The 12th Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL honored its nine finalist films and filmmakers with a finale screening and awards ceremony at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood on October 18. Comedian-actor Kym Whitley began the evening with a screening of the finalist films, Akashi, Audible Static, Couples: Movie Night, Cul-De-Sac, Emergency, Groundhog Day for a Black Man, Lost Dogs, Misery Loves Company: Pussy and Pop Rox, in front of an audience of 700 industry professionals including film, network and cable executives as well as managers, agents and producers.
The NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is the first and only film festival created and run by an entertainment studio solely dedicated to celebrating the importance of diversity in entertainment and discovering the next generation of storytellers. The annual bicoastal program is a nationwide search for diverse talent, both in front of and behind the camera, including those from ethnically diverse backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ community, artists with disabilities and female content creators.
Presenters included Essence Atkins, Stephen Bishop, Ester Dean, Akbar Gbajabiamila, and Allen Maldonado who handed out awards in eight categories to the finalist filmmakers including the HARNESS Social Impact Award, inaugural Critics’ Choice Award, Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy. Winners were awarded with prizes ranging from development meetings and holding deals with NBCUniversal to cash grants and NBC-lot professional services.
Checkout the eight category winners at the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL.
HARNESS Social Impact: Emergency
The creative team behind Emergency, director Carey Williams, writer K.D. Davila and producer Joenique Rose, received a $10,000 cash grant.
Outstanding Comedy: Groundhog Day for a Black Man
Groundhog Day for a Black Man writer-director Cynthia Kao received a $5,000 cash grant for her socially relevant short about a black man continually reliving the same day until he can survive an encounter with the police.
Outstanding Drama: Lost Dogs
Lost Dogs writer-director Cullan Bruce and writer Chris Lee received a $5,000 cash grant for their Korean language film.
Outstanding Writer: Mayumi Yoshida – Akashi
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion division awarded writer Mayumi Yoshida with a $10,000 cash grant, a script consultant and career coach valued at $2,000, as well as meetings with Universal Pictures and Focus Features creative executives. Yoshida has also secured final round placement in NBC’s acclaimed Writers on the Verge program.
Outstanding Actor: Chris Lee – Lost Dogs
Writer-actor Chris Lee received a one-year talent holding deal with NBC, a $1,000 wardrobe gift certificate to Bloomingdales and a premiere headshot package with JeanPaul SanPedro.
Outstanding Director: Damon Russell – Cul-De-Sac
Director Damon Russell received a $5,000 cash grant, $60,000 camera package from PANAVISION, and an NBCUniversal studio operations group awards professional studio services package.
Critics’ Choice Award: Groundhog Day for a Black Man
Outstanding Comedy winner and writer-director Cynthia Kao received a $1,000 cash grant for winning the festival’s inaugural Critics’ Choice Award. The award was adjudicated by an 18-member jury of film and television critics and entertainment writers from BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Hearst Digital Media, Kore Asian Media, Los Angeles Times, Moviemaker Magazine, Paste Magazine, Refinery29, the San Francisco Chronicle, Screen International, TV Guide Magazine, USA TODAY and TheWrap, among others.
Audience Award: Audible Static
The audience at the finale screening voted Audible Static as its favorite film amongst the nine finalists. Its filmmakers received a $1,000 cash grant.
Semifinalists of the festival received an array of prizes including the opportunity to stream their film on the NBCU SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Hulu Channel, a limited run on COMCAST’S XFINITY to 29 million viewers across the world starting December 1, as well as a special feature on EVERYBODY DIGITAL, a new mobile app exclusively for short film content created by actor-writer Allen Maldonado.