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First Place - "A Brief & Concise History of Things and Other Things"

Director, writer and producer: Sidney Butler
Sidney Butler is a recent graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellow. Recently, she was the showrunner for the Advanced Television course at NYU, where her pilot, Stella with the World on Her Shoulders, was funded by The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation. The pilot went on to be featured on Issa Rae Presents #ShortFilmSundays where it garnered more than 60,000 views. Butler was also awarded the prestigious Akhtar-Bhutta Fund for Student Producers for the NYU thesis film Learning to Drown which went into production in summer 2017. Her writing has been published in Interview Magazine, Medium, The Light Leaks and her college newspaper, Washington Square News. Currently she lives in Los Angeles, where she is the Writers PA for the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, Station 19 on ABC.

Second Place - "Tio Lino"

Director: Adrian Burrell
Adrian Burrell is an avid storyteller from Oakland, California. He was the producer and casting director on the dramatic feature Licks (2013) that premiered at SXSW and was distributed internationally. Through his production company, Mother of Exiles, Burrell is working on a number of short documentary and narrative films around the world. He is a filmmaker and producer with a BFA in film from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Third Place - "Art Can Save You | The Story of Shari Kadar and 1000 Colored Eggs"

Director: Austin Meyer
Austin Meyer is a documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Santa Rosa, California. Meyer graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. and M.A. degree in journalism. After graduation, he was selected as the winner of The New York Times’ International Reporting Trip with Nicholas Kristof competition, for which he reported for the New York Times in Baltimore, India and Nepal.

Meyer has worked as a videographer for the Los Angeles Times and was awarded an IDEO storytelling fellowship, during which, he reported for Roads & Kingdoms and Slate on the social-environmental impacts of hydropower dams along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.

Meyer is currently in post production on a documentary film he shot for five months in Zambia on infant and maternal healthcare thanks to a grant from National Geographic. Meyer’s publication credits include National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, POLITICO, Los Angeles Times, KQED, and the San Francisco Chronicle among others.

Honorable Mentions


A Life Remembered: George F. Banda

Co-director, producer and editor: Zarai Perez



Cookie & Queen

Director: Nicholas DeRose



Edward Wood: A Life Well Lived

Filmmaker: Stanley Arthur


John Claude Kraus: A Retrospective

Director and producer: Todd Bowie    



Mark Pittman Remembered

Director: Peilin Kuo


This Is

Director: writer and editor: Jackson Snorek  

About the Judges

Yair Agmon
Yair Agmon is an author and movie maker who graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, where he teaches today.

His short films have been screened in festivals around the world, including: Tribeca Film Festival, Munich, Moscow, Beijing, San Francisco Jewish film festival, and the Jerusalem festival.

Thomas Lynch
Essayist, poet, and funeral director Thomas Lynch has written five critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, four award-winning volumes of essays. His collection of twelve essays, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, won the Heartland Prize for Non-fiction, the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

His work has been the subject of two film documentaries. PBS Frontline's The Undertaking, aired nationwide in 2007, won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts and Culture Documentary. Cathal Black's film, Learning Gravity, produced for the BBC, was featured at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and the 6th Traverse City Film Festival in 2009 where it was awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore.

Tom has taught with the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, with the graduate program in writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and with the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta. He is a frequent guest lecturer at universities across North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Tom is a charter member of the faculty of the Bear River Writers Conference at Walloon Lake in Michigan.

Lani Simeona
Lani Simeona is the Production Co-Director for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Lani joined the administration department in 2007, became the Artist Services Coordinator and Communications Manager in 2011, and Production Co-Director in 2014. In her role, she is responsible for Full Frame’s landscape and logistics, which include ticketing, travel and lodging, venues, and volunteers. Lani has represented Full Frame at the Art House Convergence and Mill Valley and Virginia Film Festivals, been a jury member for the Center for Documentary Studies filmmaker award at Full Frame, and is a current member of The Cary Theater programming committee in North Carolina. Lani attended the University of Central Florida where she studied film and theater. She is originally from Florida but now lives in Holly Springs, NC with her husband and two step-daughters.