Well, it’s never easy. It’s almost always political. But without shedding a lot of blood, a jury composed of myself, Heidi Van Lier (filmmaker “Chi Girl”), Mark Osborne (filmmaker “Dropping Out”) and C.M. Talkington(filmmaker “Love and a .45”) came to some tough decisions. We awarded short films in 10 categories for the USA Film Festival in Dallas, Texas. Selecting from 15 hours of shorts, about 50 films, we saw a lot of great stuff and a few nuggets of crap, but, man, did we have a lot of fun. It’s never easy, since by giving awards to films, you are helping the filmmakers get much needed attention for their films. And by not awarding movies, you can crush the filmmaker’s spirit. So, it feels like a no-win situation. You want to help, but these decisions can be trying at times. One film in particular, “The Dancing Cow” by Taz Goldstein I really loved and there was no place for it among the winners. So, I fought and created my own award to be sure this hysterical 20 minute short gets the much-needed recognition it deserves. Look for reviews of all of these movies on the Film Threat site later this week. And try to catch some of these shorts at other fests when they make it your way.

Here are the winners.
GRAND PRIZE. 1ST PLACE NON-FICTION ^ “King of the Jews” ^ Director: Jay Rosenblatt
1st PLACE FICTION ^ “La Femme Balloon” ^ Director: Daniel Lopez
1st PLACE ANIMATION ^ “Mister Smile” ^ Director: Fran Krause
1st PLACE EXPERIMENTAL ^ “Big Wheel” ^ Director: Alison Taupier
THE FAMILY AWARD ^ “Turbans” ^ Director: Erika S. Anderson
THE TEXAS AWARD ^ “Confederation Park” ^ Director: Bill Brown
THE STUDENT AWARD ^ Tie ^ “Family Portrait” ^ Director: Chris Harris ^ “Luz” ^ Director: Jose J. Martinez
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT ^ “This Guy is Falling” ^ Director: Michael Horowitz and Gareth Smith
SPECIAL JURY AWARDS ^ “Obsessed With Jews” ^ Director: Jeff Krulik ^ “Tap: The Migration of a People & Their Dance” ^ Director: Preston Burger
THE FILM THREAT AWARD ^ “The Dancing Cow” ^ Director: Taz Goldstein

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