Audience Choice Awards for Short Film Competition

By Peggy Hora, VP, Mountain Shadow’s volunteer Board of Directors
The Short Film Competition was Mountain Shadow’s Show for September, 2015

The audience choice awards for the first Mountain Shadow Film Society Short Film Competition have been announced.

First Place:  Kiel Murray and Phil Lorin won $1,000 sponsored by the members of MSFS for their film “Green Thumb.”  This narrative comedy concerns their young son (played by their real son, Bosco) who is unknowingly cultivating marijuana.  The parents debate what to do with hysterical results.  

“We’re totally shocked,” said Lorin after the winners were announced.  Bosco, who was 6 when “Green Thumb” was made, wants to star in another movie so Lorin and Murray will use their winnings to help produce another film. “It’s fantastic,” said Murray.  The filmmakers work as Stonehouse Pictures based in Piedmont.  

Second Place:  Oakland residents Sara LaFleur-Vetter and Niema Jordan received $500 from the Ted Goeller Memorial Fund for their documentary “OASIS” about a Hepatitis C clinic in Oakland where individuals struggle as does the small clinic.  Their project arose out of a television shoot they were given one day to complete.

Jordan expects to receive a joint master’s degree in journalism and public health from UC Berkeley next year.  Lafleur-Vetter is passionate about injustice and will photograph the Christian Copts who recycle trash in Cairo as part of her 2015 Dorothea Lange Fellowship.

Third Place:  Atsuko Hirayanagi, who lives in San Francisco, won the $250 prize sponsored by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation for her 21-minute dramatic narrative “Oh Lucy.”  This quirky film concerns a middle-aged woman who reluctantly begins ESL classes with a very innovative teacher.  When he leaves after two sessions, “Lucy” is left to her own resources.  Hirayanagi came to the U.S. at age 17 speaking no English, and drew on her own experiences when making the film in Japan and Singapore.  

Other finalists for the competition were “The County of Mercy” about EMTs in Merced; “Cowboy’s Girl” that explores parenthood from a neglected daughter’s perspective; “The Visioner,” a 6-minute animated story told by two ink lines; and, “Max” about a son who is really a dog.

The finalists were selected by a twelve-member jury comprised of Mountain Shadow members.  A compilation of all seven films are available on Blu-Ray and DVD for Mountain Shadow members to borrow from our Lending Library.