2014 Award Winning Films
Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Animated Short
Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Documentary
Best Foreign Short
Audience Choice Awards
2014 In Competition
Echoes – Narrative Feature | United States | 93:00
Devilishly handsome, this slow-burn thriller feels like a grown-up just walked into the room. Tight performances from the leads really stand out against the familiar California landscapes. The film has a lot of fun with the genre and they keep things lively in a very natural way. Felt like the perfect fit to open our second affair.
One Weekend – Narrative Feature | United States | 66:00
First time director Diana Cignoni has rendered a beautifully tranquil film with a steady hand and an incredible sense of design and space. Featuring wonderfully unique visuals, an art-house pace and touching performances, this film brings a lovely depth to the screen that instantly resonated with us here at SaMo Indie. Come in, sit down and lose yourself in this meditative film.
Look At Me Now aka Sa Se Mig Nu – Narrative Short | Denmark | 16:18
To be frank, this movie felt heavy in the beginning, but it settles in smooth. Poignant performances permeate a film that treads delicately along fractious issues and stereotypes. In the end it’s careful and still touchingly believable. Let’s just say a father’s love endures and these actors earned their moments.
Gloria – Narrative Short | United States | 7:45
A familiar and endearing short, these talented filmmakers pulled it off well enough to sell it to some legitimate children of the 80’s. It’s almost like we didn’t want to smile, but couldn’t help ourselves anyway. Bold choices by the performers, it felt like they took risks, but more importantly, it looks like they had fun.
Mouse-X – Narrative Short | United Kingdom | 15:00
This trip down the rabbit hole is about as elegant as a short can be. The set design is a stand-out feature in this tightly woven jigsaw puzzle movie. The lead is compelling, the story a nice bit of fun and the imagination is endless. A better mouse trap indeed!
El Camino Real – Narrative Short | United States | 13:41
We actually received two films titled “El Camino Real” this year, with both receiving accolades. One in the form of an Honorable Mention and this fun short which is in competition. Easily one of the most imaginative films we have seen here at SaMo Indie, “El Camino Real” is a wonderful exercise in old school filmmaking. Great design, interesting visuals and an engaging form that balances wonderfully in a surrealist package. Experimental filmmaking that takes risks, invites discussion and actually goes somewhere, this one is a real gem.
Passages – Narrative Short | Bermuda | 7:00
This delightful short film comes to us from the British Territorial island of Bermuda, a SaMo Indie first! A grand telling with a generous nod to the silent film era of days gone by, “Passages” follows a boy struggling to cope. This short journey features a richly textured score and a surprisingly mature performance from the young principal actor. Short and sweet, this film is touching and sure to delight.
The Stomach – Narrative Short | United Kingdom | 15:00
A really well made short, “The Stomach” arrived at the SaMo Indie offices firing on all cylinders. Refreshingly disturbing, great visuals combined with compelling performances across the board. An engaging storyline kept us riveted and this ended up being a pretty universal programming team favorite. We’re not ones for gore and yet, we’d go so far as to say this one might not be for the squeamish. We’d tell you to close your eyes, but we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to look away.
Killing Happy – Narrative Short | United States | 14:43
Well, we did say we honor independent film and this one is honestly skewed just a little over into the “pro” world. By a “little” we mean the cast is lead by Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland, with supporting roles covered by enough talent that you might think we’re on HBO. And yet, this is a genuinely funny, really well executed film. It’s played all over and for good reason, it’s just a lot of fun to watch.
Oh! My Princess – Narrative Short | South Korea | 16:23
This film from Korea demonstrates some excellent technical work, especially for an independent short. Teetering on the fatalistic side, the film is poignant at times and immediately familiar to anyone who has spent any measurable time with middle class youth. Strong filmmaking, great performances and a really neat look at Seoul at night, Oh! My Princess is a dark delight to behold.
Mirror – Narrative Short | United States | 11:00
“Mirror” was such a good looking film, we were frankly surprised at the quality of the work. Furthering our surpise was the discovery that this film was made as part of a 48 Hour Film Project. Prior to seeing this film, we here at SaMo Indie held such films in pretty low regard, as we’ve always believed that good filmmaking is born of great care and taking one’s time. The filmmakers on “Mirror” have shown us how wrong we were to make that assumption and have executed a strong, tight, interesting and beautiful short.
Failure Groupies – Narrative Short | United States | 12:32
A cute tween film, “Failure Groupies” is handily executed by Indian born director Mandira Chauhan. With surprising aplumb, she tackles some tricky topics with fun, keeping the film moving along briskly. Careful cinematography and good performances from the child actors bode highly for these filmmakers and what is yet to come from them.
Gallery Girl – Narrative Short | United Kingdom | 8:00
This dark comedy takes aim right at the soft center of the modern art world. Exceptionally well done visually, these filmmakers captured a very lively piece of cinema in a bottle. Even if you’re a pretentious art snob at heart, we bet this film will get a chuckle out of you by the end. Don’t worry, you can tell everyone it was an ironic laugh.
Applesauce – Narrative Short | United States | 11:00
A campy bit of absurdist humor, this imaginative short takes the road rarely traveled and makes a little magic in the process. Might not change your life, but they never flinch and they keep you right at the edge of the fourth wall. We’d call it tongue in cheek, but it’s braver than that.
Flame – Narrative Short | United Kingdom | 7:30
A dark red and black piece of eye candy that moves with a cat like grace and the confidence of a seductress. This petite film will draw you in just close enough to feel the heat and then give you a peck on the cheek before you go.
CONCRETE / NIGHT aka NUIT / BETON – Narrative Short | France | 19:00
This Parisian crime drama mixes great visuals with a steady directorial hand and a languid, almost blues-y pace that makes for a fun ride. They make great use of spaces, lighting and visuals with strong performances throughout. The story is engaging and moves well, pulling us into the protaganist’s world with ease.
The Reward – Narrative Short | United States | 5:00
This micro action short features set design that oozes with mood that sets up perfectly the well crafted and choreographed fight sequence. A bit of over the top, hyper violence that has fun showing off how cool it looks. Well executed film that ought to leave you with a grin you’re not sure you should be sporting.
Gift – Narrative Short | United States | 16:32
A dark and brooding tween film, the capable hand of the filmmakers is evident from frame one. Lovingly crafted, the visuals are tight, with noteworthy performances from the young cast. Set design and locations tie perfectly into the strong story, at times thrilling, while at others, the film renders itself reflective and sweet without treacle. A fantastic journey that just escapes from the easy answers and leaves us wanting.
Too Bad – Animated Short | Italy | 18:06
If you want a continental point of view on our beloved nation, you’d be hard pressed to look past this animated monster from Italy. The film is stark, the vision bleak and the reflection is on us. Close your eyes if you like, but we’ve painted ourselves an ugly visage abroad. The animation is a ride in itself, keep up if you can, we bet you’ll talk about it over coffee.
Dogonauts: Enemy Line – Animated Short | United States | 17:00
A super fun, really well made stop motion film, Dogonauts explores the oftentimes odd nature of conflict, our basic desire for cooperation and the absurdities that are too often lived out in real life battles the world over. The animators keep the pace lively, the expressions innately human and serve up a fight scene that would make William Shatner’s Captain Kirk green with envy.
Collectors – Animated Short | Switzerland | 5:00
This thought provoking short film has had wide plays to global audiences and for good reason. It’s short, to the point, imaginative and focuses a sharp lens on an increasingly consumption obsessed, global culture.The stark animation provides a perfect landscape to explore a rich topic in a compact space.
Heaven of Cherubs – Documentary Short | Brazil | 25:40
If you don’t live in this part of Brazil, you’ve probably never seen this part of Brazil. Art meets art meets Brazilian entrepreneurship in a tidy package that beats any travel show we’ve seen. That there’s an industry that hasn’t been taken up by a multi-national gave us a smile. Cheapest vacation you’ll ever have.
Getting To The Nutcracker – Feature Documentary | United States | 98:00
The serenity of this film is pretty astounding. As organizers of things ourselves, we could only imagine this production to be a monumental undertaking. The steady hand of the ballet company director is reflected best by the sincerity the filmmakers captured. A slice of life in a world that we think few see and more should.
Cab City – Documentary Short | United States | 22:00
Cab City chronicles the clash between technology and jobs in San Francisco, as licensed cab drivers face increasing competition from tech based ride share firms such as Lyft (the source of those pink mustachioed cars) and Uber. The doc is fair, it raises some really great issues and left us torn as to which side has the right of it. Is it progress to supplant a well regulated, stable industry with an unknown tech solution? The battle continues and it appears that the first shots are being fired right in tech’s backyard.
Art as a Weapon – Feature Documentary | United States | 76:00
Beautifully wrought, this daring documentary shines a light on a remarkable school in Myanmar (Burma) that teaches street art as a form of non-violent struggle. While Myanmar has recently made strides on the international stage, decades of military rule still loom large over the landscape. Both the artists and the filmmakers themselves braved arrest and even torture. The film chronicles the journey of these young students as they emerge from the darkness of military rule. Regardless of what your take on graffitti is, watching these artists plant the first tendrils of open speech reminds us just how much freedom and struggle can be expressed at the end of a spray can.
Fading Stars – Documentary Short | United States | 18:00
This short doc chronicles the death of sea stars along the West coast of the United States from Alaska to California as researchers struggle to find answers to the mystery. With wide ranging theories, these filmmakers gently pull back another layer on what seems almost unmistakably destructive human activity. Some of these little fellas are dying right off the shores of our hometown by the sea. Awareness of these issues can always be increased until things change for the better, you know?
Sanctuary – Documentary Short | United States | 9:00
This surprising doc turned a lot of notions on their heads in the SaMo Indie offices. What urban youth outreach looks like. What conservation looks like. What our relationship to nature looks like. And, perhaps most importantly, what sometimes drives our preconceptions about the people we see and how we view the things they do. This film features birds of prey in captivity and yet, the real sanctuary is perhaps more subtle than what the title might suggest. On its face it seems clear, yet the devil is always in the details.
Cotton Road – Feature Documentary | United States | 72:50
Haunting isn’t large enough a word to describe this incredibly well made documentary. Following cotton from a farmer in the rural south through the modern consumer goods production cycle, this film will take you to places few Westerners get to see. Eye opening first hand accounts of life under the grand reach of global trade, Cotton is at once a humbling testimony to the ingenuity of humankind while also laying bare the staggering cost consumer choice has on everything from labor to our environment.
2014 Honorable Mentions
50 Kisses – United Kingdom / Australia / Turkey | Director Evan Marlow
A Different Kind of Farm – United States | Director Caroline Harding
A Star For Rose – United States | Director Daniel Yost
Absolution – Australia | Director Jad Haber
And Did They Listen? – United States | Director Michael Horn
Beyond The Divide – United States | Director Jan Selby
Birthday Present – Australia / Israel | Director Guy Lichtenstein
BIZBAZ – Israel | Director Asaf Gik
Boone & Slade – United States | Director Eric Jaffe
Bum on a Bench: A Fight to the Death at Storybook Park – United States | Director Eli Halbreich
Cassandra – France | Director Guy-Roger Duvert
Chasing Stars – United States | Director Tom Mason
Closed Door Open – United States | Director Daniel TC Molloy
Coiled – United States | Director Tim French
The Cold and the Quiet – United States | Director Colleen Griffen
Curio Shop: A Post Apocalyptic Acid Western – United States | Director Eric S. Anderson
Cuando el Naranjo Despeirte – Argentina | Director Martin Petrucci
Detective Detective Detective – United States | Director Justin Edwards
The Door to Door Method – United States | Director Walter Moise
Double Blind – China | Director Jian Qun Cui
Driven – United States | Director Michael Zachary Huber
El Camino Real – United States | Director David McClendon
Einstein Wrong – The Miracle Year – United States | Director David de Hilster
El Ultimo de la Bola – Mexico | Director Tony Macias
Eyes On The Sky – United States | Director Mitch Marcus
Fatty – United States | Director Kat Waller
First Light – United Kingdom | Director Tom Calder
The Game Show – United Kingdom | Director John Edwards
Get Out of the House – United States | Director Oliver Salk
Gone South: How Canada Invented Hollywood – Canada | Director Leslie D. Bland
Handuken – United Kingdom | Director Chris Chung
Hello Sunshine – United Kingdom | Director Dan Nathan
High Lows – United Kingdom | Director Alessio Zanin
Hope On The Horizon – United States | Director Donna York
I’ll Take Care of You – United States | Director Morgan Peterson
Indigo – United States | Director John Hawthorne Smith
I Need My Monster – United States | Director Stephen Baker
In The Dark – United States | Director Bettina Bilger
I Sell Love – Hong Kong | Director Kevin Chu
Journey To Mt. Fuji – France / Japan | Director Cris Ubermann
Juliette – France | Director Maud Lazzerini
Kook – United States | Director Drew Bachrach
Lady Luck – United Kingdom | Director Jo Lewis
Lost Citizens – Italy | Director(s) Sebastiana Etzo and Carla Etzo
Lucan Cain – United States | Director Cullen Metcalf-Kelly
M Cream – India | Director(s) Agneya Singh and Aban Raza
Memento Mori – Australia | Director Stacey Quine
Miracle Babies – India | Director Bijoy Lona
Modworld – United States | Director Jeff Turboff
My Conversations With Katie – United Kingdom | Director Matt Dean
No Daylight – United States | Director Colbert the 8th
Oil & Water – United States | Director Alan Robert Davis
The Only Real Game – United States | Director Mirra Bank
Par hasard en courant… – Canada | Director Jacques Loiselle
Para Sempre Nunca Mais – Brazil | Director Emerson Muzeli
The Phone Call – Romania | Director Tudor Chiriac
Pictures From A Hiroshima Schoolyard – United States | Director Bryan Reichhardt
Pizza Me Mafie – Brazil / United States | Director Gui Pereira
Playing It Forward – United States | Director Keith Pepperell
The Price of Sugar – Netherlands | Director jean van de Velde
Primary – Canada | Director Ross Ferguson
Project: Shattered Silence – United States | Director Colleen Hamilton
Rab da Vaasta… – India | Director Chakravarty Devulapalli
Rock Opera: Act I – United States | Director Eve Hars
Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck 5 – United States | Director Jenni Matz
Shimmer – Taiwan | Director Ko-Min Lin
Shooting Oliver – Canada | Director Daniel Clements
Somebody’s Mother – United States | Director Mandy Fabian
Someone I Know – United States | Director Aaron Justice
Sunset Edge – United States | Director Daniel Peddle
Storage – United States | Director Denver Mendiola
Stories of Alyx and Anton – Canada | Director Calum Smith
Tom’s Restaurant – A Documentary About
Nothing Everything – United States | Director Gian Franco Morini
Tricky Bidness – United States | Director JoAnn Schuch
The Trouble with Aoibhe – United Kingdom | Director Ross Carey
Tu N’avais Jamais Vu La Mer… – Canada | Director Marie Aw
Vakondok 3 – Ut a Felzinre – Hungary | Director Szilard Matusik
Warhol – United Kingdom | Adam Ethan Crow
Wayward: The Prodigal Son – United States | Director Rob Diamond