2024 Awards

Thank You to our 2024 Jury Members: Dylan Mars Greenberg, Sabaah Folayan, Michael Robinson, and Jodi Wille

See the Awards Screenings for tonight, April 14th at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM here: http://athensfilmfest.org/2024-awards-screening-schedule/

Category Awards Given by the Jury

1st Prize Narrative Short (Academy Awards® Qualifying)
250km Director: Hasmik Movsisyan, Narrative, Armenia, 23 min
Urgent and personal, with powerful performances. 250km is a profound reminder of the power of human generosity. 

1st Prize Animation Short (Academy Awards® Qualifying)
Flutz Director: Ryan McCown, Animation, USA, 8 min
The razor-sharp storytelling of Flutz is laced with an offbeat, dark magic, illustrating the dangers of the need to win. 

1st Prize Experimental
Living Reality Director: Philip Thompson, Narrative ,USA, 16 min  
Living reality possesses a bold use of structure and set design. The film smartly disarms the viewer with a sitcom format, and then subverts it with changes in tone and medium. Funny, strange and different from anything else.  

1st Prize Documentary Short 
Fata Morgana Director: Daood Alabdulaa, Documentary, Qatar, 29 min
Courageously unflinching in the face of the violent exploitation of human labor and lives. 

1st Prize Music Video
Miles Davis – What’s Love Got to Do With It Director: Irina Rubina, Music Video, Germany, USA, 4 min
A sumptuous and phantasmagoric dream, animated beautifully to a previously unreleased Miles Davis track. What has now become the official music video for Davis’ interpretation of What’s Love Got to Do With It now boasts a vivid visual from director and animator Irinia Rubina.

Ohio Student Film Award
In English, & Then Spanish Director: Madeline McSteen, Documentary, USA, 12 min
Throughout In English, & then Spanish, the challenges of acquiring citizenship are unpacked with nuance and heart.

1st Prize Documentary Feature
Inheritance Directors: Matt Moyer, Amy Toensing, Documentary, USA, 81 min
A dedicated commitment to vérité filmmaking. Curtis’s wisdom and resilience shines through the darkness of the all too American problem of opiate addiction. 

1st Prize Feature Narrative
Kikum Spirit (The Untold African Story) Director: Anurin Nwunembom, Narrative, Cameroon, 79 min
A directing marvel of epic proportions. The settings, casting, performances, costumes, and use of multiple languages immerse the viewer into a world that feels authentic, visceral, out of time and urgent all at once.

Special Named Awards

Directors Prize (Given by Festival Director: David Colagiovanni)
Visible Mending Director: Samantha Moore, Animation, UK, 9 min
A unique material approach that honors makers and how their work lives beyond their years and bridges community.

Programmers Prize (Given by the Assistant Programming Team: Terra Talamh and Josh Vieth)
After The Ringing of The Bell Director: Shahrzad Ebrahimi, Experimental, Iran, 12 min
Sly, subversive, and resonant, After the Ringing of the Bell uses point of view and gaze to encircle notions of fantasy, entrapment and role-playing.

Film House (for Visionary Filmmaking)
Photosynthesis Director: Brian Zahm, Experimental, USA, 7 min 
Photosynthesis is a visually stunning and innovative use of chromadepth, an underused method of creating 3D illusions. The immersive nature of the work along with its use of contrast invites the viewer to participate in a visual photosynthesis of their very own. 

Black Bear Award (for Best Use of Sound and in Honor of John Butler)
Amplified Director: Dina Naser, Narrative, Jordan, 19 min
An innovative use of sound immerses the viewer into the subject’s unique perception of the world and the challenges she must face.

Research Award (Sponsored by Ohio University Libraries)
The Night Visitors Director: Michael Gitlin, Documentary, USA, 72 min
Deep research grounds The Night Visitors, providing pathways for an enormously cinematic experience of the film’s tiny subjects.

From the Booth (Given by the Projection Team: Rachel Allegra, Dan Bruell, Dan Moray)
A Body Called Life Director: Spencer MacDonald, Documentary, Poland, 15 min
Through powerful use of scale, the film reveals the unseen world to explore an inner turmoil that connects us all. 

Special Jury Mentions

Given by the Jury: Dylan Mars Greenberg, Sabaah Folayan, Michael Robinson and Jodi Wille

Antipolis Director: Kaspar Jancis, Animation, Estonia, 26 min
Antipolis is a well crafted journey to the core of the earth that delightfully pays homage to the working class. 

The Right to Joy Directors: Jay Melena, Tim Kressin, Documentary, USA, 20 min
A heartwarming redemption story that pays homage to the power of community. 

Richland Director: Irene Lusztig, Documentary, USA, 91 min
An unflinching and deeply humane revealing of a suppressed history essential to a greater understanding of the United States and its people.

The Glitter Factory Director: Alexander Rynéus, Documentary, Sweden, 51 min 
A poetic, glimmering meditation on mortality and nature.

White Grass Director: Justin Kim WooSŏk, Documentary, Mongolia, 16 min
White Grass is a visually stunning and transportive portrait of a community and a landscape in the throes of change.

Patient Director: Lori Felker, Narrative, USA, 20 min
Patient plays its cards slowly, asking increasingly complex questions of performance, empathy and trust.

Donna Director: Keenan MacWilliam, Documentary, Canada, USA, 18 min 
I was very moved by Keenan’s story. I think adoptees are an invisible group of people that deal with types of institutional oppressive bureaucracy that others may not. I felt the storytelling was extremely inventive and unlike other documentaries.

Bergie Director: Dian Weys, Narrative, South Africa, 7 min
Bergie sheds a spotlight on the universal mishandling of the homeless by police that often occurs, in particular when someone has died. The film is innovative in its capture of a single moment, in a single shot.

The Role Director: Paolo Chianta, Animation, UK, 6 min
The Role is a witty, Kafka-esque and darkly hilarious take on the Hollywood system, late stage capitalism and class disparity. Furthermore it plays with the dynamics of parenthood, as a character attempting to immerse himself in a fictional relationship with fake children forgets his real family.

Shedding Director: Nicolau, Narrative, Brazil, 14 min 
A truly horrifying, beautifully shot trans narrative that calls attention to the nightmare and tragedy of going through the wrong puberty, a traumatic event for trans children that is often difficult to reverse. The mundane right of passage into cis womanhood that a period represents is turned into a brilliant body horror through the lens of its trans masculine director Nicolau, an emerging Brazillian filmmaker who’s work is as courageous as it is unique.