111 films from 16 countries and 39 original scripts were showcased at the world-renowned, summertime event
The New Hope Film Festival came roaring back this summer after postponing its 2020 schedule due to the COVID pandemic. Multiple protocols were implemented for the safety of participants, including the option of watching films virtually. During the awards ceremony gala on August 1, Founder and President D. F. Whipple announced and presented the annual awards to a lively audience of filmmakers, making many light-hearted and entertaining remarks but also praising their perseverance through the pandemic crisis.
The prestigious Best Picture jury award went to Silo. Produced by formerly New York-based auteur Samuel Goldberg and directed by Marshall Burnette, the feature-length film is set on a rural American farm and seeks to raise awareness about farm safety. The movie landed distribution with Oscilloscope Films and is now available via video on demand. The Best Narrative Feature award went to Dreamover, a psychological fantasy directed by Roman Olkhovka of the Russian Federation. Best Short Film went to seasoned Hollywood pro P. Patrick Hogan for his sci-fi thriller Killing Time. And Best Documentary went to Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance by Khadifa Wong of the United States.
Other jury award winners included Subjects of Desire (Director Jennifer Holness, USA) in the Cultural Spirit category for its exploration of societal views towards black women, My Sister Hali (Paul Sheriff, USA), a biographical film about the tragic story of 1960’s-era gymnastics prodigy Hali Sheriff, Best Foreign Film Silence (Erik Borner, Germany), Female Eye Filmmaking Award The Dinner Guest (Dale Griffiths Stamos, USA), Best TV Pilot Yellow (Sarah Deakins, Canada), Indie Spirit Award winner Bangla Surf Girls (Elizabeth D. Costa, Canada), New Hope Award Tsunami of New Dreams (Isaac Kerlow, USA), Best Alternative Film Kings of Mulberry Street (Judy Naidoo, South Africa) and Best Comedy Stuck! (Omri Anghel, Lauren LeBeouf, USA). Los Angeles-based helmers Kirstie Munoz and Heather Brawley took the LGBTQ Spirit Award for their poetic and experimental short Loving Lenna, and Art Magee: Art is Not a Solace (David Berez, David Wright, USA) added to the artsy vibe with an in-depth portrait of the eponymous pop culture artist.
Narrated by Martin Sheen, The Heart of Camden – The Story of Father Michael Doyle (Douglas Clayton, USA) landed Best Short Documentary with a civic message to “do your part.” On the darker side of life, Best Horror Thriller went to The Keeper (Bob Celli, USA), Best Sci-Fi Film went to Night Sky (Greg Rulfs, USA), and horror comedy Aquamarine (Jack Dentinger, USA) took Best Experimental Short for a gender-bending take on 19th century England’s suspected serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. The event also celebrated musical culture, with Best Music Video going to Stormy (Michael Barnett, USA), and our planet’s animal co-inhabitants had a voice through Animal Welfare Winner Desert Flight (John Anzoni, Samia Staehle, USA).
Audience Choice awards, which are determined solely by ballot results, included the opioid crisis-inspired short film Hungry Ghosts (Mark Borkowski, USA), criminal justice reform documentary Life & Life (NC Heikin, USA), restorative practices-themed documentary Detroit Rising: How the Motor City Becomes a Restorative City (Cassidy Friedman, USA), and freedom-minded musical Last Night in Vegas (J. Nicholas Meese, USA). The latter also took the jury’s Best Student Film award.
In addition, jury awards were announced for the conjoined New Hope Film Festival Script Competition. The top Best Script award went to Secret Passage (Paul Teese, USA), a tongue-in-cheek thriller set in modern-day France. Also set in France, Best Teleplay winner Forbidden: Once Upon a War explores a secret love affair that took place during the Second World War. The Best Alternative Script award went to Triangle 146 (Diane Young Uniman, USA), Best Sci-Fi Thriller went to Healing Time (John Thibault, USA), Best Action Thriller went to Run for Your Life (Gregory JM Kasunich, USA), Best Period Script went to Red Sea (Rosalyn Rosen, USA) and Best Short Script went to About Nelson (Sahlima, USA).
The full list of winners and nominees, plus previews of films, are listed on the event’s official blog at http://newhopefilmfest.blogspot.com
More information about the New Hope Film Festival is available at www.newhopefilmfestival.com