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SeriesFest Season 4 Award Winners

June 27, 2018

SeriesFest Season 4, The Year Of Impact, has come to a close. Check out the winners of this year's SeriesFest International Pilot Competition.




WINNERS - INDEPENDENT PILOT - DRAMA

Jury: Chris McDonald (Actor/Thelma & Louise, Happy Gilmore), Estelle (Grammy Award-winning musician) and Mark Rabinowitz (co-founder IndieWire)

Best PilotHalfway There

Creators: Nick Morton & Rick Rosenthal
Cast: Matthew Lillard, Blythe Danner, Esai Morales, Sarah Shahi

When recovering addict Jimmy Bishop finds his sober living facility teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, he is forced to take in his wealthy alcoholic mother as a client. Her arrival solves his immediate financial crisis but also unleashes every other problem he has struggled his whole life to contain. (USA, 36 mins).

TRAILER

Jury Statement: For addressing a global epidemic in an original, subtle and eminently relatable way, with a deft mix of drama and humor and with a well-rounded and human cast, the award for Best Dramatic Pilot goes to Halfway There.

Best Director: Niv SambanKatharsis
Best Writer: Niv SambanKatharsis
Best Actress: Shanice Williams, Manic
Best Actor: Nicholas Hope, Jade of Death




WINNERS - INDEPENDENT PILOT - COMEDY

Jury: Laura Fischer (CEO, Powderkeg), James Fauntleroy (Singer, Grammy Award-winning songwriter), and Tracy Shaffer (writer, actress)

Best Pilot: Greenport 

Creators: Tony Spiridakis, Shannon Goldman
Cast: Rob Hancock, Dimitri Spiridakis

Set in Long Island, and featuring autistic actor Dimitri Spiridakis, Greenport is a heartfelt comedy about family, work-life balance, and one struggling filmmaker’s determination to show the world that an autistic kid can do anything. (USA, 27m).

TRAILER

Jury Statement: For its charm, complexity, and beautifully realized heart, the jury awards Greenport as Best Comedic Pilot.

Best Director: Gabriel Sunday, Dope State
Best Writer: James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti, Everyone Is Doing Great
Best Actress: Jenn Harris, New York is Dead
Best Actor: Gabriel Sunday, Dope State

Honorable Mention: Patrick Reilly, Danny the Manny




AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER - INDEPENDENT PILOT (COMEDY, DRAMA, UNSCRIPTED)

Audience Award: Halfway There

Creators: Nick Morton & Rick Rosenthal
Cast: Matthew Lillard, Blythe Danner, Esai Morales, & Sarah Shahi

Jimmy Bishop is a former, investment banker who flamed out of his career in a blaze of crystal meth and booze addiction. He now struggles to maintain the down-on-the-heels sober living facility he founded in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. When it looks like the bank will foreclose on his property, Jimmy is forced to recruit the last client on earth he would ever want to treat— his mother, Jeanne Ross (Blythe Danner). An imperious matriarch, Jeanne is smart and funny and wise in her way, but she scorns her son’s career and can see nothing but wasted opportunity. What’s more, once she is ensconced in his sober living facility,  she cannot stop herself from exercising her iron will over her son’s recovery and career. Desperate for her money and approval, Jimmy follows his mother’s advice, and the result is disastrous. As Jimmy struggles to balance his own recovery against the needs of his clientele, he must now also come face to face with the woman who he blames for his downfall.

TRAILER

WINNER - UNSCRIPTED (INDEPENDENT PILOT & DIGITAL SHORT SERIES)

Jury: Ajay Kishore (Founder of Stareable), David Person (Creative Executive in Original Programming, IFC), and Rebecca Agbe (VP, Programming & Acquisitions, Sony Crackle)

Best Digital Short & Independent Pilot/Unscripted: She's The Ticket

Creator/Director: Nadia Hallgren

Five different women from around the country see Donald Trump get elected to the presidency on November 8th, 2016 and decide to do something about it: Run for office.

TRAILER

Jury Statement: For it’s beautiful portrayal of what a New America can and should look like.

WINNERS - DIGITAL SHORT SERIES

Jury:Ajay Kishore (Founder of Stareable), David Person(Creative Executive in Original Programming, IFC), and Rebecca Agbe (VP, Programming & Acquisitions, Sony Crackle)

Best Digital Short/Scripted: Hug It Out

Creator/Writer: Kincaid Walker
Cast: Kincaid Walker, Parvesh Cheena, & Jeff Torres

The “snuggle is real” in Hug It Out, a digital comedy series following thirty-something Gwen, recently-divorced, broke AF and riddled with intimacy issues, who becomes an unlikely professional snuggler to make ends meet.  

TRAILER

Jury Statement: For it’swarm comedy that wrapped around us and captivated us in every awkward cuddle.

Honorable Mention: First World Problems
Honorable Mention Best Actor: Punkie Johnson, Please Understand Me

Digital Short Series Audience Award: Please Understand Me

Creators/Writers: Ahamed Weinberg & Steven Feinartz
Cast: Punkie Johnson & Ahamed Weinberg

Purpose-fully mismatched comedians are placed into a counseling sessionswith real therapists. The therapist tries to conduct a counseling session while the comedians describe the insanity of their pre-fabricated relationship right in front of their eyes.

TRAILER

WINNER - LATE NIGHT

Jury: Betsy Sodaro (Actor/comedian in Netflix's “Disjointed” and Funny or Die), Suki-Rose Simakis (Creative Executive, SpectreVision and Everything is Festival), and Chris Osborn (Creator of “D E E P”).

Best Series: The Passage

Creator: Philip Burgers
Cast: Philip Burgers, Chad Damiani, Krystel Roche, Juzo Yoshida

Phil, wide-eyed and mute, is on the run after escaping captivity. His childlike ineptitude keeps getting him into trouble, however, and agents who’ve been hired to recapture him are always one step behind. The result is a series of globe-trotting misadventures and surprising new friendships. (USA, 22 mins)

TRAILER

Jury Statement: Late Night, a can't-miss selection of strange, absurd, hilarious, and "what the hell?" offerings for an expectation-defying, not-safe-for-work viewing experience. What stood out about Kitao Sakurai's The Passage was the technical achievement of a post-verbal physical comedy, combined with the warmth and humanity it has while maintaining its edge.




WINNER - BUSTLE DIGITAL GROUP COMPETITION

Best Emerging Female Creator: Kincaid Walker, Hug It Out

Best Emerging Female Creator: Deja Harrell & C.J. Thomas, Seeds




WINNER - STORYTELLERS INITIATIVE

Best Script: Volunteer

Creator/Writer: Paige VanTassell

When the outspoken, independent, and slightly criminal Frankie Walker begins her mandatory volunteer work at the local community center, she’ll find what she never expected – a family. To whom she’ll introduce the joyous benefits of lawbreaking.




WINNER - PITCH-A-THON

Jury: Gabriele Capolino (IFP), Tamir Muhammad (Time Warner), Rachel Osborne (High Noon), Evan Shapiro (Producer, eshapTV), Liz Kelly (Manager, Production & Development Labs - Film & TV, Global Inclusion at 21st Century Fox), Denise Hewett (Founder and CEO, Scriptd); Presented in partnership with 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion

Pitch-A-Thon Winner: Juciful

Creators: Will Carington & Jake Goicoechea

When a group of outcast LGBTQ teens working summer jobs at a juice shop accidentally curse their town, they must embark on a journey to undo the damage – and solve the mystery of the magic’s origin – before it’s too late.