The Seattle International Film Festival announced today the winners of SIFF’s ShortsFest program. The program, a perennial favorite among moviegoers at SIFF, takes place every year over Memorial Day weekend and features some of the best short films from around the world.
This year, SIFF squeezed in 164 short films over three-days that spanned the globe, including 25 short films hitting the screen as world premieres. Several years back, SIFF was named an Academy Award-qualifying festival so there is always a chance a filmmaker who screened a short film over this past weekend could end up on the stage at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater next February as the Oscars are being handed out.
The short films are divided into three categories and include Live Action, Animation and Documentaries. In addition to being considered in Academy Award voting, ShortsFest Grand Jury winners also receive a $1,000 prize.
The ShortsFests jurors awarded the following short films top honors this year.
Live Action – Grand Jury Prize
“The Chicken” (Croatia, Germany), directed by Una Gunjak
Jury Statement: An expertly crafted narrative that explores life and death through the eyes of a young girl. With a film full of authentic performances, Iman Alibalic is extraordinary as the six-year-old protagonist who receives a live chicken from her father for her birthday, and soon realizes it’s meant for dinner. This is an emotional film with a production quality that continues to move the story along and underscore the realities of life in a war zone.
Special Jury Mention
“Hole” (Canada), directed by Martin Edralin
Jury Statement: “Hole” is a brave exploration of human sexuality and yearning for intimacy through the eyes of a lonely, forgotten, disabled man in the heart of Toronto. Ken Harrower delivers a captivating performance that transcends any labels or limitations and speaks to the need for human connection.
Documentary – Grand Jury Prize
“Bihttoš” (Canada), directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Jury Statement: For its ambitious approaches to visual storytelling and imaginative recounting of an exceptional family history.
Animation – Grand Jury Prize
“The Mill at Calder’s End” (USA), directed by Kevin McTurk
Jury Statement: There exists a tendency to laud the new-new stories, new techniques, new talent. With the animation award, the jury is pleased to celebrate a film that is decidedly old-school, breathing life into a bygone style, iterating in a story tradition that is centuries old. For this fusion of the modern and classic, we are happy to award Kevin McTurk for “The Mill at Calder’s End.”