NewFilmmakers Los Angeles has revealed the winners of its 10th annual Best of NFMLA Awards.
Out of 125 nominees across 16 awards categories, “Huella” and “Papi” director Gabriela Ortega took home the top prize of Best New Filmmaker and the $3,000 Anthony Rhulen grant.
Ortega’s short film “Papi,” which is about her father and the Dominican Republic, will soon begin streaming on HBO. It screened in 2020 at NFMLA and the Academy’s InFocus: Latinx and Hispanic Cinema Festival, and Ortega later returned to NFMLA in 2021 with her latest short film “Huella,” produced by Helena Sardinha and Rafael Thomaseto, which tells the story of a flamenco dancer who is visited by the ghosts of her ancestors.
“As a filmmaker navigating the first major steps of my career, NewFilmmakers LA has been a constant source of support and they have truly set me up for success. I am honored to receive this award and excited to share the impact it will have on current projects with the organization. The work NewFilmmakers is doing to provide tangible opportunities and jobs to filmmakers from all over the world is incredible and I feel so lucky to be part of their community,” Ortega said.
All of the 2022 winners were chosen by a jury of 36 industry professionals and creatives, and each prize winner of the remaining 15 categories will receive a $2,000 Anthony Rhulen grant.
The other prize winners included Best Documentary Feature Film, which went to A La Calle directed by Maxx Caicedo and Nelson G. Navarrete and produced by Shawna Brakefield-Haase, Marcus Cheek, Maxx Caicedo, Nelson G. Navarrete.
The award for Best Short Film, Documentary went to “This Is the Way We Rise” directed by Ciara Lacy and produced by Chapin Hall. Best Short Film, Drama was awarded to “Yellow Girl and Me” directed by Isabella Issa and produced by Paul V. Fishback.
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Best International Short Film, Comedy went to “The Birth of Valerie Venus” directed by Sarah Clift and produced by Pietro Greppi and Serena Armitage. Best International Short Film, Drama went to “Under the Heavens (Seiva Bruta)” directed by Gustavo Milan and produced by Gustavo Morozini.
Best New Media & Experimental went to “Last Black Man” directed by Devone X. King and produced by Wooyeon Cho.
“As young filmmakers just starting their career, this award is extremely meaningful to us,” said A La Calle co-directors Nelson G. Navarrete and Maxx Caicedo. “We hope this award brings more visibility to the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and continue to be thankful for NFMLA’s support of emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds.”
“There aren’t many festivals that truly champion comedy alongside other genres, but NewFilmmakers LA recognizes the relevance of crafting humor in storytelling. Thank you for doing a brilliant job of championing new talent and shining a first light upon us within the industry. NFMLA have been supporters of my work since my first short film, ‘La Madre Buena.’ I’m truly grateful for the recognition of ‘The Birth of Valerie Venus’ as Best International Short Film, Comedy,” said director Sarah Clift, who is also a multiple NFMLA alum and previous Best of NFMLA Awards winner.
In addition to the grants, select winners from this year’s awards will receive $5,000 in Blackmagic Design equipment. Picture Shop, the award-winning post house that’s part of the Streamland Media community, will host a post-production workshop for all nominees and winners.
See the full list of winners below.
Best New Filmmaker
Best Feature Film
Beans – Directed by Tracey Deer and produced by Anne-Marie Gélinas
Best Documentary Feature Film
A La Calle – Directed by Nelson G. Navarrete, Maxx Caicedo and produced by Shawna Brakefield-Haase, Marcus Cheek, Maxx Caicedo, Nelson G. Navarrete
Best Short Film, Documentary
“This Is the Way We Rise” – Directed by Ciara Lacy and produced by Chapin Hall
Honorable Mention: “Neurodivergent” – Directed by Afton Quast Saler and produced by Reagan Shea & Rachel Priebe
Best Short Film, Comedy
“Date Nite” – Directed by JJ Shpall and produced by Thomas Hartmann
Best Short Film, Drama
“Yellow Girl and Me” – Directed by Isabella Issa and produced by Paul V. Fishback
Best International Short Film, Comedy
“The Birth of Valerie Venus” – Directed by Sarah Clift and produced by Pietro Greppi & Serena Armitage
Best International Short Film, Drama
“Under the Heavens (Seiva Bruta)” – Directed by Gustavo Milan and produced by Gustavo Morozini
Honorable Mention: “The Tongues (Njoukcamat)” – Directed by Marja Bål Nango & Ingir Bål Nango and [roduced by Elisa Fernanda Pirir
Best Short Film, Animated
“Souvenir Souvenir” – Directed by Bastien Dubois and produced by Amiel Tenenbaum
Best New Media & Experimental
“Last Black Man” – Directed by Devone X. King and produced by Wooyeon Cho
Taliya – Written by Arnold Mwanjila
Honorable Mention: Nervosa – Written by Thessa Meijer
Best Performance, Comedy
Russell Goldman, I Make Good Sounds at Parties
Best Performance, Drama
Dior Wilson, Yellow Girl and Me
Luke Sargent, Sweet Potatoes
Best Film Editing
Christina Antonakos-Wallace & Aletta Von Vietinghoff, From Here
Best Sound Design
Jose Pablo Ramirez, The Fire Next Time
Onry, Livin’ in the Light
Main Image: Stills from Best of NFMLA award-winning films, courtesy of NFMLA