Emmy and Four Eyes tie for NSI Online Short Film Festival best film award

Four Eyes in the NSI Online Short Film Festival

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) recently presented the latest award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Emmy, directed by Hannah Cheesman, and Four Eyes (pictured), directed by Michael Clowater, tied for the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film and each won $625.

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

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 current award selection was made by an independent jury: documentary filmmaker and festival programmer Vivian Belik, recent A&E Short Filmmakers award winner John Ainslie and TV writer Karen McClellan.

Our jurors had this to say about the films:

A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: Emmy

Vivian Belik: “Emmy is a film that sticks with you. Cheesman’s writing and direction is incredibly nuanced and thoughtful. Add a strong performance by Amanda Brugel with striking cinematography and set design and you have a knockout short.”

John Ainslie: “Hannah Cheesman’s confident direction of Emmy achieves a wonderfully crafted short film. A visual and thought-provoking experience that stays with you long after it’s over.”

Karen McClellan: “A beautiful and compelling short that stays with you for days. Hannah’s filmmaking style is assured as she distills the small moments that can change a person with grace and humour. I enjoyed every moment of the journey and didn’t want it to end.”

Director Hannah Cheesman said, “I’m so very happy to be receiving this award, and the nod of acknowledgement that comes with it. Making films can be a lonely business at times, and knowing one’s work has been seen and heard is truly an honour — and truly exciting!

“NSI is one of the few national outlets that features Canadian work and filmmakers, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to screen with their online film festival and to be the recipient of this lauded award. Thank you to my stellar cast and crew, without whom this wouldn’t have happened. And to the now-defunct (yet so very important) funding body that was BravoFACT … may we some day get it back.”

A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: Four Eyes

Vivian: “Draws you in immediately. Clowater’s story of a young boy being bullied will resonate with anyone who has ever been made to feel small. Impeccable performances and writing build towards one of the more satisfying endings I’ve seen in a long time.”

John: “Executed masterfully. Strong performances and well-executed sequences make it an incredibly engaging short film from start to finish.”

Karen: “A superb short film on every level: writing, directing, acting. Michael captures the poignancy of feeling powerless and then turns it on its head. I loved this film and everything it accomplished. It is a perfect gem.”

Director Michael Clowater said, “It’s a really big honour to have the National Screen Institute recognize Four Eyes with the A&E Short Filmmakers Award and, honestly, one that I didn’t expect at all. Thank you so much. This truly means a lot to us.”

About the jury

Vivian Belik is a documentary filmmaker and programmer with Manitoba’s Gimli Film Festival and the Available Light Film Festival in Whitehorse, where she’s based.

John Ainslie is an award-winning filmmaker best known for writing the horror comedy Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. He wrote and directed The Sublet and She Came Knocking and currently resides in Miami where he is developing a number of films while trying to avoid getting skin cancer.

Karen McClellan is an award-winning TV writer. Her recent credits include co-showrunning The Next Step, a CSA-nominated and international hit series. She also co-created the web series Spiral, which has been nominated for several awards and won a 2018 WGC award for writing.

Call for films / submit by December 7

We’re currently accepting film submissions for the NSI Online Short Film Festival through FilmFreeway until Friday, December 7, 2018.

If your film is programmed, you have a chance of winning the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award. 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 made possible through the support of Festival Partner Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Corus EntertainmentBlue Ant Media and Breakthrough Entertainment Award Sponsor A&E Television Networks; 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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