Best of the Fest 2016

Jesse LocksNews

Congratulations to the 2016 Best of the Fest Winners!

Many thanks to this year’s judges – Anne Moore (Producer, Michael Moore Films), Jason Graham (NCFF Founding Festival Director), Jason Sussberg (Filmmaker, The Bill Nye Film), Rick Beatty (Writer/Director), and Nanci Mason (Local Honoree Judge) – for reviewing this year’s in competition selections.  It was a tough decision with this year’s fantastic crop of short films, but someone had to do it, and we think they did a great job!

Best Animation
The Orchestra
Director: Mikey Hill
Imagine a world where a band of tiny musicians follow you and play a soundtrack for your life – communicating your emotions, fears and hopes. In this world lives elderly Vernon; a lonely man whose crippling shyness causes his orchestral musicians to perform terribly out of tune. When Vernon and his little band fall for their new next door neighbour and her classical ensemble, they find themselves presented with perhaps their last chance at happiness – a chance to strike a chord and play in harmony. But first they must confront their stage fright. (Australia, 15 min)

Announcing The Orchestra from mikey hill on Vimeo.

Best International
Fish and I
Director: Babak Habibifar
A blind man tries to save the life of his goldfish. (Iran, 6min)

Best Narrative
Thunder Road
Director: Jim Cummings
Officer Arnaud loved his mom. At her funeral he celebrated that feeling….in a memorable way.
(USA, 13 min)

Thunder Road from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Best Documentary & Best of the Fest
La Laguna
Director: Aaron Schock
Deep in the rainforests of southern Mexico, a pair of Mayan boys run free among the relics of their ancient civilization. In their village school, however, 12-year-old Yu’uk and 8-year-old José find themselves lost in a world they can’t fully comprehend, governed by a language they can’t fully grasp. In this breathtaking coming-of-age film, Emmy-nominated director Aaron Schock crafts an immersive, visually stunning portrait of a childhood on the margins of Mexican society. As Yu’uk prepares to leave the local school, the future of his family and his Indigenous community hangs in the balance. La Laguna is an unforgettable story about a boy on the cusp of adulthood and a society on the cusp of change. (Mexico & USA, 40 min)

Audience Award
Crossing Bhutan
Director: Ben Henretig
Crossing Bhutan tells the story of four veteran athletes’ journey to explore Bhutan’s enigmatic policy of Gross National Happiness by making the first 485-mile, border-to-border crossing of this isolated kingdom entirely by foot and bike. (USA & Bhutan, 60 min)

CROSSING BHUTAN Trailer from Crossing Bhutan on Vimeo.

Heart of Gold Award
(Film Festival Director’s Award for Exceptionally Storytelling in a Local(ish) Film
The Ataxian
Directors: Zack Bennett, Kevin Schlanser
Unable to walk due to the neuromuscular disorder, Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), Kyle Bryant and a team of friends attempt the most grueling bicycle race in the world, The Race Across America (RAAM). The feature-length documentary, “The Ataxian,” spotlights a man whose will and determination carry him and his teammates across a continent under almost impossible conditions—an act that sparks others to take action in their own lives. Stunning cinematography exposes raw, unfiltered emotions juxtaposed against the most inspiring landscapes across America. With purity and grace, the film examines the life of a man aggressively living every moment in a race against his own mortality. (USA, 1hr 21min)

The Ataxian Trailer from Redwood Creek Entertainment on Vimeo.