York County Announces Winners of 2020 Underexposed Film Festival

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From October 21 – 24, the Underexposed Film Festival yc, presented by Morton & Gettys, embraced the changing landscape of entertainment, and screened 8 blocks of film online for the world to enjoy.
The Underexposed Film Festival yc showcases the best in independent filmmaking from around the world, allowing audiences to take a trip around the world without leaving their seat!
With the introduction of the Best Puppetry Film category to the Festival’s awards lineup, Karen Collins, UFFyc Festival Director, notes the history and future of this ancient art form. “Puppetry in theater can be traced back to the 5th century BCE in Greece, while its history can be traced much further back with examples found in Asia, Africa, and in America by Native Americans. In the early days of film, large-scale puppets were used in films like The Witch (1906) by director Georges Melies, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that audiences saw the rise of puppetry through short film. Puppetry finally hit the big time in the late 1970s and 1980s when Jim Henson brought The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and movies featuring The Muppets to the silver screen. Today, multiple generations flock to theaters and gather around televisions to experience the fantastical world of puppetry, and a new generation of puppeteers and filmmakers continues to push the genre forward. The UFFyc has supported puppetry films since its inception, and today, the festival gives this unique artform a pedestal of its own.”
Thanks to the 2020 jurors for their time and consideration: Rob Adler (iVote, You Too?), Coretta Bedsole, Kristin Charney (The Happytime Murders, The Muppets, Team America: World Police), Darryl Dillard (The Real Man, Then I’ll Rest, Who’s With Me, Valor), Juli Emmons (Tammy, The Longest Ride, SpongeBob SquarePants 2), Hobey Ford [Ichabod, Sketches from Sleepy Holly, Bring Your Love (Avett Brothers)], John Gallen (Daddy, Maverick, The Crazy Ones), Nicola Balhuzien Hepp (Songs of the Underworld), Joanne Hock (The Ultimate Legacy, When We Last Spoke, Southern Gothic), Greg Holfeld (Pinchpot), Cashell Horgan (Ancient Lights, The Clockmaker’s Dream, Paddy), Gabrielle Lansner (The Birch Grove, The Stronger), Ng’endo Mukii (Yellow Fever, Nairobi Berries) Michael Rivers, J. Michael Simpson (Light Rain, Stream), Karen Stock, Adria Tennor (Pie, The Artist, One Moment), David White (Going to the Devil: The Impeachment of 1868, The Forgotten War: The Lasting Legacy of World War I, Single. Parents. Collection.), David Wohl (Chillers, Invasion of the Space Preachers, Paradise Park).
Ten awards were presented to Official Selections in 2020 – the Grand Jury Prize; the best of category: animation, documentary, experimental, narrative, and puppetry; Cinema Carolina – awarded to the best independent film made in North or South Carolina regardless of category, content, or subject; Woman to Watch (best female director); Best Student Film; and the Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award. UFFyc award sculptures created by South Carolina artist Bob Doster are presented to the Grand Jury Award winner, Best Animated Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Experimental Film, Best Narrative Film, Best Puppetry Film, and Cinema Carolina.
Grand Jury Award
Prizes: $750 and Lightworks Pro courtesy of Lightworks
The Big Race
Experimental | 2019 | 10 min. 09 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG
Language | English
Director | John Williams
Cast | Ana da Costa, Lester Gonzales, Kitten Marie Clayman, Jessica DiSalvo, Marilla Wex
Set in a surreal world of giant TV’s, talking flowers and dancing Ravens, two mannequins discuss the controversial race between Mr. Tortoise and Ms. Rabbit after allegations surface that the race was rigged by the Ravens.
Best Animated Film
Prizes: $200 Toon Boom Animation Software courtesy of Toon Boom
Dcera (Daughter) 
Animation | 2019 | 14 min. 44 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG
Language | No Dialogue
Director | Daria Kashcheeva
In a hospital room, the Daughter recalls a childhood moment when as a little girl she tried to share her experience with an injured bird with her Father. A moment of misunderstanding and a lost embrace has stretched into many years all the way to this hospital room, until the moment when a windowpane breaks under the impact of a little bird.
Best Documentary Film
Prizes: $200 and Cinematiq DCP Transfer Software courtesy of Cinematiq
Sankofa
Documentary | 2018 | 27 min. 53 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | English
Director | Princess Garrett
Cast | Godsway Anderson, Marcquis Graham, Chiji Akoma, Amari Johnson, Eric Owusu Ansah, Wanluv the Kubolor
This documentary is about the loss of identity and its systemic impact on black males. By exploring the complexities of mental slavery, Sankofa calls its audience to free themselves from the system in which they were born.
Best Experimental Film
Prize: $200
The Big Race
Experimental | 2019 | 10 min. 09 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG
Language | English
Director | John Williams
Cast | Ana da Costa, Lester Gonzales, Kitten Marie Clayman, Jessica DiSalvo, Marilla Wex
Set in a surreal world of giant TV’s, talking flowers and dancing Ravens, two mannequins discuss the controversial race between Mr. Tortoise and Ms. Rabbit after allegations surface that the race was rigged by the Ravens.
Best Narrative Film
Prizes: $200 and Cinematiq DCP Transfer Software courtesy of Cinematiq
Song Sparrow
Experimental, Narrative
2019 | 11 min. 43 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | No Dialogue
Director | Farzaneh Omidvarnia
Based on a real event, in Austria 2015, and in Ireland 2019…
A group of refugees tries to reach a safe country in search of a better life. They pay a smuggler to convey them across the boarders in a fridge truck. However, the freezing temperature of the truck turns their hopes for a better future into a fierce struggle for survival.
Best Puppetry Film
Prizes: $200 and Cinematiq DCP Transfer Software courtesy of Cinematiq
The Haunted Swordsman
Narrative, Puppetry
2019 | 16 min. 25 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | English
Producers | Lisa Henson
Director | Kevin McTurk
Cast | Jason Scott Lee, James Hong, Chistopher Lloyd, Franka Potente
In this handcrafted epic puppet film set in a world of demons and ghosts, a lone samurai and his odd companion, a cursed severed head, seek vengeance in a haunted world.
Woman to Watch (Best Female Director)
Prize: $200 
Alison James
Alison James is an award-winning director and writer from Perth, Western Australia.
Judas Collar is Alison’s most ambitious film to date, following up on two performance based dramatic shorts, You Have Blue Eyes – which recently screened at an Australians in Film showcase in Los Angeles and Sentence which she filmed in West Australia’s only juvenile prison.
Alison has transitioned from factual into scripted after exploring complex ideas and characters in television documentaries over the last decade. She has directed on fifty hours of factual television, working for national and international broadcasters Discovery, National Geographic, ABC, SBS, ITV, BBC, PBS, S4C, 7mate, Sky TV, TV NZ, Arte and The History Channel.
Working across a variety of documentary formats, Alison has gained privileged access into unique subcultures and nurtured a passion for human complexities without judgment. Highlights include spending countless hours with Indigenous Elders, oil and gas workers, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, people with intellectual disabilities, Nobel winning scientists, migrants, refugees, prisoners and survivors of terrorism and war.
Most recently Alison was Series Director for the eight-part Railroad Australia (Discovery) following the men and women who run Australia’s vast rail network. Prior to that she was a director on twenty-four episodes of the popular Outback Truckers (Discovery) filming in some of Australia’s most inhospitable and remote areas with some of Australia’s toughest truck drivers.
Alison was field director for the critically acclaimed The DreamHouse (ABC) following three young housemates living with intellectual disabilities. She also co-series directed BoomTown (ABC), examining a year in the lives of seven high-profile multi-millionaire entrepreneurs in Perth. Alison’s series directing debut was the heart-warming Harvest (SBS), tracking the evolution of a community garden at the notorious ‘Suicide Towers’ in Perth.
Alison studied filmmaking and psychology at Curtin University and is a recipient of the prestigious West Australian Young Filmmaker of the Year Award.
Judas Collar
Narrative | 2018 | 15 min. 00 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | English
Director | Alison James
In outback Australia a wild camel is captured and fitted with a tracking device known as a Judas Collar. Based on a real-life practice, Judas Collar is a scripted, no-dialogue, live action short that explores the story of a camel used to betray her kind.
Cinema Carolina
Prize: $200
Summer Headstones
Documentary | 2019 | 18 min. 06 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG
Language | English
Director | Hamilton Young Ward
Cast | Dann Ward, Andrew Kahrl, Kwame Leo Lillard, J.T. Johnson, Al Lingo
This documentary explores the urban decay of municipal swimming pools in the Southern United States, due to their closure and abandonment by white officials after desegregation was instituted in America.
Best Student Film
Prize: $100
Sankofa
Documentary | 2018 | 27 min. 53 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | English
Director | Princess Garrett
Cast | Godsway Anderson, Marcquis Graham, Chiji Akoma, Amari Johnson, Eric Owusu Ansah, Wanluv the Kubolor
This documentary is about the loss of identity and its systemic impact on black males. By exploring the complexities of mental slavery, Sankofa calls its audience to free themselves from the system in which they were born.
Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award
Prize: $100
The Haunted Swordsman
Narrative, Puppetry
2019 | 16 min. 25 sec.
Suggested Rating | PG-13
Language | English
Producers | Lisa Henson
Director | Kevin McTurk
Cast | Jason Scott Lee, James Hong, Chistopher Lloyd, Franka Potente
In this handcrafted epic puppet film set in a world of demons and ghosts, a lone samurai and his odd companion, a cursed severed head, seek vengeance in a haunted world.
Produced by the Arts Council of York County, the Underexposed Film Festival yc is presented by Morton & Gettys, and is made possible by partnerships with Carolina Fresh Farms, Cinematiq, City of Rock Hill PRT, Karen Collins, Dr. Susan Collins, Concerts at the Courtroom, Comporium Communications, Founders Federal Credit Union, Hampton Inn, Lightworks, Melton Insurance, Old Town Association, OTS Media, Sharp Business Systems, Slow Play Brewing, Diane Tennyson, Toon Boom, Winthrop University College of Visual and Performing Arts, and York County Library.
For more information about the Underexposed Film Festival yc, visit https://www.underexposedfilmfestivalyc.org.

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