Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Alaska (in name only) Film Awards Shrinking List Of Winners

The 2014 'winners' are now listed for this 'Awards' scheme.  I've written about this ripoff of the name Alaska film event at length and been threatened by their attorney.

Their only link to Alaska was a "suite" at a commercial mail forwarding company in Anchorage, some of the photos on their website (and I'm not sure of their Alaska authenticity), and the names of some of their awards.

There is no festival (they did change their name to 'awards') and no showing of films.  They do tell film makers there is no festival, but the Alaska name is highly misleading and confuses people who think they are sending films to the legitimate Anchorage International Film Festival.  (To be completely transparent, I'll mention that I cover the AIFF on the blog here, the festival links to my blog, and they give me a pass to the festival.)

Below is a list of the Film Awards winners.  Note:  there is a total of eleven winners in the film competition and four in the screenplay competition.  This is a sharp decline from their 47 film awards and 15 screenplay awards in 2010.

I'd like to think this reflects more awareness among filmmakers that this is really a vanity film festival where people can pay for awards.  But it's hard to tell, since there is no list of films that were submitted.  We don't know if every film submitted got an award or not.


Film Competition

Grand Jury Award: A Frenchman in Barrow directed by Paul Peterson
Special Jury Award: Parallel Maze directed by Ya Hua
Kodiak Award: Slushamed directed by Marisa McInnes-Taylor and Mara De La Rosa
Denali Award: Reestablishment directed by Shi Qin
Best Narrative Feature: Let's Play Ghost directed by Damien Dematra
Best Documentary Feature: God Has Arrived directed by John Urich-Sass
Best Director: Deep Water directed by Daniel Zagaevsky
Best Narrative Short: Roulette directed by Christine Kelly
Best Student Film: Shtax'heen Kwaan: A Rededication directed by Kristin Galla
Best Music Video: Fade Away directed by Jethro Rothe-Kushel
Best of Alaska Award: The Meaning of Wild directed by Ben Hamilton

Screenplay Competition

1st Place Screenplay - "Grace" written by Lynda Lemberg and Jeffrey Allen Russel
2nd Place Screenplay - "Taco Day in Heaven" written by Paul Peterson
3rd Place Screenplay - "Polar Bear" written by Alexander Norton
4th Place Screenplay - "Zoo" written by Annemarie Lawless
I've contacted some of the winners listed here and they've confirmed that, again, this year, in order to get their prizes they have to pay for them - not a practice of legitimate film festivals.  One of the directors listed said he didn't even know his film had been submitted, let alone that it won, though he allowed that someone else involved may have submitted it.

My hope is, as I mentioned above, that the declining number of winners means film makers are more aware of scam film events and aren't submitting to them.  If you look at the film that won the Grand Jury prize, you'll see that the quality of films isn't great.  (It's apparently a student film from Barrow and as such is fine, but it's hardly a Grand Jury prize winner.  And one might ask the Alaska International Film Awards folks who exactly makes us their Grand Jury?  And even if there is a Grand Jury?  Or is that just some fancy name with no actual Grand Jury?

Some of the other winners do seem to be serious films that have won prizes at legitimate festivals and would have been accepted in the serious Anchorage International Film Festival.  A number of these films have Alaskan themes and were purposely submitted to what they thought was an Alaska based film festival.  Deep Water was filmed in Alaska as were a couple of others.    These are films that would have been submitted to the Anchorage International Film Festival where people in Anchorage would actually have been able to see them.

I should note that there are also some other, smaller, legitimate Alaska film festivals such as the Indigenous World Film Festival.

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