2011 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival: Award Winners
By Mike Everleth ⋅ July 25, 2011
Swirled within the cacophony of major media news items coming out of the just wrapped-up annual San Diego Comic-Con, there is also the news of the winners of the convention’s Independent Film Festival. Nearly 50 films were screened over four days in an enormous screening room at the Marriott Marquis Hotel next door to San Diego’s convention center.
Awards were given out based upon the genre screening blocks that the film festival is organized into. Winner of the Best Action Adventure Film award was the first film screened at the festival, The Debt Collector, directed by Alan David Morgan, which was a Morgan’s thesis film produced at the American Film Institute.
In addition to the genre-based awards, there was one Judges Award, which was given to the Polish animated film Paths of Hate, directed by Damian Nenow. The film, which depicts a stunning aerial dogfight, also won the Best Animated Film award.
Also, most of the films that screened at the fest were short films. However, one of the few feature-length films, the documentary Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe, did take home the Best Documentary award.
The judges for this year’s CCI IFF were: Michael Gross, a former Hollywood art director who currently makes his own art full-time; Eric Vespe, an online film writer; and Kevin Walsh, a writer, film producer and Hollywood studio story analyst.
The full list of award winners is below:
Best Action Adventure Film The Debt Collector, dir. Alan David Morgan
Best Animated Film Paths of Hate, dir. Damian Nenow
Best Comics-Oriented Film Secret Identity, dir. Tyler MacIntyre
Best Documentary Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, dir. Steven-Charles Jaffe
Best Horror/Suspense Film Recollection, dir. Federico D’Alessandro
Best Humor Film Repeat After Me, dir. Bryan Bangerter
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film Heal, dir. Mian Adnan Ahmad
Judges’ Choice Award Paths of Hate, dir. Damian Nenow
The fort, taking up a 2,000 square foot space at California Center of the Arts in Escondido and built by San Diego artist Wes Bruce, was taken down December 31, 2010. But Wednesday night, fans got to see a documentary about the artist’s fascination with forts, shacks, and abandoned homes.
"A Film About a Fort," directed and filmed by Bryan Bangerter, a friend of Bruce, screened in a packed theater at the Museum of Photographic Arts.
Bangerter was asked in July to start shooting footage while the fort was installed at the Center, which included documenting the unpacking of a U-Haul filled with a hodgepodge of supplies.
The fort was titled “Ms. Augustine Greane,” named after a fictional character created by Bruce. Built out of wood pallets and scraps, the fort is meant to be the home of Ms. Greene. It held old toys, sleeping bags, pillows, photos and other memorabilia, some of which belonged to Bruce’s own family.
Bruce described his collecting bug in a post on the Sezio website:
I’ve become the keeper of other people’s wisdom teeth, cat skulls, and letters. What do you do for work, I was asked at Thanksgiving? Collect bugs and steal things from abandoned homes I thought to myself. I find ways to get paid to sleep in the woods, and write poetry on the bank statements of Swiss-German immigrants I’ll never meet.
Ultimately, the film became a story of what happens when an artist imagines the life and home of another in his work.
The film starts on a visit to Bruce’s childhood home in Northern California, where viewers see the beginning of his fort making in the thick woods of his backyard.
Since the fort came down in December, Bruce has built about 6-7 smaller forts around the area.
This summer, Bruce and a group of friends will travel throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada building more forts. They plan to connect with volunteer organizations working with educational programs, urban gardens, refugee communities, and other organizations.
During the Q&A portion of the screening, Bruce and Bangerter said they have hopes of showing the film at other museums.
A website has been set up to learn more about Bruce’s summer tour or donate to the project.