Bound, Maisie Jacobson, Mandy May Cheetham, Trapline win cash prizes in NSI Online Short Film Fest

Watch Bound in the NSI Online Short Film Festival

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) recently handed out the latest round of awards in its NSI Online Short Film Festival.

  • Bound, directed by Daniel Boos, won the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film;
  • Maisie Jacobson won the $1,000 Corus Fearless Female Directors Award for best direction by a female for Billsville;
  • Mandy May Cheetham won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for her work in Companionship; and
  • Trapline, directed by Dustin Chok, won the $1,500 Blue Ant Media Documentary Award for best doc.

All winners receive a complimentary Friend membership to the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

The award selection was made by an independent jury: Hot Docs film programmer Jessica Gyll, CBC Unscripted development manager Mélanie Lê Phan and filmmaker Zachary Russell, recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film for She Stoops to Conquer.

Our jurors had this to say about the films:

A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: Bound

Jessica Gyll: “A well-rounded film with a small cast and minimal dialogue, Bound is a spellbinding look at one man’s specific moral dilemma that also feels universally relatable.”

Mélanie Lê Phan: “Bound is an indelible piece that showcases the delicate nature of human relationships. Daniel’s patience with his characters allows the film to breathe beautifully and uses subtlety for affect.”

Zachary Russell: “Bound was a total standout – a tense moral drama told with poetic visuals and anchored by a quiet, nuanced performance. From its beautiful opening shot, I was spellbound. ”

Director Daniel Boos said, “I would like to thank the National Screen Institute for the opportunity to partake in this competition and to the jury for recognizing Bound with this award.

“This film could not have been made without the passion, trust and hard work invested by the cast and crew. I am thrilled that the film is resonating with audiences and I appreciate the encouragement to continue to explore challenging social and ethical issues in my storytelling.”

Corus Fearless Female Directors Award: Maisie Jacobson for Billsville

Jessica: “With a compassionate and detailed eye, Maisie captures the unique essence of her character and has created a film as entertaining as the subject himself.”

Zachary: “An enchanting, intimate portrait of a fascinating subject. Maisie’s keen eye for capturing small, quiet moments are what truly humanized her subject and made this film so captivating.”

Director Maisie Jacobson said, “Thank you! I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award, and delighted that you are championing female directors. Thank you to my talented collaborators and CBC Docs, who funded our film.”

Brian Linehan Actors Award: Mandy May Cheetham for Companionship

Jessica: “Mandy May Cheetham taps into a range of emotions in her performance in Companionship, really helping to ground the energetic futuristic feel of the film and allowing the viewer to connect on a human level.”

Mélanie: “Mandy May’s performance lends itself perfectly to this impressive short on the precariousness of connection. She flows between the peaks and valleys of her character’s state of mind, and renders a sometimes difficult and self-centered character into a performance we can all relate to intimately.”

Zachary: “Mandy May’s character goes through a remarkable range of experiences in just a few short minutes. Throughout, she never struck a false note, and brought a deep humanity and honesty to every scene. An absolute delight to watch.”

Mandy May Cheetham said, “I’m very grateful to be receiving this prestigious award from the NSI and the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation for my work on Companionship. Awards like this are so important for artists such as myself to encourage us to keep taking risks and digging deeper with our work.

“It’s wonderful to know my work is being recognized alongside other incredible artists awarded through the 30+ year history of NSI.”

Blue Ant Media Documentary Award: Trapline

Jessica: “A visually and aurally compelling film that beautifully captures the nuanced ins and outs of what it means to be a modern day trapper.”

Mélanie: “Trapline does something not many documentaries can do – it shifts your perspective and subverts your expectations of its subject. Frame by frame, we begin to uncover the intersection between trapping and environmentalism. In the process, Dustin modernizes the tradition itself and carefully exposes the gaps in our own understanding of the big picture.”

Zachary: “Unlike any documentary I’ve seen. Poetic, vulnerable and beautifully shot – the film contains quiet depths that require multiple viewings to fully digest.”

Director Dustin Chok said, “Trapping is an important tradition that is integral to our national heritage. We are grateful to have the opportunity to share this film.”

About the jury

Jessica Gyll is the Senior Programming Coordinator at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival, the largest documentary festival, conference, and market in North America.

Mélanie Lê Phan is Development Manager, Unscripted Content, at CBC Television.

Zachary Russell is a filmmaker who recently won the A&E Short Filmmakers Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival for She Stoops to Conquer.

Call for films / submit by September 8

$3,750 in cash awards are available to be won through the NSI Online Short Film Festival. We are currently accepting submissions through FilmFreeway until Friday, September 8, 2017.

Films that meet award criteria are eligible for the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award and the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award. These awards are presented four times a year. The $1,500 Blue Ant Media Documentary Award is presented twice a year.

Entries must be under 30 minutes – the shorter the better. Drama, comedy, animation, documentary, sci-fi, horror, music video and experimental are all eligible but must be made by a Canadian writer, director or producer. The festival accepts films released after January 1, 2012.

Submit your film

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is made possible through the support of Festival Partner Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Entertainment OneSuper ChannelCorus EntertainmentBlue Ant MediaThe Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Breakthrough Entertainment; Award Sponsors A&E Television Networks, The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, Corus Entertainment and Blue Ant Media; and Industry Partner the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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Phone: 204.957.299 or email:

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