​And the winners are....

Best of Fest: “Adrift” Directed by Brian Storck
Best Pro Documentary:”Voices from Vietnam” Directed by Mark Biggs
Best Pro Animation: “On/Off” Directed by Nicholas Villarreal
Best Pro Short: “Alaina” Directed by Rami Kodeih
Best Student/Amateur Documentary: “The Curiosity of Edward Pratt” Directed by Thomas Sandler
Best Student/Amateur Animation: “The Winter” Directed by Xin Li
Best Student/Amateur Short: “Adrift” Directed by Brian Storck
Best of North Carolina: “Hen & Ham” Directed by Elias Gandy
Best Film by a Child 14 & under: “Noise” Directed by Zoltan Szabó
Audience Choice: “Hen & Ham” Directed by Elias Gandy
Best Director: Charlie Thompson “Rock Castle Home”
Best Cinematography: Rob Herrmann “The Day I Disremembered”
Best Screenplay: Matthew Fridg “Saving Amelia”
Best Editing: Jacob Boyle “Shadow Boxing” and “Good Boy Cerberus”
Best Actor Ensemble: “Karma’s Shadow”
Best Actress Ensemble​​: “Saving Amelia”
Best Score: Tyler Hawes & Abby Meaux “Mundance”

2021 lineup (scroll down for film synopses)

aDay Playing
Wednesday, July 21 - 7pm-until
  ​Painting By Numbers G ​0:04:23 ​Animation
  ​Homecoming PG ​0:10:39 Short
Q&A ​The Day I Disremembered PG ​0:15:50 ​Documentary
  ​Hen & Ham PG ​0:35:23 Short
Q&A ​Guardians of Our Troubled Waters PG ​0:55:49 Documentary
  ​Endangered PG ​0:18:00 Short
Thursday, July 22 - 7pm-until
  ​Mundance G ​0:04:34 ​Animation
​Voices from Vietnam   ​0:52:05 ​Documentary
Q&A ​Magic Camera PG ​0:14:09 ​Short
  ​Between the Lines: Liz at Large G ​0:04:32 Documentary
  ​Deepwater Sponger PG-13 ​0:17:22 ​Short
​Tikkun Olam PG ​0:10:30 ​Short
  ​Stuffed PG-13 ​0:10:19 ​Short
​1000 Days PG-13 ​0:21:57 Documentary
Friday, July 23 - 7pm-until
  ​Good Boy Cerberus PG ​0:05:45 ​Animation
  ​Shadowboxing PG-13 ​​0:12:29 Short
​Assisted Living PG-13 ​0:20:00 Short
  ​Fishtown PG ​0:04:24 Animation
  ​Exit Package PG-13 ​0:13:08 Short
Q&A ​Karma's Shadow PG-13 ​0:25:34 Short
  ​Alina PG-13 ​0:24:51 Short
KIDS FEST! Saturday, July 24 - 10am
  ​X Marks the Spot G ​0:04:00 Short
  ​The Eye Opening Drop G ​0:01:07 Short
  ​Crocodile and Plover Bird G ​0:02:53 Animation
  Noise G ​0:02:58 Short
  ​The Sitter G ​0:06:08 Short
  ​Fishtown PG ​0:04:24 Animation
  ​Juggling Autism G ​0:07:52 Documentary
  ​Tiger Blanket G ​0:07:19 Animation
  ​Quest for Coffee G ​0:02:45 Short
  ​The Startup G ​0:02:45 Short
  ​Getting Through a Pandemic: Small Businesses G ​0:09:45 Documentary
Saturday Matinee, July 24 - 1pm
Q&A ​Remembering Willie Earle PG ​0:17:14 Documentary
​Starfish PG ​0:18:42 Short
  ​Water Demon PG-13 ​0:20:47 Short
​World of Henna PG ​1:01:07 Documentary
Saturday, July 24 - 7pm-until
  ​The Winter G ​0:05:00 Animation
  ​The Curiosity of Edward Pratt PG ​0:12:46 Documentary
  Swipe PG ​0:05:21 Short
Q&A ​You Know His Name PG-13 ​0:09:58 Short
​Saving Amelia G ​0:27:00 Short
​On / Off G ​0:07:00 Animation
  ​Adrift PG ​0:21:26 Short
​Deep Fears G ​0:03:23 Animation
Q&A ​Rock Castle Home PG ​0:55:17 Documentary
*(Schedule subject to change)
 Awards & Party!
Awards will be announced during the PARTY following the final film on Saturday night!
Synopses (in the order they will screen)
Wednesday, July 21st  
"Painting by Numbers"
​(4min 23sec,​ ​Student Animation, Australia)
Written & Directed by: Radheya Jegatheva
Produced by: Matt Hearn, Jay Jay Jegathesan
A child's encounter with classic masterpieces triggers a confronting epiphany
(10min 39sec, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
​Director: Travis Stewart
Writer: Kelly Simpson
Producers: Zach Chaloux, Adriana Herring
Emma is in search of her maternal grandfather Hans. The U.S. is shutting down as a result of the pandemic, and she has one last day to talk to him before her flight to Vancouver. Unfortunately, Hans has Alzheimer​​s, which makes it difficult for Emma to get answers about her past.
​"The Day I Disremembered"
(15 min 50sec, Professional Documentary, Colorado)
Writer: Chris Hanson, Producers: Tim Myers, Rob Herrmann, Jacob Hanson
​Chris Hanson is a small business owner and in 2015 a traumatic event happened where he lost his memory which made him question how much he was working but it wasn't that easy for him to pull back.  This is a story of his unique past and present and how he refocused his life with his new found passion on the river. Instagram

"Hen & Ham"
(34min 23sec, Student Short, Statesville, NC)
Written & Directed by: Elias Gandy
Produced by: Samuel Gandy
While searching for his father, a lonely teen befriends an older woman suffering from Alzheimer's. Instagram


​"Guardians of Our Troubled Waters"
(55min 49sec, Professional Documentary, Flat Rock, NC)
Writer, Director, Producer: David Weintraub
Our rivers and streams were the lifeblood of our community, but in the industrial age, they became a sewer system for all manner of toxic effluence. However, the early river heroes, the Wilma Dykemans, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the Upper French Broad Defense Association and the Dead Pigeon River Council said NO to the destruction, inspiring river stewardship that still echoes today in those who have picked up the torch and run with it. We owe so much to our river heroes, yesterday and today. But the job is far from over.

(18mins, Professional Short, Los Angeles, CA)
Writer, Director: Alex Wroten
Producers: Harry Victor, Lindsay Wolfe-Wroten
The world of easy-going teenager Roger Burns flips upside-down after he’s seduced into a late night swim with his girlfriend and contracts a rare, endangered parasite.
All Roger wants to do is get back to adolescent frivolities and basketball, but everyone from his parents, to his doctors, to animal rights groups, have their own opinions about what he needs to do with his life.
Thursday, July 22nd    
(4min 34sec, Student Animation, Winston-Salem, NC)
Director: Abby Davenport
Writer: Aiden Winter-Deely
Producer: Nick Bailey
Maria is tired of her mundane office job and wishes her life were like a musical.
​"Voices from Vietnam"
(52min 5sec, Professional Documentary, Springfield, MO)
Director: Mark Biggs
Writer: Larry Rottmann
Producers: Mark Biggs, Brian Shipmann, Larry Rottmann
In March 1967, Lt. Larry Rottmann deployed to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division. For the next 30 years, like so many other Americans and Vietnamese, he struggled to make sense of that war. Seeking answers and some semblance of personal peace, he returned to Southeast Asia 19 times. Voices from Vietnam documents his journey from war to reconciliation. The film juxtaposes historical and contemporary images with live music by Raymond Castrey and narration by Rottmann. The film gives "voice" to the many people he met and the events he experienced during his quest.
​"Magic Camera"
(14min 9sec, Student Short, Charlotte, NC)
Writer & Director: Rodney S. Robinson
Producer: Brad Hoover, Asheville School of Film
A young girl struggles to come to terms with her Grandmother's death. Through the use of her imagination and an old camera she seeks to hold on to precious memories and hopes to bridge the emotional gap that exists between her and her mother.
​"Between the Lines: Liz at Large"
(4min 32sec, Student Documentary, Weaverville, NC)
Director: Abi Cole
Writers: Abi Cole, Meghan Shea
Producers: Meghan Shea, Mike Rogers , Fiona Chong, David Flood
Liz Montague first emailed The New Yorker's cartoon editor out of frustration that all of the illustrations featured white subjects. She began contributing to the magazine in 2019 and became the first Black, female cartoonist in The New Yorker's near century run. Montague's cartoons push the publication's boundaries through focusing on the intersection of self and social awareness in an accessible style with clean lines and representative subjects. Montague sketches a world in which Black women are the main characters.
"Deepwater Sponger"
(17min 22sec, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writer & Director: Connor Ryan
Producers: Connor Ryan Dillon Dipietro
In an alternate 1927 destroyed by pollution, a diver ventures into the Earth's mysterious ocean to find its last cache of fresh water and save humankind. His treacherous descent brings him face to face with untold horrors, forcing him to decide how much he's willing to sacrifice for the sake of the mission.

​"Tikkun Olam"
(10mins 30sec, Professional Short, Washington, DC)
Writer, Director, Producer: Bob Ahmed
Tikkun Olam is a short, narrative, film about an eight year old boy in Washington, D.C. who encounters a homeless veteran. The film was inspired by the director's own experiences while living in Washington, D.C., which has the highest homelessness rate in America.
(10mins 19sec, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
Director: Fer McFarlane
Writer: Willow Longbrake
Producers: Jennana Cusack, Julia Lofton Walpole
Silas comes to terms with his estranged father's death by finishing his father's final taxidermy job.
"1000 Days"
​(21min 57sec, Professional Documentary, United Kingdom)
Directed and Produced by: Jeanette Rourke & Ron Bambridge
No one is immune - Globally, close to 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That is one person every forty seconds and we don​'t talk about it.​ ​Our aim is to break that silence.​ ​When a life is lost to suicide, what part, do each of us play?​ ​Sangeeta Mahajan, a Consultant at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation, lost her only son, Saagar, to suicide.​ ​On the day of Saagars suicide, Sangeeta started to write a blog, a blog she wrote every day for 1000 Days.​ ​Saagar sat on a bench at the station for, over two hours before putting himself under a train, despite clearly being distressed, not a single person, reached out.​ ​The moment his body was on the tracks, the camera​'s came out to - TWEET!​ ​This film, which pays tribute to this remarkable young man, is also a call to arms. What can each one of do, to lift the taboo of silence and talk about suicide. How can a Mother survive the unsurvivable?​ ​As a society, what have we become?​ ​When a life is lost to suicide, what part, do each of us play and can a Mother survive the unsurvivable? The loss of an only son. Explored via a blog written by a grieving mother for ​1000 Days​.​
Friday, July 23rd  
​"Good Boy Cerberus"
(5min 45sec, Student Animation, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writers: MK Singleton, Kam Szeliga, Vale Stanley,
Producers: Emily Gallinger, Bobby Mageau
When Cerberus, a three-headed puppy, ends up on the lord of the underworld’s doorstep, he goes through guard dog training to become useful to his new master. Will he remain a cute and loving puppy, or end up the monster that he was born to be?
(12min 29sec, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
Director: Zander Heiselman
Writers: Zander Heiselman, Reece Clemmons, Ralph Parker
Producer: Jenna Cusack
Fighting in an underground MMA league a talented, young fighter named Miles and his coercive father have dreams of being the best in the sport. After Miles believes he’s accidentally killed one of his opponents, he struggles to confront his father who is pressuring him to continue fighting while neglecting his emotions. As guilt sets in, Miles is constantly reminded of his next fight and the bet that’s been wagered by an agent that could make or break his professional career.
"Assisted Living"
(20mins, Professional Short, Edmond, Ok)
Directors: Mitchel Allen, Kasey Engle  
Writer: Mitchel Allen
Producer: David Jurney
A shy, comic book-obsessed young man finds an unlikely hero when forced to room with a cranky, older man in an assisted living facility.
​"Exit Package"
(13min 8sec, Professional Short, NY)
Written & Directed by: John Gray
Produced by: Melissa Jo Peltier
A dark comedy, quarantine era murder mystery - a ZOOM meeting for a corrupt investment company goes horribly wrong. Made completely through ZOOM, with all of the actors working from home.
(4min 24sec, Student Animation, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writer, Director, Lead Animator: Max Williams
Writer, Director: Emma "Erma" Richardson
A diver searches for his missing piece and finds a world he didn’t know existed.
"Karmas Shadow"
(25min 34sec, Professional Short, Raleigh, NC)
Director, Producer: Rob Underhill
Writer: Allen Gies, Shawn Nguyen
Producers: Rob Underhill, Aravind Ragupathi, Shawn Nguyen
Titanic forces clash in an epic winner take-all battle for control of illicit trade in New York City.
(24min 51sec, Professional Short, CA)
Director: Rami Kodeih
Writer: Nora Mariana Salim
Producers: Rachelle Owen, Rubber Duck Films, Courtney Prather, Nora Mariana, Rami Kodeih, Joshua Owen
As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend's three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events.

Sat., July 24th, 1pm Matinee  
​"Remembering Willie Earle"
(17min 14sec, Professional Documentary, Winston-Salem, NC)
Directors: Thomas Espy, Stevie Jefferis, Cassie Harding, Frank Carroll
Producers:​ ​John Wertheimer, Stevie Jefferis, Frank Carroll, Cassie Harding, Thomas Espy, Colin Sylvester
Seventy plus years ago, Willie Earle was taken from a jail in Pickens, South Carolina and murdered by a mob. Now, his childhood friend AQ remembers, in a community that wants to forget.
(18min 42sec, Professional Short, Glendale, CA)
Director: Alicia Buckner
Writers: Alicia Buckner, Jamie Beck
Producers: Free to Thrive, Folsheart
A story about a human trafficking survivor's journey to freedom.
​"Water Demon"
(20min 47sec, Professional Short, India)
Written & Directed by: Bikramjit Gupta
Produced by: Rajat Sikder
Water is scarce in this village. The womenfolk of the village have to walk a long distance to a well in an old fort to fetch water. One day, while they were approaching the fort, they saw Laajo, a mentally deranged village girl lying semiconscious. This was the third such event in the village, in recent times.
Tunu, a young inquisitive school girl has questions about the attack, her Amma tells her that Laajo was attacked by a water demon.
"World of Henna"
(1hr, Student Documentary, OR)
Directors: Melanie Ooi, Erika Ryn
Writers: Melanie Ooi; Editor & Producer: Erika Ryn
World of Henna is the first feature length documentary ever to be made about the farming, culture, history, and application techniques of henna in India. The film pulls you along through the vibrancy of all that is India. From the colorful and lively streets, to traditional henna application methods in the home, and of course, the sumptuousness of the incomparable Indian wedding.
Sat., July 24th, 7pm  
​"The Winter"
(5mins, Student Animation)
Writer, Director, Producer Xin Li
Walking in a snowy forest, a peasant sees an unusual deer and goes to follow it. The deer allures him and the peasant even wants to catch it.
​"The Curiosity of Edward Pratt"
(12min 46sec, Student Documentary, Belgium)
Writer, Director, Producer: Thomas Sandler
A glimpse into the life of adventurer, Edward Pratt and the first circumnavigation of the globe on a unicycle.
(5min 21sec, Student Short, NY)
Writer, Director: Anthony Sneed
Producer: Doug Barden
A delinquent teenage boy learns a valuable lesson about growing up.
"You Know His Name"
(10mins, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
Director: Clarke Phillips
Writers: Desiree Winns, Clarke Phillips
Producer: Robert Mageau
A day-in-the-life story of a black teenager in America, the film follows our nameless protagonist as he prepares for a photo shoot with his close friend Zoe. Dodging his mother’s requests and staying out later than he should, he and Zoe discuss their futures, their dreams and his insecurities, culminating in a dark and difficult drive home.
​"Saving Amelia"
(27min, Professional Short, PA)
Writer, Director: Matthew Fridg
When two contentious sisters stumble upon an old two-way radio as they explore their attic while stuck at home, they realize it can mysteriously communicate with the past. As they start playing with the radio, they realize they are speaking with Amelia Earhart moments before the final transmission of her ill-fated flight. It becomes a race against time to help save her, but can they overcome their own quarrels in order to change the course of history forever. Facebook
(7min, Professional Animation, Argentina)
Writer, Director, Producer: Nicolas P. Villarreal
Endless distractions threaten to destroy creativity.
(21min 26sec, Student Short, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writer, Director: Brian Storck
Producer: Andrew Kucmierz
After crash landing on an unpopulated planet, a lone pilot forms a connection with their flight computer while trying to escape.
"Deep Fears"
(3min 23sec, Student Animation, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writer, Director: Ryan Chu
A sea otter who is afraid of the ocean is challenged to face his fears when he loses his precious pink shell necklace at sea.
"Rock Castle Home"
(55min, Professional Short, Durham, NC)
Director:  Charlie Thompson
Rock Castle Home delves deep into the history of a 1930s Virginia mountain community displaced by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Told through the words of community members working to preserve their history and identity, Rock Castle Home tells a universal story about the human fight to preserve our stories despite the political, economic, and natural forces that seek to subsume them.
Kids Fest Synopses (in the order they will screen)


​"X Marks the Spot"
(4min, ​Short by 14 & under, Virginia)
Directors:Murray Susen, Carolina Chao
Writers: Eavan Brown, Carolina Chao
Producers: Eavan Brown, Carolina Chao
A pair of air-headed adventurers embark on a treasure hunting journey as contestants on the up-and-coming survival show, "X Marks The Spot." Do they find the secret riches? Maybe.


​"The Eye Opening Drop"
(1min 7sec, ​Documentary by 14 & under, Virginia)
Directors, Writers, Producers, Animators, Cast:
Olivia Provencio, Jelena Conn, Jake Beard, Eavah Brown
A single drop of water journeys through the water cycle, highlighting issues such as pollution and global warming and the threat these phenomenons pose to clean water and the planet.


"​Crocodile and Plover Bird"
(2min 53sec, Animation by 14 & under, Canada)
Filmmaker: Michael Ionov (a.k.a. Misha)
A story about a unique symbiotic relationship between plover bird and crocodile. It all started with crocodile's toothache one day as he was not able to use dental floss, or toothbrush as his arms are too short to get out the food stuck in his teeth.


(2min 53sec, 14 & under, Hungary)
Director, Writer, Producer, Cast:  Zoltán Bendegúz Szabó
Noise draws attention to a major problem of our time, climate change, in a unique way, with a shocking emphasis on the sounds of the human environment. The short film is an attempt to find a solution that focuses on sustainability. The film is a critique of the modern world.


"The Sitter"
(6min, 14 & under, VA)
Director: Murray Susen
Writer: Dylan Duke
Producer: Holly Duke
A babysitter accidentally accepts a sitting job for a dog. Kids can be a nightmare, but so can pets...


(4min 24sec, Student Animation, Winston-Salem, NC)
Writer, Director, Lead Animator: Max Williams
Writer, Director: Emma "Erma" Richardson
A diver searches for his missing piece and finds a world he didn’t know existed.

"​Juggling Autism"
(7min 52sec, Documentary by 14 & under,TX)
Writer, Director, Producer: Aodhan Lane
Juggling Autism explores how Circus Arts have helped a young boy learn to cope with his challenges and channel his creativity in a positive way.
"​"Tiger Blanket"
(7min 19sec, Student Animation, NC)
Director  Caro Knight
Writers: Ashley Miller, Robert Mageau
Producers: Julia Lofton Walpole, Robert Mageau
Animators: Madison Crisp, Beau Sheil, Victoria Sosa
An abuela prepares for her night with her grandchildren, Luisito and Maria, with loads of Hispanic fun. Unfortunately, the grandkids have no cultural connection to their grandmother, nor do they want to be there. As a last ditch effort, Abuela conjures up a story of the Tiger Blanket, in hopes that the tale will break through to her nietos.
"Quest for Coffee"
(2min 45sec, 14 & under, VA)
Writer, Director: Nell
A young woman is caught committing vandalism and then creates obstacles attempting to stop the two protagonists from getting coffee.
"The Startup"
(2min 45sec, 14 & under, VA)
Writer, Director, Producer: Sebastian Carr
A young business-mogul hopeful starts a new venture from his house, but he quickly realizes that a business requires more than a hardy interview process.

"Getting Through a Pandemic: Small Businesses"
(9min 45sec, Documentary by 14 & under, VA)
Director: Talia Finckel
Overview of the reality most small businesses face during a global pandemic.



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