Rolling for Glory at the Shorts Awards

“They told me it would be a down home, laid back event,” juror Barry Jenkins said as he elicited teenage girl-like screams from announcing some of the Short Film awards. The Sundance Film Festival Awards for Best Short Film were just announced at the yearly shorts award party at the, ahem, very striking Jupiter Bowl.

U.S. Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking Brick Novack. Photo by Brandon Joseph Baker.

The winner for the U.S. Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking went to Brick Novax. Director Matt Piedmont’s short is actually the first two episodes of a 4-part series, using 1/6 scale dolls to kick 100% of your ass.

A diary of Novax’s international exploits from astronaut to musician, the film uses a subtle style to make you laugh on his crazy adventures and wealth of experience. Attention to detail went past the writing, even the 1/6 record player is handmade from wood and metal from a cookie tin.

Accepting the award, Piedmont was humble, saying he was truly honored they awarded his labor of love. He hoped he got more drink tickets with the statuette.

The winner for the International Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking went to Deeper Than Yesterday (Australia). The film is a tight, dramatic thriller, spending time under the surface and skin of a Russian sub crew.

As tension mounts, the crew finds a miracle waiting for them on the surface. Somehow director Ariel Kleiman made this film at college, complete with full Russian crew and a real submarine. The acting is great, the characters are deep (whoops – pun) the atmosphere is thick. I hope he got an “A” in class.

Kleiman accepted the award along with his producers. The short was difficult to make, but “they are all getting along now.” He also thanked his father Igor, who inspired much of the story of the film.

The jury handed out six Honorable Mentions to shorts: Choke (Canada, Michelle Latimer), Diarchy (Italy, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino), The External World (Germany/Ireland, David O’Reilly), The Legend of Beaver Dam (Canada, Jerome Sable), Out of Reach (Poland, Jakub Stozek), and Protoparticles (Spain, Chema Garcia Ibarra).

After the quick award presentation, the DJ started back up and people got back to mingling around the party, attendees talked about some of the overarching themes of the Festival in their minds, including a strong sense of religion in more films than ever before. Also people felt a younger generation of filmmakers popping up in a strong way. The combination between bowling and awards works perfect, with filmmakers coming together through the gentlemen’s sport. Taika Waititi invented a new move called the “eagle’s claw” but still lost.

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