2022 Shortsfest Award Winners

Thank You for Supporting Aspen Film and the 31st Annual Aspen SHORTSFEST!

Aspen Film’s Shortsfest is an Oscar®-qualifying film festival in five categories – Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, and Short Short. Special thanks to all members of our Competition, Ellen and Youth Juries.

JURY AWARD FOR ANIMATION + ELLEN JURY AWARD
Winner: FREEDOM SWIMMER

Olivia Martin-Mcguire (Australia/France)

 

Jury: “Strong and timely story about political turmoil, and generational handing of struggle against oppression. An elegant marriage between animation and live action.”

 

Ellen Jury: “Looking to the past to offer insight into the present, this poetically animated documentary interweaves hand-drawn animation with archival historical footage. In this story of escape, a grandfather tells about his perilous swim from China to Hong Kong, as he encourages his granddaughter in her own quest for freedom at a dangerous time in history.”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – ANIMATION

THE SHAMAN’S APPRENTICE directed by Zacharias Kunuk (Canada)
Jury: “For its mastery of stop-motion animation, and the importance of sharing Inuit stories with the world.”

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF US directed by Etgar Keret (Poland)
Jury: “For taking us on a compelling journey through life, from new love humor to middle-aged darkness. Powerful yet seemingly artistic simplicity.”

JURY AWARD FOR COMEDY
Winner: F^¢K ‘€M R!GHT B@¢K 

Harris Doran (US)

 

Jury: “Great title, Super cast, super funny, very satisfying story about workplace abuse, drug testing, and the clever discovery of how to get revenge legally!”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – COMEDY

THE DIAMOND directed by Vedran Rupic (SWEDEN)
Jury: “A real audience pleaser, totally unique, out-of-the-box humor, commentary on how friendship stands alone, and that friendship is wealth.”

 

WE SHOULD GET DINNER! directed by Eliza Jiménez Cossio, Lexi Tannenholtz (US)
Jury: “An engaging commentary on family connection, with great rapport between the actors and a clever ending.”

JURY AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY
Winner: VIDEO VISIT
Malika Zouhali-Worrall (US)

 

Jury: “For its excellence in storytelling that is at once evocative, intimate, and systemic, and its contribution to exposing the rot in the American prison system by presenting one institution’s noble efforts to work towards positive change.”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – DOCUMENTARY

NUISANCE BEAR directed by Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden (Canada)
Jury: “For its innovative technique in both cinematography and sound, compelling storytelling about the challenges we face in balancing conservation and civil protection, and for its impressive access to the point of view of animals.”

 

THE VICTORIAS directed by Ethan Fuirst (US)
Jury: “For its fascinating approach underscoring our power for collective imagination, its unique portrayal of aspiring actresses dedicated to their craft, and for its contribution to ensuring our history remembers not just the rich and powerful, but even ordinary individuals.”

JURY AWARD FOR DRAMA
Winner: OUSMANE

Jorge Camarotti (Canada)

 

Jury: “A very moving, refreshing, and original immigrant story setting a great example of family and in particular male kindness all while subverting stereotypical prejudices.”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – DRAMA

SOME STILL SEARCH directed by Nesaru Tchaas (US)
Jury: “Very important story told with great compassion, authenticity, and restraint exposing the horrific consequences of the tearing apart of families by ICE.”

 

DEAR MAMA directed by Winter Dunn (US)
Jury: “A heartfelt story with great performances asking the question of how we each handle grief and showing the importance of communication and connection during times of loss.”

JURY AWARD FOR SHORT SHORT
Winner: STRANGER THAN ROTTERDAM WITH SARA DRIVER 

Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster (US)

 

Jury: “This is a great storyteller telling a great story, where limited and eccentric animation helps lift an absurd and eccentric story.”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – SHORT SHORT

DEERWOODS DEATHTRAP directed by JAMES P GANNON (US)
Jury: “A very funny telling of a family tragedy, full of twists and turns, that turned out to not be entirely tragic.”

AUNTIE
directed by Fawzia Mirza (US)
Jury: “With a script that is modern and young, and that accurately reflects generational dissonance, we can all embrace our inner auntie.”

JURY AWARD FOR STUDENT SHORT
Winner: EGÚNGÚN (MASQUERADE) 

Olive Nwosu (Nigeria/UK)

 

Jury: “For its delicate handling of complex emotions related to returning to one’s homeland after having created a new life for oneself elsewhere, for its deft use of camera movement, sound design, and editing demonstrating a strong capacity for collaboration, and for the kinetic tension between its two beautifully cast female lead characters.”

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS – STUDENT SHORT

CHARLOTTE directed by Zach Dorn (US)
Jury: “For its impressive artistry, ingenious faux-documentary approach, and moving story about dedication to one’s artistic ambitions against all odds.”

SOFT ANIMALS
directed by Renee Zhan (UK/US)
Jury: “For its hilarious juxtaposition between hallucinatory hand-drawn animation and self-conscious verité voiceover dialogue, resulting in an evocative statement about the things we don’t say to each other.”

AUDIENCE AWARD
Winner: THE DIAMOND

Vedran Rupic (Sweden)

YOUTH JURY AWARD
Winner: ENJOY

Saul Abraham (UK)

 

Youth Jury: “We believe our winning film stood out due to its relevance and resonance across generations. With recent events, and in our formative years as young adults we have each endured our own challenges and gained our own stories from it. In these difficult times, we have found that our pillars of support may come from unexpected mediums. From pre-production, story and character development, cinematography and the way it was tied together in post allowed for a very cohesive film. Various elements of design were considered and meticulously used to drive the story in an interesting visual way. The imagery of the cleansing water, paired with the sound design helps to create a film that is captivating for audiences. In addition, the use of colors which displayed color theory and emotion mainly through the costume design added to the brilliant selections made by the director.”

 

SPECIAL MENTION – YOUTH JURY

WARSHA directed by Dania Bdeir (Lebanon/France)
Youth Jury: “This year’s films did an excellent job of tackling large issues that exist in the world, such as identity, climate, family relationships, and more. This [film] demonstrated the themes that were prevalent throughout this festival such as freedom and self-expression. Most of its impact came from showing the courage required to be one’s true self.”

VIMEO STAFF PICK AWARD
Winner: THE VICTORIAS

Ethan Fuirst (US)

 

Megan Orestky, Senior Curator at Vimeo states: “The recipient of the 2022 Vimeo Staff Pick Award presents a compelling parallel between how history has changed for immigrant families since the early 20th century, and how it has unfortunately stayed the same. From a unique angle, it demonstrates the value of placing ourselves in the shoes of our neighbor and the power of empathy and understanding in trying times.”