Audience Awards Film Festival 2017 – Horror Shorts Reviews, Shout Outs & Award Winners Announced

The Audience Awards Film Festival wrapped this past weekend in North Hollywood, CA and it was a real hoot.  Not only did yours truly get to represent the great WhySoBlu.com by hosting and moderating a Q&A for the Project Earth Doc Challenge, but I also got to meet the illustrious Effie T. Brown and take in a gaggle of horror shorts to boot!  (That’s an evening!)  In any case thought I would pay tribute to the new fest by taking an “Encapsulated” look at the six flicks that made up the Horror Shorts program, give a few shout outs and post the release of the winners to which the fantastic festival gave over $100,000 in cash and prizes – read on!


First up my bread and butter – reviews of the Horror Shorts!


The Scared One – A truly terrifying exercise in fear, this tall tale of a kid stalked by a scary scarecrow his father puts up has got much mood to spare. (Plus the small bits of creature reveal are five-star!)

Survivors Anonymous – Great premise involving survivors of cinematic slasher attacks that sadly goes nowhere and for way too long.

The Passage – An ode to all things undead (on a budget of course!) the only issue The Passage has? It’s WAY too short. (Not unlike this review!)

Brainsick the Hammer Killer – Featuring super old school practical gore effects that would make Greg Nicotero stand and cheer, this standard story but high kill count short has the 80’s seal of approval.

Kitchen – Director Steve Duchesne fills his short with some of the most savvy and cinematically stylistic work, but his overly complicated story threatens to bring his visuals down. (Someone get this film auteur a fresh script!)

KOOKIE – A fantastic short about a seemingly killer looking cookie jar has the potential to be five-star stuff (good acting, creepy props and thick mood!) but like a clown that looses his steam this one stays at the party a tad too long.


Wanted to give a big shout out to…

…talented filmmaker Stani Milev who I not only had the pleasure of chatting with for the Earth Doc Q&A, but also made what I think is the most bold and best short of the fest – The Bulgarian Solution.  (Can’t wait to see what you do next!)

Plus loved the animated short Monsters and filmmaker Montana Hall who is amazing.  (She won an award too – well deserved!)

And finally big thanks to the super talented Taylor Ferber the charismatic and marvelous maven behind the ultra-original Stripping Down Celebs who joined me during AAFF time – she’s the real deal and one to watch for!


That’s all folks! Below are the list of winners for the fest (there are a lot!), so make sure next year you take advantage…and have fun!


Filmmaker Sarah Clift garnered the Women’s Film Challenge Grand Jury Prize for her film La Madre Buena (The Good Mother) and the Juice Award from Tangerine Entertainment.  The first-time filmmaker won a $15,000 Panavisioncamera rental package, a Sony 4A72S Camera and lens, a Delta Airlines travel voucher for $1,500, a grant from Seed&Spark and a $3,000 cash prize.

Women’s Film Challenge Audience Award went to Montana Hall for her animated short Monster.  She won a Sony 4A72S camera and lens, a FilmStro soundtrack license, a lifetime license to DCP Transfer Software by Cinematiq and Pro8mm Award was a $1,200 gift certificate for a 4K scan package.  WFC honorable mention, Our Voices Are Rarely Heard by Cali Bondad, also won a one-year membership to The Film Collaborative where she will receive distribution strategy consultation.

Bondad’s film also won the ChromaColor Prize, a color correction package worth $20,000, and also took home the POV Prize, a cash award of $1,000 and 12-month non-exclusive digital distribution deal.  Her short documentary explores the devastating effects of solitary confinement on inmates.

Live audience voting utilizing Audience Awards’ proprietary voting platform determined the Best of Fest winner, The Scared One, by Romain and Thibault Lafargue.  The impressive prize package valued at over $30,000 includes a 4A72S Sony camera and lens, a ChromaColor color correction package worth $20,000, a $1500 travel voucher from Delta Airlines, a FilmStro soundtrack license and a lifetime license to DCP Transfer Software by Cinematiq.  Best of Fest runner-up, The Girl in the Green Dress, by Sarah Fletcher, won a year-long membership to The Film Collaborative, including distribution strategy consultation.

The Kodak Vision Award went to Haven Nutt for her film Mr. Man, shot on Super 8 film.  She receives $5,000 of Kodak film.  Pro8mm Award was a $1,200 gift certificate for a 4K scan package.

The Montana Film Office announced they will award a special prize to one of the top 40 Women’s Film Challenge finalists.  Filmmakers will submit a one-page synopsis to the film office and the winner will receive a location scouting trip including two plane tickets, lodging and a scouting tour.

The GOOD DOCS Mentorship Award went to Allison Otto for her film Property, giving her a consultation with Sarah Feinbloom, award-winning documentary filmmaker and Founder and Director of GOOD DOCS.

Elise Tyler was awarded the Documentor’s Award, a mentorship with Spitzmiller, for her film Today Will Be Our Last Day on the Streets.

Joseph Quiles took home the Pro8mm Prize for his horror film Dead World.  Quiles will receive two Super 8 film kits.

Matthew Kaplowitz won $500, plus a FilmStro soundtrack license for his film En Pointe, which was was shot, edited and finished in only 120 hours for Audience Awards Fusion Doc Challenge.

Project Earth Doc Challenge (PEDC), a similar contest with an environmental focus, was won by Edward King for his film Riverland.  He also wins a $1,000 cash prize. Second place went to Stani Milev who directed the film The Bulgarian Solution.  Milev flew from Bulgaria to be with his Audience Awards family at AudFest.  PEDC also awarded filmmaker Rory Moon $150 for his film Filter Feeders.

Pro8mm’s One Roll Challenge awarded a 4K scan of 1,000 feet of film to ProRes files to Brewyard Beer Company, directed by Shane Glander.

Other prizes include Final Draft software for all ten WFC finalists and five attendees of an AudFest writers’ room panel with JaNeika and JaSheika James of FOX’s “Empire.” Videomaker Magazine generously gave year-long subscriptions to all 200 filmmakers who submitted to WFC.


To learn more about the festival go to: https://theaudienceawards.com/ or to follow the festival on social media:

Facebook www.facebook.com/audienceaward/

Twitter: twitter.com/AudienceAwards

Instagram:  twitter.com/AudienceAwards


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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