2020 Winners and Finalists

Congratulations to our 2020 “Your Shorts Are Showing” short film competition Award Winners!

The King and The Pawn

Caleb Blue

Director’s Biography:

Caleb Blue is a filmmaker from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a recent graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design where he majored in Animation with a focus in Storyboarding. Inspired by stories like “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “Prince of Egypt”, Caleb plans to create his own animated works in television and film.

He has already shared his artistic talents with the world, however. In the past, Caleb has been commissioned to create art for a variety of projects, like logos, illustrations, videos, and even a sequence for the award-winning film, “Static”, filmed in St. Louis, Missouri. The most recent of his artistic endeavors includes his directorial debut with his film, “The King and the Pawn”, a capstone project at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Caleb led a team of over 20 talented artists to create this film, which features positively represented African American characters and a heartfelt story.

As a college graduate, Caleb is applying to animation studios in major cities, to be a storyboard artist for television and features, in order to add diversity for upcoming projects, on and off screen. This is only the beginning of his plan to help change the world by promoting diversity in storytelling.

The King and The Pawn

A young energetic boy attempts to connect with his busy and hardworking father over prolonged games of chess. His journey transforms his world and allows him to learn a lesson that has to do with more than the game he's playing.


Rami Cohen

Director’s Biography:

Rami Cohen has been living in Los Angeles and working as a writer and director for over a
decade. Rami’s TV credits include “The Office” and the “Sarah Silverman Program” and his film script “Revenge of the Jocks” was sold to Warner Bros. Rami has contributed writing to films that include “Tropic Thunder” and “Get Hard.” He writes and directs high end corporate videos for clients such as Progressive Insurance, Dell Computers and US Foodservice. Fig is Rami’s first short film and he is honored to have been selected by MBIFF. He would like to thank everybody who worked on and contributed to this film.


Years ago, when Jason was a kid, he knew he could always count on one person to have his back, his imaginary friend Fig. Fig was Jason’s best friend and surrogate mother, until one day when she took things too far standing up to one of Jason’s bullies. That’s when Jason’s real mother banished Fig and left Jason broken and unprotected. Now Jason is an adult and Fig is back. She’s unleashing her pent-up rage on Jason’s enemies. Jason is ill-equipped to handle this. Everyone always told him Fig was imaginary, but he must figure out a way to stop Fig. I mean, sure they had it coming, but gruesome murders have a way coming back to bite people… Eventually.


Pierre B

Director’s Biography:

Pierre's passion for film starts at his early age. He starts by making some videos in his father's attic in the south of France.
He plays an actor in some school film projects, and with friends of his he remakes films for local competition.
Pierre moves to Paris to follow his passion and starts studying Cinema at the University of Paris 8.
As the time he's attending Acting lessons to understand the 'core'.
In Parallel he works on different shooting as runner, assistant director, actor, gaffer, camera operator, editor and director.
All this time working reinforces the love of cinema, telling stories and creating a new world of possibilities.

His short satire film FOREVER has been selected in festival of “Sci-Fi London” and “Fantasporto”.
Pierre continue to grow his storytelling and filming skills with short films, documentaries, TV series. Moving around the world (Paris, Ghana, Gabon, London) to meeting people and learning about new cultures. Experience of life that nourishes his way of telling stories.


A young girl in her age of innocence discovers Rehak, a magical drawing hidden behind her bedroom wall.

Meet the 2020 finalists

Brian Elliott and David Feagan

Directors’ Biographies:

This is the first co-directing effort by Brian Elliott and David Feagan. They've worked together on numerous projects in other capacities and got along so well they decided to jump into Age of Bryce sharing the creative duties. David is a freelance sound person and graphic designer. Brian is an independent filmmaker and film prof at Baylor University. He most recently wrote the feature film Blur Circle.

Age of Bryce

Smothered by an adoring, over-protective mom, 12-year-old Bryce Yancy Paul (Bip) is pushed to the brink of pubescent revolution. It’s time to ripen. Bloom. Break the shackles of parental paranoia. It’s the Age of Bryce. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Russell Southam

Director’s Biography:

Always the Producer, sometimes a Writer and now a first-time Director. This is my first project at the helm and I loved it so much I am following up with additional projects now as the Director.

Black Heart, Red Hands

Nela Wagman

Director’s Biography:

Nela Wagman • Writer Director Editor
Nela wrote, directed and starred in the short film That Was Delicious, which screens this season at the Manhattan Film Festival, the Golden Door International Film Festival, YoFiFest Yonkers Film Festival, NY Indie Theatre Film Festival, Oregon Short Film Festival, Simply Indie Film Festival and Austin Micro Short Film Festival. Her short film Magnetism, starring Isabel Keating and Chris Ceraso, screened at the Cleveland Film Festival, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Filmfest Dresden, among others.

Nela’s NYC theater directing credits include the OBIE-winning play My Left Breast by Susan Miller. As Founding Artistic Director of the award-winning Watermark Theater, Nela created and curated the WordFire Festival of Solo Performance, and has directed and developed plays, films and solo works in Manhattan, and at regional theaters across the United States.

Nela earned her MFA in Filmmaking from the City College of New York in May 2020.

Come Find Me

A sensitive five-year-old girl searches for comfort and ballast when a tragic event engulfs her family in grief. In a futile search for support, she drifts into a world of fantasy.

Peter Lazarus

Director’s Biography:

Peter Lazarus is editor and director living in Los Angeles. Early on he worked at Funny or Die, editing countless sketches and TV pilots - working with people from Rowdy Roddy Piper to Ed Asner to the Clash. Peter was also featured in Michael Barnett's award winning documentary, Becoming Bulletproof - a film that captured Peter and friends making a mold breaking western film starring people with and without disabilities. His feature film work includes editing Lije Sarkie's Concrete Kids and Clark Duke's debut film, Arkansas. Most recently Peter has been editing documentary films for the upcoming live comedy event, Night of Too Many Stars, set to air sometime soon (let's hope) on HBO.

Comedy Videos

Desperate for recognition, a lonely writer tries to make a name for himself by posting a goofy video on the internet.

Patrick Morea

Director’s Biography:

I am, quite literally, obsessed with story. No, not that word ‘story’ that often gets tossed around with little meaning. The story that refers to the timeless tradition shared well before we had written language. I believe that story is unparalleled in its ability to bring people together.

I've worked with some big brands, directed several documentaries, won some Emmys, but more than any of that, I'm a real dude that loves the craft of filmmaking and how it’s a skeleton key to unlock so much wonder in this world.

I am Dust

Kelly liked to say that living with bipolar affective disorder is baaaaad, like a mountain goat.  And it’s isolating. And scary. And no one talks about it.

But Kelly Asselin was brave. A loving mother and a compassionate nurse, she wanted to break the silence, so that others might better understand the bipolar experience.

I Am Dust is her story, told in her own words, through the journals she left behind.

Euphoric and haunting, her search for meaning and passion and peace in a world gone wrong sheds light on the shadows of mental illness.  Courageously honest, we join Kelly in her breathtaking mania, heart wrenching depression and unending struggle to find balance between her poles.

It’s also incredibly personal. Kelly is my mother.

Helena Giersz

Director’s Biography:

Helena is an animation director and character designer. Studied graphic design, majoring in animation at the Academy of Fine Arts (ASP) in Warsaw. In 1979, she began her animation career at Studio Miniatur Filmowych.

In 1991, she moved to the United States and began working for Sesame Street and Nickelodeon, creating short multimedia animations.

In 1997, Helena founded Funline Animation Studio where she began collaboration with Nick Jr. on a new show called Nina’s Pop-up Puzzle. After the first six characters (Dora, Boots, Benito, Tico, Swiper, and Isa) got approved, she was commissioned to create a pilot for the series which later became known as Dora the Explorer. The series took off, transforming Funline Animation into a Dora-focused production studio. Over the next fifteen years she created over a thousand characters for the series and over twenty online games for Nick Jr online.

In 2004 she produced animation on two computer games starring Clifford, the Big Red Dog for Scholastic. In 2004, she made a film titled, Do Other Things, which received the Best of the Fest award at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. During that same year, Helena started working on character designs for the Nick Jr. series Go Diego Go!


An old woman lives in a village with not much but her husband and her beloved chicken, Luba. When her chicken passes away on Christmas Day, the woman is only comforted when her husband gifts her an egg Luba laid before her passing. After the egg hatches, the old woman’s unconditional affection towards the growing chick causes her to lay a golden egg.
Although the golden egg is a reflection of love’s miracles, greediness in the community leads to the chicken being stolen. Thankfully the woman successfully hides the egg from eager hands, but in mourning her second loss, she wraps the egg hoping she can exchange it for the chicken.
While coddling the egg she’s surprised by a genie that emerges to grant her a wish that can ultimately heal her community torn by greed.

Justin Giddings & Ryan Welsh

Directors' Biography:

Justin Giddings and Ryan Welsh are two actors who joined forces to become one of the hottest new writing teams in Los Angeles. After meeting on the set of the hit zombie comedy series BITE ME (a Machinima/Lionsgate series with over 70 million views on YouTube alone), the two have since gone on to write and direct the festival-winning films THIS IS NORMAL and OUTPOST. Never content to wait for permission to create, they are currently in development or pre-production on four features – the supernatural thriller DARK WINTER, the monster movie THE TRESTLE, the indie action film SO GO THE LIVING, and the indie LAST OF THE WILD BUFFALO.

Skin Deep

When Nature Springs Cosmeceuticals creates a cream to reverse aging, the fountain of youth turns into a fountain of walking death. One man stands between the fate of humanity and the undead scourge, and that man is Danny Edelman, frustrated scientist and reluctant zombie slayer. Danny, researcher Rachel, a security guard, and a marketing exec have twelve hours to stop the attack. Their adventures take on an edge of comedy, romance, horror and the power of one cosmetics company’s search for eternal youth.

Jess Carson

Director’s Biography:

Jess Carson is a Los Angeles-based African-American Writer/Director who made her way into filmmaking in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 2015, she decided to branch out to hone her skills in more saturated markets - first by way of Brooklyn, NY, where she was hired to write an Off-Broadway musical, Only Human, starring Gary Busey, and then settling in Los Angeles, CA in 2018.

Her work spans genres and her focus is on well-rounded, character-driven narratives that resonate with audiences of all demographics as well as those that put society under a lens via undertones of societal commentary.

Currently, Jess is working on a wide range of projects. Jess is a staff writer on the CW's THE FLASH where she was the first Black Woman to write an episode of the hit series. She is also actively developing a gritty, original feature, DEAD RED, with Echo Lake Entertainment producing. She was included on Tracking Board's 2019 Young and Hungry List.


Renee isn't having the best day. In fact, she's probably having the worst f&#@ing day ever.

John Houzer

Director’s Biography:

Graphic Designer. Filmmaker. That is John Houzer.
As soon as John figured out how to use a pencil, he spent most of his time drawing and creating. His love for art continued through high school where he also found a passion for movies and filmmaking. Upon graduation, John attended The Art Institute of Atlanta where he received a degree in Graphic Design. The early years of his career gave him experience designing for local mom-and-pop shops, medical offices, sports radio, and employment agencies.
He’s produced various commercials for local businesses to include Harley Davidson, Shane’s Rib Shack, Lemongrass Thai & Sushi, and Realtree Outdoors. He’s also done videography for Creative South, one of the largest design conferences in the Southeast, Artista Apparel, and various weddings. In 2018, he was awarded the Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Videographer by the Ledger-Enquirer.

Stream it

Howard has to learn to stream movies or suffer dire consequences…..Howard is also a boomer.

Steven Holleran

Directors Biography:

Steve is a globetrotting adventure filmmaker with a decade of immersive international production experience. Selected to Variety’s Artisan’s Elite list in 2018, he made a name for himself at an early age as a standout indie cinematographer with his Sundance premiering films The Land (2016) and A Boy A Girl A Dream (2018) as well as the TIFF selected feature The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019).

One of only a handful of cinematographers in history to shoot an entire feature film as a oner, he has also gained wide acclaim for his dramatic documentary cinematography on the Netflix series Fire Chasers (2017), Rapture (2018), and most recently,YouTube and Robert Downey’s Age of AI (2019) awarded the Leo Award for Best Cinematography in 2020.

His directing career includes the 2020 Canon Cinema Series launch film 'Boneyard Ballet,' the Sedona, Noosa, and Monmouth premiering short 'One Last Ride,' and upcoming documentary feature '365' for IBM's Watson Foundation. Steve has an MFA in Film Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, a BA in History from Bowdoin College, is an American Film Showcase Media Expert, and a 2008 Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

Boneyard Balle

A ballet piece set on the wing of a 747 jumbo jet, Boneyard Ballet is a visual ode to the art of flight. Melding two of the most elegant forms of airborne dance — the ballerina and the modern airliner, it's a mirage-like cinematic symphony of living beauty set amidst the decay of an airplane boneyard.

Isaac Yowman

Memory Builds the Monument

Musical legends like Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin often ignited their early careers by performing at this iconic southern music venue in Houston’s historical 5th Ward. Club Matinee was known as “the Cotton Club of the South” by musical legends and area residents alike. Compelled by the vivid memories of the legendary venue by aging citizens, this film leaps into the music, the art, and the community of Fifth Ward, Tx. The doc highlights the impossible to ignore cultural and social challenges of African-Americans in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s living in the South. The through-line of this story showcases how the music of these eras played a part in defining generations and bringing people of all ethnicities and backgrounds together and how memories, at the verge of being lost can be shared to propel the future.

Daniel Byers


Something's wrong with Dori's sister, Fae. She's been going missing, and won't say why or where she's been. When Dori begins to investigate, she starts to worry someone might be after her.

But what's coming for them is not of this world. Soon Dori is locked in a struggle for survival to save her sister from an unimaginable terror -- that can control gravity itself.