This film shows what can be done in animation with a small amount of money. While pointing out that their town has the worst air quality in the world, the filmmakers also highlighted many good things that they love about their town. It is nice to see a group of young people working together, learning to animate, and appreciating the virtues of their town while acknowledging its problem.
As we watched through the short films we all agreed that Ping.Pong. was one of the most relatable films out of the bunch. We’ve witnessed the way people use others, blowing off family in hopes to have better things to do and quickly regretting it or simply having low self esteem in some cases and making poor decisions. PING.PONG. showed that we sometimes see the red flags in people but become oblivious to them in hopes that things will be good. This short narrative was inspirational, we as teens were able to empathize and sympathize for the main character. We also noticed the different framing and composition techniques that made the short feel like reality.
This award was earned for the creation and animation of a gorgeous and absurd short about a man and a psychedelic need for salt.
The Last Page
Kota Nakamura’s The Last Page takes us on an emotional journey from the first seconds of his touching tale of a man faced with closing a decades-long life chapter. This beautifully paced, intimate portrait of a bookstore and its carefree owner is filled with profound points of reflection. It poignantly signals our current intersection in time where physical spaces are disappearing in an increasingly digital world–rapidly quickened by the pandemic. The film’s natural, cleanly composed cinematic style accentuates both the vulnerability and sense of pride of a man tending to a sacred space dedicated to “the joy of searching and the pleasure of beautifully encountering.” As a jury, we felt this film was strong in every category (story structure, visuals, sound, overall impact), and very deserving of the win.
Our jury was pleased to view such amazing work by youth. We saw sophisticated filmmaking that was beautiful, compelling and plot driven. We were particularly struck by the recurrence of ethical dilemmas and characters at a moral crossroad in the films. CHICO VIRTUAL is exemplary of good storytelling that is engaging, relevant and affirms the life experience of undocumented youth.
In Search of Mount Analogue
In Search of Mount Analogue is extremely impressive and demonstrates a keen sense of awareness. Through the blending of techniques this piece simultaneously delivers on the aesthetic and conceptual planes. We felt like we were on a rollercoaster with this film, but we didn’t realize we were on a rollercoaster until the very end.
Wolf in Dude’s Clothing
A beautifully shot and smart satire, which is able to communicate a lot with very economical use of language. It pulled us in from the very beginning and sustained our attention throughout, a surprisingly funny short that makes a clever point about the climate and is very well done.
Rising Star Award
The Making of My Seasons
The programming committee was unanimous in its decision of choosing this film for the Rising Star Award. We were all impressed by the creative and innovative narrative techniques, the emotionally striking performances, the pure raw talent and most importantly, the courageous approach to such emotionally delicate material.
Social Impact Award
Let Us Breathe
We are delighted to present the Impact Award to the winning filmmakers of the documentary Let Us Breathe. The inspiring story of a local community coming together to fight a serial polluter that the filmmakers Katie, Liz, Ali and Alisa have told is beyond deserving. Created in 9 weeks while attending Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the social impact they created by giving this community a platform to share their struggles was absolutely inspiring.