2017 Filmmakers to watch
May Winner: "Echo Park Blues"
Veteran Actor Michael Bofshever makes his directorial debut with Echo Park Blues with a screenplay by Rick Lieberman based on their original story.
A sensitively rendered tale of washed up jazz saxophonist Teddy Bender, who has finally written the song of his life, Echo Park Blues explores the themes of success, redemption and love via sadsack Bender's creative journey. Solid performances and camerawork deliver a complete world in 17 minutes that exemplifies the power of short format storytelling as well as any we've seen.
Bofshever is known from his film and television credits include notable roles in Breaking Bad, The Jersey, and True Blood, A Dog's Purpose, United 93, and Crime of the Century. A teacher and published author, Bofshever is the author of Your Face Looks Familiar...How To Get Ahead as a Working Actor.
However, his future behind the camera continues apace: Bofshever has optioned award winning writer Donald Lystra's collection of short stories, Something that Feels like Truth with the aim of turning it into a screenplay with screenwriter Steve Armour.
April Winner: 'Embers & Dust'
Patrick Biesemans's "thank you card" to Orson Welles, imagination, and the importance of mass media communications is an exquisitely produced short film. Striking images, careful casting and an unusually skilled orchestration of tension mark this piece as award-worthy.
Biesemans considers short films "as postcards from another time and place," which fairly sums up this film's ultimate effect on the viewer. Produced with a grant from Musicbed's 2016 Film Initiative, "Embers & Dust" perfectly pushes the boundaries of the short film format, delivering feature-length emotional impact and unforgettable visual style in 11 minutes.
His first foray into writing, producing and directing, Biesemans has more in store for us in the future, noting, "I've been hesitant for so long venturing into the world of writer-director territory but now, because of the positive and enthusiastic response to Embers & Dust, I have the confidence to nurture my ambitions."
March Submission: Narrative Short 'Ici ou La-bas (Right Here or Over There)'
SLIFF Online's first Filmmaker to Watch is awarded to this first-time filmmaker from France. Mabille's story of a young woman's return home after several years gone is a masterful work of short cinema, from its expertly revealed story to its carefully rendered characters. With stellar performances from Anaelle Corlin, Chantal Baroin and Erik Stouvenaker, Mabille's 16.5 minute glimpse into a family shattered by tragedy is a study in sensitive filmmaking and the power resulting from a restrained hand.
Not surprisingly to us, the film has seen great success on the festival circuit, including a coveted position in Canne's Short Film Corner. Says Mabille: “Ici ou La-bas is my first film. The festival success of this film is incredible for me. Since I was 6 years old, I’ve dreamt of making movies, but never formally studied filmmaking, so I’m entirely self-taught. I hope to make a feature length version of this story and am writing a second film about love, friendship and the passage of time. I’m so grateful for our wonderful crew who trusted me to make this film.”
For a freshman effort, this film promises great things from Mabille. We’re honored to name her our first Filmmaker to Watch and can't wait to see what's next from her.
(NOTE: While the film continues its real-world festival journey, SLIFF Online is prohibited from screening the film in its entirety. As soon as the streaming rights become available, we look forward to being able to share it with you)
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