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The 2015 Slamdance Award Winners

Self-explanatory: here are this year’s Slamdance award winners, with descriptions provided by the festival and the respective juries for each category. Slamdance certainly wins some kind of prize for pragmatism in its awards; surely many films and filmmakers would love to receive $3,500 worth of legal services.


Audience Award for 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.

Audience Award for 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 Richard Lorber, Todd Looby and Emilie Upczak.

Jury Award for 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.

Jury 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.”

Jury 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 Paige Williams, Josh Leake and Bryan Storkel.

Jury Award for 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.

Jury 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.”

Jury Award for 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®.

Jury 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 fucked-up, but very true and engaging story.”


The below Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by Sarah Cornell, Rory Haines and Elle Schneider.

Jury Award for 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®.

Jury 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.”

Jury Award for Animation Short: The Pride of 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®.

Jury 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 Eve Cohen and Dan Brawley.

Jury Award for 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.”

Jury Award for 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 ‘fuck the system.”

Jury Honorable Mention for Anarchy Short: Sea Devil, dir. by Dean C. Marcial & Brett Potter
“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 were selected by Amber Benson, Todd Berger, Kent Osborne, and Damon Russell.

Digital Bolex 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.

Digital Bolex 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.”

Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: Isobel, 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 their next project.

All Jury, Audience and Spirit of Slamdance winners were granted Final Draft 9 provided by Final Draft.

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