Above: Dorsal, directed by Aidan Shipley
- Dorsal, directed by Aidan Shipley, won the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film;
- Hannah Yohannes won the $1,000 Shaw Media Fearless Female Directors Award for best direction by a female for Home Away;
- Tyler Parr won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for his work in Ironied; and
- Chili & Cheese: A Condimental Rift, directed by Joe Pingue, won the $750 Bite Comedy Award for best comedy.
All winners also receive a complimentary Friend membership to the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
The award selection was made by an independent jury: programmer Agata Del Sorbo, Harold Greenberg Fund president John Galway and filmmaker Athena Han, the most recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film for Home.
Our jurors had this to say about the films:
A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: Dorsal
Agata Del Sorbo: “Dorsal is a charming and sensitively made tale about a young girl dealing with the death of her goldfish. With an endearing central performance by Peyton Kennedy, the film takes us on a journey that is both amusing and touching, exploring faith and hope through the eyes of a precocious nine-year-old girl.”
John Galway: “A touching and deftly handled drama. The decision, when adapting from the original play, to change the lead character of Iris to a nine-year-old girl was inspired.”
Athena Han: “Dorsal has an unforgettable storyline with simple yet interesting relationships between the characters. It explores the themes of curiosity, loss and identity.”
Director Aidan Shipley said, “Such a huge honour to be recognized for a film I was lucky enough to make with some of my closest friends as my Ryerson thesis film.
I’d like to thank the actors: Peyton Kennedy, Jonathan Goad and Cristine Horne for their time and talent, as well Grayson Moore for writing this wonderful adaptation, Jackson Parrell for making it look so pretty and Nicole Bond for helping this movie get made. Thank you A&E and thank you NSI.”
Shaw Media Fearless Female Directors Award: Hannah Yohannes for Home Away
Agata: “With bravery and honesty, director Hannah Yohannes tackles the difficult reality of being pregnant and completely alone. Aided by her casts’ fine performances, Yohannes guides us through Sabrina’s challenging emotional terrain as she faces being disowned by her family and a new environment.”
Athena: “Hannah Yohannes showcases the nuances of vulnerability in this moving short. Her ability to weave moments of happiness and sadness throughout the film is a testament to her filmmaking prowess.”
Hannah Yohannes said, “I am humbled and thankful to the jury and NSI for being supportive and selecting me for this award. To my City Life, Remix Project and Home Away family: be fearless with your dreams the same way that you fearlessly believed in me.”
Brian Linehan Actors Award for best actor: Tyler Parr in Ironied
Agata: “Tyler Parr conveys a vast range of emotions playing two roles in Ironied, skilfully navigating both comic and dramatic moments.”
John: “Writer, director and performer in two roles … needless to say a real (and dedicated!) talent here. Tyler’s transformation to play both Donald and Charlie is amazing.”
Athena: “Tyler Parr’s performance delicately shows the internal struggles and vulnerability of the character Charlie in this poignant short.”
Tyler Parr said, “I am truly humbled! Brian Linehan was an exceptional human being and receiving this award in his name is an honour. Thank you, most sincerely.”
Bite Comedy Award for best comedy: Chili & Cheese: A Condimental Rift
Agata: “This stylish, witty comedy subtly draws on the western genre in a fresh way to portray a battle of wills over what defines a condiment. At the same time, it deftly touches on grander themes of immigration and family.”
John: “Comedy is always a great way to comment on what’s going on in society. Chili & Cheese nails the balance between entertaining and engaging.”
Athena: “A nightly routine at a convenience store is interrupted by the ridicule of an unexpected patron. Joe Pingue expertly mixes comedic ingredients in this clever and funny short.”
Joe Pingue said, “Hearing that Chili & Cheese had won the Bite Comedy Award was a great acknowledgement of the hard work of the many talented people who were instrumental in making this film. I’m grateful to NSI for helping short films continue to find new audiences.”
About the jury
Agata Del Sorbo worked as a film programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) from 2006 to 2014, and holds a Master of Arts in film studies from York University.
John Galway is the president of the Harold Greenberg Fund, a vital organization in the development and financing of Canadian feature films, and is the executive director and programmer of the Toronto Irish Film Festival.
Athena Han is the most recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award. She is a Vancouver-based filmmaker who studied film production at Simon Fraser University.
The NSI Online Short Film Festival is made possible through the support of Festival Partner Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Netflix, Entertainment One, Super Channel, Corus Entertainment, Blue Ant Media and the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation; Award sponsors A&E Television Networks, the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, Shaw Media and Blue Ant Media; and Industry Partner Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
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