NSI announces the latest Online Short Film Festival winners

Winter in the NSI Online Short Film Festival

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

  • Winter, directed by Lina Roessler, won the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film;
  • John Fray won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for his work in Becoming Wigglesworth; and
  • Babe, I Hate To Go, directed by Andrew Moir, 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: Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival co-founder Michelle Nolden-Szarka, TV documentary producer and writer Barbara Hager and Graham Folkema, producer of previous A&E short filmmakers award winner The Suitcase.

Our jurors had this to say about the films:

A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: Winter

Michelle Nolden-Szarka: “A beautifully crafted and poignant film. Everything a short film should be – efficient, imaginative, with excellent characters and a full and rich story.”

Barbara Hager:  “A beautifully nuanced short film that evokes a profound sadness for an Iranian family that has lost their wife and mother, their country and their sense of home. The director has managed to bring out haunting performances from her actors – a grieving yet unemotional father and his two melancholy children as they adapt to their new home in Canada.”

Graham Folkema: “A deeply poignant and powerful narrative on the coping mechanisms of immigration … a child’s imagination.”

Director Lina Roessler said, “Like all the films submitted and screened in the NSI Online Short Film Fest, Winter was a true labour of love. Thank you so much to the jury, to NSI, A&E and, of course, to the cast and crew, all of whom made this wonderful acknowledgement possible.”

Brian Linehan Actors Award: John Fray for Becoming Wigglesworth

Michelle: “John Fray’s character in Becoming Wigglesworth made me both cringe and laugh out loud. Deftly layered, perfectly timed, truthful and entertaining, it is most deserving of a best actor award.”

Barbara: “John Fray throws himself into the role of an unfulfilled man as if it was a feature film, not a short. When he finally gets the strength to reveal his inner dream to his girlfriend and parents, his honest performance has the power to make his family – and the film audience – touched and confused at the same time.”

Graham: “John Fray leaves our world to enter his own in a Chaplinesque performance that rises [to] the occasion, compelling us to love him as he risks it all.”

John Fray said, “A huge thanks to the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and the jury! I’m honoured to be receiving this award and so very grateful to have been a part of this film. I had a blast … becoming Wigglesworth.”

Blue Ant Media Documentary Award: Babe, I Hate To Go

Michelle: “A heartbreaking and beautiful documentary. The intimacy we feel with the main character speaks to the trust and skill of the director and crew. Excellently shot and paced, it had me from beginning to finish.”

Barbara: “This exquisitely shot documentary takes you inside the world of a Jamaican migrant worker and the people who mean the most to him – his biological family, his farm family and his medical team – as he faces a life-threatening illness. Andrew Moir uses his amazing access to the documentary’s characters to create a respectful, poignant story of love, responsibility and vulnerability.”

Graham: “The raw energy of this documentary is tangible in scenes that linger, forcing one to absorb the complex emotions that play out on the main character’s face. A true story of love and strength that is worthy of remembering.”

Director Andrew Moir said, “It is very humbling to receive this award from NSI and Blue Ant. Thank you to the jury for this special recognition.”

About the jury

Michelle Nolden-Szarka is an award-winning film and television actress and is the artistic director and co-founder of the Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival. Her film Loonie won best film in the NSI Online Short Film Festival back in 2008.

Barbara Hager (Metis/Cree) is a producer, author, documentary director and scriptwriter. She has produced close to 150 Indigenous documentary episodes including eight seasons of The New Canoe, two seasons of Down2Earth and one season each of 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus and All Our Relations II for CHUM, CTV and APTN.

Graham Folkema is a Toronto-based producer whose film The Suitcase recently won the A&E Short Filmmakers Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. His work has appeared in broadcasts and festivals around the world including Bell Media, Shanghai Media Group, National Screen Institute, IndieFEST Film Awards and the History Channel.

Call for films / submit by March 12

We’re accepting films through FilmFreeway until Monday, March 12, 2018.

If your film is programmed, you have a chance of winning over $3K in cash awards. We accept films released after January 1, 2013.

All NSI Online Short Film Festival winners receive a complimentary Friend membership for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and non-acting award winners are qualified to be nominated for a Canadian Screen Award (if award criteria are met).

Submissions must be less than 30 mins. Drama, comedy, animation, documentary, sci-fi, horror, music video and experimental are all eligible and must be made by a Canadian writer, director or producer.

Submit your film

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is a year-round Canadian short film showcase with new films added every week. Since launching in 2008, the festival has programmed hundreds of films and awarded over $110K to Canadian media artists. Many of the films are available to watch in the archives.

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 and Blue Ant Media; and Industry Partner the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

All media enquiries

Laura Friesen, Manager, Communications & Alumni Relations
Phone: 204.957.299 or email: laura.friesen@nsi-canada.ca

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