2016 Award Winners
Best Feature – Perfect | United States | Director Diana Cignoni
Best Short – Puppet Life | Australia | Director Fredric Lehne
Best Documentary – Counter Histories: Rock Hill | United States | Director Frederick Taylor
Audience Choice Night One – Rottweiler | United States | Director Cade LiRocchi
Audience Choice Night Two – Perfect | United States | Director Diana Cignoni
2016 In Competition
Perfect | United States | 78:00
Longtime SaMo Indie favorite Diana Cignoni returns with this touching and heartfelt documentary about a remarkable woman’s journey of survival while battling ALS. Ms. Cignoni focuses her formidable directing and storytelling skills on celebrating and honoring the life of a dear friend. A true story of courage that we are delighted and honored to be able to share with you.
Rottweiler | United States | 64:45
Writer / Director Cade LiRocchi delivers a hypnotic take on the noir / thriller genre with his latest feature effort Rottweiler. The languid, almost trance-like pace wonderfully captures the mood of the film, while slowly enveloping the viewer in the dark world of the protagonist. Making great use of available spaces and clever use of lighting, this short feature is a great example of what a talented crew can do with limited resources.
Auto-CoWrecked | United States | 8:00
This delightful short from director Hannah Leder pokes a little fun at an enemy we’ve all battled at one time or another, the dreaded auto-correct. With wonderful performances from the assembled cast (including a fun cameo from the director to kick the film off), Leder has put together a mature, tightly woven film that is sure to give you a smile.
Bruises | United States | 2:25
This gorgeous, highly stylized short is a testimony to artistry of director Diana Cignoni, who has two other films playing at this year’s event. Simplicity, elegance, and beauty combine in this haunting film.
Counter Histories: Rock Hill | United States | 27:30
This incredible documentary shines a light on a much neglected story about the Civil Rights Movement that began at a small store in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Director Frederick Taylor does an excellent job of sharing these powerful stories, with a perfect blend of intimacy, information, and narrative storytelling. We’re excited for the opportunity to play this film in the Los Angeles area once again.
Dog Bowl | United States | 19:08
This quirky short from writer / director Gordy Hoffman evidences a strong command of technical craft, while also showcasing a truly unique view on storytelling. Marci Miller’s performance is nuanced, and her strong choices and seemingly effortless performance provides a powerful foundation for Hoffman to explore his vision. This film has a lot of fun toying with expectations, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to share it with you.
Extra School | United States | 12:14
Writer / director Cary Anderson delivers a barrel full of laughs with his latest short film Extra School. Featuring veteran actors Bruce Davison and Robert Picardo in the lead roles, Anderson brings the funny in a clever tale set in the world of background talent. Picardo and Davison have a great deal of fun playing the arch rivals at the center of the story, with both men showing why they’ve had such illustrious careers in film and television.
Flight Fright | United States | 7:00
A funny take on an old classic, Flight Fright brings a bit of absurdist humor to the 2016 SaMo Indie lineup. Writer / director Jim Politano does a great job of keeping the action going, delivering a short, but sweet film in the process. While it might not change your life, Flight Fright is sure to brighten your day!
The Insect and the Alien | Australia | 16:59
The first of three films from Australia in this year’s lineup, The Insect and the Alien is a heartfelt and delicately nuanced story that uses comedy to tell a very human story about grief, loss and ultimately, acceptance. Writer / director Jason Fitzgerald evidences a stable directorial hand, giving the two leads (wonderfully portrayed by Christopher Sommers and Will Kelly) plenty of room to explore their respective roles. The result is a truly unique film that will leave you wanting for more.
Interference | Australia | 18:00
As SaMo Indie enters its fourth season, a very noticeable through-line is that every year, we have been blessed with some outstanding films from Australia, and Interference easily helps carry on that tradition! Writer / director Ian Dixon put together an incredible cast, with cinematographer Cameron Ford making great use of the light and existing spaces. The result is a well rounded film that plays almost like a feature film, except in a compact space. We’re excited to share Dixon’s dramatic prowess with Los Angeles area audiences.
Madame | United States | 15:09
Diana Cignoni’s third film in this year’s lineup is probably one of her most direct films to date. Eschewing her usually grand and devilishly stylistic cinematography, with Madame Cignoni keeps the film rooted in simplicity, evoking engagement through the unique performances of the characters in the film. Those familiar with the director’s work will likely be pleasantly surprised with this endearing short, as Ms. Cignoni shares with us the expansion of her artistic vision.
Primitive Technology | United States | 15:20
This film steam rolls onto the screen with a confidence and bravado rarely seen in independently produced comedy films. The performers never flinch as we get swept up in the world of the protagonists, while writer / director Bo Price makes sure to keep the laughs coming throughout, with clever dialogue and super fun set ups. We’re pleased to be able to share this fun romp in this year’s lineup.
Puppet Life | Australia | 7:34
Much as with our other two films from Australia, Puppet Life shows a depth of filmmaking acumen that is almost impossible to overlook. From the moment the characters appear on screen, we were instantly engaged, with director Thomas D. Moser expertly giving life and complexity to James Mederios’ clever and funny script. The assembled cast is top notch, with great voice work coupled with some pretty amazing puppetry. If this one doesn’t make you smile, we don’t know what will.
Shy Guys | United States | 8:16
This one’s probably more relatable for the fellas in the audience, though we’re sure our female guests will find quite a good deal to chuckle at as well. While we’d ordinarily shy away from bathroom oriented humor, in this case, writer / director Fredric Lehne simply made a film that we just had to play. That he assembled a super talented and award winning cast to play the leads in this fun short only helped to cement the deal. If you want to see what talent in comedic filmmaking looks like, we can’t think of a better film than Shy Guys.
Walden Pink | United States | 10:45
This unique short film from writer / director Peter Bolte is absolutely rich with depth and dimension. Bolte makes great use of light and space, with the black and white cinematography serving as a perfect palette for the disheveled lump of the main protagonist. However, perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this carefully crafted short film are the interactions Walden Pink has with the other characters in his peculiar world. In the end, Walden Pink is so much more than your average short, it’s a conversation piece that will stick with you, long after you’ve seen the film.