Home » Blog » 2022 TFF Award Winners Announced

The Tallahassee Film Festival held its 14th annual festival on Labor Day weekend, with over 50 films to choose from. We appreciate all the hard work and artistry the filmmakers put into their films. The audience and our directors had some tough choices to make this awards season, but we’re excited to share these winners after Sunday’s awards ceremony. A big thank you goes to our Florida Filmmaker Award co-sponsor, Flamingo Magazine. Be on the lookout for an article about this year’s recipient in their upcoming issue.

Florida Filmmaker Award presented by Flamingo Magazine


The Florida Filmmaker Award presented by Flamingo Magazine, including a cash prize of $1,000 went to Rose Caltrider, an exceptionally talented first-time filmmaker who graduated from the University of Tampa in May of 2022. Her harrowing and yet beautiful short film, Maid, is a story about a young girl named Ina growing up in an abusive home. Ina begins to believe that she is slowly turning into a mermaid; a belief that could be her only escape.

As if that wasn’t enough, Maid also won the Audience Choice Award for Best Dramatic Thriller! Congratulations Rose and the entire team behind Maid!

Rose Caltrider


Rose graduated from the University of Tampa in May of 2022. Rose has been enamored with photography since she was 13. Her background in photography influences her writing and directing. Throughout her time in college, Rose has worked as a production assistant on several feature films, and will be starting as a freelance filmmaker and camera operator full-time upon graduation. Rose’s goal is to be a director of photography on independent films.

Directors’ Choice Award


The Directors’ Choice Award, including a cash prize of $500, went to The Lake by the unique and talented filmmaker, Tyler Hubby. One of the most notorious lakes in Los Angeles has a strange and gruesome history. This meditation on misfortune features an original score by Australian death pop duo, VOWWS.

Tyler Hubby

The Lake

Tyler Hubby began making films and photographs as a young boy. While in high school he was mentored by a then unknown young director named David Fincher. He later went on to study film and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute where he had the privilege of studying with George Kuchar.

His subversive and irreverent short films & videos detailing fetishism, co-dependency and bodily mutations have screened internationally and are featured in the book Cinema Contra Cinema by British author Jack Sargeant.

He has edited over 30 documentary films. Most notable among them are The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a picaresque biography of mentally ill artist/musician Daniel Johnston; Drafthouse Films’ The Final Member which follows the curator of the Icelandic Phallological Museum as he attempts to complete his exotic penis collection; and Participant Media’s The Great Invisible, which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2014 (and also screened at 2014 TFF). He also edited and co-produced Lost Angels about the denizens of Los Angeles’ Skid Row and the punk rock documentaries Bad Brains: A Band in DC and Los Punks.

Audience Choice Awards

2022 Best Feature audience award winners, producer, Ryan Martin Brown and writer/director, Justin Zuckerman of Yelling Fire in an Empty Theater

Best Feature

Yelling Fire in an Empty Theater

Justin Zuckerman

Yelling Fire in an Empty Theater follows Lisa, a recent college graduate, as she struggles to “make it” in New York. Filled with conviction that the best plan is no plan at all, she decides to move to the city and figure out the why after. Shot entirely in MiniDV format, and like a lovesong to the Y2K era, the film is steeped in nostalgia and cinematic nuance.

About the Filmmaker

Justin Zuckerman is a filmmaker hailing from both Long Island, NY and South Florida. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Justin started making short films at a young age on MiniDV cameras. While attending the Film School at Florida State University, Justin focused on writing and directing offbeat and absurd comedies dealing with topics involving love and existentialism.

After college, Justin moved to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant to Cannes-winning director Carl Erik Rinsch. While working for Carl, Justin traveled to countries such as Canada, Romania, and Kenya to work on Carl’s independent projects. Carl’s ethos was “no one’s going to give you a movie. If you want to make a movie, go make a movie,” which made a deep impression on Justin.

Although Justin enjoyed shooting his university films on professional digital cameras, he continued to retain a fascination for alternative forms of media and would go on to make shorts with MiniDV, double 8mm reversal film, and Super 8. In Yelling Fire in an Empty Theater, Justin stayed true to his independent roots and shot the feature film on a shoestring budget over several days with two MiniDV camcorders.

Best Short Film

Dugout Dick

Harrod Blank & Joanne Shen

A heartwarming portrait of an Idaho hermit, Richard “Dugout Dick” Zimmerman, who lived in caves that he dug on the banks of the Salmon River. It was the hope of finding precious metals that kept him digging and mining, but ultimately it was his simple life of living off the land that sustained him.

Filmmaker Harrod Blank decided to edit the film, given the COVID pandemic, as he felt Dugout Dick’s hermit lifestyle and living off the land was especially timely.

About the Filmmakers

Harrod Blank is known mostly for his work in making and documenting art cars, including “Oh My God!” and the “Camera Van” and films Wild Wheels and Automorphosis. Since 2005, he has been building an art car museum and environment, Art Car World, on the border of Mexico in Douglas, Arizona. His film work continues with exploring transgender art car artists, the demise of contemporary folk art environments, and a 25 year epic project on the Burning Man festival, on which his father Les Blank was a cinematographer. After his father’s death in 2013, Harrod has been running the non-profit Les Blank Films to continue his legacy.

Best Documentary Feature

Naked Gardens

Ivete Raquel Lucas & Patrick Xavier Bresnan

An immersive narrative documentary, Naked Gardens unveils the complex and hidden world of a family nudist resort in the Florida Everglades as its aging owner Morley prepares his fringe community for the largest gathering of nudists in the US, the Mid Winter Festival.

About the Filmmakers

Ivete Lucas was born in Brazil, grew up in Mexico, and works as a filmmaker in the United States and Mexico. She started her film career with a grant from the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) to direct her first short film Asma, which was shortlisted for an Ariel (the Mexican Academy Award), before moving to the United States to obtain an MFA in Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin. Her short films have premiered and won awards at Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, and London International Film Festival, as well as a Cinema Eye Honor. Patrick is a visual artist and filmmaker. He co-directed THE Send-Off which premiered at Sundance in 2016 and received awards at SXSW, SFIFF and AFI FEST. He directed The Rabbit Hunt which premiered in the US at Sundance in 2017 and in Europe at the Berlinale. The film has won 20 awards including the Cinema Eye Honor. He co-directed and shot Skip Day which won the grand jury prize at The Directors Fortnight at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. He was a cinematographer on Boys State which won the grand jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Together, they made the documentary Pahokee which premiered in the Documentary Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and received theatrical distribution in the US and France.

2022 Best Documentary Short audience award winners, director, April Cluess and producer, Will Crowley, of Fire in the Meadows

Best Documentary Short Film

Fire in the Meadows

April Cluess

Fire in the Meadows is a short documentary examining the impact to residents of a Tallahassee mobile home park when an investor buys the park, raises the rent and tries to evict low-income tenants.

About the Filmmaker

April Cluess is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus in drawing, video, and sculpture, and is the Executive Director of 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, FL. Her most valued work experience includes janitorial services in Manhattan and home health aide services for disabled seniors & dementia patients. Locally, Cluess has worked with non-profit Cat Family Records to curate and coordinate pop-up art events, direct/edit/film documentary projects featuring local artists & social issues, and lead design concepts for larger zine projects. Her personal work has been shown in southern art exhibitions and film festivals such as Tallahassee Film Festival, Art Fields SC, and Signal Flo. Cluess’s documentary project ‘No Islands’, co-produced and directed with Will Crowley, creates new connections to artists in Tallahassee and throughout the Big Bend.

Best Dramatic Short Film

En Suite

Geoffrey Cantor

En Suite offers an emotional glimpse into the personal lives of a seemingly happily married couple following a radical bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Shot using a single, stationary camera, the months following the procedures that ensue, are seamlessly revealed exposing the loving and often difficult challenges this devastating diagnosis elicits.

About the Filmmaker

En Suite marks director Geoffrey Cantor’s narrative directorial debut. In London, Geoffrey was on the creative team of England’s first late night TV show, The Night Network (LWT), and founded the play-reading series Readings at One in the West End. As an actor, he is best known as Ellison in Marvel’s Daredevil and The Punisher. He has over 100 TV and film credits. Geoffrey graduated from Amherst, and trained at the National Theater Institute (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center) and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Best Art/Experimental Short Film

Always for the First Time

John Caliendo & Victoria Meade

The film is loosely based on the first meeting of surrealist writer Andre Breton and surrealist artist Elisa Latte Elena Bindhoff Enet.

About the Filmmakers

Victoria Meade & John Caliendo are actors born and raised in NJ. Victoria is from Denville and John is from Point Pleasant. Both work in film, TV and theatre mostly in NYC, but also nationally and internationally. They created Inner Tree Media in 2020 to further flex their creative impulses behind the camera as well as in front of it. Victoria & John currently live in Point Pleasant.

Best Comedy-Drama Short Film

Wild Card

Tipper Newton

Two strangers are brought together by a video dating service.

About the Filmmaker

Tipper Newton is an actor, filmmaker, and musician living in Los Angeles. She’s had recurring roles on Hulu’s The Mindy Project and the TBS show The Guest Book. Her last short film, The Dangerous Type, which she wrote and directed, played film festivals worldwide and took home the 2021 “Best Shorts With Legs” prize at Fantastic Fest. When she’s not working on that stuff she’s the frontwoman for her power-pop band Color TV.

Best Comedic Short Film

A Cartoon of a Cat Sleeping

Randall Christopher

A 7-minute comedy which unfolds entirely in one shot with no edits, cuts, or camera movements. As the story gets more and more chaotic, one big question looms: Will the cat ever wake up?

About the Filmmaker

Randall Christopher is an award-winning filmmaker whose animated short, The Driver is Red, screened at Sundance Film Festival and over 100 other film festivals (including TFF 2018), winning 41 festival awards and Oscar qualifying in two categories. Christopher has art degrees from Florida State University (BFA) and University of California, San Diego (MFA). Since 2005, he has been a college professor of art in his hometown of San Diego.

Thank you to all the filmmakers and audience that spent time with us watching movies last weekend. We hope you had as much fun as we did! See you next year!

The Florida Filmmaker Award (aka “The Flamingo”) co-sponsored by Flamingo Magazine

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