Jury Award: Rare Bird

A bird offers a man a rare gift: Immortality as a pigeon

  • Jack Chakerian
  • United States
  • Animation, Drama
  • 16 minutes
Poster of Rare Bird

Director Biography - Jack Chakerian

Portrait of Jack Chakerian

Jack Chakerian was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest with an interest in language, story, and philosophy. His visual arts education comes from reading, travel, and frequent film and acting experiments, including the Tacoma Film Tribe, Tacoma Improv Playground, and Zoopsquid: a virtual animation studio composed of various artists around the world.

"On a visit to Mexico, I saw a bird perch by a man in a park. They seemed to be having a conversation. About what? One possible answer became Rare Bird. One fun challenge making this was having no prior animation experience. The idea that animation is made of many drawings, and one need only find the right people to draw them, was the birth of Zoopsquid: a team of artists across four continents working together to create something important. It wasn’t until a year later, watching the first cut, that I realized the film raises questions about desire, travel, mortality, enlightenment, and the pursuit of pleasure or meaning. I've concluded stories can't be made, but under the right circumstances, reveal themselves to you."

Audience Award: The next one

About men without men...

  • Dominik Gyorgy
  • Czech Republic
  • Drama, Thriller
  • 15 minutes
Poster of The next one

The place is Czechoslovakia, the year 1989. When she enters an abortion clinic, a lost, troubled young girl realizes that she has forgotten to bring socks, without which her gynecologist and nurses will not perform the procedure.

In 1957 has been approved a law on the legalization of induced abortions in Czechoslovakia. Contraception was unavailable. There were abortion commissions or so-called ethics commissions.

Originally, they were established as professional counseling organizations, in which doctors had to discuss the suitability of abortion with the patient. However, over time the commissions became more and more politicized. Abortion commissions allowed abortion only for health reasons and for reasons such as old age, more children in the household, poor economic conditions, loss of husband or conception outside of marriage. None of these reasons, however, were a guarantee that the woman would invoke her right to abortion. In practice, the woman was seated before a panel of several strangers, and in front of them she had to publicly discuss her most personal problems in order to convince them that she needed an abortion. Attempts were often made to bribe members of the commission. These commissions were a humiliating experience for women, and the commission often ruled against a woman's will because of the demographic curve. These commissions were abolished, just before the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia and the number of abortions increased dramatically. With these high numbers of interventions, the conditions and practices of medical staff in hospitals were often inhumane. In 1989 was recorded the highest number of abortions in Czechoslovakia.

Director Biography - Dominik György

Portrait of Dominik György

My name is Dominik György, I am 22 years old and I studied audiovisual arts: camera, sound and film editing at Private High School of Film Arts in Košice city in Slovakia in 2014 - 2017. Currently I graduated from FAMU: Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in Czech Republic, where I studied in the film directing department in 2017. I've been making movies since I was nine years old.

"What is my lifetime compared to what is left behind me? Life is too short, I decided to choose eternity.“

1st place online Blacksphere festival: Antagonist

  • Ivan Afanasyev, Anastasiya Ledkova
  • Russian Federation
  • Drama, Romance
  • 21 minutes
Poster of Antagonist

Mark works in a movie theater, and he spends his free time trying to become a writer. He is at odds with himself and others: even with his beloved girlfriend Masha he managed to quarrel. Once, his former soldier has come to Mark's work, and Mark's long past he clearly doesn't want to remember has come with him.

Director Biography - Ivan Afanasyev, Anastasiya Ledkova

Portrait of Ivan Afanasyev
Portrait of Anastasiya Ledkova

Anastasiya Ledkova is a student of Higher courses of VGIK (directorial workshop of V. B. Akhadov). She directed short films Superhero and Grisha-hero in 2019.

Ivan Afanasyev graduated from the film studies workshop of A. N. Medvedev of VGIK in 2018.

2nd place online Blacksphere festival: In the shadows

In the shadows: Untold stories of the mental health system

  • Breanna Ching
  • Canada
  • Documentary
  • 7 minutes
Poster of In the shadows

This film highlights Breanna Ching's passion for change within the current mental health care model, delving into her advocacy work before the film switches to two true stories of women "failed by the system". Their faces aren't shown, because mental health is "in the shadows" - even still.

Director Biography - Breanna Ching

Portrait of Breanna Ching

Breanna Ching is an up-and-coming film director. Her intent was never to become a film director – she was content with her social work degree, satisfied with her life, and had no idea this was going to happen. Her first film, "The Pain and the Purpose" was filmed in honor of her friend lost to suicide. It was a finalist in Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Competition. Attending the festival proved to Breanna the power of film and the change it can spark – she is now committed to film directing along with her social work studies, and loves the conversations that begin when she makes a film that "pushes the envelope" a little bit. Her films are all mental health related.

"I never expected this accolade – ever, but I graciously accept my title as film director and will use this as leverage to make change."

3rd place online Blacksphere festival: To Freddy

  • Viljar Bøe
  • Norway
  • Drama, Thriller, Mystery
  • 72 minutes
Poster of To Freddy

Freddy is going on one last camping trip with his closest classmates. Before the trip, he finds a box with letters that claim to tell the future. The message is clear: One of his friends is going to kill him.

This film takes up themes like adulthood, karma, and the importance of talking to each other.

Director Biography - Viljar Bøe

Portrait of Viljar Bøe

Viljar Bøe is a 23-year-old writer/director from Bergen, Norway. He’s been interested in filmmaking his entire life, buying his first camera at the age of 11 filming zombie films with his family.

He has a bachelor in Film & TV Production from Nord University and has started on his master’s at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. He has currently written and directed three short films, one feature film; and is currently doing post-production on his second feature film and has his third in development.

"The transition period from teenager to adult can be a confusing time. Suddenly you’re expected to make your own life choices, have a plan for what you’re going to do, life goals. The future seems like something distant and you’re guideless. What if you had a set plan?"