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Winners & Finalists

2019  Winners

Feature Winner

Fox Hollow by Ariel Sobel

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.

Learn more about Ariel and her script here.

Hour Pilot Winner

Tenth Street by Benjamin Christopher

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.

Learn more about Benjamin and his script here

Half-Hour Pilot Winner

Clay by Katie Blair 

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.

Learn more about Katie and her script here.

 

Short Winner

Forever Tonight by Swetha Regunathan

An Indian-American girl wrestles with her otherness at a pre-prom gathering.

Learn more about Swetha and her script here.

 

Fellini Winner

Learning Curve by Eleanor Kirk 

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.

Learn more about Eleanor and her script here.

2019 Finalists

Feature Finalists

Alejandra by Eric LaPlante & Susie Moon

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.

Learn more about Eric, Susie and their script here

The Mothman by Jackson Murray

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.

Learn more about Jackson and his script here

Family on Ice by Marc Ketchem

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.

Learn more about Marc and his script here

The Empty Quarter by Tom Groneberg

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.

Learn more about Tom and his script here

Hour Pilot Finalists

 Pulp Syndicate by John Paretti & Jakob Free

In 1938 New York City, cartoonists, mob bosses, and titans of business vie for supremacy in the nascent comic book industry.

Learn more about John, Jakob and their script here.

XX by Miriam Rahimi-Cholensky

A group of women from different walks of life join forces to take down a notorious, wealthy, Tasmanian rancher.

Learn more about Miriam and her script here.

Stand by Seth M. Harrington

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.

Learn more about Seth and his script here.

The Curator by Sonya Terjanian

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.

Learn more about Sonya and her script here.

Half-Hour Pilot Finalists

Crash & Burn by Clare Higgins & Julie Fassnacht 

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.

Learn more about Clare, Julie and their script here.

Bottom of the Top by Clarissa Carson

A small-town black girl and college freshman tries to have the “best four years of her life” while struggling with being in the bottom tier (academically, socially, and economically) of her top tier institution.

Learn more about Clarissa and her script here.

Artemis of Chicago by Venetia Ginakakis

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.

Learn more about Venetia and her script here.

Short Finalists

Sunshine by Amber Scott

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.

Learn more about Amber and her script here.

Spic by Johnny Sanchez

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.

Learn more about Johnny and his script here.

Only Dead Know the Dead by Sivakrishna Vakamullu

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!

Learn more about Sivakrishna and his script here.

 

Semi-Finalists

The 2019 Semi-Finalists can be found here

 

Quarterfinalists

The 2019 Quarterfinalists can be found here

 

Short Film Festival – Official Selections

The 2019 Short Film Festival Official Selections can be found here

2018 Winners

Feature Winners

Death of a Fool by Ismael Gomez III & Joe Leone

A teenager and his dying grandfather conduct afterlife investigations in Miami when a mysterious man hires them to find the secret to immortality.

Learn more about Ismael, Joe and their script here.

Hour Pilot Winner

The Backyard You Know by Ben Philippe

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. 

Learn more about Ben and his script here.

Half-Hour Pilot Winner

Infinite Gary by Joey Siara

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. 

Learn more about Joey and his script here.

Short Winner

Wa-Wa by Amy Wang

A 5-year-old girl attempts to overcome feelings of inadequacy and isolation at a boarding school for overworked parents.

Learn more about Amy and her script here.

Fellini Winner

Karma by Kwok Keong

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.

Learn more about Kwok and his script here.

Short Film Festival Winner

Spinosaurus by Tessa Hoffe

A young girl cares for her younger brother at home, while she awaits her mother’s return.

Learn more about Tessa and her short film here.

 

2018 Finalists

Feature Finalists

A Game of Supers by Khamanna Iskandarova

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.

Learn more about Khamanna and her script here

Winter Quarters by Nathan Floody

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.

Learn more about Nathan and his script here

Men by Rebecca Dreyfus

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.

Learn more about Rebecca and her script here

Her Weight on Me by Rebecca Shuhan Lou & Sofia Drummond-Moore  

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.

Learn more about Rebecca, Sofia and their script here.

Hour Pilot Finalists

Odessa by Isaac Siegemund-Broka

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.

Learn more about Isaac and his script here.

News Values by Jacob Krasnow

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.

Learn more about Jacob and his script here.

The Golden Age by Lauren Hussey

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.

Learn more about Lauren and her script here.

Half-Hour Pilot Finalists Randy Rex

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.

Learn more about Randy and his script here.

Half-Hour Pilot Finalists

Black Cabs by Christopher Maudsley

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.

Learn more about Christopher and his script here.

Area 51 by Josh Smooha

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.

Learn more about Josh and his script here.

Issues by Pogo New

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.

Learn more about Pogo and his script here.

Conception by Samuel Josephs

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. 

Learn more about Samuel and his script here.

Short Finalists

Cardboard Box by Bernhard Riedhammer 

A homeless girl’s life is defined by her troubled past, her daily struggles of survival, and her attachment to a cardboard box. 

Learn more about Bernhard and his script here

First Words by Meegan May 

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.

Learn more about Meegan and her script here

A War on Terror by Peter Haig 

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.

Learn more about Peter and his script here

Absolute Beginner by Shekhar & Shalinder Bassi 

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.

Learn more about Shekhar, Shalinder and their script here

Semi-Finalists

The 2018 Semi-Finalists can be found here

Quarterfinalists

The 2018 Quarterfinalists can be found here

Short Film Festival Official Selections

The 2018 Short Film Festival Official Selections can be found here

2017 Winners

Feature Winners

Cadaver Dog by Judy Soo Hoo & Isaac Ho

When a young autistic Latina rescues a stray cadaver dog, she stumbles upon a 15-year-old cold case that no one wants solved.

Learn more about Judy, Isaac and their script here.

Pilot Winner 

White-Shoe U by Beanie Barnes

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.

Learn more about Beanie and her script here.

Short Winner 

Ageusia by Will Scheider 

A depressed lunch lady finds new meaning in her mundane life when she falls for a troubled janitor.

Learn more about Will and his script here.

 

Fellini Winner – Best International Screenplay

The Art of Letting Go by Jason Chan 

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.

Learn more about Jason and his script here.

 

Feature Finalists

Spree by Laura Allen

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.

Learn more about Laura and her script here.

The Townhouse by Baruh Benjamins

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.

Learn more about Baruh and his script here.

Chico Grande by Jesus Celaya

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.

Learn more about Jesus and his script here.

Westchester by Sachin R. Mehta

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.

Learn more about Sachin and his script here.

 

Pilot Finalists

Junk Dreams by Maria Soscia

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.

Learn more about Maria and her script here.

The Orphan by Allie Kingsley & Tony Baker

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.

Learn more about Allie, Tony and their script here.

Squat by Bill Keenan

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.

Learn more about Bill and his script here.

Clementine by MJ Palo

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.

Learn more about MJ and her script here.

 

Short Screenplay Finalists

Sun Shine by Walker Hare

When an African American teenage girl tries to get a seemingly depressed white guy to open up, she discovers he’s on his way to commit a mass shooting.

Learn more about Walker and his script here.

Borders of Life by Mohamed Karim

A gritty portrait of courage, tragedy and immigrant life through the eyes of a Syrian refugee.

Learn more about Mohamed and his script here.

The Call by Colm Ryan

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.

Learn more about Colm and his script here.

The Scientist by Cameron Thrower & Joe McKernan

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.

Learn more about Cameron, Joe and their script here.

Semi-Finalists

The 2017 Semi-Finalists can be found here

Quarterfinalists

The 2017 Quarterfinalists can be found here

 

2016 Winners

Feature Winner

Mona. Richy. Robby. And Ray by Oreathia C. Smith

A black woman will not allow another black woman to attend her white church.

Learn more about Oreathia and her script here.

Short Screenplay Winner

Apart by Elizabeth Capot

A woman wakes up to find that she is literally falling apart again.

Learn more about Elizabeth and her script here.

 

Joplin Award Winner (Best International)

Parody by Chad J. Nelson & Alexander Ellerston

After a chance encounter with his identical twin’s mistress, a curious psychologist begins to unravel a web of deceit leading to fatal consequences.

Learn more about Chad, Alexander and their script here.

 

Cordelia Award Winner (Best UK)

Title IX by Haydn Fox

As a couple’s marriage heads towards a disastrous end, the story reflects on the events that brought them to the present.

Learn more about Haydn and his script here.

Roshan Winner (Best of India)

Deepest, Darkest or How Not to Lie by Paras S. Borgohain

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.

Learn more about Paras and his script here.

Feature Finalists

In the Cradle of Granite by Jonathan Holmes

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.

Learn more about Jonathan and his script here.

Amara, 15 by Hannah Leshaw

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 to leave her two little sisters behind.

Learn more about Hannah and her script here.

Dog by Conall Pendergast

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.

Learn more about Conall and his script here.

Death of An Ortolan by Justin Piasecki

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.

Learn more about Justin and his script here.

 

Short Screenplay Finalists

I Sleep Easy by Tess Carroll

A young girl demonstrates her method of appeasing the yellow-eyed beast that haunts her town.

Learn more about Tess and her script here.

When We Run by Nikki Tran

Saigon, 1978. A young girl learns the meaning of sacrifice during an impromptu escape out of Vietnam.

Learn more about Nikki and her script here.

Changelings by Nic Yulo

Struggling to keep his dysfunctional family afloat, a teenage boy challenges his immature father by threatening to ruin a family tradition.

Learn more about Nic and her script here.

 

Semi-Finalists

The 2016 Semi-Finalists can be found here.

 

Quarterfinalists

The 2016 Quarterfinalists can be found here.

2015 Winners

Feature Winner

Mouth by Kimi Howl Lee

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.

Learn more about Kimi and her script here.

Short Winner

Six Months of Wonder Woman by Susan Fleming 

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.

Learn more about Susan and her script here.

Joplin Award Winner

George! by Leonardo Noboru de Lima

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.

Learn more about Leonardo and his script here.

Cordelia Award Winner

Butter Side Up by Kitty Percy

When a hopelessly unlucky smalltime criminal kidnaps a celebrity by mistake, he finds his luck starting to change in unexpected ways.

Learn more about Kitty and her script here.

Feature Finalists

Scriptures and Cigarettes by Joseph O’Driscoll


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.

Learn more about Joseph and his script here.

i by Alex Rollins Berg

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.

Learn more about Alex and his script here.

The Anxieties of Peter Wilhelm by Palmer Holton

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.

Learn about Palmer and his script here.

Taking the Toll – The Life and Life of Gilbert Booth 

by Theodore Schaefer & Patrick Lawler

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.

Learn more about Theodore, Patrick and their script here.

Short Finalists

The Last Days of the Dolores Project by Ludwig Thelin

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.

Learn more about Ludwig and his script here.

Silk by Danielle Barcena 

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.

Learn more about Danielle and her script here.

Wake by Darren Robert Tibbits 

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.

Learn more about Darren and his script here.

 

Semi-Finalists

The 2015 Semi-Finalists can be found here.

 

Quarterfinalists

The 2015 Quarterfinalists can be found here.

2014 Winners

Winner

3 Faces of Hunger & Thirst by HF Crum

The true story of the assassination of a revolutionary Mexican presidential candidate unfolds from the original standoff of three gunmen in Tijuana.

Learn more about HF and his script here.

Short Winner

Winged by Jennifer Cui 

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.

Learn more about Jennifer and her script here.

Joplin Award Winner

The Longest Birthday by Savion Einstein

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.

Learn more about Savion and her script here.

Cordelia Award Winner

Face to Face by Jason Pittock

A cosmetic surgeon’s life starts to unpick at the seams after he accidentally ruins the face of a celebrity client.

Learn more about Jason and his script here.

Feature Finalists

Bad House by Doug Mallette

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.

Learn more about Doug and his script here.

Chicago Shuffle by Dennis Capps

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.

Learn more about Dennis and his script here.

Hambone by Kateland Brown

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.

Learn more about Kateland and her script here.

The History of Magic by José Luis González

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.

Learn more about José and his script here.

 

Short Finalists

Wolfie by Athenia Paris Mekarnia

A Muslim man finds a strange woman when he travels to a remote mountain in search of a wolf he encountered as a child.

Learn more about Athenia and her script here.

The Twelve Plagues by Jeremy Lerman

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.

Learn more about Jeremy and his script here.

WAABOOZ by Wenonah Wilms

A young Native American comic book fan faces his life and fear of dancing with the help of his superhero alter ego.

Learn more about Wenonah and her script here.

Semi-Finalists

The 2014 Semi-Finalists can be found here.

Quarterfinalists

The 2014 Quarterfinalists can be found here.

2013 Winners

Winner

Demain, Je Me Tue by Pierre Chance

In Tokyo, four strangers in life find a bond in death.

Learn more about Pierre and his script here.

Joplin Award Winner

Hand Lit Match by Rachael BernSousa & Mary Lusted

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.

Learn more about Rachael, Mary and their script here.

Cordelia Award Winner

Knock-Out by Christopher Brown

A young boxer must take his fight outside the ring when the guys he trains with discovers the truth about his sexuality.

Learn more about Christopher and his script here.

Finalists

A Cat’s Tale by Kendal Alexander Whitlock

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.

Learn more about Kendal and his script here.

Dead Dolores by Michael Yagnow

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.

Learn more about Michael and his script here.

Giants of the Valley by Bryce Wolfgang Joiner

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.

Learn more about Bryce and his script here.

We Lost Grace by Michael Quintana

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.

Learn more about Michael and his script here.

 

Semi-Finalists

The 2013 Semi-Finalists can be found here.

Quarterfinalists

The 2013 Quarterfinalists can be found here.

 

2012 Winners

Winner

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.

Learn more about Michael and his script here.

Cordelia Award Winner

Life In A Box by Nick Luddington

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.

Learn more about Nick and his script here.

Joplin Award Winner

 

Random Acts of Violence by Guy McDouall

A quarantined pacifist fights to help find a cure for the fits of murderous rage he and other test subjects have become afflicted with. 

Learn more about Guy and his script here

Finalists

Mallpocalypse by Ashleigh Powell

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

A tale of good versus evil set against the desolate backdrop of Dust Bowl era Oklahoma.

The Prime Mover by Alex Eylar

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

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.

 

Fellini Award Winners

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

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Winner

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.

Finalists

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. 

Winner

GLADLY MCGEE AND THE DAMN RETARDED F***** by Jerry Mahoney
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. 

Finalists

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.

2008

Winner

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.

Finalists

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.

2007

Winner

The Stones by Ana Lily Amirpour
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.

Finalists

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.

2006

Winner

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.

Finalists

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 latchkey 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 sadomasochistic 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.

2005

Winner

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.

Finalists

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 tail-spinning, 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.

2004

Winner

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.

Finalists

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.

2003

Winner

Escher by Jon Goldman

Finalists

Survival of the Fittest by Carl Bergetz
Blaring Static by Jason Wilder Konschak
This Time by Robert D. Walsh

2002

Winner

The Caddy by Colleen De Maio

Finalists

Fever by Lucky Jones
The Legend of Elos Mountain by Kevin Wilson
Peashooter by Colin Preston
To Stella, Love Joey by Russell Sommers
Zachary’s Love by Gregory Synstelien

2001

Winner

Class by Danielle Silvie Gershberg

Finalists

Sorrow’s Gate by Teri Haux with Diana Bard
Blue Moon in August by Chris Gordon
The Other Washington by Charles H. Emery
Abby Messina by Jenny Kilgen

2000

Winner

Dust by Sheri Yang

Finalists

Try the Nuts by Arzhang Kamarei
The Wizard Joe by Tony Urgo
Roaches 666 by Stu Woolley

1999

Winner

Angela’s Gate by Monika Moreno

Finalists

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
Divided Waters by Anita Sclar
Halloween Candy by Thomas M. Sipos
4 Ahau by George Taack
The End of the Night by Brian Weaver

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