and here, he balances tension, beauty, and indeterminacy to tell the story of lovers divided but not entirely broken.   

 

Butterfly

Directed by Joey Gizzi

Butterfly is a Hip-Hop song by iYo the Philosopher. The song is inspired by and dedicated to his partner.

Incantation

Directed by Tim Janssens

Black and white music video for artist Whitney Tai. Composed by Tim Janssens, Whitney Tai & Emer Kinsela.

_edited_edited.png

Best Animated

Stick Wars:The Legend of two masters

Directed by Emory Rice

Long ago in the land of STICK two masters of the martial arts fight to decide who is the greatest master

The Sun Still Shines

Directed by Rita Blitt

'The Sun Still Shines' explores the possibility of the sun reappearing each day, giving hope, despite the devastation of the global pandemic and environmental disasters.

GON, THE LITTLE FOX

Directed by Takeshi Yashiro

When Gon, a playful orphaned fox, finds that young Hyoju has lost his mother, he tries to comfort him and make amends for his own earlier mischiefs by secretly bringing small gifts to the boy every day. But Hyojudoesn’t realize who is behind the anonymous gifts, and the two are headed for a heartbreaking climax.

The Hot Air Balloon

Directed by Justin Meckes

Enjoy a hot air balloon ride and discover what it’s like to see the Earth from above.

_edited_edited.png

Best Experimental

Heal Me

Directed by Shelagh Rowan-Legg

A woman walks outside on a snowy day, trying to find the thoughts that will heal her troubled mind.

Execution

Directed by Stavit Allweis

A renegade band of females stages an execution of rapists and killers in a classroom

FIREFALLS

Directed by Ariel Neo

Directed by the french painter and film director Ariel Neo, Firefalls explores the reality of the world we live in today and depicts the devastation caused by humans on Earth. As an artist working for the cause of nature and wildlife conservation, Neo’s unique storytelling aims to blur the boundaries between man, nature and art while hoping to once again align them together. Ariel Neo wants to alert minds towards the urgent need to preserve our dying Earth and she uses both her powerful cinematography and paintings to illuminate an important question for her audience. How long can mankind run away from the apocalypse it birthed itself?

Lightforce, Loveforce, Lifeforce

Directed by Lily Frame

A personal essay film documenting the struggles, from the point of view, of a budding artist with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

A Machine For Boredom

Directed by Marc Cartwright

Isolation drives a man to rethink his position within a capitalistic society.

IRENE

Directed by Jonathan Soverchia

Everyone would like to approach Irene, but no one dared to do it. The roads that lead to her are not safe. And above all, if you approach, change. Irene is the name of who can be contemplated only from a distance.

Ophelia

Directed by Hadi Moussally

A tribute to the Pre-raphaelite brotherhood by telling the story of the creation of some of the most famous paintings, especially the most known "Ophelia" by Sir John Everett Millais. Where we can see nature taking more and more place in the art.
The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what it considered the mechanistic approach.

_edited_edited.png

Best Documentary

The Best Show In Town

Directed by Amity Hoffman

The Best Show In Town features the story of the Loveland Players a theater troupe of 50+ actors, all with different developmental challenges, who work over the course of nine months to put on one of the most honest and engaging theater performances you’ll ever see. Many of these actors originally came to the group with severe anxiety, extreme shyness, and some of them even non-verbal. As a result of their participation in theater they have gained life changing confidence that’s carried over into their daily lives leading some to seek employment in their community and many choosing to live independently of their parents or caregivers. What theater gives to these actors is transformative and what these actors give to their audience is a new perspective on what it means to live with a developmental disability.

Saving Spiracle

Directed by David Kernodle

This documentary tells the story of three business owners as they struggle to keep their company afloat while trying to keep their personal lives intact during a worldwide pandemic.

How It Feels To Be Free

Submitted by Yoruba Richen

How It Feels to Be Free takes an unprecedented look at the intersection of African-American women artists, politics, and entertainment and tells the story of how six trailblazing performers, Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier changed American culture through their films, fashion, their music and their politics. The film tells the stories of Lena Horne, the first Black woman signed to a major studio; Abbey Lincoln, the “Black Marilyn Monroe” turned protest singer and activist; Diahann Carroll, the first Black woman to both win a Tony Award and star in her own TV series in a role other than a maid; Nina Simone, the revolutionary musical prodigy; Pam Grier, the first female action hero; and actress Cicely Tyson, the proud race woman who use her art as a form of protest. How It Feels to Be Free explores how these women re-shaped the way Black women were represented on stage and screen and how Black female entertainers who came after them built off their success, learned from their failures, and continue working to change the industry. The documentary features archival performances and interviews with the trailblazers, new interviews with Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier, and interviews from some of the industry’s leading entertainers such as Alicia Keys, Lena Waithe, Halle Berry and Samuel Jackson. The film is based on the book How it Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement by Ruth Feldstein.

AULCIE

Directed by DANI MENKIN

Aulcie Perry, an African American, from the violence-filled streets of Newark, NJ finds his glory in leading Israel’s Maccabi basketball team to European championship, only to fall to drugs and jail time before his redemption and search for his biological daughter.

The Last Vance

Directed by Jarrell Hilton

In the midst of a pandemic and nation wide social unrest, players of the Vance High School football team strap on their helmets to play one last season as the formally known, 'Vance Cougars'. The Last Vance portrays what can happen when a team of highly motivated students and coaches join forces against all adversity to become North Carolinas 4AA state champions for the second year in a row.

The Anti-Museum: an Anti-Documentary

Directed by Celine Fitzmaurice

A global pandemic shuts down business, offices, shops, theatres, museums and galleries, putting millions out of work and creating a new normal of social distance and virtual spaces.

Narrated by musician Henry Rollins, The Anti-Museum: an Anti-Documentary questions if the forced closure of museums and exhibitions means we can discover new ways to experience art.

For decades artists have grappled with the concept of closure – as statements against political power, as an act against commerciality, on the power of labour, as a means of questioning what work means and even how we define the space where art takes place.

These radical acts saw galleries shut on their day of opening in Japan while in Argentina, the imprisonment of visitors to an exhibition became a statement on the military coup d’etat. In Italy a gallery covered in striped paper challenged ideas of where art should hang while other artists mailed out their own exhibition closure in LA, Amsterdam and Turin.

This rejection of where and how art is expressed is part of an anti-art movement that began in the 1960s. The heart of 'anti-art' was about pushing back against the objectification in established art, critiquing the commerciality of pop art and abstract expressionism, and denouncing the preservation of objects as a means of extracting value. In short, anti-art rejected the capitalist take-over of art as practice by making itself unpreservable, unmarketable, unattractive and unobjectifiable.

Refusing to play the game exposes the limits of culture and becomes a revolutionary act in itself. But it also cracks open the possibility of redefining what art is, what the limits of art are and actively embraces a different concept - an anti-museum that encourages active oppositions to currently accepted norms.

Open Field

Directed by Kathy Kuras

Winner of the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Riverside International Film Festival 2021.
They played by NFL rules in NFL stadiums. They won world championships. They’re at the top of their game. What else do they have to do to level the playing field? Meet quarterback Sami Grisafe, San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and other legends of women’s tackle football who played for the love of the game against all odds. With commentary from Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, OPEN FIELD tells the story of the women who leave everything on the field in their drive for greatness, earning recognition and respect. Katie Sowers and other legends of women’s football who played for the love of the game against all odds. With commentary from Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, Open Field tells the story of the women who left nothing on the field in their push for recognition and respect.
OPEN FIELD provides an inside look at women in tackle football and features NFL greats who have supported women in football including Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and Franco Harris, Football Legend and Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer. 
Shot on location over the course of 6 years with full access to practice sessions, games, private team conversations in locker and off-the field activities, including three world championships with Team USA (held in Sweden, Finland, Canada).

 

Tapestry: Spiritual Music of A Mill Village

Directed by Gauri Singh

This film showcases a spiritual musical journey through a Mill Village of North Carolina where Brian Millers ancestors worked in the Mill and attended the churches in Gastonia, North Carolina

Chapters: The Legacy of John Swofford

Directed by Scott McBurney

Chapters: The Legacy of John Swofford documents the 50-year career in college athletics of former Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. The program traces his root growing up in the small southern town of North Wilkesboro, NC to playing football at the University of North Carolina to serving as Athletics Director at UNC for 17 years to leading one of the premier college conferences for nearly a quarter of a century as its commissioner.

Theirs is the Kingdom

Directed by Christopher Zaluski

A film examining the intersection of poverty and portraiture, "Theirs is the Kingdom" follows the rare creation of a contemporary fresco mural inside the sanctuary of a small church in Asheville, NC.

This is a painting not of the rich and powerful, but of people battling homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. From first sketch to final unveiling, the viewer witnesses the difficulties of this ancient artistic technique while also meeting an ensemble cast of complex characters.

Farmer Cee

Directed by Clark Ivers

This film introduces us to Farmer Cee, a single Black woman building a family farm in the south. Focused on growing medicinal plants, including hemp, with an ecological conscious and an unwavering social justice commitment, Farmer Cee is a story of resiliency and perseverance in an agricultural industry that has yet to reckon with its systemic oppression, in a nation that is in racial turmoil.

She Carries On

Directed by Isaac Fowler, Tim Morris

Among the Cherokee people in North Carolina, the cultural tradition of stickball exemplifies “more than a game”. Cherokee women played the game at the turn of the 21st century for several years and reflect on their time playing and what the game means to the past, present, and future of Cherokee people.

A Letter to A'ma

Directed by Hui-Ling CHEN

An art teacher returns to her childhood home to mourn the passing of her grandmother. As she pieces together the fragmented memories of her youth she finds herself coming face-to-face with the problematic issue of her country’s fractured history.
An island on the edge of Asia, Taiwan has experienced four hundred years of colonization followed by a recent half century of dictatorship. Yet today it is becoming the front of a potential war between world powers.
Through an artistic duty that this teacher gives to students, a performance art process that has lasted for more than 10 years, a representational portrait of the island’s collective memory begins to emerge; and in so doing, these young artists have initiated a process by which Taiwan, an island forgotten by the world and in the midst of forgetting itself, can now remember itself and construct a new postcolonial identity through art.

Shepherd's Song

Directed by Abby Fuller

Growing up in San Francisco, Jenya saw the world around her changing and after the death of both her parents, she became desperate to find a sense of belonging and connection. The film explores her journey as she embarks on a new path restoring ecosystems with the help of her flock of sheep. Through her journey, the film invites us to think about our ability to participate meaningfully and intentionally with the natural world, and to see that by healing land there an opportunity to heal ourselves.

Built lands

Directed by Arturo Dueñas Herrero

In the late 60s a group of artists decides to settle in a village in the ‘darkest-deepest’ Spain. Today only Felix Cuadrado Lomas still remains there, determined to reflect the landscape which surrounds him: the lands built by those who work on them.

 

Stateless

Directed Michèle Stephenson

Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows families of those affected by the 2013 legislation stripping citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent, uncovering the complex history and present-day politics of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through the grassroots electoral campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris.

“SINCE THAT DAY…”

Submitted by Slavica Šnur

The loss of a child is the most painful type of loss.

A child gives the parent an almost super-human strength. When a child dies, that strength disappears forever. From that day onward, the parents of those children are no longer the same. The purpose of this film is to show: Who those children were and what were their dreams. It is a pity that only the parents remember the faces of those children.

Is it possible to forgive? If not, is it possible to live the rest of your life in peace?

Let’s show everyone that children who died as a result of the stupidity of us “grown ups” will not be forgotten and let’s try to warn future generations about the killer that is war.

Vinyl Nation

Directed by Kevin Smokler, Christopher Boone

A deep dig into the crates of the vinyl record resurgence to discover what an old technology says about our relationship to music and each other in a divided time in America.

Between the Lines: Liz at Large

Directed by Abi Cole

Liz Montague first emailed The New Yorker’s cartoon editor out of frustration that all of the illustrations featured white subjects. She began contributing to the magazine in 2019 and became the first Black, female cartoonist in The New Yorker’s near century run. Montague’s cartoons push the publication’s boundaries through focussing on the intersection of self and social awareness in an accessible style with clean lines and representative subjects. Montague sketches a world in which Black women are the main characters.

Comic Book Hero

Directed by Justin Meckes 

This mini-documentary explores the work of Lee Stutts, an amateur comic book writer finishing the first draft of a new comic book while battling procrastination.        

Rock Castle Home

Directed by Charlie Thompson

Rock Castle Home delves deep into the history of a 1930s Virginia mountain community displaced by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Told through the words of community members working to preserve their history and identity, Rock Castle Home tells a universal story about the human fight to preserve our stories despite the political, economic, and natural forces that seek to subsume them.

_edited_edited.png

Best Cinematography

Patterns

Directed by Ian Wagner

Patterns is a short, arthouse film about mental illness and addiction. It follows Forest Chandler, a housekeeper and photographer who maintains a careful balance between his work and his passion, until a new object of obsession takes control.

Crossing Over the Dark

Directed by Jordan Ellis

A withered old man metaphysically recalls the deepest memories of his late lover.

3:35 to Boston

Directed by Kay Barnes

A military wife, struggling to balance all the pieces of her life, breaks down when she realizes the life she had originally planned for herself may not be possible.

Toprak

Directed by Sevgi Hirschhäuser

TOPRAK is the dramatic story of a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions, and religious heritage. Since the death of his parents, the teenage Burak has lived with his uncle Cemil and grandmother in a remote Turkish village. The small family unit has been trying to make a living by selling fruits. While the religious Cemil is satisfied to live his life in poverty, Burak struggles to leave for the city and attend university. When grandmother falls sick, both Burak and Cemil have to make tough decisions that will change their lives forever.

Stray

Directed by Wanjiru Njendu

A spirit metes out vengeance when a young girl ignores her mother's warning about the Pied Piper myth. 

Liar

Directed by Brady

A young girl is desperate to re-connect with her deceased father, and uses a Ouija board to do it...

Love is not Love

Directed by Stephen Keep Mills

Early December, New York City, and everyone is on the hunt for love. Why? Because they haven’t found it and because they haven’t found it, they make it into a myth and chase the myth instead. That is not love in this romantic drama of fantasy, fate, and yearning.

_edited_edited.png

Best Trailer

Balthazar & Snirt

Directed by Jim McCullough, Anthony Ladesich

During the age of monsters and magic...
A fearless village idiot and an anxious wizard-in-training team up to slay a dragon.

B1 - The Awakening

Directed by Thomas I Parrish V

On a planet 100 light years beyond the galaxy's outer-rim, B1 tells a story of a young boy GiuwDaan B1 who discovers his world's most valuable resources are being harvest by off-worlders.

He partakes on a journey of discovery and builds a small team of allies who help to save their planet from certain destruction.

Baroque

Directed by Valentin Disant, Sasi fauzi

A young woman wakes up in another century.

HIDDEN Wounds

Directed by Nicole Amelio-Casper

With this full feature documentary. we will tell the stories of our military men and women – The real and raw stories stories that reveal their purpose , and their heart to serve and to sacrifice on the front lines of war, and most significantly when they return home.  Heroes who run nonprofit organizations in North and South Carolina and across the US supporting our warriors will also be featured in the full length feature film. We will interview policymakers and politicians who wholeheartedly support veterans and their families as well as active duty military officers who proactively support their  military brothers and sisters. 
 

Oh Crappy Day

Directed by Jon Lance Bacon

This is the trailer for "Oh Crappy Day," a romantic comedy feature with a psychological twist: a young filmmaker is looking for love, while dealing with a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

_edited_edited.png

Best Playwright (Short Scripts )
- Winner -

ArLA_Awards.png

Grievers

By Glenn Lissner

A medical school wants to honor those who have donated their bodies to science, but their offering is a bizarre display of questionable talent provided by the students. Afterwards, several of the shell-shocked attendees decide to process the experience over lunch knowing that no one would believe what they witnessed.
During the lunch, 5 strangers share their diverse reasons for attending. Louis discusses the loss of his father to illness even before his death. Sandra shares that she recently met her biological father only to have him pass away. Ralph is there for his brother who OD’d even though he is furious over how his brother treated their mother in the throws of addiction. Emily shares that she was there seeking closure after her rapist died. Conner talks about his mentor and neighbor who was also a present father figure before passing.
After supporting each other’s emotional outpouring, there is discussion on continuing to meet. As the room empties, Sandra pulls Louis aside and reveals that she realized through the discussion that they had the same father.

_edited_edited.png

Visual Artist Of The Year -Winner -

ArLA_Awards.png

The Sun Still Shines 

Directed by Rita Blitt

'The Sun Still Shines' explores the possibility of the sun reappearing each day, giving hope, despite the devastation of the global pandemic and environmental disasters.

_edited_edited.png

Best Movie Poster

Treehouse

Directed by William Austin

A reclusive construction worker is stricken with grief after witnessing the sudden, tragic death of his brother. Tortured by guilt, he struggles to build a treehouse—the unfulfilled dream of their childhood.

Moth On Fire 

Directed by Kiddo Pan

Moth on Fire is a 3D animated rap music video.

An ordinary moth wants to prove itself by going through the fire, which is considered brave, strong and therefore respected by others. But soon it finds out that this so-called heroism behavior is deadly and is a conspiracy by the power holder. With the purpose of being heard and uncovering the truth, the moth plans to do the challenge in the smart way…

Love & Coffee

Directed by Brian Adam Kline

After a night of work, siblings gather to relax over a cup of coffee and the conversation turns philosophical on the topic of love. Does it even exist?

Oh Crappy Day

Submitted by Jon Bacon

A film poster for the romantic comedy feature, "Oh Crappy Day"

_edited_edited.png

Best Spoken Word Poetry Performance

Consider It Not So Deeply

Directed by James Woodward

A dark poetry film based on Carmine Di Biase's sestina featuring a short retelling of the character Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

TIME & TIDE - A TRILOGY

Directed by Justin Spray, Marc Green, Jonathan Stow

Time and Tide is a trilogy about how we approach the past, reconcile it with the present, and face the future.

Across the years, a mother watches her gladiator son fight, while she remembers his childhood: the last lighthouse keeper prepares for his final trip ashore: and an actor returns to the stage to play his part in a Greek myth.

The trilogy opens with The Arena, with renowned actor Greta Scacchi giving an emotional performance as she tells the tale of a gladiator fighting for his life, while his mother looks on, recalling happier times. The second film in the sequence, The Last Lighthouse Keeper, stars experienced character actor John Locke as he relates the keeper’s adventures from the invention of the lighthouse, to eventual redundancy.

In the final film, Homecoming, star of stage and screen Samuel West plays an actor returning to the theatre after a long absence, to take the role of Odysseus - who found that after an epic journey home, he had new trials to overcome.

HUMANITY

Directed by Dionne Hunter

A day in the life of a voyage through the Middle passage; as witnessed through the eyes of an unexpected source.

9 Brief Films from Suburban Zen

Directed by Justin Meckes

This film presents only a small portion of what can be found in the poetry collection titled Suburban Zen: Tiny Stories, Poems, Humorous Reflections & Deep Thoughts.

How do I shine!?

Directed by Carrie K. Thomas, Lamar Thomas Jr.

Is a Slam Poetry visual based on body positivity, self confidence, boosting one’s self- esteem; dramatically in cinema form.

Overcome

Directed by Eddie Goines

A poetry film that encapsulates the general challenges of life for the individual and some of the issues that face society as a whole.

PHAT Girl

Directed by Rosemarie Wilson

In 2013 I was approached to pen a piece for a plus size debutante ball which brought the spoken word piece PHAT Girl to life. Since that time, young and well-seasoned beauties have requested that I perform this piece at their events. Knowing that most women deal with low self-esteem, PHAT Girl is testament to becoming comfortable in our skin, loving who we are flaws and all. PHAT Girl premiered at the Piton International Film Festival on August 16, 2017 in St. Lucia and now I’m spreading the word that it's past time for us to get comfortable in our skin. It's time for us to embrace all of our flaws. It's time to own the fact that we are all fabulous--big, short, small, tall, dark, light--whatever. It's time to tell society to mind their own damned business because we are P.H.A.T. Girls--Pretty, Hot AND Tempting.

 

Lightforce, Loveforce, Lifeforce

Directed by Lily Frame

A personal essay film documenting the struggles, from the point of view, of a budding artist with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

P.E.N.S.: "A Picture In Time"

Directed by Mikell Limbrick

There is a cultural tide rising in Houston. Amid the city's museums, historic landmarks, and vibrant nightlife exists a cache of the nation's most prolific spoken word artists. The community of poets is as diverse as the city it represents. Their words are etched in the very fabric of H-town. Their story, once the city's best-kept secret, will finally be told.

Still

Directed by David Butler 

A Poetry Visual Performance of the poem "Still", a story of an artists yet to "make it", but still pushing ahead even after a long period of time has passed.

Mother. Earth.

Directed by Alejandra Vidal

“Mother. Earth.” explores the pressing need for humanity to care for our earth. Poet Krystle Ada Epum was inspired to write this poem when the wildfires began in California during the tumultuous year of 2020.

20 Years Later

Directed by Aaron Weinstein

IT’S HIS TIME FOR ONE FINAL SALE

Dulce et Decorum Est

Directed by Walter Haussner

A performance of Wilfred Owen's poem

Night at The GPAC

Directed by Aniyah Bourne

Aniya Bourne captures the entirety of DS Will's performance set, from the April 1st, 2021 Words Unspoken showcase, held at The Garner Performance Arts Center. A Night at The GPAC provides a rare intimate look into the psyche and methods of the prolific poet.

_edited_edited.png

Best Movie Scene ( 30 - 60 sec clip )

Free Order

Directed by Brian Sheehan

A delivery driver becomes involved in a customer's family situation.

A Sorrowful Birthday

Directed by Miguel Mike Medina

Jesus is sad and depressed because he is spending his first birthday without his wife. Jesus lost his wife due to COVID-19, and he's reminiscing the last time he spend his birthday with her.

DREAMS

Directed by Stanislav Domansky