Dane Cook
Photo Credit: Dylan Lujano for HollyShorts Film Festival

HollyShorts Film Festival, the annual 10 day long festival held at TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood, began with a star-studded opening event, with Debra Messing, Jennifer Morrison, Dane Cook and many other celebrities in attendance in support of their latest works. The festival also featured panels, filmmaker receptions, and special themed events, culminating with the closing night awards ceremony and after party on Saturday, August 17.

Festival partner Easterseals Southern California placed the spotlight on the importance of diversity and inclusion, hosting a panel titled  “Navigating the World of Diversity & Inclusion Programming in Hollywood.” The panel offered filmmakers with and without disabilities insight into Hollywood’s diversity programs and how to use them to open doors and further their careers in front of and behind the camera.  Additionally, the festival showcased the winning films from the 2019 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.

Photo Credit: Jeff Smith for HollyShorts Film Festival

The Oscar qualifying festival was expertly curated, with immigrant issues being front and center during the TV track held on Tuesday, August 13, with films including:

“Road To Zion” – A Jamaican immigrant finds his life in LA shaken by forces outside his control as he struggles to understand how far he is willing to go to protect his family.

“Currency” – Seventeen days after the nation’s banking system collapses, a Cuban family-run gas station becomes the center of power in a small town.

Courtesy of NiteLite Pictures

“#WeLaGente” – a powerful, short documentary film by NiteLite Pictures that takes a non-political, positive, human look at real Hispanic immigrant stories… putting a face to the diversity that adds to the fabric of America; and

“Tijuana”  – Set in 1924 in Tijuana during U.S. Prohibition, Carmen, a wildly ambitious and deviously calculating woman, manipulates her husband into launching a tequila smuggling business that triggers a chaotic downward spiral.

TV Track Finalists
Photo Credit: Jeff Smith for HollyShorts Film Festival

Also screened in the track were several comedy shorts providing some relief, including “Brentwood,” starring Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton, pre-teen dramedy “Millennial  Rules,” zombie flick “Life’s A Drag,” and winner of the category “Rainbow Ruthie,” a true story of Ruthie Marantz, a 90s teen star on Manhattan Public Access TV who decides to relive and rekindle her glory days.

Closing night featured a special screening of the thought-provoking, Oscar winning short “Skin,” distributed by Salaud Morisset, that was also shown out-of-competition at the French Riviera Film Festival held last May in Cannes.

The Full List of Awards Winners are:  

●      Best Action – Mama Bear

●      Best Animation – SISTER

●      Best Cinematographer – On The Border

●      Best Comedy – Adams

●      Best Coming of Age – Now You Know

●      Best Director – Homesick

●      Best Diversity – Catch A Girl

●      Best Doc – Lazarus

●      Best Drama – The Neighbors’ Window

●      Best Editing – For The Love I Show

●      Best Female Director – Tangles and Knots

●      Best Grand Jury Impossible Dream Award – Homesick

●      Best Horror – Oscar’s Bell

●      Best International – Mum’s Hairpins

●      Best LGBTQ+ – Starboy

●      Best Live Action – The Orphan

●      Best Music Video – Pa’lante

●      Best Narrative – Lady Parts

●      Best Panavision Future Filmmaker Award – Esta Es Tu Cuba

●      Best Period Piece – The Legend of Grayson Crockett

●      Best Producer – Piel Canela

●      Best Romance – Evelyn x Evelyn

●      Best Sci Fi – Storm

●      Best Screenplay – Desmond’s Not Here Anymore

●      Best Short Film Grand Prix – Balloon

●      Best Shot On Film – Spin Cycle

●      Best Student – Tree #3

●      Best Thriller – Shehita

●      Best TV Category – Rainbow Ruthie

●      Best VFX – The Shipment

●      Best Web Series – Black Girls Guide to Fertility

●      Honorable Mention – A Million Eyes

●      ISA Story Award – T A L K

●      PaperChase Films Award – The Old Wolves Club

●      Screenplay Runner Up – Fireflies

●      Screenplay Runner Up – Meadow Valley Dollhouse Competition

Actress Jennifer Morrison
Photo Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images for HollyShorts Film Festival