Tel Aviv Mammoth Lakes Film Festival 2022 Awards

Marat Parkhomovsky’s drama Tel Aviv won two awards and Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas’ ghost comedy The Civil Dead won the jury award for best North American narrative feature at the 8th annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.

The festival, which wrapped Sunday, returned to its usual Memorial Day weekend slot after pivoting to the fall last year.

“This year’s festival will not only be remembered as a gathering of amazing filmmakers with truly remarkable stories to tell, but brought us back together as a community,” festival director and founder Shira Dubrovner said in a statement. “At the heart of what we do is make connections as humans, and the restorative effect of being with each other in person was transformational and inspirational.”

Tel Aviv won best international narrative feature and the audience award for best international narrative feature.

The Civil Dead, which also won the audience award earlier this year at Slamdance, won prizes at Mammoth Lakes that include a $1,000 cash award, $10,000 Panavision Camera Rental Grant, $13,500 LightIron Postproduction Package and a Slated script and financial analysis bundle.

I had the honor to serve on that North American narrative feature jury alongside Sarah Diamond and Scott Steindorff, and so I’ve included our statements on the three awards we handed out below.

North American Narrative Features

Best North American Narrative Feature: The Civil Dead, directed by Clay Tatum, written by Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas.

Jury Statement: With its wildly inventive narrative that upends audience expectations on a scene-to-scene basis, this slacker comedy refreshes the well-worn ghost story genre. Tying everything together is the effortless chemistry between leads Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas. Tatum’s skater photographer character in The Civil Dead might dream of a couch potato lifestyle, but there is nothing lazy in the seamless construction of this film.

Special Mention: For the Best Performance for Kit Zauhar in Actual People,  written and directed by Kit Zauhar.

Jury Statement: Despite a host of characters who drift in and out of the narrative, make no mistake, Actual People centers on writer-director Kit Zauhar’s transfixing performance as the unraveling Riley. Zauhar’s future as a writer-director is undeniably bright, and this award highlights her equally promising future as an actor as well.

Special Mention for Best Cinematography in The Noise of Engines, written and directed by Phillippe Grégoire.

Jury Statement: Stunning Canadian and Icelandic landscapes contrast with stylish closeups in The Noise of Engines. Drawing to mind Matthew Barney’s visual work, the cinematography works to draw the audience into the world of this surreal town seated on the U.S.-Canadian border.

International Features

Best International Narrative Feature: Tel Aviv, written and directed by Marat Parkhomovsky.

Best North American Documentary Feature: A Woman on the Outside, directed by Zara Katz and Lisa Riordan Seville.

Bravery Award for Documentary Feature: Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege), directed by Abdallah Al-Khatib.

Special Jury Mention for Bravery Award: The Quiet Epidemic, directed by Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdock

Best International Documentary Feature: Eternal Spring, directed by Jason Loftus

Screenplay Competition

Best Screenplay: Saw the Forest by Patrick L. McConnell


Best N. American Narrative Short: “Birds,” directed by Katherine Propper

Special Jury Mention: “From Water Comes Melon,” directed by Micah Vassau

Best International Narrative Short: “Be Somebody,” directed by Edelawit Hussien

Special Jury Mention: “Colony Collapse Disorder,” directed by Amos Holzman

Best Documentary Short: “Ali and His Miracle Sheep,” directed by Maythem Ridha

Special Mention to “Kak Iraj,” directed by Jamshid Farjvand

Special Mention to “The Doll,” directed by Elahe Esmaili

Best Animation Short: “The Fourth Wall,” directed by Mahboobeh Kalaee

Special Mention to “Zoon,” directed by Jonathan Schwenk

Special Mention to “Conversations With A Whale” directed by Anna Samo

Best Music Video: “Point and Kill” by Little Simz Featuring Obongjayar, directed by Ebeneza Blanche

Audience Awards

Best North American Narrative Feature: Kickin Knowledge, directed and written by Adinan Kamanzi.

Best International Narrative Feature: Tel Aviv, directed and written by Marat Parkhomovsky.

Best North American Documentary Feature: The Pez Outlaw, directed by Bryan Storkel and Amy Bandlien Storkel.

Best International Documentary Feature: Eternal Spring, directed by Jason Loftus.

Main image: Meital Ner and Yotam Gotel in Tel Aviv, the jury and audience winner for the best international film at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival 2022.