The Tallahassee Film Festival held its 13th annual festival this weekend with almost 50 films from around the world and the US. It was a blast to be able to finally get back together again and watch movies with fresh voices and boundary-pushing creative perspectives. The audience and our directors had some tough choices to make this awards season, but we’re excited to share these winners after last night’s awards ceremony. A big thank you to our Florida Filmmaker Award co-sponsor, Flamingo Magazine. Be on the lookout for an article about this year’s winner in their upcoming issue.
We’re also excited to show encore screenings of all the award winning films exclusively via our TFF Virtual Cinema! The screenings are free, but donations are greatly appreciated! The award winning films will be available to stream starting Friday at 7 PM EST through Sunday at 9 PM. Spread the word, and give these films the recognition they deserve!
Florida Filmmaker Award presented by Flamingo Magazine
The Florida Filmmaker Award presented by Flamingo Magazine including a cash prize of $1,000 went to Jake Brown, an exceptionally talented and artistic filmmaker from Panama City, Florida, for his short film Chapter 9. Inspired and creative, the film eschews Chapter Nine from The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, features a hair-raising original score, and was captured entirely on Super 8 film at Northwest Florida state and local parks.
Directors’ Choice Award
The Conference of the Birds
The Directors’ Choice award including a cash prize of $500 went to the talented and boundary pushing filmmaker, Kevin Contento, for his debut feature The Conference of the Birds. The film weaves together a handful of Farid Ud-Din Attar’s twelfth-century tales with everyday life in rural Pahokee, Florida and presents a series of portraits that triumphantly exhibit the true nature of the strong Black man in a culture that continues to perpetuate an image of degradation.
Audience Choice – Best Short Film
Herzog & Morris
Neil Howard Butler
The audience choice for Best Short Film went to Herzog & Morris, a witty and sharp ode to cinephiles everywhere that dramatizes a pivotal moment in the real life relationship between Werner Herzog and Errol Morris during the summer of 1975.
Audience Choice – Best Documentary Short Film
Piccolo is Black.
Ryan Joiner & Landon Watford
The audience choice for Best Documentary Short went to Piccolo is Black., an exploratory short that celebrates the universal languages that connect people oceans away. After decades of Black Americans consuming insulting misrepresentations of their culture, they find a familiar home in Japanese culture and in anime characters like Piccolo.
Audience Choice – Best Action/Suspense Short Film
The audience choice for Best Action/Suspense went to Derelict, an ambitious first film from writer/director Mitchell Cole, a young filmmaker from Altha, Florida, in which he also plays the lead role about a man struggling with a meth addiction.
Audience Choice – Best Art/Experimental Short Film
The audience choice for Best Art/Experimental went to Death Valley, by Grace Sloan, a production designer by trade who is also an experimental filmmaker who blends mediums and explores nostalgia and kitsch. This enjoyable and endearing film takes place on New Year’s Eve, 2080, on an uninhabited Earth where a new age radiologist travels from outer space to practice yoga in front of a desert sunset when an earthquake hurls her from a cliff.
Audience Choice – Best Comedic Short Film
The audience choice award for Best Comedic Short went to Pap Trap, a first film by Texas-based filmmaker Rachel Napolitano and based off her true life experience. The story centers around a pill poppin’ party girl in search of her next fix, only to find herself in the middle of a well-woman exam gone wrong.
Audience Choice – Best Dramatic Short Film
The audience choice award for Best Dramatic Short went to Superstar, a film by Jordan Hidalgo that walks the line of a documentary piece, and is a heartening portrait of Martin, a homeless man attempting to keep his individuality despite being dehumanized by everyday society.
Audience Choice – Best Dramatic Thriller Short Film
The Not So Perfect Polly
The audience choice award for Best Dramatic Thriller went to The Not So Perfect Polly, a thriller with a darkly comedic tinge by Palm City, Florida-based director John Forier, and about a young man who accidentally makes a blood-pact with a small, demonic, plastic parakeet who seeks to isolate and possess him.
Audience Choice – Best Feature
The Conference of the Birds
In an exciting twist, Kevin Contento’s The Conference of the Birds also took home the Audience Choice award for Best Feature – and we couldn’t be more happy!
Red carpet and awards photo credits courtesy of Angel Avalos.