CITY HALL — The results are in!
Judges with the Fifth Annual Santa Monica Teen Film Festival sifted through more than 180 submissions from across the country and Canada and screened 33 films over two days to award top honors to Harry Keenan and Max Groel of Pacific Palisades for their film. “Batman Starts,” a humorous parody on the Batman series and the true crime that occurs in the filmmakers’ hometown.
The film won “Best of the Fest, 1st Place,” “Best Live Action,” and “Audience Choice, Sunday.” The awards were given out on Sunday, June 20 at the Santa Monica Main Library screening.
“Chicken Little” by Richard Mattox from Tallahasee, Fla. won both “Best of the Fest, 2nd Place” and “Best Experimental/Music Video.” The film is a music video for an original song written and sung by Mattox.
The festival screened quite a few documentaries this year including the “Best Documentary, 1st Place” award winner Drew Morton Goldsmith from Middleton, Wis. for “No Pity,” an eye-opening documentary about the depiction of people with disabilities. The “Best Documentary, 2nd Place” award went to an international submission, “Enza and Thom” by Jesse Bostick from Ontario, Canada. This film followed the relationship between a deaf woman and a hearing man, their challenges, and their joys.
Several local students won awards this year. The “Audience Choice” award for Saturday went to Adam Morina from Crossroads High School for his film “First Time,” which is about two teens who share an intimate encounter for the first time, along with the awkwardness and embarrassment that follows. Sergei Acuna from Santa Monica High School won the “Best Animation” award for “Evolution of Scissors,” a clever short film about scissors that come together to form new life and are destroyed by a meteor. The Santa Monica “Budding Filmmaker Award” — an award given each year to a local teen who displays the talent and passion for a future filmmaking career — was awarded to Nicole Andrews from Samohi. Two of Andrews’ films were screened at this year’s festival: “Tap,” a short experimental film that illustrates lyrics from Billie Holiday’s “Fire and Mellow” through images of a dripping faucet, and “Going Up Crazy,” a live action film that follows a businessman who must endure the daily annoyances of using a public elevator on the way to work.
Category winners of the Santa Monica Teen Film Festival were decided by a panel of industry professional judges and teen judges. The “Audience Choice Award” winners were decided by popular vote from the audience at each screening.
The Santa Monica Teen Film Festival is an interdepartmental initiative between the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, the Santa Monica Public Library, and the Virginia Avenue Park Teen Center. Its purpose is to provide an outlet for, and to showcase, the creative talents of teen filmmakers, as well as encourage youth to use the art of filmmaking as a form of creative expression and commentary on the world in which they live.