The Sandwich Nazi, The Path and The Last Supper win cash prizes in NSI Online Short Film Festival

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

The Sandwich Nazi, directed by Lewis Bennett, won the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film; The Path, directed by Emily Jenkins, won the $2,000 Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award for best film by a female director; and The Last Supper, directed by Jonathan Eagan, won the $750 Bite Comedy Award for best comedy.

The award selection was made by an independent jury: James McNally, founder of Shorts That Are Not Pants; Kathleen Mullen, filmmaker and programmer; and Lindsay MacKay, the most recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmaker Award.

Our jurors had this to say about the films:

A & E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: The Sandwich Nazi

[Note: mature content / not safe for work]

James McNally: “Lewis Bennett may have stumbled upon one of the greatest characters ever seen in film, real or imagined, and his skill as a filmmaker is clearly evident in the way he gradually fills in his portrait of a complicated but generous man with shades of subtlety.”

Kathleen Mullen: “This raw, no-holds-barred portrait of a hustler turned entrepreneur sandwich maker in BC is a brilliant snapshot of a man who is not only tough as nails but who also has a heart.”

Lindsay MacKay: “Lewis has managed to craft both an endearing and cringe-worthy portrait of a man that makes you feel like you should turn it off but you can’t because it’s so engaging. He does an elegant job of capturing the difficult balance between the absurdity and the wisdom of the Sandwich Nazi.”

Director Lewis Bennet said: “We would like to thank NSI for promoting Canadian short films with their festival, and we are honoured to have our vulgar little documentary acknowledged among such good company. We’re working on a feature-length version of the film now and this just made our colour correction and audio mix budget jump from $0 to $1,250.”

Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award for best direction by a female: Emily Jenkins for The Path

James: “Ambitious and daring enough to feature a really annoying main character, The Path demonstrates the sort of gutsy filmmaking that we need more of. From titles to art direction to a go-for-broke script, it consistently takes chances and does it with a level of polish that makes me eager to see what Emily Jenkins does for an encore.”

Kathleen: “Emily Jenkins confidently directs this amusing and insightful satire where the ambitious Zeus and his team bring new meaning to the idea of the consumer in us all.”

Lindsay: “Emily shows a great deal of control over all elements of her story. She combines great pacing and shot choices and an interesting narrative to make a very impressive short.”

Director Emily Jenkins said: “I am thrilled to win this award. Cheers to the incredibly talented members of Glass Eye Pictures: Katie Bishop, Justin Black, Michelle Ewing, Karen Lee, Marco Patricio, Matt Hornick and Chris Berneshawi and, of course, Stephen Joffe for bringing Zeus to life. Much love to this team!”

Bite Comedy Award for best comedy: The Last Supper

James: “An intricately choreographed payoff makes this film laugh-out-loud funny. It also paints the bigger picture convincingly in a short time, letting us know in no uncertain terms the apocalypse always wins in the end. The characters might seem familiar to many of us: rational and maybe a little bit smug. They aren’t exactly horrible people, but it’s still hilarious to see them get their comeuppance.”

Kathleen: “Dinner tensions and heated conversations about religion, life and death make this dark comedy a winner.”

Lindsay: “The Last Supper is one of those punchline shorts that really packs a punch. It’s well-crafted and leaves you laughing out loud. ”

Director Jonathan Eagan said: “On behalf of our entire filmmaking team I want to say a big thanks to NSI for this honour. We are choking with pride over our dark, twisted and (thankfully) funny little film, and to receive the Bite Comedy Award for best comedy is the icing on the cake!”

About the jury

James McNally is the founder and director of programming for Shorts That Are Not Pants, a quarterly series screening the best of Canadian and international short film in Toronto, Ontario.

Kathleen Mullen is a film programmer, independent filmmaker and film consultant with her company Letter K Media.

Lindsay MacKay is a writer/director whose short film Clear Blue has played in over 25 film festivals including SXSW, Camerimage, Palm Springs Short Film Fest and the NSI Online Short Film Festival. She is currently in production on her first feature Wet Bum.

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is made possible through the support of Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media; Festival Partner Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors NetflixEntertainment One and Super Channel, Award Sponsors Shaw MediaBlue Ant Media and A&E Television Networks; Actor’s Award Sponsor The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation; and Industry Partner Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

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