2009 Winners

Best of the Fest

Documentary

House of Numbers-| 2009
Run time: 1 hr. 28 min. | Director: Brent Leung
What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research establishment to the slums of South Africa, where death and disease are the order of the day. In this up-to-the-minute documentary, he observes that although AIDS has been front-page news for over 27 years, it is barely understood. Despite the great effort, time, and money spent, no cure is in sight.Born in 1980 (on the cusp of the epidemic), Leung reveals a research establishment in disarray, and health policy gone tragically off course. Gaining access to a remarkable array of the most prominent and influential figures in the field -- among them the co-discoverers of HIV, presidential advisors, Nobel laureates, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, as well as survivors and activists -- his restrained approach yields surprising revelations and stunning contradictions.The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players -- in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. If, as South African health advocate Pephsile Maseko remarks, this is the beginning of a war...a war to reclaim our health, then 'House of Numbers' could well be the opening salvo in the battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic clearly gone awry.
www.houseofnumbers.com

Narrative

Land Gewinnen-| 2008
Run time: 20 min. | Director: Marc Brummond
Andrej and his family have been living in Germany illegally for years. When his son reaches school age, he can´t hide any longer. Mischa´s future is at stake. When the boy runs off and into the near school, Andrej realizes that he needs to offer his son a future. There seems to be only one way out. Andrej is devastated and afraid to lose what matters most: his family.

Animation

Red Revenge-| 2009
Run time: 6 min. | Director: Eunha Choi
Based on quirky yet poignant vignettes from preadolescence, Red Revenge is a surreal animation that takes us on a journey through a woman's trials and tribulations coming into her self, as she sinks deeper into her psyche and comes to a startling self-revelation. This story represents the complex psychological emotions lifted from Freud’s Dream theory and helps us to define on our own coming of age stories. It is also a personal narrative derived from real experiences and visualizations derived from my diary and doodling.

The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead: Brothers in Arms-| 2009
Run time: 4 min. 23 sec. | Director: Elliot Cowan
In this 8th stressful adventure, Boxhead and Roundhead attempt to relax on a peaceful Sunday morning. The Universe however, has other plans. Edward Gorey meets Kubrick in this tale of mayhem, destruction and hot tea.

Experimental

Severing the Soul-| 2009
Run time: 18 min. | Director: Barbara Klutinis
Found footage interweaves an account of Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy procedure in 1941 with an overview of the psychosurgery movement of the 1930's-1960's in the US.

Honorable Mentions

Documentary Short

King of America-| 2009
Run time: 18 min. | Director: Francis Cairo
What does it say about American politics when a billionaire donor dresses up like King George III on Capitol Hill, and publishes a major Republican newspaper, and no one seems to care? A journalist goes inside the creepy world of Reverend Moon, the '70s cult leader turned conservative newspaperman...the L Ron Hubbard of the Far East.

Feature

It's In the Blood: Leo Abshire & the Cajun Tradition-| 2007
Run time: 58 min. | Director: Cyndi Moran
Leo Abshire may be the best musician most people have never heard of. He was a world-class musician and instrument maker who played for royalty, presidents, and at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. However, outside of Cajun music circles, he was relatively unknown, at least in the United States. He worked on the Louisiana and Texas oilrigs and factories until his retirement in 1995. But for decades, he was a living embodiment of the traditions of Cajun culture, and made it his life's work to pass those traditions on to a new generation of musicians. Leo Abshire played his music because he had to, because it was a part of who he was and where he came from. He was a hard working, humble man who didn't look or act the part of a great musician, but as Prof. Barry Ancelet points out, 'When he picked up a fiddle, he was transformed.' Cajun music fans know Leo Abshire from his early playing with Joe Bonsall, his later work with D.L. Menard and Eddie LeJeune, and from his world-famous Mardi Gras jam sessions. 'It's In the Blood' tells the story of Mr. Abshire’s music, and places it within a broader context of what it means to be part of the long and unique Cajun tradition. The documentary features music by Leo Abshire and the Olde Tymer's Cajun Band, and interviews with Cajun musical legends Doug Kershaw, D.L. Menard, and Steve Riley.

Split Ends-| 2009
Run time: 1 hr. 23 min. | Director: Dorothy Lyman
Manningtree, New Jersey is a little town on the brink of extinction. The 19th century storefronts of Old Town are being threatened by an international development cabal, North Sea Assets. North Sea is preparing to raze Old Town and replace it with a massive mall/luxury condo complex named – incongruously – Cortona. If Cortona is built, a dozen mom and pop businesses will be bought out and uprooted, and if anyone refuses to sell, North Sea Assets is prepared to use eminent domain law to pry the Old Towners off of their property.
When Lizzie receives official notice from the Town of Manningtree that the powers that be intend to plop the grotesque Cortona right in the middle of Old Town, Lizzie vows to fight the invasion. Invoking the spirit of her countryman, William Wallace, aka Braveheart, Lizzie enlists the aid of antique dealer Bernie Depper, her Paisley Set staff, Tiny’s Aunt Connie Provenzano, and the whole town, in her struggle to fend off the developers.

Narrative Short

Max & Helena-| 2009
Run time: 9 min. 30 sec. | Director: Prashant Nair
Max & Helena tells the tale of how Max fell in love with Helena, fell out of love with French food and discovered every corner of New York City in the process. Shot in 3 days on a D-SLR in New York City, Max & Helena is a final project for an NYU Continuing Education Class.

Animation

Bonefeather-| 2009
Run time: 5 min. | Director: Callum Paterson
In a forest of corduroy and felt, the splendid bird of paradise 'Bonefeather' and his beady-eyed neighbor sing, dance and battle for the chance to mate with a beautiful female.

Experimental (for poetic expression)

The Nightgardener-| 2008
Run time: 10 min. | Director: Jennifer Hardacker
The life of a garden after dark: Balinese dancers sway on the petals of clematis flowers, Russian singers perform in a calla lily. In The Nightgardener disparate images that capture an idea about the humanity of the world play on floral screens.