NY Shorts Announces Awards
by Amy Veltman
The Sony Theater at 68th Street in New York City was the setting for the
awards ceremony of the first annual Shorts International Film Festival.
Lisa Walborsky, co-founder and Executive Director, stated that the
festival's purpose is to bring a new audience to the genre of short film
rather than to bring new short films to an in-the-know audience: the awards
presented largely reflected that mission.
Prior to distributing the kudos to the filmmakers, there was a screening of
"A Short History of Shorts," an introductory survey of some classic short
experimental films. While incredibly worthwhile and containing some
important milestones in the history of the genre, the choice might have
been a little "academic" for an awards ceremony. Perhaps a more appropriate
option would have been to screen the winning films after they were
Awards were presented by R.J. Cutler ("The War Room", "A Perfect Candidate"),
who angled throughout for one of the Tourneau watches being given to the
winners as his compensation. Jessica Yu's Academy Award winning
documentary, "Breathing Lessons: The Life And Work Of Mark O'Brien", took top
honors in the Documentary category. "Get That Number", recently shown at the
New York Comedy Film Festival, by Stephen Leeds of Columbia University, won
in the student category. Christophe Van Rompaey of Belgium got the nod for
best drama, the category most heavily weighted with international works,
for his film "Grijs" (Grey). Michael Sporn's "Champagne", a film which marries
the genres of animation and documentary, received an award for the best
animated piece. The Australian "Down Rusty Down" by John Curran, formerly of
New York, was the recipient of the Comedy category's first place citation
and "Chronic" by Jennifer Reeves rounded out the ceremony as winner of the
best experimental film. Checks for $2000 accompanied the watches and
certificates given to the winners.
Additionally, Perry Ellis sponsored a Breakthrough Award, given to two
filmmakers whose works used an awareness of clothing centrally in their
films. Amyn Kadereli and Kelly Atkins were both awarded $500 along with
bottles of Tattinger champagne for their films "Little Man" and "Chatham County Superstar", respectively. Both films are showing in the Student
programs and both filmmakers hail from NYU.
After the screening and ceremony, a packed party, sponsored by Absolut
Vodka, took place in the theater's fourth floor atrium. The crowd was
composed of the filmmakers, their friends, and a large number of industry
people, including, of course, Sylvia Miles.