Past Winners & Finalists

Our 2016 Winners and Finalists



Mouth by Kimi Howl Lee [Interview]
When a broke Fem-studies major with an unwanted pregnancy assumes an alias and delves into a transactional relationship with an affluent family man, she must masquerade as a suburban trophy wife while finishing her degree––before her dual identity is unveiled.


Scriptures and Cigarettes by Joseph O'Driscoll [Interview]
After a near-death experience, a devout Mormon teenager experiments with the outside world for the first time, risking his relationship with his family and community.

i by Alex Rollins Berg [Interview]
After a flash flood kills his father, destroys the family farm and leaves him to support his younger brothers, a poor but enterprising teenager sets off to Kuala Lumpur for an iPhone factory job, only to get caught up in the lives of the fabulously wealthy American factory owners.

The Anxieties of Peter Wilhelm by Palmer Holton [Interview]
When Peter Wilhelm’s adulterous daydreams creep too close towards becoming reality, he finds himself being whisked away to a rehab facility for sex addiction, only to become part of a radical new procedure that promises to make him fall in love with his wife again… or drive him insane.

Taking the Toll - The Life and Life of Gilbert Booth by Theodore Schaefer & Patrick Lawler [Interview]
A young toll booth operator falls for a woman at his father’s nursing home but soon discovers that it’s her 99 year old grandmother who may be more in tune to his eccentric philosophies, including time travel and his imaginary friend.

Cordelia Award Winner

Butter Side Up by Kitty Percy [Interview]
When a hopelessly unlucky smalltime criminal kidnaps a celebrity by mistake, he finds his luck starting to change in unexpected ways.

Joplin Award Winner

George! by Leonardo Noboru de Lima [Interview]
An unhappy family man faces another level of his mundane existence when he wakes up to find himself inhabiting a sitcom version of his life.




3 Faces of Hunger & Thirst by HF Crum [Interview]
The true story of the assassination of a revolutionary Mexican presidential candidate unfolds from the original standoff of three gunmen in Tijuana.


Bad House by Doug Mallette [Interview]
Hoping for a fresh start, a desperate father moves his estranged wife and kids into a mysterious new house, where he soon discovers the horror of the perfect family.

Chicago Shuffle by Dennis Capps [Interview]
A mild-mannered Prohibition-era accountant has a chance meeting with the twin brother he never knew he had, a brash Chicago gangster, but when he wakes up trapped in his brother’s identity, he’s forced to find himself as he fights to return to his old life.

Hambone by Kateland Brown [Interview]
Set against the illegal dogfighting scene in Los Angeles, a gangbanger sentenced to community service at an animal shelter forms a bond with an abused pit bill scheduled to be euthanized.

The History of Magic by José Luis González [Interview]
A degenerated traveling Mexican magician and his teenage niece find themselves on the same path of life as he approaches her home in a Texas border town.

Cordelia Award Winner

Face to Face by Jason Pittock [Interview]
A cosmetic surgeon’s life starts to unpick at the seams after he accidentally ruins the face of a celebrity client.

Joplin Award Winner

The Longest Birthday by Savion Einstein [Interview]
When a clinical trial in Israel fails to treat her young son’s cancer, a single mother takes him back home to Los Angeles to celebrate one more time.




Demain, Je Me Tue by Pierre Chance [Interview]
In Tokyo, four strangers in life find a bond in death.


A Cat’s Tale by Kendal Alexander Whitlock [Interview]
Yeo, a senior citizen security guard stuck in a perpetual state of mourning his wife and son, meets a neighbor girl and soon finds himself in the middle of a Singaporean underworld, attempting to expose the murderer of the girl's cat.

Dead Dolores by Michael Yagnow [Interview]
As a grieving frontier sheriff succumbs to madness, his unseasoned deputy is forced to confront a pile of corpses and a troubled young barber who possesses an unnatural and homicidal obsession with the suitors of his gorgeous twin sister.

Giants of the Valley by Bryce Wolfgang Joiner [Interview]
Theodore Tuttleberg, once the tallest man on earth, forms a bond with a morbidly obese recluse whom he saves from death, but when he seeks to make him famous he almost kills the soul of his one true friend.

We Lost Grace by Michael Quintana [Interview]
On the eve of their anniversary, while still coping with the death of their next door neighbor, a married couple tries to adjust to their daughter's return home, and the truths they learn along the way.

Cordelia Award Winner

Knock-Out by Christopher Brown [Interview]
A young boxer must take his fight outside the ring when the guys he trains with discover the truth about his sexuality.

Joplin Award Winner

Hand Lit Match by Rachael BernSousa & Mary Lusted [Interview]
A teenage tomboy escapes her dead-end Australian country town by joining a visiting sideshow as a wrestler – then sets her sights on the top of the American female league in the 1950′s.




The Emperor of Wyoming by Michael Hamblin
The fractured and dysfunctional family of an Idaho mortician and struggling author falls apart – and comes together – as he and his estranged son grapple with the moral and ethical implications of a bizarre mission from God, delivered by way of a talking corpse. Dark yet whimsical, tragic while infused with awkward hilarity, The Emperor of Wyoming is a heartwarming, fascinating meditation on familial love, bus theft, murder, and the importance of butterflies.  [Interview]


Mallpocalypse by Ashleigh Powell [Interview]
A down-on-her-luck nail salon employee is happy making the world a better place one pedicure at a time, until a near-death experience awakens within her strange supernatural abilities, and she suddenly becomes part of a giant battle of Good vs. Evil… played out in a shopping mall.

The Hosanna Tree by Anthony Easton [Interview]
A tale of good versus evil set against the desolate backdrop of Dust Bowl era Oklahoma.

The Prime Mover by Alex Eylar [Interview]
A young man witnesses a glitch in time itself, and becomes a target of the individuals tasked with protecting the system the world relies on.

Untitled Sarah Palin Sex Doll Project by Zeke Farrow [Interview]
When the last virgin in high school creates a fake girlfriend on Facebook as part of an elaborate scheme to get a real one, the woman whose pictures he stole shows up and his fiction becomes a reality.

Cordelia Award Winner

Life In A Box by Nick Luddington [Interview]
A young man struggling with the death of his girlfriend unwittingly commits suicide, condemning himself to purgatory. Now in a world where memories are all that is left, his desire for life is renewed and a desperate fight to escape begins.

Joplin Award Winner

Random Acts of Violence by Guy McDouall [Interview]
A quarantined pacifist fights to help find a cure for the fits of murderous rage he and other test subjects have become afflicted with.


2011 Fellini Award Winners

Calvin & Skye by Fergal Rock
A hypochondriac and a terminally ill teenager strike up an unlikely friendship. [Interview]

Electric Town by Tony Mullen
In the heart of Tokyo, an old man gets more than he bargained for when he turns to a robotic pet to relieve his grief. [Interview]

Horse Girl by Jacob Gillman and Matt Diebler
An unpopular and sexually naive 12 year old engages in a downward spiral of unintentionally perverse get-rich-quick schemes in order to obtain the horse of her dreams. [Interview]

I Want My Car You Son of a Bitch by William Ryan
When the wealthy boss of nearly retired personal assistant, Toni Fratzki, dies, she's left to clean up the mess of his troubled teenage son's illegal affairs, and discovers the last chance of belonging to a family she might have. [Interview]

Talk of Mifton by Cime Bruce
A young girl who dreams of escaping her suffocatingly small town the day after her eighteenth birthday is injured in an accident that leaves her without the ability to talk or move. Now she must use her new gift on her caregivers if she is to continue to live. [Interview]



Below the Waist by Ian Simpson
Vanessa, a brilliant, introverted 16-year old, must go to aberrant lengths in order to learn how to 'feel' again after a car accident at the hands of her best friend leaves her permanently paralyzed below the waist. [Interview]


A Novel Approach to Suicide by Brien Kelly
A used bookstore owner searches for answers after noticing eerie correlations between his life and the unusual book he is reading.

Pisser by Eric Hueber
Cramped in a Winnebago with a violent stepfather and a loving yet self-destructive mother, a child struggles to live down his nickname - Pisser.

The Penitent Man by Jason George
Alfred Booth awakes from a nightmare and discovers his heart has been stolen from his body. He embarks on a night-time journey to find it.

The Physicist by Teresa Lo
After moving from San Francisco to Kansas during the 1980s, a Chinese-American family must learn to adapt to small town life.

Cordelia Award Winner

Tilford by Steve Ruttley
A widow and her young son give refuge to a wounded government witness after discovering he's testifying against the underworld figure that tore their family apart.

Joplin Award Winner

One Night in Asbury Park by Maurizio Marmorstein
A local teenage girl with nothing and nowhere to go meets a visiting foreign student in a rockin' early 60's dance hall. Their love clashes with the lethal rage of a jealous boyfriend. 



Two actors forge an unlikely friendship while playing offensive stock characters in the 1940s, then experience the ups and downs of Hollywood as it changes over the next 40 years. [Interview]


Death Rattle by Chad Brian
Forced to kill a drug-sniffing dog, Nat Carter runs afoul of the Drieser brothers, making the dog the least of his problems.

Death and Taxes by Peter K. Hassan & Elisabeth Silverman Hassan
A Las Vegas IRS agent must hunt down his deadbeat dad, forcing him to descend into a nightmarish underworld of half-man, half-insect creatures and confront the past he tried to forget.

Honky's Ladder by Lonas Taylor
At the height of Prohibition, an alcoholic federal agent works undercover to bring down Black Legion bootleggers.

Two Rabbits by Mario de la Garza & Carlos de la Garza
Two cowhands toil on a remote south Texas ranch when they find a mysterious old man lost in the brush; as campfires crackle and coyotes howl, the old man talks of buried treasure but instead unearths the cowhands’ deepest fears and stages their doom.



THE PIANO TUNER by Timo E. Peltonen
In 1943 Germany, where trust has collapsed and fear burns brightly, a piano tuner investigates the mystery of a war widow's son disappearing from his room. [Interview]


The Language of Leaves by Michael J. Elsey
A young boy with a distant father and a grieving mother awakens his creativity with the help of his hip artist aunt, the pass or fail science fair and the mystery of leaves.

El Flaco by Jeff Seymann
EL FLACO is a gritty coming of age drama about a Chicano teenagers rebellion against his beloved father who harbors illegal immigrants.

Past Mistakes by Maria Mathis
When a vengeful spirit threatens a young man's life, he delves into past-life regression to locate a missing treasure to appease it.

The Italian Lover by Suzanne Griffin
A passionate Welsh opera singer haunted by his past discovers the deeper purpose of his voice when he becomes the mentor of a mysterious young soprano.

The Yellow Canary by John-Michael Bister
Two apathetic brothers and their offbeat godfather are reunited with estranged relatives; a comically dysfunctional and beautifully ragtag family is formed.



The Stones by Ana Lily Armirpour
In modern day Tehran, a teenage girl from the working class falls for an upper class boy.  As a forbidden relationship ensues, she finds out the hard way what happens when rules are broken in a merciless society.


Every time I go to Staten Island something bad happens... by Irin Evers
When a Latino ex-gang member finds an identity in the Manhattan art school world, his brother's criminal life proves to be a deadly distraction.

Howard & Minet by Doyle Esch & Daniel Wilson

Kid Show by Chad Holley
Against his better judgment, an uptight children's performer enlists a winsome ne'er-do-well to help spice up his act.

Loved Ones by Vicki Speegle
A young girl chasing adulthood struggles to win the love of her alcoholic mother but finds her quest complicated when her estranged half-sister returns.



Hyung's Overture by Young Kim
The oldest son of a Korean immigrant family leaves Harvard to manage a Bronx convenience store in order for his younger brother to fulfill his destiny as a world-class violinist. [Interview]


Another You by Gail Mackenzie-Smith
In 1965, a twelve-year-old Nancy Drew aficionado watches the perfect Los Angeles summer unravel when her knight in shining armor, a doting older brother, starts the long spiral into schizophrenia.

Beard's Creek by Maureen Tilyou
When three children find a murdered woman in the dreamy perils of the swamps of 1950's Georgia, the daydreams of their latch key lives fracture horrifyingly into the reality of an actual killer, their older sister's new beau.

Diana by Myra Sito Velasquez
Within the frenzied, culturally schizophrenic world of 1970's Tokyo, a Catholic schoolgirl, wanting fiercely to be a boy, falls for the sado-masochistic sexual charms of a newly arrived student named Diana.

Hush by Eric Humble
Hunted for a string of gruesome murders through a Wisconsin blizzard, an ex-con chases a patch of redemption in a wasted life while stranded in a remote farmhouse with strangers and one thing left to do.

Salt by David Steenhoek
In a mythic effort to reclaim his bride and castle, a salt mine worker leads his comrades in life insurance neo-fraud against a diabolical, pregnant stripper.

Stone Groove by Thomas Jackson Potter
Set against the black biker clubs of the 1970's, two mismatched outlaws flee Detroit for the myth of California, hysterically pursued cross-country by the absurd detritus of Mafioso, psychopathic madams and toxic law enforcement.



Gary the Tennis Coach by Andrew Stock and Rick Stempson
An ethically challenged Rod Laver worshipper moonlighting as a custodian finds himself in charge of the high school tennis team, only to throw down the singularly most unorthodox coaching performance in the history of the game. [Interview]


Donnie's Brother by Jim Beggarly
With his parents buckling under the pressure of an impending tragedy, a high school basketball star hatches a getaway with an odd convenience store clerk named Donnie, to start over with his brother out of state, a brother who the entire town claims is not alive.

Panacea by Aaron Guzikowski
When a tiny statue a boy has found in the woods apparently awakens his comatose father, his mother sets out to heal the world, one person at a time, until she slowly realizes each and every cure has a disturbing cost.

The Break-In by Ryan David Jahn
After a man kills a burglar in self-defense, he elects to leave the body in his bathtub, setting out on an obsessive hunt to discover the identity of his victim, who happens to be his identical twin.

Holy Hell by Francis Zuccarello
A tailspinning, sexual triangle between two Catholic priests and the owner of a Hell's Kitchen speakeasy implodes over Ash Wednesday 1930 against the backdrop of a violent transit worker strike, when suddenly, quite out of nowhere, they bear witness to a miracle.



The Man in the Rear View Mirror by Andrew Pagana and Justin Thomas
The story of a man, his wife and mother-in-law in pursuit of a suspected kidnapper on the Eisenhower highways of the 1950's brilliantly recalls the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window, at 90 miles an hour. [Interview]


Georgie by Kathy Garcia
A spoiled, talented, and oh-so-popular Orange County high school girl's life is turned upside-down when she's caught kissing a girl.

The Imperfect Cell by Lance Hammer
A 65-year-old waiter, languishing in a life of lonely self-interment, is befriended by a vibrant, young composer, who brings comfort, rejuvenation, and, ultimately, upheaval to the elder's tedious life.

In the Lives of Brothers by Kelsey Simon
When a salt miner assumes care for his mentally-impaired brother, he finds the painful echo of a tragic day from their childhood increasingly debilitating.

Sparkle La Rue by Allan Tyamo
After an infamous pop diva hits rock bottom, she resurfaces as a drag queen in San Francisco, rediscovering herself as a celebrity impersonator, impersonating herself.



Escher by Jon Goldman


BLARING STATIC by Jason Wilder Konschak
THIS TIME by Robert D. Walsh



THE CADDY by Colleen De Maio


FEVER by Lucky Jones
PEASHOOTER by Colin Preston
TO STELLA, LOVE JOEY by Russell Sommers
ZACHARY'S LOVE by Gregory Synstelien



CLASS by Danielle Silvie Gershberg


SORROW'S GATE by Teri Haux with Diana Bard
ABBY MESSINA by Jenny Kilgen



DUST by Sheri Yang


TRY THE NUTS by Arzhang Kamarei
ROACHES 666 by Stu Woolley



ANGELA'S GATE by Monika Moreno


MAJESTY by Russell Bouthiller
CARNAGE by Christian Divine
THE COLONY by Bill Gucwa and Ed Masterson
DOG SOLDIERS by Rob Hunter
SAMARIA by Gary L. Miner
HALLOWEEN CANDY by Thomas M. Sipos
4 AHAU by George Taack
THE END OF THE NIGHT by Brian Weaver