Slamdance announces 2015 film awards |

Slamdance announces 2015 film awards

Submitted by SlamdanceThe 21st Slamdance Film Festival announced the feature and short film recipients of this year's awards in the Audience, Jury, and Sponsored categories.

The award winners were announced at the festival’s annual awards ceremony Thursday night at the Treasure Mountain Inn.

As in previous years, juries of leading industry experts and esteemed filmmakers determined the Slamdance Jury Awards for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film categories.

The Audience Awards as well as the Spirit of Slamdance, an award given by the filmmakers of Slamdance 2015 to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival, were also bestowed.

Additional sponsored awards included the Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Grand Prize and the Kodak Director’s Prize.

The feature competition films in the Documentary and Narrative Programs are limited to first-time filmmakers working with production budgets of less than $1 million.

"Congratulations to the winners of Slamdance and indeed to all of the filmmakers this year," stated Peter Baxter, Slamdance president and co-founder. "The 2015 festival has shown us once again that if you want to see the best of real independent film, Slamdance is the place to be."

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"The Slamdance filmmakers and festival goers made the 2015 festival a resounding success," said Festival Director Anna Germanidi,."Congratulations to all of our filmmakers for touching and inspiring audiences and jury members alike with their work."

The awards are as follows:


Narrative Feature: "Across the Sea," dir. by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam

Damla is a Turkish immigrant estranged from her homeland; she lives in New York City with her husband, Kevin, and they’re expecting their first child. But Damla is still haunted by memories of her first love and when she returns to Turkey with Kevin she has to confront a troubling secret from her past.

Documentary Feature: "Sweet Micky for President," dir. by Ben Patterson

Music and politics collide when international music star Pras Michel of the Fugees returns to his homeland of Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly aka Sweet Micky. The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupt government, civil unrest, and a fixed election.


  • This year’s Slamdance Narrative Jury Prizes were selected by an esteemed panel of industry members: Richard Lorber, Todd Looby and Emilie Upczak.

    Narrative Feature: "Tired Moonlight," dir. by Britni West

    "A masterful fusion of cinematic vision and poetic narrative, Tired Moonlight effortlessly transports you from the prosaic surroundings of its poignant characters’ lives into a realm of unexpected beauty and spiritual authenticity with an unforced craftsmanship."

    The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.

    Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: "They Look Like People," dir. by Perry Blackshear

    "With rare filmmaking skill, brains, precision and outstanding performances, Perry Blackshear and his cast and crew silence critics who claim very small and contained films like this can’t be riveting and brilliant.

    Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: "Across the Sea," dir. by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam

    "Through transcendent cinematography trained on the mystical Mediterranean setting and wonderful minute of uncertain love, directors Nisan Dağ and Esra Saydam provide a beautiful, intense and honest look at a relationship in peril."


  • This year’s Slamdance Documentary Jury Prizes were selected by an esteemed panel of industry members: Paige Williams, Josh Leake and Bryan Storkel.

    Documentary Feature: "Sweet Micky for President," dir. by Ben Patterson

    "’Sweet Micky For President’ takes the audience on an unbelievable, wild ride through difficult Haitian politics, in a story that is both entertaining and educational. The film is an enormous accomplishment for first-time director Ben Patterson and is a great example of why Slamdance exists — to celebrate new works by new directors whose films can help change our perspective on the world — one story at a time."

    The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.

    Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature: "20 Years of Madness," dir. by Jeremy Royce

    "Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, ’20 Years of Madness’ is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure."

    Documentary Short: "The Solitude of Memory," dir. by Juan Pablo González

    "Juan Pablo González paints a vivid and eloquent portrait of a devoted father and the love for his son, drawing deep emotions from the viewer through his use of gorgeous cinematography, moving music and an incredibly honest, trusting main subject."

    The award winner qualifies for the annual Academy Awards.

    Honorable Mention for Documentary Short:"Dolphin Lover," dir. by Kareem Tabsch

    "Storytelling is an art form, and this film is a prime example of using this medium in a beautiful way to tell a seriously [messed]-up, but very true and engaging story."


  • The Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by an esteemed panel of industry members: Sarah Cornell, Rory Haines and Elle Schneider.

    Narrative Short: "Stay Awake," dir. by Jamie Sisley

    "Stay Awake exhibits a remarkable empathy for characters who find themselves trapped in an unenviable moral dilemma. The cast’s stand-out performances convey a depth of emotion few short films are able to achieve."

    The award winner qualifies for the annual Academy Awards.

    Honorable Mention for Narrative Short: "09:55-11:05, Ingrid Ekman Bergsgatan 4B," dir. by Christine Berglund & Sophie Vukovic

    "A complex, captivating and thoughtful slice of humanity. Delicately shot, with beautiful performances from both women, the film sears itself into your emotional core and remains there for days."

    Animation Short: "The Pride of the Strathmoor," dir. by Einar Baldvin

    "The Pride of Strathmoor is akin to a short, unpleasant trip to the insane asylum. The Poe-esque rendering of madness is perfectly complemented by the inventively textured animation."

    The award winner qualifies for the Annual Academy Awards®.

    Honorable Mention for Animation Short: "Hipopotamy," dir. by Piotr Dumala

    "An outstanding display of technical craft, the authentic animation style of Hipopotamy accentuates the uncomfortable story."

  • The below Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by esteemed industry members Eve Cohen and Dan Brawley.

    Experimental Short: "Red Luck," dir. by Mike Olenick

    "If anything represents the experimental spirit of Slamdance, it’s this tin-foiled caper — an original and striking film full of layered and unexpected images. The film manages to offer a million different narrative paths — from dark and funny to weird and sparkly. A perfect example of a singular experimental work that is easy to watch again and again."

    Anarchy Short: "Deviance," dir. by Aron Kantor

    "Deviance is the kind of raunchy nonsense that Slamdance embraces. A perverse pleasure diving in and out of reality that left us half-boned and just slightly numb from laughing. If anarchy at Slamdance is an anti-genre, then Deviance is the battle cry of ‘[expletive] the system.’"

    Honorable Mention for Anarchy Short: "Sea Devil," dir. by Dean C. Marcial

    "A mythological tale without true beginning or end, this cinematic anarchy short pushes the edges of traditional storytelling, weaving three stories into one, and leaves you hanging. A bold work full of questions, puzzles and refreshing choices — another blazing Borscht experiment."


    Spirit of Slamdance Award: "Think Ink," dir. by Wally Chung

    The Spirit of Slamdance is awarded by the filmmakers of Slamdance 2015. It goes to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the festival, creatively promoting their film, joyfully participating in screenings and events, and generally putting good energy into the festival.

  • The Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking awards below were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Amber Benson, Todd Berger, Kent Osborne, and Damon Russell.

    Fearless Filmmaking Grand Prize: "Coming To," dir. by Lindsey Haun, DP Spencer Rollins, starring Jacob Demonte-Finn

    "A film that includes a little bit of everything in a very short time. Mystery, laughs, an impressive performance, and some mighty fine camerawork and cinematography. And like any great short film, it has you desperately wanting to know what happens next."

    The award winner was granted a 512gb Digital Bolex D16 Camera.

    Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: "The Character Study," dir. & DP Luke Pelizzari

    "Creating tension in any film is hard, but to do it so effectively and gracefully with a very simple premise is truly an achievement of storytelling."

    Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: "Isobal," dir. by Marie Jamora, DP Jason McLagan

    "Perfectly capturing the theme of filmmaking on your own terms, this short highlights the magic and wonder of childhood when anything is creatively possible."

    Kodak Director’s Prize: "Detritus," dir. by T.J. Misny

    Given on behalf of Kodak to a promising new filmmaker making bold, film-worthy directorial choices. The filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 credit for Kodak film stock to be used on the next project.

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