JUNGLE BOOK BEAR – Oliver Goetzl
Oliver Goetzl (Germany), JUNGLE BOOK BEAR, Doc Feature – Narrated by Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody winner Sir David Attenborough this exceptional film by Oliver Goetzl proves that excellence in wildlife filmmaking is timeless. This ground-breaking and captivating doc is an intimate portrait of Sloth Bears with never-before-seen behaviors. Goetzl’s iconic style blends entertaining (and often humorous) narrative with creative, superb filming and marvelous sound design. Wildlife filmmaking is a special breed of documentary requiring pioneering solutions, innovative concepts, enormous amounts of time and (often!) personal danger and bravery. Gold standard wildlife filmmakers Goetzl and Ivo Nörenberg spent 200 days over three years (!) filming in the field in remote India to capture behavior that had been previously unknown to science! Goetzl’s scripting provides a heart-warming personal portrayal of the bears, with pitch-perfect editing and sound design accompanied by an enlivening score. A superbly crafted and entertaining doc showcasing the best of wildlife filmmaking form. Aired BBC Nature.
Wild Genius – Susan Kucera
Susan Kucera (USA), Wild Genius, Documentary Feature – Award-winning Kucera delivers a captivating, beautifully crafted and tight documentary with a mind-expanding message. Wild Genius portrays the exceptional life, career and mental health challenges of living legend Robert Trivers, the evolutionary biologist TIME magazine named as “one of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century”. Known as “an under-appreciated genius, and one of history’s greatest thinkers in the analysis of behavior and emotion” Trivers explained our human behavior in light of evolutionary biology. An advocate for civil rights, his straightforward logic makes an empowering case: understanding our evolutionary past isn’t a life sentence but a liberating force. An exceptional doc in every way – Wild Genius is an entertaining and intellectual odyssey that challenges us to confront our evolutionary roots and societal taboos, daring us to think differently about ourselves and our place in the natural world. This isn’t just the story of a groundbreaking scientist; it’s an invitation to transform our understanding of life itself and, by extension, to make a better world. Rangeland Productions.
Drawback – Caroline Bevaart and Harald Swinkels
Caroline Bevaart and Harald Swinkels (Netherlands), Drawback, Film Short – A poignant short that combines both fantasy and harsh reality exploring the themes of inauthenticity, what truly constitutes meaningful lives and genuine love. Simon is a lonely comic strip artist who secretly sketches the beautiful Rachel whenever he sees her in a café. One day, Simon is offered a pencil by a mysterious distinguished gentleman in the back of the cafe. Simon discovers that by drawing with this pencil he has the power to change the course of his life. He uses it to win Rachel over, but is genuine love possible in this way? The film is emphasized by beautiful cinematography and dramatic lighting. Convincing performances by Alwin Pulinckx (Tropenjaren, Witse, S1ngle), Sallie Harmsen (Heirs of the Night, Blade Runner 2049, Lucia de B.) and European Film Award winner Claes Kasper Bang (The Northman, Dracula, The Square). DOP Paul Lensink. Production Design Harald Swinkels.
Robbie Bryan (USA), Purgy’s, Film Short – In a magical bar, spirits from the other side take human form and engage those in their past who need closure. Powerful performances, dramatic lighting and production deliver a film that leaves you wanting more. Richard Riehle (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Arnold Chun (The Man in The High Castle), Brooke Lewis Bellas, (iMurders), Luciana Elisa Quinones (Por Mi Hija).
Take 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.
Mark Street (Australia), Dig Deeper, Native Peoples – A sensitive portrayal of four divergent Aboriginal artists and how they use their personal stories and historical injustice as a driving force to break through and create internationally recognized urban art. Deft direction delivers a touching and intricate portrait of their lives, their successes and their struggles. Stars: Maree Clarke, Blak Douglas, Penny Evans, Ben McKeown.
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.
Truman Kewley (USA), Beautiful Friend, Film Short – A chilling descent into the mind of a sociopathic incel, this psycho-thriller follows a mentally fragile man kidnapping and holding captive a beautiful woman – hoping she will love him – while filming everything for a movie. Gritty, gut-wrenching scripting and filming – with achingly authentic performances by talented actors Adam Jones and Alexandrea Meyer.
Mayo Clinic (USA), Rising to the Challenge: The Mayo Aero Medical Unit in World War II, Health / Medical / Science – An exceptionally well researched and tightly crafted doc – shows the immense contribution Mayo made to the health and safety of pilots through dramatic and ground-breaking inventions keeping them safe and conscious when they were at altitude or experiencing G-force. Outstanding in every way.
Dawn 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).
Jonathan Primo Ruiz (USA), The Fool, Film Short – Talented music video director Ruiz brings to life a forbidden love affair between a rising black star and a white movie starlet is ruthlessly sabotaged by those who sought to maintain the oppressive status quo in 1950s America. Beautiful lighting and cinematography (Camilo Monsalve). Stars Mark Antony Howard, Jordan Meeler, Kenny Johnston.
Stig Weymss (Australia), Insufferable, Film Short – A dark comedy about coping with the loss of a 60-year marriage, trying to preserve the past and eccentric family dynamics. Talented veteran actors create a grieving widower, a mummy, a mummy-napper and a seasoned stoner. Jim Daly (Neighbours, Round the Twist), Matt Bolin (The Adventures of Wolfdogg), Don Bridges (Troll Bridge, Neighbours), Margot Knight.
Henry Hagens (Canada), Titanic: A Stop Motion Film, Young Filmmaker 17 & under – This LEGO stop motion movie depicts the sinking of the R.M.S Titanic. Hagens uses both large scale and mini LEGO sets to create scenes that would be found in live action shots. A true feat to recreate this tragic story – with creative visuals, exceptional detail and real emotion. A young filmmaker with a bright future.
Anthony Sarracco (Canada), LAND OF THORNS, Documentary Feature
Caroline Bevaart and Harald Swinkels (Netherlands), DRAWBACK, Direction, Creativity / Originality
Education Resource Fund (USA), The Science of Life Before Birth, Educational / Instructional / Training, Documentary Program / Series
Evgeniy Matvienko (Ukraine), Cherubim, Novel One, Documentary Short
F Michael Cable (USA), PERPETUAL, Film Short
Fiona Lu (China), TA, Asian (Student)
Grace Samson and Barry Samson (USA), Cats and Husbands, Film Short
Grażyna Maria Gudejko (Poland), Ritual, Film Short (Student), Women Filmmakers (Student), Cinematography (Student)
Henry Hagens (Canada), Titanic: A Stop Motion Film, Special Effects: Animation (Student), Animation (Student), Sound: Overall Impact (Student), Viewer Impact: Entertainment Value (Student), Young Filmmaker 17 & under
Kevin Michael Irvine (USA), DRAG QUEENS OF EMERALIS, Script / Writer
Jaime Urquiza (Mexico), Traces, Film Short, Direction, Actor: Leading (Ramón Medina as Juan)
Julia Verdin (USA), Maya, Liberation / Social Justice / Protest
Khiray Tyrell Richards (USA), Stork, Liberation / Social Justice / Protest
Marc Parisel (Thailand), The Mandate (Where will you stand?), Actor: Leading (Ross Cain as The Dictator), Liberation / Social Justice / Protest, History / Biographical
Matteo Banfo (USA), From Zero to a Hundred, Documentary Feature
Mayo Clinic (USA), Rising to the Challenge: The Mayo Aero Medical Unit in World War II, Research, Viewer Impact: Content / Message Delivery
Oliver Goetzl (Germany), JUNGLE BOOK BEAR, Narration / Voiceover Talent (David Attenborough), Direction (Oliver Goetzl), Cinematography (Ivo Nörenberg and Oliver Goetzl), Original Score (Composed by Jörg Magnus Pfeil and Siggi Mueller), Editing (Oliver Goetzl), Sound: Overall Impact
Patrick Baucelin (Martinique), THE COLOR OF SLAVERY, Documentary Feature
Robbie Bryan (USA), Purgy’s, Asian, Actor: Leading (Richard Riehle as Old Man), Television – Pilot Program, Art Direction (Caterina Piccardo), Script / Writer
Steven Cowan and Barry Hal Schienberg (USA), Single-Use Planet, Documentary Feature
Susan Kucera (USA), Wild Genius, Educational / Instructional / Training, Women Filmmakers
Take Flight Learning (USA), BirdBrains, Inc., Film Short, Narration / Voiceover Talent
Timothy Wenzel (USA), The Gale II, Original Score
Xin Ai (China), Mist, Direction
Susan Kucera (USA), Wild Genius, Doc Feature
Caroline Bevaart (Netherlands), Drawback, Film Short
Dawn Lambing (Canada), Roed, Film Short
Julia Verdin (USA), Maya, Film Feature
Grace Samson (USA) – Cats and Husbands, Film Short
Grażyna Maria Gudejko (Poland), Ritual, Film Short
Khama Ennis (USA), Faces of Medicine, Doc Short
Fiona LU (China), TA, Film Feature (Student)
Esther Takac (Australia), The Narrow Bridge, Doc Feature
Shannon Ford Thompson (USA), Tell Him, Film Short