Posted by Larry Gleeson
Ceremony Caps Four Days of Panel Discussions, Keynotes…And Brewery-Hosted Happy Hours
Jury Confers Awards on Shorts, Docs, and Narratives
Audience Awards Honor Three Favorite Films
JOSÉ FELICIANO: BEHIND THIS GUITAR Claims Filmocracy’s First-Ever Inspiration Award
Los Angeles, CA (December 8, 2020)—Filmocracy, the world’s premier digital screening, distribution and experience platform, announced FILMOCRACY FEST 2020’s first awards Sunday evening, following a Boomtown Brewery-infused happy hour capping a sprawling schedule of screenings, panels, industry networking events and keynotes over the four days of the virtual festival December 3-6.
In announcing the Awards, Filmocracy CEO Paul Jun said, “Today, of course, we are in different times, and celebrations are different, but we wanted to recognize our winners. Whether you believe in awards or prizes or not, they can really matter for indie filmmakers and can make the difference in helping get into other events, to secure distribution, and to attract audiences.”
Festival Founder and Executive Director Jon Fitzgerald added, “Most importantly, we want to begin by thanking ALL our filmmakers for presenting works of uncommon quality and insight to our jury and our audience; we felt it was one of the most vibrant and content-rich programs yet presented at a virtual festival.
Any successful film festival is anchored by films. That’s why we attend festivals: to see great films, discover new talent, and hear amazing stories. Thanks to all our filmmakers for sharing your work, and your time, with us.”
Filmocracy Fest presented its first-annual Inspiration Award to the documentary JOSÉ FELICIANO: BEHIND THIS GUITAR, by Frank Licari & Helen Murphy (USA). Revered as one the world’s greatest guitarists, nine-time Grammy®/Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient Feliciano is the first Latin American to win Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Grammy Awards and is the first global Latin crossover artist. He is a pioneer in successfully blending genres as well as being a masterful musical interpreter.
An American immigrant in pursuit of his dream to one day perform on the world stage, he is the story of one of the greatest and arguably most underrated superstar artists of all time. The award followed a world-premiere video presentation of Felciano’s incendiary performance of his hit Light My Fire; Feliciano’s cover of The Doors’ tune won the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, the same year he also won the Grammy for Best New Artist.
Claiming the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature was HER NAME WAS JO, by Joe Duca (USA). In the film, ten year- old Jo spends her days along the Shenandoah River with her best friend Selma, fishing, scrapping for metal—basically, just surviving. But when her abusive junkie stepdad dies, Jo decides, with Selma in tow, to dump his body, steal his car, and set off across the country in search of her real dad, a legendary folk singer in Los Angeles.
The Feature Documentary Award went to PIANO TO ZANSKAR, by the UK’s Michael Sulima. Facing a dim future in retirement, 65-year old piano tuner Desmond O’Keeffe decides instead to take on the most challenging delivery of his career: transporting a 100-year old Broadwood & Sons piano from London to a primary school in a faraway Buddhist village, some 14,000 feet above sea level, deep in the Indian Himalayas.
Claiming the Best Documentary Short Award was Canada’s GIRL IN THE HALLWAY, by Valerie Barnhart. “Why does Little Red Riding Hood give Jamie nightmares? It’s been fifteen years, and the girl in the hallway haunts him still. This is a testament to locked doors. A lullaby is sung by wolves with duct tape and Polaroids. Not all children make it out of the forest. Some stories children shouldn’t hear.”
Best Narrative Short went to 1,2,3 ALL EYES ON ME, directed by Emil Gallardo (USA). In that film, a crisis suddenly engulfs an elementary school campus, and Ms. Leena, a determined art teacher, tries everything she can to save her frightened class.
The last juried award, Filmocracy conferred The Student Filmmaker Award upon TECH WEEK, directed by USC student Caden Hollander (USA). TECH WEEK is a feature-length movie musical he wrote, directed, produced, and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime. The film follows Peter (Euan Cousar) as he volunteers during the final week of rehearsals for a youth musical theater production, where he is exposed to the magical world of musical theater.
Filmocracy Fest gave three Audience Awards: The combined Audience Award for Best Short Film went to THE CORONATION, by Dhruv Sud (USA). In this rhinestone encrusted fable, a young boy sneaks out of his parents’ home in New Jersey to see his drag queen friends in New York City. While there, he is encouraged to try drag for the first time and he is crowned queen for a night.
THE WISHING TREE, by Laura Adamo (Canada), captured the Audience Award for Feature Narrative. Set against the most stunning backdrop of Northern Ontario’s hiking trails, THE WISHING TREE—a Filmocracy Fest World Premiere—is the story of one woman’s hiking expedition initiated as a quest for perspective, peace, answers, and ultimately a way to heal from personal tragedy.
Finally, the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature was awarded to the timely WOMEN IN BLUE by Deirdre Fishel (USA). WOMEN IN BLUE follows the stories of the women police officers in Minneapolis who try to reform the department and restore trust in the community after a high-profile police shooting forces its first female chief to resign.
Jury members included: Urs Baur, Elliot Kotek, and Grace Mora (documentary features); Tana Jamieson, Alan Ng, and Nathan Sutton (narrative features); and Henry Eshelman, Michael Kuehnert, and Daniel Sol (narrative and documentary shorts).
The First Annual Filmocracy Fest is an annual juried film festival the debuted in December 2020 in Los Angeles, California, and nationwide. Filmocracy presents a robust slate of 44 films from a dozen countries; numerous panels featuring industry professionals; a mentorship program from 25 festival ambassadors; live performances; script readings; cause-related partners; and dozens of virtual conversations with directors and industry talent. Jon Fitzgerald serves as Executive Director.
Filmocracy is a film and festival streaming platform that rewards users for discovering amazing independent films. Users earn virtual popcorn for watching and rating movies, which can be spent in their shop to earn movie tickets, redeem gift cards, or attend virtual film festivals the host from around the world. Bringing a powerful combination of technologies together to enhance the virtual cinema and conference experience for filmmakers, industry professionals, and audiences around the world. Filmocracy’s mission is to help all independent filmmakers reach wider audiences and grow their communities through storytelling. Festival Co-Founder Paul Jun serves as CEO of Filmocracy.
Filmocracy also has a library of film titles for streaming that is constantly evolving and rotating, with 2600 titles currently available.
(Source: Press release provided by PMG, Henry Eshelman/Alexa Oliphant)