Winners December 2023

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival Academy Award winner

Seasons winner best of show

Octavio Pisano – EL CAMPO

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talent

Octavio Pisano (USA), EL CAMPO, Film Short – At a Narco Camp in the middle of the stark Mexican desert, we witness the evolution of a young boy, trained and turned into a cold-blooded hired assassin called a Sicario. Heart-breakingly inspired by true events, this coming-of-age nightmare shows that even in the darkest of evils, there was once innocence. Skillfully crafted with lighting by the hard, harsh, intense sun of the desert it perfectly lights the horror that unfolds as an innocent young man with sweetness in his heart is forced to change into a murderous beast in a fusion of brutality and poetry. It is a harrowing journey to the limits of human wickedness, a slow awakening to a frightful reality of survival. Law & Order alum Pisano’s deft direction leads the viewer on a gritty, raw descent into savage violence and breathless horror as innocence is transformed into evil and ruthlessness. Exceptional actors anchor this potent film. A powerful performance by the young Kinan Cruz (Hubbard Street), Narco boss portrayed by Jose Conejo Martin (The Tax Collector), kindly ally Victor Adame (Plan V) and an appearance by Carolina Riesgo (Curb Your Enthusiasm).

bestshorts film festival competition

Rick Page – Minutes to Go

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talent
Rick Page (USA), Minutes to Go, Film Short, African American – Moving and vivid performances bring to life the story of the end of a couple’s life-long journey, as the love they’ve shared for nearly 70 years propels them into what comes next. Award-winner Page delivers a beautiful exploration of life’s meaning, self-worth, connection and the transformative power of love. Achingly authentic performances by industry veterans Tony-nominee Starletta DuPois (Friday After Next, Big Momma’s House, Waiting To Exhale) and Aaron Jennings (Grand Crew, A League of Their Own, Pure Genius) deliver a compelling film of love, loss and eternal beauty.

Jorge “Jokes” Yanes – Silent Partners

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talent
Jorge “Jokes” Yanes (USA),
Silent Partners, TV Pilot Program – A Mob based drama set in Miami during the 1980’s. A mild mannered insurance salesman by day, Valentine doubles as Chicago mob soldier hell bent on creating his own good fortune and exit from the family.  Led by an all-star cast, director Emmy-winer Yanes skillfully weaves a combination of eccentric and intense in a character driven plot with both familiar and surprising twists and turns.  A future feature film is in the making.  Stars:  Ciro Dapagio (Mobking, Brassknuckles), two-time Oscar-winner Nick Vallelonga (The Green Book), James Russo (Donnie Brasco, Django Unchained), Garry Pastore (HBO’s Duece), Joseph Donofrio (Bronx Tale), Saul Stein (HBO’s Duece), Michael Villar (Oscar-winning Skin), Anotoni Corone (Into the Night).

Moshe Mahler – The Art of Weightlessness

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talent

Moshe Mahler (USA), The Art of Weightlessness, Animation – The Art of Weightlessness is an animated short film documentary that chronicles the evolution of Artist and Performer, Bill Shannon. Born with a degenerative hip condition, Bill developed new ways to express himself through dance and skateboarding on crutches. Cleverly crafted with skillful animation, upbeat editing, soundtrack and sound design Mahler’s creative credentials (former Principal Artist of The Creative Technology Team at Disney Research of The Walt Disney Company) are in full expression in this creative and captivating piece.

best shorts award

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentBo-wei Ling (Taiwan), Shadow on the Terrace, Film Short – Qi and girlfriend Qian move into an old house with a terrace and many secrets. Qian is gone and Qi doesn’t know what’s real. A mysterious realtor, a disturbing painting and a mystical terrace. Deft direction and convincing performances. Rhydian Vaughan (Netflix Light the Night), Ko-Yuan Wang (Dear Tenant) and Golden Bell winner Xing Li (Gold Leaf).

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentRichie Harrington (USA), A Family Business, Film Short – When Brendan turns 18 he reaches out to his biological father for the first time with hopes of joining the family business: The Mob. Harrington’s strong direction encourages impactful performances by the young Sean Ormond (Play the Flute, The Country Club), seasoned Mike Hatton (Green Book), with a cameo by Jo Dellapina (Illusory, Do Us Part).

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentTake Flight Learning (USA), BirdBrains Inc., Special Purpose Productions – A brilliant re-imagination of the DISC profile system where styles come to life through colorful birds. Renown trainer Merrick Rosenberg leads a cast of professionally created puppets through insights and clever musical numbers. Emily Marsh (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Emmy-nominees Marc Petrosino, Kathleen Kim, Jennifer Barnhart, James J. Kroupa.

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentDawn Lambing (Canada), Roed, Film Short – An unusual road trip takes a turn for the worse as two fearless women risk it all for what’s right. A sensationally creative concept, entertaining and poignant – presenting a frighteningly real future possibility. Exceptional, convincing performances by a talented cast. Tara Bissett (Quantico), Shoshana Wilder (Transplant), Shawn Baichoo (The Punisher), Gerardo Lo Dico (Confessions).

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentChristopher Schultz (USA), Enemy No More, Film Short – WWII, a wounded American soldier in WWII escapes a prison camp to be recaptured by a Japanese soldier who has abandoned the war. Becoming friends, they realize they can help each other get back home. Moving performances by Jonathan Tanigaki (NCIS: Hawai’i), Jake B. Miller (Daisy Jones & The Six) and Anzu Lawson (Chicago Med).

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talent Damon Brown and Allen Robertson (USA), Dance Hall, Film Short – Emmy-winners Brown and Robertson deliver a warm-hearted musical that is both entertaining and thought provoking – creatively addressing the solitude of modern technology, life, dealing with loss, and dancing with those we care about. Stars talented Stella Frye-Ginsberg, Anderson Zoll and a gifted young cast of musical theater performers

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentKyle Hatley and Jaclyn Larson (USA), Marbles, Film Short – When a grieving man with strange abilities, shares with his bereavement group and his curse becomes a gift. Poignant, touching, excellent cast. Grant Fletcher Prewitt (Police State), Emily Peterson (Batman vs Superman), Brian Nelson, Dan Hillaker, Molliann McCulley, Angela Cristantello, Aja Wiltshire, Caroline Vuchetich, Myles Ealy, Nikita Chaudhry.

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentHelena Herb (Germany), Bloody Secrets, Film Short – Hannah hosts her pregnant sister’s wedding unfolding a series of laughable events including spilling a bloody mary on the wedding gown, burning the bouquet and sleeping with the groom. What could go wrong!? A talented comedic cast. Nathalie Schott (Tartot), Alke Franz, Christian Hoening, Miguel Francisco, Florian Stadler.

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentCanghai Lu (China), Empty Heights, Moonlit Night, (空山月明)  Film Short – A compelling tale of a lonely old father who in desperation sues his adult children just to see him. When they show,  he leads them on a journey for a “final closure” to  Qiongding Mountain – a place of potent memories for the family. A Golden Rooster nominee with authentic performances. Bin Li, Long Jin, Le Sun, Zhong Yu.

Best Shorts Competition Film Festival from Oscar winners to fresh new talentReilly Michael Saso (Canada), STIGMA, LGBTQ+ – Accomplished director Saso tells a compelling story through exceptional choreography, a stripped-down creative set and talented dancers. A devastating diagnosis, stigmatized and shrouded in despair, a man grapples with the dark specter of mortality and societal rejection – thirty years later he reflects on turning that darkness into self-acceptance and love.

Award of excellence words

Alex Bozzy (USA), Dream Lover, Film Short
Beth Toni Kruvant (USA), Finding Fate, Documentary Short
Canghai Lu (China), Empty Heights, Moonlit Night, Asian
Cédric Peyster – Le Roux (France), WOLFPACK, Direction
Chris Monson, Tom Rasky and Allen S. Weiss (Canada), Teddy, Animation
Christopher Schultz (USA), Enemy No More, Direction
Cody Critcheloe (USA), Nothin 4 Something, Music Video
Dawn Lambing and Tara Bissett (Canada), Roed, Women Filmmakers
Devin Gillis (Canada), Nothing Mattress, Film Short

Best Shorts Film Festival

Elana Frankel (USA), Cannabis + Creativity, Documentary Short, Reality Programming, Direction
F Michael Cable (USA), PERPETUAL, Film Short, Television – Pilot Program, Television – Program Series
Fiona Lu (China), TA, Women Filmmakers (Student)
Grace Samson and Barry Samson (USA), Cats and Husbands, Film Short
Helena Herb (Germany), Bloody Secrets, Women Filmmakers (Student)
Jaime Urquiza (Mexico), Traces, Film Short, Direction, Latin / Hispanic
Jake Hunsicker (USA), Meatloaf and Pie at the Sunset Cafe, Ensemble Cast, Direction
Jorge “Jokes” Yanes (USA), Silent Partners, Actor: Leading (Ciro Dapagio as Valentine)
Kassi Crews and The Beacon House Association of San Pedro (USA), Heart of Recovery, Documentary Short, Women Filmmakers, Nonprofit / Fundraising
Ken Moretti and Steve Doland James (USA), The Gambit, Movie Trailer

Best Shorts Film Festival

Kim Alex Hall and Justice Singleton (USA), SIR, LGBTQ+
Kyle Hatley and Jaclyn Larson (USA), Marbles, Editing
Luis Tovar (USA), Transient, Actor: Leading (Devin Reeve as Tye Murphy)
Marc Gaudet (Canada), ISA, Film Short
Mohammad Abedi (Iran), Emund, Script / Writer
Nicolas Panay (France), Alarms, Film Short
Octavio Pisano (USA), EL CAMPO, Direction, Latin / Hispanic
Peter Fielding (Italy), Bach, the Animated Series, Animation
Reilly Michael Saso (Canada), STIGMA, Liberation / Social Justice / Protest, Original Score (Composed by Rick Temporao)
Richie Harrington (USA), A Family Business, Actor: Leading (Sean Ormond as Brendan), Direction, Script / Writer (Richard Harrington)

Best Shorts Film Festival

Rick Page (USA), Minutes to Go, Actress: Leading (Starletta DuPois as Ginny), African American, Actor: Leading (Aaron Jennings as Harold), Direction
Rob Margolies (USA), Lola Does Manhattan, Actress: Leading (Eve Austin as Lola/Heidi)
Ryan Sahlin and Dru Sutton (USA), Champion Chronicles: Defying The Odds, Disability Issues, Documentary Short
Ryan W Vachon (USA), How to Grow an Island, Documentary Short
Sam Morris (USA), One Run, Film Short
Steve Boyle (USA), Bill Lloyd “This Ain’t My Parade”, Music Video
Take Flight Learning (USA), BirdBrains, Inc., Film Short, Narration / Voiceover Talent, Educational / Instructional / Training
Tan Weihua (China), SCISSORS, Asian, Actor: Leading (Xiao Yiping as Feng)

Best Shorts Film Festival


Award of Merit Film Festival


Award of Recognition Film Festival