HollyShorts Film Fest Prizes Go To Victor Gabriel, Ben Proudfoot, More – Deadline

Compton-based filmmaker Victor Gabriel is among a select group of filmmakers to punch their ticket for the Oscar race, after scoring wins at the HollyShorts Film Festival.

Gabriel’s 13-minute film Hallelujah won the Grand Prix for Best Short at the festival’s awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon. HollyShorts is an Oscar-qualifying festival, so the win for Hallelujah makes it immediately eligible for Oscar consideration. Producer Duran Jones won the festival’s Best Producer prize.

Two other winners qualified for Oscar consideration: Mulaqat/Sandstrom, directed by Seemab Gul, won Best Live Action short, and Scale, directed by Joseph Pierce, won the award for Best Animation (scroll for full list of winners).

Actor Stephen Laroy Thomas as "Hallelujah" in 'Hallelujah'

Actor Stephen Laroy Thomas in ‘Hallelujah’
BLK MGC Content

Hallelujah touches on the loss of someone to gun violence, a tragedy with ripple effects on several members of a family.

“After an inexplicable event, two brothers have to take on the guardianship of their nephew and niece,” Gabriel told Deadline regarding the plot of his film. “Their nephew’s like a weird bookworm kid. This is in Compton, California. And then they have to figure out what does it mean for them to be men and adults and take on the responsibility of something that they don’t want to do.”

The director shot his film close to home. Very close.

L-R 'Hallelujah' producer Duran Jones, actor Stephen Laroy Thomas, director Victor Gabriel

L-R ‘Hallelujah’ producer Duran Jones, actor Stephen Laroy Thomas, director Victor Gabriel
Courtesy of Matthew Carey

“I just did it in my back yard, like literally my back yard,” Gabriel explained. “Shout out to Miss Luis. She let us see her front yard, my neighbor. It was super just us. I just stuck everyone in our backyard and made a movie and tried to tell a good story. Tried to tell an impactful story.”

Gabriel wears several hats besides filmmaker, working in addition as a marriage and family therapist and at a residential treatment center for teenagers, he told Deadline. “I [also] facilitate a Black male trauma group once a month in South Central.”

He said the road to winning the Grand Prix at HollyShorts hasn’t been an easy one. On top of other things, his car broke down last week.

“I’ve been commuting to work, been struggling with a lot of losses this year,” Gabriel said. “So, just to have like a little celebration and people honoring my work, our work, is just amazing. I’m just grateful, man.”

Among other top prizes at HollyShorts, director (The Queen of Basketball) followed up his victory at the Academy Awards in March with a win for his latest documentary short, MINK! The film tells the story of Patsy Takemoto Mink, a Hawaii Democrat who became the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Mink co-authored Title IX legislation that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in schools that received federal funding. Title IX became law in 1972.

Director Ben Proudfoot at the HollyShorts Film Festival

Director Ben Proudfoot, winner of the HollyShorts documentary prize for ‘MINK!’
Courtesy of Matthew Carey

Proudfoot described the HollyShorts award as “very meaningful because this is the 50th year of Title IX. And when I was making The Queen of Basketball, that’s how I learned about Patsy Mink, who was really the driving force behind the legislation that created the world for [The Queen of Basketball subject] Lucy Harris to play basketball and for so many millions of others to engage in athletics. Our film… chronicles Patsy’s story and where she came from, what she faced, the obstacles she overcame, and ultimately the legislation that she wrote and defended, Title IX. It’s very meaningful, and I think this is just another example of Patsy’s legacy living on.”

Proudfoot will be taking his film overseas in the coming months, and likely back to D.C.

“We are going to Japan for a screening at the U.S. embassy there in October, which is really exciting,” he said. “And we’re hoping to get some more screenings on the Hill in Washington and just bring people together to celebrate Patsy and what she stood for and also to celebrate a story of someone who showed us that change is possible.”

He added, “We live in a time when it just feels impossible, like we’re regressing, that we’re going backwards. And Patsy’s life is a testament, and her story is a testament – and our film tells the story of a specific moment when she persisted and she pushed through. And so much of the rights that we celebrate today are because of people like Patsy, who really pushed hard for progress. And that’s the onus that comes to us to continue in Patsy’s tradition.”

This is the full list of winners from the 18th HollyShorts Film Festival:

Grand Prix Best Short: Hallelujah, Victor Gabriel

Best Live Action: Mulaqat/Sandstorm, Seemab Gul

Best Animation: Scale, Joseph Pierce

Best Director: Carlos Segundo, Sideral

Best Action: Kickstart My Heart, Kelsey Bollig

Best Thriller: Wild Bitch, Rebekka Johnson and Kate Nash

Best Horror: Moshari, Nuhash Humayun

Best Comedy: All I Ever Wanted, Erin Lau

Best Drama: Like the Ones I Used to Know, Annie St. Pierre

Best Documentary: MINK! Ben Proudfoot

Best LGBTQIA+: North Star, P.J. Palmer

Best International: The Voice Actress, Anna J. Takayama

Best Sci-Fi: Waltz of the Angels, Braden Barton

SAG Indie Winner: My Jerome, Adjani Salmon

Hawk Films Screenplay Award: Mina Finders Her Edge! Robin Rose Singer

Script Compass Screenplay Award: In the Garden of Tulips, Ava Lalezarzadeh

Best Female Screenplay (Presented by BeCine): Last Ship East, Eris Qian

Best TV: A Question of Service, Erin Brown Thomas

Best TV Screenplay: Forsyth County, James Sasser

LatinX Award (presented by Viacom International Studios): Huella, Gabriela Ortega

Women in Film Award: Apart, Together, Olivia Hang Zhou

Best Midnight Madness: Homesick, Will Seefried

Best Music Video: Consensual, Jeff Hilliard and Joey Danger

Best Web Series: Kura, Vince McMillan

Best Producer: Hallelujah, Duran Jones

Best Editing: The Machine, Rowan McKay

Best VFX: Black Dragon, Rồng đen

Best Costume Design: Sauerdogs, Carmen Granell

Social Impact Award: Stranger at the Gate, Joshua Seftel

Best Student Film: The Visit, Ebele Tate

Kodak Shot on Film: North Pole, Marija Apcevska

Kodak Shot on Film Super 8MM: Deerwoods Deathtrap, James P. Gannon

Kodak Shot on Film Honorable Mention: Not the 80s, Marleen Valien

Zeiss Presents: HollyShorts Achievement in Filmmaking and Cinematography: Censor of Dreams, Khalib Mohtaseb

Zeiss Presents: HollyShorts Career Achievement in Filmmaking and Cinematography: Nancy Schreiber

Source link