SaMo INDIE 2014

2014 Award Winning Films

Best Narrative Feature

Echoes – United States | Director Nils Timm

Best Narrative Short

Killing Happy – United States | Director David Brandvik

Best Animated Short

Dogonauts: Enemy Line – United States | Director(s) Justin M. Rasch and Shel Rasch

Best Feature Documentary

Cotton Road – United States | Director Laura Kissel

Best Short Documentary

Heaven of Cherubs – Brazil | Director Gustavo Massola

Best Foreign Short

Oh! My Princess – Korea | Heewook Sa

Audience Choice Awards

Cab City – United States | Director Rachel De Leon

Gloria – United States | Director Audi Resendez

Gallery Girl – United Kingdom | Director Alexander Thompson

One Weekend – United States | Director Diana Cignoni

2014 In Competition

Narrative Features

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

Narrative Shorts

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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!

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

Animated Shorts

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

Documentaries

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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?

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

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

 

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