The 15th edition of Montreal Independent Film Festival brings together independent film talents and artists from all over the world. The seasonal festival recently announced the winners of the latest edition which is an online event with screening and promotion options for the official selections and the award winners. The festival is about the spirit of indie cinema, discovery, arts, culture and finding outstanding independent films from all over the globe. It is our pleasure to announce the winners and the honorable mentions of the 15th edition of the festival.
Best Narrative Feature
Director: Robert Sedlacek
A bittersweet tale around a live interview radio broadcast that changes the lives of several innocent people. After lying low in the USA for almost 20 years Radek makes a surprise visit to his home city of Prague.
Best Narrative Short
Director: Ty Cooper
AMANDA, the latest film from Award Winning Director, Ty Cooper, is a story about love, trauma, relationships, art and community. Cooper was able to capture the essence of a relatable story through the capturing of what he has referred to as "the art of life."
Honorable Mention Narrative short
We Are the Apocalypse!
Director: Charles William Lane
An “arts collective” turns to terrorism to enact a grand scheme of social justice, but their plans go awry when they realize they’ve been conned from within. With nothing to lose, they change tack and return to what they know best.
Best Canadian Indie
Within a week / Dans une semaine
Director: Roberto Zorfini
He experienced some modest success with his "fantasy" books, but in the last three years his works have left something to be desired. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, he finds himself at home alone and jobless. Roberto has one week to write and deliver an original screenplay idea to 'wow' the people at NetView, but things may become complicated.
Best Feature Doc
A.I. AT WAR
Director: Florent Marcie
In the war zones of Mosul and Raqqa, then in Paris during the Yellow Vests uprising, the director confronts Sota, an A.I. robot, with the tragedy of mankind. As the story unfolds, a relationship develops between man and machine questioning our human condition and future.
Honorable Mention Feature Doc
DENE YI’INJETL - THE SCATTERING OF MAN
Director: Luke Gleeson
Between 1960 and 1961 the Province of British Columbia, then led by the Premier W.A.C. Bennett, underwent a series of nationalizations in order to create Provincial “Crown corporations”. This initiative included the creation of what is now known as BC Hydro. In 1968, BC Hydro completed construction on the W.A.C Bennett Dam and began flooding the Rocky Mountain Trench in northern British Columbia, Canada. The resulting flood greatly impacted the Tsay Keh Dene people who have inhabited this area since time immemorial.
Best Short Doc
Anything Can Happen
Director: Chase Gouthro
Faced with the possibility of her son Nicholas dying from intractable epilepsy, Dr. Jennifer Anderson, a Canadian physician and single mother of three, decides to treat her own child with cannabis. With the treatment, Nicholas goes from 3-4 seizures an hour, and in a near catatonic state, to playing with his twin brother and older sister, participating in life, and no longer needing emergency admissions to hospital.
Honorable Mention Short Doc
Director: Christopher Paik-Swan
An intimate observational documentary that follows a mother of three as she cares for her son with a disability. This documentary was made to create awareness for Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) by observing how it affects a four year old boy and his family.
Best Independent Film
Director: Marcelo Torcida
In the 1970s in Latin America, life was joyous but treacherous; Dictators and revolutionaries use the kidnapping of people as their preferred methodology to create fear and fund their lavish life style. LIME 3.31 is inspired by the true story of Ransom negotiator, Valente Flores who earns his living working for an insurance company which specializes in abductions: a job that tests not only his survival skills, but also his mantle state.
Director: Nathan Faudree
When Dr. Nathan Marsh wakes up in a mental institution from a 10 year catatonic state he has to watch the tapes from his last expedition to learn what eldritch horrors he has unleashed on the world. Using found footage shot in 2003 as flashback material for a present day story featuring a recurring character, SITE 13 crafts two films from two time periods into one movie that explores, myth, legacy, and madness over the course of more than a decade.
Director: Tuukka Matti Johannes Temonen
A Finnish farming family struggles to make ends meet. With the promise of an end to their financial strife, they switch crops to a field of cannabis. But their problems have only begun.
The Great Controversy between Good and Evil
Director: Attila Iacob Peli
Captivating viewers with stunning illustrations, Hope Discovery’s animated film - THE GREAT CONTROVERSY - offers answers to the most compelling questions of human existence. While fighting for his life, Samuel has a vision of an angel who takes him on a thrilling journey through earth’s history - from the Garden of Eden to the Second Coming of Jesus - highlighting universal themes of loss, brokenness and hope. If you’ve ever questioned how God could allow human suffering, or what the purpose of existence is, this film could provide the answers you need.
Honorable Mention Animation
Glad you Candy
Director: Susanne Deeken
‘Glad you Candy’ illustrates a journey through the emotional upheaval of depression, dark isolation and loneliness, offering courage, providing a different point of view and giving hope to brave fears and a break from paralysis.
Best Science Fiction
Director: Dwayne Cameron
June is a story about the fragility of life; the primal forces that drive and control us and the mystery of hope and new beginnings. Willow and David receive a serious diagnosis from their doctor and attempt to deal with the mundane as their world disintegrates in the following 24 hours. This one day in June for the couple holds raw despair, unleashing carnal natures but a transcendent occurrence offers them the hope of new life.
Best Web Series/TV Pilot
Director: Vasileios Billy Blioumis
The life of Kostas , a single dad, is set to change completely when the disappearance of his son will alter everything...
Best Experimental Feature
Seas of the Banished
Director: Sandra Alves
A young woman, holding an important secret involving her family, that has been living for ten years in a secluded beach, decides to end oppression.
Honorable Mention Experimental Feature
Director: Shaun Rana
In the future it’s possible to print custom made drugs & psychedelics in your home. Alice is stuck in her life, and is desperately looking for an escape. She finds a brand new psychedelic drug called Nirvana - designed to warp your reality. Alice takes it, arrives in Wonderland as her alter ego Ecila and gets lost in Wonderland, where she has to face her demons and nightmares.
Best Experimental Short
Director: Malak Mroueh
Courage is an experimental short film comprised of eight (8) acts in poetic form written by Dayna Ash, tackling, identity, freedom, and queer being in the Middle East, where the dominating discourse aims to dim and erase their existence.
Honorable mention Experimental Short
5th Cinematic Nail Factory
Director: Dalibor Martinis
The factory, built in 1925 (and closed in 2005) produced, using unchanged technology, horseshoe nails for horses, donkeys and camels. The factory workers, predominantly women, hammered at their working places in this type of production were just one of the gears in the machine.
For the film special software is developed so that, each time it is run, it generates a new random sequence of cuts.
A Greenland Story
Directors: Vincent Monahan, Marieke Lexmond
A Greenland story is an independent film made as a passion a project by the crew. Set along the West coast of Greenland, this film reveals a country and people at a crossroads between tradition and modernity. With no roads connecting its coastal communities, a humble boat and its Irish crew move quietly in the background giving rare access to remote villages up into the Arctic Circle.
Best Female Director
Director: Juanita Peters
Jared Peters and Sergei Radic, two youth from vastly different backgrounds become forever linked in a split second with the four pound trigger pull of a snub nosed 38. Twenty two years later, that single moment still reverberates when Jared Peter is released from prison for the death of Sergei’s father, a convenience store owner.
Honorable Mention Female Director
Pierre & Jeanne
Director: Clémentine Célarié
The Roland family lives in Etretat.
Jeanne, the youngest, inherits the fortune from Mr. Maréchal, a friend of the parents. Pierre the elder brother gets bogged down in questions questioning the sacredness of the family. Is this money hiding a heavy secret?
Best Human Rights
In Search of a Better World
Directors: Mary Darling, Robbie Hart
Dr. Akhavan is a professor of international law at McGill University. In 2017, Payam was selected as the CBC Massey Lecturer and crisscrossed Canada with his best-selling book ''In Search of a Better World''. This documentary takes viewers on a dramatic journey from his roots in Iran, to the World Court at The Hague and notably to the Rohingya Refugee camps in Bangladesh, as Payam builds a legal case against Myanmar's Military and State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Best First Time Filmmaker
When the Pure Form Sank
Director: Alfredo Picazo
August, 1936. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, two soldiers are ordered to take and execute a prisoner, without knowing his identity. During the long journey, the doubt makes both soldiers confront their ideals, which will provoke a change of plans...
Best Student Drama
Fallen Clouds in the City
Director: Meiyu Chen
After the accidental drowning of his father, Xu Sihe feels that her life has become incomprehensible. She begins to suffer from her mother's inexplicable moodiness, abuse and mistreatment. Then she realized that she has forgotten something important. She couldn't remember when her foot was pierced by a nail, nor why her favourite tape recorder had disappeared, nor why her mother, Xu Manzhen, began to hate her.
Best Student Animation
Director: Xuting Liu
ROCKS is a 2D 6 minutes and 19 seconds animation thesis film that talks about a young woman dealing with difficult memories of her father, an astronaut, and his decision to go away on a long space flight when she was a young girl.
Best Student Doc
Director: Sina Moazzenizadeh
In this poetic documentary, we meet characters in the pursuit of meaning, smoothly dissolving between different phases in life—a constructed tapestries of human behaviour in the depth of the crisis.
Under My Skin
Director: Sabah Boumeshouli
Ben, a transgender man, has withdrawn from the world for a while when one day he gets a call from a friend inviting him to a party, his identity conflict appears
Best Music Video
Director: Anjali Nayar
This film is the story of one young brown woman, who breaks out of the life expected of her. She doesn’t measure up to what a good South Asian woman should be: she’s not light enough or straight enough hair. Trapped in a sheltered life, she dreams of (or foreshadows) more. The cyclic nature of the opening scene is reminiscent not only of the repetitive nature of her daily life but also of samsara, the larger cycle of birth and death without enlightenment.
It's Not Over
Director: Alessandro Riccardi
Max and Sarah are lovers, they meet when Albert, her husband, is in the hospital to do his work as a doctor. One night, Albert dies in a domestic accident and the way is cleared for the two lovers who can come to light. Not long after, however, Max finds something disturbing in Sarah's behavior, and a series of suspicions creep into him. What if Sarah isn't the person she says she is?
Best Feature Director
GROUNDS OF HOPE
In a small rural town, Alex, a former professional boxer, lives as a worker in a concrete materials company. One night, chased by armed men, his twin sister breaks into his home with a migrant and his daughter. Alex, forced by the situation, accept to hide them, unaware that they are the object of many lusts. The spiral starts. With no choice and under financial pressure, he starts boxing in illegal matches.
Best Short Director
Director: Isaiah Thomas Butler
How do you distinguish dreams from reality when they both belong to the same nightmare. Real monsters takes you behind three different perspectives, the man, woman and child. We want to show people the ugly truth behind racism and the black community. Each dream sequence removes us from one nightmare only to let us live in the current reality through the black experience.
Ivan Maria Friedman
Guardians of Paradise
An intimate glance into the Burmese life and culture in the months preceding the 2021 military coup. A meditation on Freedom & Peace to support the People of Myanmar in their painful struggle towards self-determination and a more equal society.
Pierre & Jeanne
Pierre the elder brother gets bogged down in questions questioning the sacredness of the family.
Is this money hiding a heavy secret?
The Chimera Effect
As if studying for the bar exam was not hard enough, Samantha Antrum is also dealing with the recent death of her father. Prior to his passing, he wished to continue to “protect her from what’s to come” but will not be able to. Samantha's life starts to unravel as a mysterious “Watcher” takes residency deep into Samantha’s psyche. Samantha enters a race against time to discover the identity of this person who has entered her life and their intentions before it is too late.
Mengyao Mia Zhang
When a Latina transwoman in East LA is on the verge of losing her daughter to child services, she begins to unravel as she is forced to confront her buried traumas and fears.
Best Composer & Honorable Mention First Time Filmmaker
Untitled Number 4
Director: Eric Ransdell
An introverted young artist in Shanghai finds herself out of ideas as she prepares for her first solo show. After a one-night-stand with a mysterious American expatriate, she finds herself going back to him in the hope that his dark vision will somehow transform her work. It ultimately does. But in a way the artist never could have imagined.
Best Youth Artist
Fábio, a 12 year old boy, discovers a wishing well in a forest near his house and, from it, starts a series of mysterious encounters with his father, who died years ago.
Best Feature Script
Martin's Accidental Quest
Writer: John McCloskey
Martin Green is an underachieving lawyer in the small city of Dumiel, Indiana. He is a lovable loser, leading a small life. Although his wife Nora is a prominent voice on the city council, Dumiel is dominated by Mayor Jobst and his evil political machine.
Honorable Mention Feature Script
The Busy & The Tired
Writer: Randall Palmer
An aging F. Scott Fitzgerald attempts to revive his stagnant career by working as a screenwriter in 1930's Hollywood.
Best Unproduced Short Script
THE MUSIC LESSON
Writer: Victor Dean
A coming of age story of a student virtuoso trying to stand his ground against a music conservatory administrator who thinks he knows what's best for the musician.
Honorable Mention Short Script
Writer: Brett Howard Nelson
A blue-collar worker is promoted as company liaison for a Paris business trip. But his over-the-top French preparations put him on a fine line between cultural awareness and being a menace to society.