2023 3 MINS GERMANY ENGLISH
A mysterious seaman cooks plastic-polluted fish meals in a gloomy ship’s kitchen in the middle of a storm on the ocean. “For this short film, I built a ship’s kitchen on a tilting platform to create the illusion of a real ship and want to raise awareness about plastic pollution in our oceans.”
BEST ACTOR - ROBERT SEELIGER
2022 30 MINS GERMANY ENGLISH
TRAILER: Driven by the urge to prove the existence of an extinct creature, a father and his son head off into the wilderness. But soon the search becomes much more personal, when the son suddenly vanishes without a trace.
BEST SHORT FILM
2022 22 MINS RUSSIAN FEDERATION ENGLISH, RUSSIAN
Medieval Russ, year 1612. The country is going through a severe crisis – many years of hunger, devastation, Moscow is captured by Polish troops. Main character Ivan is a combat servant, tries to accept the death of his beloved sister, but he is pulled into a newly formed militia that must liberate Moscow.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
2022 4 MINS TÜRKİYE ENGLISH, TURKISH
FILM: “Imdat” – it’s a music video for Turkish singers Ezgi and Gunes. This is how they commented this project: “Violence against women does not exist in the family, it unfortunately extends to the streets, schools, workplaces, everywhere the society enters. When we come to 2022, we can see that this has not decreased a bit. Unfortunately, in the society we live in, we women experience them directly without empathizing. Just as a face we don’t know can be our honor guard by finding that limit, we can’t feel safe anywhere in public transportation on the street. Living as a woman has a weight, and this is not a weight that comes with our innate gender. It is a burden given to us by the society we open our eyes to carry for the rest of our lives.” The problem of inequality and rigidity towards women has no nationality and no time. The director added UN statistics to the video: every third woman is subjected to psychological and sexual violence against men. 50,000 women a year die from domestic violence. And 19% of murders go unpunished. This project was conceived as a reflection, what if women did the same to men? What if the world belonged to women? Could men then feel the same violence that women experience every day, for many years?
BEST SHORT FILM
2022 18 MINS GERMAN
A beautiful kingdom. An eerie howling in the woods. The hunter Frederick is sent to catch the mysterious Squonk once and for all… Detailed Synopsis Little Caspar is afraid of an ugly moth in the dark. Then his grandfather tells him the story of the Squonk. Every spring, an ugly monster appears in the most beautiful of all beautiful countries. With its eerie howling in the woods, the Squonk robs people of their sleep. The brave hunter Frederick sets out to catch the beast. But his spear only hits a flower. More flowers disarm even his most skillful traps. Soon Frederick doesn’t know what to do. Then he secretly observes how the other animals of the forest fearfully flee into the undergrowth. Lonely and all by himself, the Squonk sits at a pond and cries. Absorbed in grief, he does not notice how shining, beautiful flowers grow from his tears. He only has eyes for his disfigured reflection in the water. Frederick forms a puppet in the Squonks image and lures his prey into the trap: The Squonk cautiously approaches the supposed companion – and suddenly finds himself in a net, wriggling two feet above the ground! No sooner has the hunter marveled at his howling catch than the Squonk disappears, dissolving into tears. All that remains is a puddle on the ground, from which soon grows the tallest and most beautiful flower in the forest. The grandfather finishes the story and steps outside to water a huge flower. In the Moonlight, we recognize him as the aged Frederick. Without the Squonk, spring has never returned to the forest. The once beautiful kingdom has turned into a barren wasteland…
BEST SHORT FILM
2022 13 MINS UNITED STATES ENGLISH
TRAILER: Miles goes on a mission risking his safety to learn the truth.
2023 17 MINS UNITED STATES ENGLISH
TRAILER: Set in 1984, a former NASA Scientist and his young son make a discovery in his make-shift laboratory located in the garage.
ANGEL E. VERA
2022 18 MINS UNITED STATES ENGLISH
When a sculptor from an unknown realm is given consciousness, he is called upon by the sounds of a ticking Grandfather Clock to create life.
BEST STUDENT PRODUCTION
2023 26 MINS GERMANY GERMAN, POLISH
FRONTIER tells the story about the 19-year-old Aniela (Vanessa Boritzka), who lives with her 54-year-old husband Boguś (Marius Biegai) in a small lumberjack’s hut in the war-ravaged Poland of 1941. Boguś’ repression gradually takes on violent characteristics, but Aniela’s fear of the war binds her to the hut in the forest. One night, the two German soldiers Helmut and Ralf (Jonas Brunstein & Lukas Koller) knock on the door and completely new opportunities open up, but not only for Aniela.
In a close-knit, dusty Western town, an unlikely group of friends – three spirited women (Neakita, Audley, Maruja) and three tough-as-nails ex-military men (Ned, Dutch, Sebastian) – share a deep bond. They find solace in the welcoming embrace of the local saloon, where laughter flows as freely as whiskey, and their connections run deeper than mere friendship, often blurring the lines of intimacy. Unbeknownst to everyone, Neakita carries a haunting secret from her past. When she is summoned to the local police station to identify a man named Pascal, a face from the nation’s most-wanted list, the truth unravels. Pascal, the very monster who had kidnapped and subjected her to unspeakable horrors years ago, also shattering her world by taking the life of her innocent seven-year-old daughter. The town remains ignorant of this dark history until it’s too late. Pascal’s chilling escape from police custody rekindles the nightmare, unleashing a torrent of torment upon Neakita and her loyal companions. The horrors intensify, culminating in the tragic demise of Dutch. As the dust settles, a shocking revelation emerges – the local clothing designer, Winston, a regular at the saloon, held a sinister knowledge of Neakita’s past. The secrets, conveyed through a note Neakita left behind before her own tragic end, weigh heavily on Maruja’s heart, forever changing the dynamics of their small town. In this gripping tale of secrets, betrayal, and tragedy, the bonds of friendship are tested, and the town’s innocence is shattered, leaving scars that may never heal. “For The Freedom”, “Between Life and Death”, and “Trail of Tears” are contemporary modern-day Westerns that make up a screenplay trilogy, each featuring a female lead character. Although the stories and characters are unique, they are all set in the same town.
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
2022 15 MINS UNITED STATES ENGLISH, HAWAIIAN
Despite a dark history and only 5% speaking the native language, a local Hawaiian hero fights to save his culture by teaching traditions, sustainability and life skills to disadvantaged indigenous kids.
2023 6 MINS CZECH REPUBLIC ENGLISH
An animated short film set in ancient Greece. It’s the story of an Athenian boy living in the shadow of his father’s exploits, with the threat of a second Persian invasion looming over Greece.
NIKLAS HUGO SCHWÄRZLER
2023 2 MINS AUSTRIA ENGLISH
TRAILER: This is a story about a man who lived an ordinary life, until he experienced a vision, so pure and sublime, that it changed his conception of life. He pondered what held greater significance – this vision he saw that day, or anything else in existence. // This man is called “Der Jogi” – a butcher, looking for the best regional and sustainable products in the western alps of Austria. He developed a recipe for a high-end meatloaf (Leberkäse). Yes. Meatloaf. His first love. Now and forever. This is the story, how they met.
2023 8 MINS UNITED STATES ENGLISH
TRAILER: After accidentally shrinking in size, Juniper must create a counter potion while only being a few inches tall.
CASSIUS MICHAEL KIM
BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
2023 1 HOUR 38 MINS MALAYSIA, UNITED KINGDOM, UNITED STATES ENGLISH
TRAILER: The definitive accounting of the 1MDB financial scandal and an indictment of the global capitalist system and its inability to regulate itself in the face of avarice and corruption. MAN ON THE RUN uncovers the shocking true story of a corrupt group of co-conspirators who jeopardized a country’s hope for financial stability. Their influence extended from the highest levels of the Malaysian government to the glamorous enclaves of Hollywood. At the heart of this scandal lies the enigmatic Low Taek Jho, known to most as Jho Low, a mysterious businessman, and notorious playboy. Teaming up with Prime Minister Najib Razak, Low orchestrated a scheme to exploit 1MDB, a sovereign wealth fund established in 2009 with the noble purpose of benefiting the people of Malaysia. In 2015, intrepid journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown receives leaked financial documents, setting off a global investigation that uncovers a staggering amount of money being channeled into international bank accounts, all in support of Low’s extravagant lifestyle. This includes the acquisition of lavish properties, a private jet, a yacht, excessive A-list celebrity parties, and even the financing of the Hollywood blockbuster film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Through the meticulous work of director Cassius Michael Kim, who gains unprecedented access to key individuals involved on both sides of the story, MAN ON THE RUN unravels a complex web of greed and corruption. It delves into gripping first-person accounts, unveiling the extensive repercussions of one of the most colossal financial scandals in history.
BEST FEATURE FILM & BEST DIRECTOR
2023 1 HOUR 33 MINS AUSTRALIA ENGLISH
TRAILER: Under orders from a ruthless crime boss, a getaway driver must battle his conscience and drive an unsuspecting crew member to an ambush execution. There is a long drive ahead.
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
2023 10 MINS ANTARTICA ENGLISH
“The Perfect Shot” is an inventive and captivating documentary that profiles award-winning fine art photographer Artem Shestakov as he attempts to photograph the most remote locations on the planet affected by the climate crisis.