SHORT FILM AWARDS

Joe Wyatt

"As a freelance photographer and part time procurement manager i get more and more freaky in creating animation films."

Find out More...

Paul Overacker

2017 Award-Winning Filmmakers in the spotlight

Duane Journey has a career in Film and Television spanning 30 years. Covering over 380 episodes of Television and a 100 Feature films. Duane has a directing resume that includes feature films, television, commercials, music videos, and short films. Over the years he has worked in a half dozen on set departments as well as production management and Producing. 
Duane believes that this diverse background has helped him understand what it is to be a well-educated and capable filmmaker. 
His interest in the arts started when he was a young actor in San Diego, California. Training and performing with the San Diego Starlight Opera, The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Jr. Theater and the renowned La Jolla Playhouse. After at age 16 winning the San Diego Young Filmmakers Award, Duane realized his true passion was for film and the visual world that Directors could create. Shortly after graduating from high school, he backed up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. 
Starting like most people Duane started as a PA on small films. Worked as a Casting Assistant and then Second Assistant Director. However, he soon fell into the technical side of filmmaking where over the years he has racked up an impressive resume as both a Gaffer and a Key Grip. Working as a Dolly Grip and later Key Grip on several major TV show and films. 
After several years, Duane decided to head back toward his childhood dream of directing. He went back into being a First Assistant Director. Which lead to Line Producer and eventually Producing. With his vast experience in all aspects of production, Duane was tapped to be the Sr. VP of Production for a independent film fund / production company, overseeing their 
feature films, documentaries, TV and music projects. Duane established a reputation for working and supporting newer directors, while working along side and learning from some of the industries great directors. Duanehas shadowed and worked with names such as Bethany Rooney, John Landis, Todd Holland, Jack Bender, Barry Sonnenfeld, James Burrows, Larry Elikan and JJ Abrams. 
All of this ‘in the trenches’ experience has helped to bring a diverse and artistic vision and style to Duane’s work as a Director. He has a real world sensibility of what it takes to make films from the ground up, making him both a technical expert and an accomplished artist. Skills that he has put to use directing 2nd units for feature films, Web and network commercials, Music videos and television projects. 
In 2012, Duane made his feature directorial debut with the horror comedy Hansel and Gretel 
Get Baked starring Lara Flynn Boyle and Carey Elwes. Which has become a Red Box and Payper-view favorite. Holding a top 10 spot in Red Box's rentals for five months after release. As well as being released theatrically and pay channels in over 20 countries. His award-winning short film, Charlie's Gift wins Gold at the Spotlight Film Awards.

Find out More....

Paul Overacker is a multi Award-winning Director and Technical Director working in television, film, and on-line productions. Awarded for his Craft of Directing for PlayStation E3 Experience and ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League on Twitch.

Emmy-nominated for his work on Super Bowl 50 as Technical Director, his work encapsulates all genres of Nationally televised productions, Daytime and Late-night talk shows, Primetime Drama's, Entertainment, Sports, News and Educational Productions. Paul has been in the entertainment business for over 25 years, with over 20,000 hours of live television production experience.

Find out More...

Justyn Bell

Yuval Shrem is a member of the Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures & Television. An associate member of The Recording Academy (Grammys). 


Since 1995, Yuval Shrem has been creatively involved in hundreds of television programs in Israel, before moving to Los Angeles in 2002.

In 2009 Yuval became a member of The Actor's Studio West as a director in the Playwright/Director's Unit, where he also directed the dark comedy SIZZLE SIZZLE by Stephen Fife, which he later adapted to a feature film project currently in development.

After directing the critically-acclaimed 2013 world premiere of the play "BLUE KISS" by Stephen Fife, Yuval had developed with him a film adaptation of the play, which is now in the packaging stage.

Recently, Yuval co-founded FABLE ENTERTAINMENT with his longtime collaborator, Israeli TV mega-producer Zivit Davidovitch, wrote and directed the now award-winning short film THE BABIES, and is currently in post-production on his first feature film as a director - A PLEA FOR TENDERNESS.


Find out More....

David Blankleider has an extraordinary talent for visual storytelling. In just a few minutes he’s capable of emotion an audience, after taking them through the journey of his characters and their stories. His care for the aesthetic of the picture and his ability to direct actors it’s what complete the story making each of his films an intimate experience of filmmaking for the viewer.

His unique vision is the result of the mix of growing up in Uruguay were he developed his passion for film and TV, and then achieving a certificate degree at the University of California Los Angeles Extension (UCLA Extension), and working in the Industry in America. David’s stories have the exact balance of his diverse background and the American way of filmmaking.

It’s probably because of this that his films have been recognized and awarded in so many countries of the world with extreme cultural difference between them as China, USA, France, Nederland, Morocco, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil among others. His short film “Another Christmas” was acquired by DireTV’s network SHORTD HD and broadcasted to millions of people around the world. In total, David’s work has been in more that 40 international film festival including the prestigious Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts Fest.

Find out More..

Justin Krul 

Daniel Merlin Miller

My late husband, Dean Whitney, was always a storyteller. From his early days as a songwriter, he always had a passion to write and tell a story to an audience. After 30 years in the music business as a producer, publisher, and independent record company owner, Dean felt it was time for a change of professions.


Fast forwarding to his later years he began writing screenplays (basically self-taught), and was so prolific and dedicated that he wrote 26 quality screenplays in five years covering all genres.


In the fall of 2011 he decided to take the plunge into indie filmmaking and began to plot out his first effort as a writer, producer, and director: a short horror film entitled "The Body Bag" which was completed in June, 2012. The film went on to win "Best California Short" in the California Film Awards in 2012.

Shortly afterwards, Dean and his wife, Judy, formed their own production company, Undaunted Films. First up was the supernatural thriller and feature film, "Ghostline", which was shot in 2013. This film was awarded a Silver Award at the California Film Awards and won Best of the Fest at the Fantastic Horror Film Festival in 2014. "Ghostline" also obtained national film distribution.


Dean's final short film, "Aberrant" completed principal photography just five days before his sudden death. This film won a Diamond Award at the 2015 California Film Awards.


The script for "The Pact" was written a month before his death and is partly based on true events. Dean saw a homeless man huddled in a dark corner outside our favorite restaurant. For some reason, Dean felt the need to connect with this man, (much of their exact conversation is featured in the film), and this encounter became the germ of the idea for "The Pact." The story is meant to connect and touch people with its raw emotion and pain but conversely give hope that one act of kindness and selflessness may end up bringing salvation.


My husband, Dean, was filled with a generosity of spirit. He had so much more to offer in film, but what he accomplished in a short period of time was truly remarkable. He will be remembered.


Nancy Wennan Zhang

Shelia Wofford

On the Road Again is Loghan Stong's first short film, and as an avid horror movie fan, Stong set out to create his own. He draws his influence from favorite films such as Insidous, The Conjuring, and Strangers, among many others.



Born on April 30, 1992, Justyn Bell always had an interest in entertainment, but never knew where that interest was leading. It was until he joined a film internship program in Atlanta, GA that made him decide that film is what he wanted to pursue.

Justyn Bell is best known for his directorial work in Walking (2016) Saving Sarah (2015) and Someone Get Sam (2013).

Natalie MacMahon gained her first film experiences as an actress at a young age. After her studies at a Film Acting School in Berlin, she started writing her first script for the short film “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry”, which has been screened at numerous international film festivals such as the “Sydney Indie Film Fest”, the “Blow Up Arthouse Film Fest Chicago”, the “Canada Short Film Festival”, the “Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival”, the “Genre Celebration Film Festival” or the “Swedish International Film Festival” to name a few.

Her second short film “Like A Summer Sonata” participated at the “Cannes Short Film Corner” 2016 and was also part of countless international festivals like the “New York State International Film Festival”, the “Toronto Film Week”, the “Melbourne Indie Film Festival”, the “Miami Independent Film Festival”, the “Washington PA Film Festival” or the “European Independent Film Awards”.

After these two short dramas Natalie made her first experimental, Film Noir inspired short called “Lola wants to see the sea”, which has already successfully participated at the “North American Film Awards”, the “Sydney Indie Film Festival”, as well as the “Eve Film Festival”, the “Alternative Film Festival”, the “River Film Festival” and the “Female Filmmakers Film Awards”.

Natalie just finished her new fantasy drama short in Esperanto called “ A Universal Love Story” as well as her science fiction drama “It’s getting darker every day”. Currently Natalie is working on her new virtual reality themed short “The Red Head” as well as on her first feature film script “Hot Scary Summer”. 


​Directors Filmography: 
"It's getting darker every day" (Short Film, 2017) 
"A Universal Love Story" (Short Film, 2017) 
"Senses" (Mini Web series, 2016) 
"Lola wants to see the sea" (Short Film 2016) 
“Like A Summer Sonata” (Short Film, 2016) 
“The Man Who Couldn't Cry” (Short Film, 2015) 
“ The Secret of Berlin” (Web Series, 2015)

Find out More...

Giorgi Plys-Garzotto recently graduated NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she concentrated on directing, and writing for TV. She loves wordy dialogue, inordinate attention to detail, and strong female characters.

​Find out More....


Andres Delzo was born in Lima, Peru on January 17, 1992. He immigrated to Florida, United States at the age of 9.

From an early age he began to write screenplays and stories since he has always fond towards film making and cinema. Cinema has impacted him deeply to become a huge role in his life as a storyteller from the moment he discovered cinema in United States -enjoying films from all around the world.

In high school he was involved in several minor video productions. In 2011 he traveled back to Lima, Peru to collaborate in a short film with a friend, delivering the story, the direction and the production. He continues working in film projects overseas. The Wolves' Game is his second major short film. He is currently enrolled in St. Petersbugh College and pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Find out More...

Alixx Covington

Bradley Hawkins

Shawn Small

David Blankleider

Justin Krul grew up in Scheveningen Beach, The Netherlands remaking Hollywood hits from the early age of eight. After his studies to become a director and screenwriter, Justin Krul now creates his own beautiful short stories.

From the script until the final edit, he captures some of our great inner questions. Questions everybody struggles with at some point in their lives. His films portrait themes like the fear of speaking your mind, breaking expectations and celebrating difference. By focussing on visual minimalism he makes the stories real, authentic and a little philosophic.

As a director he embraces honesty, raw emotions, individual struggles and outspoken doubt about letting go of our fears to become who we really are. Something that’s not always easy, but it makes for beautiful stories to tell. 

Dean Whitney

Alixx Covington is a filmmaker from Atlanta, Georgia who graduated in 2013 from Georgia State University with a bachelor's degree in Film & Video Production.

Later, he worked for the company Black Tie Creative as a videographer and produced several commercials and online content for various businesses.

Since then he has been busy with freelance camera work on independent films and produced several music videos. He also writes and directs films with the latest being Innocence Lost, a coming of age tale about temptation and inspired by John Milton's Paradise Lost. 

Find out More...


Born in Martinsville, VA. Joe grew up in this industry working with his father at a local TV/Radio station. After learning the basics of the film business at Piedmont Community College, Joe moved to Atlanta, GA where he now works as a Director/DP/Editor at BlackGreen Gold and Gold Crews.

Find out More...

Wei Cui 

Loghan Stong

Yuval Shrem

Andres Delzo

Natraaj Maharshi

Originating from a small country town, Daniel Merlin Miller moved to Philadelphia to pursue filmmaking. Miller applies his persevering nature to every aspect of any project he is part of. Young in his career, he works on as many sets as he can to further his understanding and education in the industry. Daniel has created films spanning across many different genres, including short film Black Horse Alley and his latest, Spark.

Find out More...

Nancy Wennan Zhang is an animator and digital artist born in China and currently living in New York City. Having earned a MFA in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Driven by interest, Nancy attended skills training in 3D workflow from modeling to compositing during her undergraduate life in China. Playing a role in visual production is her dream. Nancy enjoys watching all kinds of movies, cooking different cuisines, and traveling different places. Nancy also interested in exploring the unexplored and hopes to become a professional compositor and visual artist in the CG field.

Find out More


Duane Journey

Natalie MacMahon

bellopropello

Actor/Director, Bradley Hawkins, made his directorial debut for the big screen in 2015 with his award-winning comedy short, ROLLER COASTER.

After starting a career as an actor in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1990s, Hawkins and his family moved to Lancaster, PA where he taught film studies, and humanities courses at the high school level, and directed several stage productions.

Now retired from teaching, Hawkins has picked up where he left off 25 years ago and his recent acting credits include the lead role in LOBSTER CAGE, and supporting roles on television in, COLD CASE, UNUSUAL SUSPECTS, MURDER BOOK, and DEADLINE: CRIME. As a film director and producer, Hawkins won five awards for his direction of ROLLER COASTER and is now in development on two feature films which he hopes to see go into production in 2018. 

Find out More...

Shelia Wofford – (Director, Writer, Producer, Filmmaker, Casting Director & Actor) Shelia Wofford is the writer, director and executive producer of TREASURE and MICHAEL VALENTINE. Shelia is the owner of Live to Inspire Productions. She has written and directed 10 stage play productions and the creator of the Chattanooga Actors Film & Theater Network Event. She has directed and produced a promotional video for the Chattanooga Actors Film & Theater Network Event in Chattanooga.

​Find out More...

Tom Bessoir

Tom Bessoir was born in Queens, New York in 1957.
He attended the Bronx High School of Science and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He studied electrical engineering, mathematics and chaos theory and received both Bachelor's and a Master's Degrees in Engineering.
While at the Cooper Union he studied filmmaking with Robert Breer, Joshua Pines and Sandy Moore. Related studies included video with Ira Schneider and electronic music with Laurie Spiegel.

Shawn Small is the Executive Director of Wonder Voyage, a unique non-profit organization dedicated to leading seekers in the ancient sacrament of pilgrimage. He is an author and a passionate filmmaker. His award winning short documentary, Ru: Water is Life was about how water scarcity effects millions of children around the world. His second short documentary, Acres of Diamonds, focuses on the epidemic of child slavery in India. Shawn is a recent inductee into the Explorer’s Club and he has traveled to over 70 countries. He lives in Denton, Texas where he continues to work on several new books and films.

Find out More


Natraaj Maharshi (a.k.a Maha) is a multi-talented individual with creativity running in his bloodstream since a very young age. 
He was a child artist through the age of 4. He acted in a lot of school and stage plays. And then went on to direct his stage play being a 14 year old.
In 1996, Natraaj Maharshi received a Diploma in Method Acting (Gold Medalist) and Film Direction programme held by New York Film Academy in India.
After his college days, he filmed a lot of videos in Khammam District to experiment and experience. He struggled and tried his best to gain a place in the film industry but never received a chance. 
He was very keen on his skills and ideas; and was not aiming at making formula films. He always aimed at making a mark in the World Cinema. He met big names like Shyam Benegal, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghosh and Adoor Gopalkrishnan and learnt a lot more about World Cinema and its ideology.
In the middle of the phase he worked as a journalist to get closer to know people as humans and observe society as a whole in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The Tsunami disaster of the coasts changed his entire way of thinking. He had been to Cuddalore and Nagapattanam to cover the disaster, and there began a certain kind of realisation over looking at the pain, the intensity of loss and heartache of the victims and their families.
He took upon his first short film project on real life of a Tsunami victim named “For You” (2006) directed in Hindi. Along with awards, accolades he also gained a good name and identity. 
Following were short films like “Shabd” (2007) – a Hindi short film giving out meaningful morale on a missing link between children and parents that was an initiative under a non-profit organisation to create awareness on the communication gap in today’s time.
Godse loves Gandhism(2010) – a short film in Telugu on the negative image embarked upon the name Godse, that prevents from accepting the person’s spirit of Gandhism, had a nationwide release and was widely talked about. 

DRAWING BLOOD- A Colourless life of an Artist– He completed his debut feature film in 2013 with a lot of hopes and efforts
In the year 2015, his journey towards filmmaking had a new lift when he co-founded VaayuDhwani Productions as Creative head, Cinematographer and Director making short film projects: Mera Aalaap – a rare musical short on a journey of a Ghazal singer and her relation with music, and 1973- An Untold Story - This is a regional short film in his mother tongue, an incident from his childhood that he wished to share with everybody on the passionate farmer who worked with patriotic devotion towards his land and people.


With his love for meaningful and artistic approach to film making, his Short films received a great response and his work has gained respect for him in eyes of humanitarians and socialists for bringing up social messages with each. That even invited him to certain talk shows for being an outstanding personality as well as a responsible person to the society.

Find out More... 

Giorgi

Plys-Garzotto

Wei Cui is a filmmaker who was born and raised in Dandong, China. In 2013 he received his Bachelor degree in film production from Communication University of China. In 2016 he graduated from Emerson College with a Mater of Fine Arts degree in Film & Media Art.

Wei aims to push the limit of non-fiction. He explores concepts and methods of non-fiction by reenacting using fictional elements. In his work the demarcation between fiction and non-fiction is vague.