Venice Shorts of California has continued its online competition throughout the pandemic and has turned into one of the most popular film festivals with thousands of entries every year from all over the world. The monthly and annual event has featured some of the most well known names in the film industry together with emerging U.S. and international talents. It is important to realize the power of short filmmaking and it is fantastic to see well known names being involved in the production of meaningful, thought provoking indie short films of all genres. The festival alumni includes Oscar winners and nominees such as Gus Vant Sant, Jeremy Irons, Eric Roberts and Ross Kauffman. The festival aims to discover indie film projects but also encourages established names in the industry to take part in creation of short films. This edition also brings a film featuring Jessica Chastain in a short film project. Reck, an indie film about addiction, won the best narrative film.
LA Indies has been promoting and reporting for Venice Shorts of California in the past couple of years and it is once again our pleasure to announce the latest winners of Venice Shorts. All the award winners of Venice Shorts have the option to promote and screen their film projects throughout the whole year on LA Independent Film Channel. The festival provides a 24 hour screening window for the award winners who are interested in screening their projects online. The festival has screened over 200 films in the past year through LA Independent Film Channel.
Best Narrative Film
Dir: Eliot Charof
A desperate family struggling with substance use and child neglect resort to physical violence against each other to gain a drug prescription.
IMPORTANT THINGS DON’T MATTER
Dir: Gabriel Tizón
The film is shot in five years by the photographer Gabriel Tizón on numerous trips in African and European countries, to photograph and film through the encounter with people and places that suffer from the greed of the human being.
Best Indie Short & Best Short Director
Dir: Emiliano Ferrera
In "Redemption", in fact, the supernatural merges with reality in an attempt to dig into the soul of all those who grew up in arrogance and violence exercised by master fathers, at the mercy of a law created by men at the end of the nineteenth century.
Director: Jocelyn Fee Miller
A seven moment series depicting the karmic cycles of ego death and inner personal transformation. Especially in association with grief and death consciousness. A modern rock opera, an instant cult classic.
The Chemical Factory
Dir: Drew Leung
“The Chemical Factory” is a short animated documentary featuring a Chinese immigrant mother recounting her life growing up during the tumultuous 1950’s communist China to her American son during the COVID-19 pandemic, while drawing striking connections to the spate of violence towards the Asian community in America.
My Human Experience
Dir: Sylvia Ray
Logical and socially inadequate, alien explorer, Lex, is assigned to study the human race from a sociological perspective, a mission way outside her comfort zone. To make matters worse, she’s teamed up with the erratic and emotive, Xalax; her complete opposite.
Honorable Mention Web/Pilot/Series
River City - Episode 01
Directors: Jal Michael, RC Nelson
The story begins with the protagonist, Edwin, stumbling upon a strange cabin after his truck breaks down in a rural wooded area. Inside the cabin Edwin meets a peculiar old man known as Gatekeeper. He persuades Edwin to stay in the mystical town, River City.
Libre - A Celebration of the Queer Body
Dir: Arthur Lopes
Four individuals from the queer community reflect on struggles and personal triumphs that universally translate to open minds and those of a willingness to learn and understand. A visual experience that gives open access to an artistic photoshoot in which the individuals celebrate their queer bodies and complete a journey of expression and self-love.
Directors: Brian Mitchell, Ian Start
A drifter receives a mysterious voicemail from his soon-to-be ex-wife, who has gone missing. As he searches for her, he uncovers the sinister nature of her disappearance.
Best Music video
Jane Leo - "Tell Me"
Director: Gille Klabin
A micro budget neo-noir music video short for the track "Tell me" by Jane Leo. Filmed, Directed, Edited and VFX by one person during the COVID summer of 2020
Best Horror & Best Edit
Dir: Renetta G. Amador
Detective Frank Ramirez is in it up to his neck. First he loses his partner in a nightmare bust gone wrong, and now he has to explain to Internal Affairs otherworldly events that occurred and how Joseph Crist died... and why they all might be next. This tale explores what we choose to see versus what the reality actually is.
Best Science Fiction
Dir: Bobby Brodney
A young woman discovers an element that could replace and end the fossil fuel industry.
Best Student Film
Dir: Lexee Gordoun
When three interconnected men reunite following WWII, they must confront their past clouded decisions in order to overcome their trauma... instead, the men bury their wounds in greed, temporarily numbing the pain and causing great collateral damage.
Best Student Animation Film
A Trout's Journey
Dir: Felix Emmanuel
A Trout’s Journey is a collaboration between director Felix Emmanuel and Illustrator Nanna Anna. A hand drawn animated short film about A Boy, A Captain, A Stranger, and two fish, exploring universal themes such as love, sorrow, and the injustice of life, all seen through the eyes of a young boy.
Dir: Glenn Miller
In 1984, a high stakes secret Poker Game was attended by 5 of the most influential spiritual leaders on the planet. With a combined 2 billion “followers”, these holy men, gurus, and even cult leaders plot an entirely new religion which could change the world.
Best Unproduced Script
ZEDA THE HUNTER
Writer: Alexandru Ranta Gheorghe
Winter 2047, Dave climbs the mountains to hunt in a restricted area. Following a wolf in the depths of forest he discovers an ancient ruin. Dave walks throught the gate and enters a mysterious land. Here he will face his alter-ego: an old man named Zeda, a hunter from an ancient time. From hunter Dave becomes hunted ...and he will receive a new identity. Dave starts a new life in the wilderness of mountains.
Best First Time Filmmaker & Best Cinematographer & Honorable Mention Actress
Directed and Shot by: Aidan Tanner
Starring: Jessica Chastain
A woman has a phone conversation with her significant other which slowly deteriorates as she comes to realize that the world around her might not be real.
Best Female Director
Dir: Jen Araki
Emma returns to her childhood home upon her father’s death. But what set out to be a simple funeral service becomes a journey down nostalgia lane, making her confront her bittersweet relationship with her father.
Best Short Film Actress
Dir: John Scott III
Starring: Kim Klasner
A blind date, courtesy of the human-robot dating site Automate, goes awry when it's revealed that the two have history.
Best Short Film Actor
Eric Blake for Beautiful Violence
A powerful and gripping story about a white terminally ill businessman who uses racism to force an African American man he never met before to kill him in order for his family receive his life insurance money.
Dir: Barrington Marson
Losing all hope in the justice system she takes matters into her hands forcing responsibility onto the guilty.
Best Short Film Producer
Producers: Andrew Brezny , Daniel Koenigsberg
After a big score goes wrong, Leam is imprisoned. As he reminisces about the choices he has made up until this point, a police psychologist (Patricia Sluka) tries to get him on the right path.
Best Short Film Script
Writer: Giorgia Testa
A young woman in her 20’s and a teenage boy go through the same trauma in different circumstances.
Best Composer & Honorable Mention Experimental
Yantra de Vilder For Have We Paid Our Dues?
Created during lockdown 2021, this piece is a reflection on these challenging times that we are going through as human beings.
Best Youth Actress
Sierra Dietz For Blood Thirsty
A teenage vampire fights to survive a night filled with guns, knives and blood.
Best Poster & Honorable Mention Student Film
One Of These Days
Dir: Clayton Henderson
A lone man searches for his true love and a place to call home in the midst of a mysterious attack.
Honorable Mention Music Video
Dir: Paul Boyd
Shot in the style of a short-film for festivals and internet. Presented as a triptych; three music videos that combine to make a three-act Short Story to the music of Peter Lake.