2017 Underexposed Film Festival Award Winners Announced

Four months after the close of the 2016 Underexposed Film Festival yc, the Arts Council of York County presented the 2017 UFFyc on the campus of Winthrop University from March 1–4, 2017. The Arts Council is not an organization afraid of a challenge. Rather than taking a year off to make the move from fall to spring, the ACYC ambitiously issued the call for filmmakers before the 2016 festival even began. Those familiar with the festival’s history might recall that in its inaugural year (2012), the call for filmmakers was published in July, and opened in early November. The move from the year’s end to the beginning of the festival season positions the UFFyc as trendsetter, screening films that are destined to be talked about all season long.

The jury prizes were announced on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at an awards ceremony that immediately followed the final block of films screened at the Winthrop University's Plowden Auditorium at the Withers Building. The 2017 program included 35 Official Selections, and 9 Director’s Choice films, curated by Festival Director Karen Collins. Not included in the original program, Writer's Block, starring Jane Lynch, was a late addition. Writer's Block is a comedy about a veteran songwriter past her prime who is afflicted with a severe case of writer's block. Unexpectedly, she finds new inspiration in a bird that takes up residence outside her home.

Of the festival, Karen Collins noted, “Our 2017 season yielded not only a strong slate of films, but brought a great deal of diversity to our screen as well. Films from 5 continents engaged our audience in tales of adventure, love, loss, hope and optimism. The viewer had the opportunity to laugh, cry, learn, and, at times, sit poised on the edge of their seats, nearly ‘jumping out of their own skin’ from fright. It was a season of unique tales that were well crafted.”

The Official Selections included films that have been nominated for Academy Awards, films that are eligible to be nominated for Academy Awards in 2018, and films that have been collecting accolades far and wide. La Femme et le TGV (Switzerland) was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 89th Annual Academy Awards in 2017. Thus far, two films screened at the 2017 UFFyc are Oscar-qualifying films: A Love Story (UK) and "THE TALK" True Stories About the Birds and the Bees (Canada). The films After All (Canada), Bonsai (Spain), Closet (USA), I Love New York (USA), and The Ningyo (USA) all made their WORLD PREMIERE at the 2017 UFFyc.

The jurors for the 2017 UFFyc were Ellen Barnard (Counter Histories: Rock Hill), Joanna Davidovich (Monkey Rag), Carol Green (American Horror Story), Joanne Hock (GreyHawk Films, The Ultimate Legacy), Nick Hough (critic, actor), Sharon Liese (The Gnomist), Tess Martin (The Lost Mariner), Michael Rivers, Terry Roueche (filmmaker, writer, photographer), Jim de Sève (Tying the Knot), Dr. Karen Stock, and Dr. David Wohl.

Nine awards were presented to Official Selections in 2017 - the Grand Jury Prize; the best of each category: animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative; Cinema Carolina - awarded to the best independent film made in North or South Carolina regardless of category, content, or subject; Woman to Watch (best female director); Best Student Film; and the Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award. An honorary award, the Cotton Alley Award, sponsored by Founders Federal Credit Union, was awarded to Director Joanne Hock. This award recognizes a filmmaker’s outstanding contributions and commitment to the world of independent filmmaking.

2017 Cotton Alley Award | Joanne Hock

Joanne Hock was presented with the the 2017 Cotton Alley Award. First presented in 2015, the Cotton Alley Award, underwritten by Founders Federal Credit Union, is an honorary award that recognizes outstanding contributions and commitment to the world of independent filmmaking.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hock is a passionate and prolific storyteller. She has written and directed feature films and documentaries, lensed and directed countless television commercials and directed national and international television shows. With more than 30 years in this ever-changing industry – and among a small population of women to break the glass ceiling in directing and cinematography, Joanne’s career continues to expand and grow.

Hock has spearheaded film projects for Fortune 500 companies, and has been recognized by the prestigious New York International Film Festival with the Gold Medal Award for Direction as well as the coveted Grand Prize Award. She has also won two Emmy Awards.

Joanne’s latest feature film directorial work, The Ultimate Legacy can be currently seen on the Hallmark Movie Channel. Her other features include Trinity Goodheart for Aspire TV and Redneck Roots on Amazon. Joanne is in rewrites and early pre-production for her fourth feature film.

In her acceptance speech, Hock urged filmmakers and artists to continue creating, acknowledging that in a time when funding of the arts lies on uncertain ground, those in the creative field must persevere.

Grand Jury Award | $500

La Femme et le TGV

Narrative | 2016 | 30 min.

Country: Switzerland

Director: Timo von Gunten

Producer: Glacun Caduff

Writer: Timo von Gunten

Cast: Jane Birkin

Sometimes life seems to pass at 300km/h. A touching story between a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Inspired by true events with actress Jane Birkin in the leading role.

Best Animated Film | $100

Four Faces of the Moon

Animation | 2016 | 12 min. 56 sec.

Country: Canada

Director: Amanda Strong

Producer: Amanda Strong

Writer: Amanda Strong

This intricate stop-motion animation interlaces Canada’s colonial past with writer-director Amanda Strong’s personal family history – and illuminates Cree, Metis, and Anishinaabe reclamation of culture, language, and Nationhood.

Best Documentary | $100

Jonah Stands Up

Documentary | 2017 | 21 min. 22 sec.

Country: USA

Director: Hannah Engelson

Producer: Hannah Engelson

New Orleans artist, activist, and comedian Jonah Bascle faces his mortality. He leaves behind a legacy of comedy, visual art, and disability activism.

Best Experimental | $100


Experimental | 2015 | 8 min. 48 sec.

Country: USA

Director: Johnathan Stutzman

Producer: Krista Imbesi

Writer: Johnathan Stutzman

Cast: Hannah Riordan, Katherine Reid

Thornbird is an experimental fairy-tale about a young girl who is transported into a dreamworld after finding a magic mask.

Best Narrative | $100

The Ningyo

Narrative | 2017 | 25 min.

Country: USA

Director: Miguel Ortega

Writer: Miguel Ortega, Tran Ma, Gregory Collins

Cast: Rodrigo Iopresti, Gave Fazio, Jerry Lacy

Professor Marlowe finds a piece of a map pointing to the place where Ningyo, a mythical Japanese creature, could be found. The legend claims whomever consumes its flesh will attain remarkable longevity. He presents the project to his peers, who mock and dismiss him as a fraud. He decides to risk everything and go after the Ningyo on his own in hopes to bring to light what could be one of the greatest contributions to science. What he could not anticipate is that, in his search, he is confronted with a choice that puts the very foundation of his morality to the test.

Cinema Carolina | $200

Red Rider

Experimental | 2016 | 4 min

Country: USA | South Carolina

Director: Sean Breitkreutz

Producer: Sean Breitkreutz

Writer: Sean Breitkreutz

Cast: Jean-Luc Swift

Red Rider is a character study of postmodern, intercity cowboy with more inner turmoil than he cares to admit.

Woman to Watch (Best Female Director) | $100

Four Faces of the Moon

Animation | 2016 | 12 min. 56 sec.

Country: Canada

Director: Amanda Strong

Producer: Amanda Strong

Writer: Amanda Strong

This intricate stop-motion animation interlaces Canada’s colonial past with writer-director Amanda Strong’s personal family history – and illuminates Cree, Metis, and Anishinaabe reclamation of culture, language, and Nationhood.

Best Student Film | $100

Shop of Eternal Life

Narrative | 2016 | 22 min. 50 sec.

Country: China, USA

Director: Yizhou Xu

Producer: Yizhou Xu

Writer: Yizhou Xu

Cast: Allen Theosky Rowe, Jesse Wang

Caught in the middle of China’s most chaotic time, a desperate young man trades his heart to a pawnbroker in exchange for money to save his sick wife. Twenty years later, he goes back to the pawnshop and finds it may be too late get back hat he came for.

Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award | $100

Single. Parents. Collection.

Narrative | 2017 | 9 min. 27 sec.

Country: USA

Director: Matthew Balthrop

Producers: Matthew Balthrop, David C. White

Writers: David C. White, Maureen Landes

Editor: Matthew Balthrop

Cast: Maureen Landes, Gavin Mead, David C. White, Matthew Balthrop

Four single parents meet at the park as their kids play and discuss being parents, being single, and whatever other fool thing comes up.

Directed by Karen Collins, the Underexposed Film Festival yc is produced by the Arts Council of York County, and is sponsored by the City of Rock Hill PRT; Old Town Association; Sharp Business Systems; Carolina Fresh Farms; Comporium Communications, Founders Federal Credit Union; Winthrop University; RiverSystems I.T. Consulting; and WRHI AM/FM, Interstate 107, 104.1 The Bridge. Restaurant and hotel partners included Flipside Restaurant, McHale’s Irish Pub, Main Street Bottle Shop, Millstone Pizza + Taphouse, The White Horse Restaurant, Country Inn & Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn.

The Arts Council is headquartered in downtown Rock Hill, a state-recognized cultural district. For more information on Arts Council events, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803-328-2787, by email at arts@yorkcountyarts.org, or visit our webpage at http://www.yorkcountyarts.org.



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