Interviews With Our Winners & Finalists
An African American woman recounts the story of her life in the form of a tall tale too fantastic to be fully believed.
An unconventional love story between Shannagh, a free thinker with bipolar, and Pete, a guarded ex-con battling with bulimia – shown only through their weekly dates on Sundays.
Following the lives of four black boys in their church community after an accidental death sends shockwaves through their home lives and friendship.
An amateur film-maker becomes distracted by romance while making a documentary about his activist community fighting against a predatory soda company.
A suicidal reporter becomes the object of a serial killer's affections.
Charlotte Wells, a liberal mother in the hell-stained armpits of rich Texas suburbia, faces her worst fear: having raised a rapist son in the era of Trump. Through this realization, she faces her own morality and decides whether or not her son's punishment is her responsibility.
A young woman discovers that her antique piano can eat her enemies. And she's got a lot of enemies.
Set in the early 2000s, a reclusive teenager and her outspoken best friend lean on each other to navigate troubled home lives and problematic first loves in a Puerto Rican south side neighborhood of Milwaukee, WI.
In the wake of his grandfather's death, a repressed teenage evangelist begins receiving prophetic visions from God, forcing him to confront his faith, family, and fear of the apocalypse.
A Mexican family divided by the US-Mexico border that centers on the oldest daughter, Lupita, who, after her brother is suddenly deported to Mexico, struggles to keep her family together while raising her younger siblings, one of which is pregnant.
By adulthood everyone has had a vision that maps out their future: Penny will marry a stranger, Paul will die tragically, and Todd’s going to be a serial killer. Knowing one’s destiny certainly makes life simpler; but Molly has decided to take fate into her own hands.
Thirteen-year-old Kathleen does not want anyone to know her dark secret, least of all her best friend Annie, but there are monsters lurking in the snowy woods that just might make hiding, whether you’re Kathleen or anyone else, impossible.
A story told via the perspective of a Taino Indigenous mother and daughter during Puerto Rico's colonization. We experience their day to day lives and the violent shift as we explore the practice of slavery and usage of Hawk Bells during that time period.
After realizing she had been sexually assaulted by her gynecologist years before, Sasha looks back at specific moments in her life that have stayed with her because she doubted her gut feeling and grappled with how people perceived her and how she perceived herself.
An adolescent Boy and Girl see their final days out in quarantine after a mysterious virus sweeps through the country, killing all those infected on a specific 'expiry' date.
After losing her home to Hurricane Sandy, a closeted high school senior checks into the last hotel with a vacant room ― a five-star luxury inn – where she’s forced to live with her family in one room for six months.
Every 200 years, all living residents of Angel City vanish without a trace. It's about to happen again, and the only person who can stop it is a hapless loser who's the last living descendant of the town's protectors.
On Manhattan's rigid Upper East Side, a socially and physically uncomfortable woman embarks on a fraught path to sue her own family's pharmaceutical company over the drug that gave her life-altering side effects. A dark comedy.
An Indian-American girl wrestles with her otherness at a pre-prom gathering.
The brainy but emotionally tone-deaf Sam Widge joins the eclectic assortment of staff at Shirley Dirley's tuition centre, where they seem to focus on anything other than actually teaching.
A geology professor juggling menopause, an elderly mother with dementia and a career in crisis has her world upturned when her 19 year old daughter elopes with her boyfriend during a routine survey of sandstone in the California desert.
Small-time pro wrestler Mickey Piper undergoes an experimental procedure to treat his advancing brain damage and begins a surreal transformation into his onstage alter ego.
With a delinquent daughter doing drugs and considering prostitution, a son adventuring into the treacherous world of online chatting and exploring his sexuality, a cheating father fighting to hold onto his youth, and a burned out mother reeling from her new boss who won't get off her case, things are not looking good for the dysfunctional Harris family in 1986.
On the Crow Reservation in Montana, a young man from a broken family strives to complete the four tasks required to become a War Chief. The only problem is, he isn’t really sure who the enemy is and who he should be fighting.
In 1938 New York City, cartoonists, mob bosses, and titans of business vie for supremacy in the nascent comic book industry.
A group of women from different walks of life join forces to take down a notorious, wealthy, Tasmanian rancher.
A failed lawyer who returns to the small, Texas hometown that made his life a living hell and gets a chance at redemption when he takes on the defense of a client no one else wants: an 8th Grader accused of murder.
A brilliant curator, fighting for truth and integrity in the corrupt world of a large New York art museum, has to solve the mystery of a forged Caravaggio painting even though the museum, the art market, and the Russian mafia are all trying to stop him.
Trout, Montana isn't known for much -- besides a four-story fiberglass fish. But that's about to change when middle-school misfits Denny, Rob and Oliver try to crack a local cold case, and get way in over their heads.
A small-town black college freshman faces intimidating Upper East Siders, incompetent frat boys fresh off their gap years, and her scheming high school nemesis as she struggles with being in the bottom socio-economic tier of her top tier university.
Artemis navigates single life at an age her Greek-American family considers too late while desperately trying to find a date to her late father’s traditional funeral.
Sunshine chronicles a day in the life of Gwen, an elderly African American woman who suffers from dementia, of her young caretaker, Joe, and the surprising ways they connect through the fog of the disease.
Johnny is an 11-year-old Latino boy whose uncle has been seized by I.C.E. Needing money to hire a lawyer for the uncle, Johnny must go with his father to a drug deal. Inspired by true events.
A railway trackman on night duty watches a young man's dead body waiting for the autopsy team to collect it. His thoughts and experience do not make a right match!
Muteum is a mutation journey happened in an Art Museum.
A vengeful father hunts down his daughter's boyfriend on the Fourth of July.
It's Halloween night, and Renee is madly in love with her boyfriend Jim. On their way to a frat party, he takes a detour to a haunted house, where Renee is forced to confront a terrifying situation.
A surprisingly non-fictional tragicomedy about how America traces a gun involved in a gun crime back to its owner.
A short film about small things - and the woman who creates them.
It’s the opening night at the concert house where Arvid works, but when his sister steals the spotlight, his worst sides are revealed.
Anarchy emerges at a public pool party when a group of small girls push the limits of their strength and power.
A teenage boy with overflowing hormones can’t help but start fantasizing about his best friend’s mother after inadvertently catching her in a compromising position. Thus begins a test of their friendship's strength...
A young man attends his nephew's baby naming ceremony with a plan to steal the money collected from family and friends to run away and keep a secret hidden.
An awkward, lonely boy is infatuated with his new neighbor, a young caregiver. In his own way, he reaches out to her...
On his first day as the newest member of 'Thicker than Blood Brass Band,' John, a now teenager displaced by Hurricane Katrina, learns all about the unique community he's been disconnected from and the traditions that follow them to the grave.
As a man anxiously awaits a meeting in the local pub, he is forced to explore his own difficult memories and relationships in an evening that will leave him changed forever.
When the elevator of their public housing breaks down, the fates of Felix, a disabled pensioner, Ana, a single mother struggling with her move and Seydou, a young man passionate about dance, intertwine towards an explosive ending where their limits will be tested.
A teenager and his dying grandfather conduct afterlife investigations in Miami when a mysterious man hires them to find the secret to immortality.
After a series of setbacks at Harvard University, IBI JOSEPH is forced to move back to the Bronx—the home he thought he'd escaped as a young prodigy.
Gary, a perfectly bland middle-aged dad, begins to unravel after being violently attacked by a doppelgänger. Joined by his punk rock daughter and her half-baked boyfriend, Gary embarks on an existential odyssey to locate his attacker.
A 5-year-old girl attempts to overcome feelings of inadequacy and isolation at a boarding school for overworked parents.
A budding photographer yearns to do hard-hitting journalism just like her late father until she lands the opportunity to cover the 2008 elections in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the very place where her father was brutally murdered while on assignment just a decade earlier.
A rich eleven-year-old must come to terms with living in a country and going to public school after ending up in a poorhouse.
When a dead body is found in the lion cage, an aging animal trainer must kidnap his lions from the circus while finding the real killer to clear their names.
MEN is the story of a woman who–when confronted with her difficult father's terminal cancer–begins a secret, unstable affair with his favorite student.
A coming-of-age psychological thriller centering around a Chinese-American girl who, sexually stunted because of her parents' intense pressure, must break free not only from their control but from a monstrous nightmare presence.
In 1918, a young gun of Odessa's organized crime faction attempts to rise in prominence as his closest friend takes on a leading role in the concurrent Russian Revolution. Based on selected works by Isaac Babel.
In order to save his job, a disgraced local news videographer chases an impossible story that threatens to topple the corrupt but successful athletic program at a major university.
In Post-World War II America, an aspiring horror writer moves to Hollywood to pursue her dreams. But after procuring a job at a major movie studio, an unexpected murder rocks the insular community of colorful personalities, and the suspect is anyone's guess.
A girl is abducted by a psychopath with a manifesto, and a world-weary Sheriff must team up with the local ice cream man to find her before it’s too late.
A young, unemployed footman attempts an honest living at the height of the abolition movement in ruthless Eighteenth-Century England, thrown into a sedan-chair startup with his dead employer’s chaotic son and a savvy social campaigner.
A secret force of government agents assigned to investigate alien happenings adjust to their new and overly emotional teammate: a super A.I. in a hunky new human body.
A young woman struggles to achieve and maintain basic markers of human success while literally living with anxiety and depression—as in, she sees them as her roommates.
A hunky astronaut terraforming the moon returns to Earth to help announce his pro-life pop star wife's candidacy for governor of Texas when he vomits and faints on Live TV - he's pregnant with an alien baby, and life begins at conception.
A homeless girl’s life is defined by her troubled past, her daily struggles of survival, and her attachment to a cardboard box.
In the near future, a new experimental technology gives two grieving parents the chance to speak to their young daughter, who has been in a coma since a vicious assault four years ago. But they will only have three minutes to help find her attacker - and say goodbye.
After enduring an attack by Taliban insurgents, a group of US soldiers wake up in a room unsure if they are alive, dead, or worse.
Grandfather and widower, PREM, sets out to fall in love for the first time but before he can do that he must find love, which proves to be a challenge.
When some people are unable to switch off from work, it can be fairly noticeable. We see one particular group of friends who are suffering more than most and hear how it has even started affecting one of the group's home life.
The delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes he is actually the psychiatrist. As they each attempt to treat each other the session gets out of control.
Cowboy Town is an impressionistic documentary about a 1970s replica roadside ghost town with automatons in rural South Dakota.
A short film about a combat medic attempting to hold on to humanity in the midst of a war much bigger than himself. A medic's job is to fix people up, but how does that obligation reconcile with someone who is trained to fight and may be asked to kill?
A 12-year-old girl confronts her scarring past when she is placed at an immigrant children's shelter for unaccompanied minors in Texas. As her future hangs in limbo, she embarks on a healing journey to recover her own sense of power through her artwork.
The bond between a disabled Muslim father and his son is tested when love is pitted against religion.
A displeased wife enters a world of unexpected adventure after deciding to finally confront her husband's stubborn, unkept beard.
A teenager with gender dysphoria witnesses the physical assault of a transgender woman.
A special feature making-of for a motion picture.
A young girl cares for her younger brother at home, while she awaits her mother’s return.
When a young autistic Latina rescues a stray cadaver dog, she stumbles upon a 15 year-old cold case that no one wants solved.
Liv, a single-mom and small-time shoplifter, barely makes ends meet with her deviant lifestyle. But when she reconnects with her estranged father she finds she must navigate a new place for herself in the world.
A young black writer spends a busy day coming to terms with his crumbling relationship with his older white girlfriend as they prepare for an afternoon recital and an evening party in their townhouse. The day comes to a head as demonstrations throughout the city break out into a full-scale riot before escalating into something much more terrifying.
A boy in 1960's Mexico struggles with what it means to be a hero- all the while obsessing over the TV Western serials of that era.
An Indian jeweler struggling to fulfill his family's American dream gets caught up in the darkest corners of the 1980s L.A. jewelry district.
Four Ivy League students build an illegal drug operation, using it to orchestrate and grow their own social power. But as their power accumulates, they find it harder not to become pawns in the game of their own making.
Following years of separation from her elderly mother, a mentally unstable woman confronts deep-seeded family hostilities after a radio psychic relays a message from her deceased father.
Al, a down and out reality show host, must make the best of the worst TV show in history: The Orphan, a show about impoverished children from around the world competing to be adopted by a wealthy family in Bel Air.
In a wryly comical near future, where too many baby boomers have saved too little money and amassed too much debt, an unemployed man aspires to the affluent lifestyle of his rich brother while trying to avoid the humiliating fate of his destitute brother who lives in a vast ghetto of boomers known as Squat City.
After a recently murdered high-school sweetheart's body is dug up from her grave, the secrets of a small mountain town begin to unravel.
A depressed lunch lady finds new meaning in her mundane life when she falls for a troubled janitor.
When an African American teenager gets a seemingly depressed white guy to open up, she discovers he's on his way to commit a mass shooting.
A gritty portrait of courage, tragedy and immigrant life through the eyes of a Syrian refugee.
A taxi driver is interrogated over a bank bombing. As he is questioned about what happened by a police detective, certain details do not add up.
Dr. Roy Jackson was once an accomplished scientist. Now a 60 year old homeless man, living in the woods and spending all of his time acquiring junk to help him build a time machine out of a shopping cart. His latest attempt fails and he's back to the drawing board. An unlikely friendship teaches our obsessive inventor that patience is the true key to time travel.
Waking up after 15 years in a coma as the result of a traffic accident, an unhappily married woman has to re-learn everything with the aid of her husband’s new fiancée, and map out a new path for her life.
As a couple’s marriage heads towards a disastrous end, the story reflects on the events that brought them to the present.
A young girl demonstrates her method of appeasing the yellow-eyed beast that haunts her town.
After a chance encounter with his identical twin's mistress, a curious psychologist begins to unravel a web of deceit leading to fatal consequences.
When a public relations executive discovers a note from her deceased best friend, she must find the trigger for his untimely death - revealing his long-distance relationship with a man, while confronting her own fears of unrequited love.
Saigon, 1978. A young girl learns the meaning of sacrifice during an impromptu escape out of Vietnam.
Struggling to keep his dysfunctional family afloat, a teenage boy challenges his immature father by threatening to ruin a family tradition.
A woman wakes up to find that she is literally falling apart—again.
A disgraced White House chef is discovered decades later preparing meals for prisoners on death row, but he risks a chance at redemption when he befriends an inmate whose guilt appears doubtful.
When a young girl discovers the corpse of a notorious outlaw, her father must strike a deal with the stranger bringing the body to justice. Miles from civilization in the harsh Oregon frontier, together the two men will discover a bounty is always best earned alone.
Amara, 15 (formerly Hijita de Papá) is a coming-of-age feature about a 15-year-old Bronx teenager who is desperate to escape her father's sexual abuse but who will do anything not to leave her two little sisters behind.
A mute drifter and a lonely night clerk must face their deepest fears when confronted by a mysterious man in a patchwork dog mask at a remote, rundown motel.
A black woman will not allow another black woman to attend her white church.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a few days, the chimpanzee Dolores will step out of the flight simulator and onto a real airplane, together with the pilot who taught her how to fly, but before the flight, the pilot wants to tell a colleague a secret.
An abused woman struggles to free herself from her brother’s web of control when a grocery store clerk offers her the chance to escape.
Following the deaths of two teenage boys, a small-town simpleton with a hobby of crashing strangers’ funerals makes the locals more uncomfortable by trying to sell his homemade casket.
When a hopelessly unlucky smalltime criminal kidnaps a celebrity by mistake, he finds his luck starting to change in unexpected ways.
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.
On her twenty-first birthday, a fledgling poet plans her escape from an alcoholic father; but before she can leave home, her superhero-loving mother has one last questionable lesson to teach.
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.
A young Native American comic book fan faces his life and fear of dancing with the help of his superhero alter ego.
A Muslim man finds a strange woman when he travels to a remote mountain in search of a wolf he encountered as a child.
A Jewish painter travels to receive a prestigious award, coming head to head with his wife's new boyfriend, Torah-thumping art patrons, and a slutty parapalegic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A cosmetic surgeon's life starts to unpick at the seams after he accidentally ruins the face of a celebrity client.
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.
The true story of the assassination of a revolutionary Mexican presidential candidate unfolds from the original standoff of three gunmen in Tijuana.
A young Chinese girl ventures outside her home to find a crowd gathered near a dead body, only to find something entirely different upon second glance.
In Tokyo, four strangers in life find a bond in death.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A young boxer must take his fight outside the ring when the guys he trains with discover the truth about his sexuality.
A reclusive bus driver coughs up a curious phlegm creature and finds himself forced to choose between his new friend and his life’s work: his Hate Books.
The story of a woman who has shut herself off emotionally from the world around her for unknown reasons.
In his small, isolated cottage, Alexander finds a very unusual trumpet that will turn his lonely existence upside down.
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.
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.
A tale of good versus evil set against the desolate backdrop of Dust Bowl era Oklahoma.
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.
A quarantined pacifist fights to help find a cure for the fits of murderous rage he and other test subjects have become afflicted with.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A hypochondriac and a terminally ill teenager strike up an unlikely friendship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chet spends his days running down tax dodgers on the neon streets of Las Vegas. But when he's forced to find and arrest his own deadbeat dad, things turn strange.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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