The 40th Annual Big Muddy Film Festival Winners Announced

After 7 days of fun features, shorts, music videos and more, during both our Closing Ceremony and our Best of the Fest recap at Longbranch Cafe and Bakery, we announced the winners of The 40th Annual Big Muddy Film Festival.

This year’s Ceremony was a celebration of Big Muddy throughout the years and we not only honored our current Crew members who put on this year’s festival but those who have aided Big Muddy in the past, both student and faculty/staff members alike, especially our founder, Mike Covell. Without him, Big Muddy wouldn’t exist. This year, a new award was created in his name that was voted on by our student co-directors. More information about the award and the winning film will be released this week.

This year’s jurors were invited to the festival, not only because of their backgrounds and histories with both SIU and Big Muddy, but because their work is so groundbreaking and visionary in the way that they choose to tell such stories. This year’s jurors were: Ben Kalina, Adoma Akosua Owusu, and Tom Ludwig.

If you missed out on this year’s Best of the Fest Showcase at Longbranch during the festival, there will be a repeat screening of all the Best Shorts and Honorable Mentions this year at Scratch Brewery on Friday, March 2 from 6-9 pm. If the weather cooperates, the screening will take place outside. The bar will be open and drinks will be served during the event. The event is free and all are welcome to join us.

40th Annual Big Muddy Film Festival Winners

Best Experimental Feature: The Know (Directed by The Galassi Brothers) |  A compulsive eater/cleaning man tries to keep his spirit intact in a world where all media is owned by one company with an agenda of mind control.

Best Experimental Short: The Past Inside the Present (Directed by James Siewert) | An allegorical tale of a couple who attempt to renew their dying relationship by plugging directly into recordings of their memories.

Honorable Mention: Camera Threat (Directed by Bernd Lützeler) | Somewhere in the dreary nooks of Mumbai’s film industry, seated on a casting couch, two actors are getting stuck in impromptu conversations on the side effects of a world that no longer bothers to tell facts from fiction

Best Narrative Feature: After Hours Trading (Directed by Fredrick Johnson) | A shiftless malcontent teams up with a shady Eastern European con artist to make some quick cash, but ends up becoming an unlikely, and reluctant, Robin Hood when he discovers his new partner-in-crime has traveled halfway around the world to free a victim of human trafficking.

Best Narrative Short: Burning Angel Dust (Directed by Jackie J. Stone) | A Nigerienne immigrant struggles to adapt to American life while preserving cultural customs for her westernized children. Mimi’s 10-year-old daughter Violet is excited about her coming of age celebration, but it turns out to be far more life-altering than she could ever imagine. There’s a price to keep traditions alive.

Honorable Mention: It’s Just a Gun (Directed by Brian Robau) | When a young boy named Gabe finds a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, it will set in motion a series of events that will change him forever.

Best Animation: Conditioner (Directed by Shane Beam) | An audition for a conditioner commercial becomes an otherworldly psychogenic experience.

Honorable Mention: Be Able (Directed by Ma-Ké) | A bittersweet paper-cut delirium about media and consumer-driven society. Some psychotic cats, a dripping tv post, teenagers high on antidepressants, a postcard beach with shipwrecked bodies, immortality according to Google, and references such Pink Floyd, Yves Klein, John Lennon and A Clockwork Orange.

Best Documentary Feature + John Michaels Winner: Left on Pearl (Directed by Susan Rivo) | This fast-paced 55-minute documentary focuses on a highly significant but little-known event in the history of the women’s liberation movement, the 1971 takeover, and occupation of a Harvard University-owned building by hundreds of Boston area women. The ten-day occupation of 888 Memorial Drive by women demanding a Women’s Center and low-income housing for the community in which the building stood, embodied within it many of the hopes and glories – as well as the conflicts and fault lines – of what came to be known as Second Wave feminism.

Best Documentary Short: Every Ghost Has An Orchestra (Directed by Shayna Connelly) | Truth hides in the margins and the artist’s role is to point to it. The question of what happens after we die is a universal question explored by paranormal researcher and experimental composer Michael Esposito. He straddles the line between spiritual and material and asks the audience to reflect on our purpose, legacy and what our actions say about who we are.

Honorable Mention: Hill Climb (Directed by Andrew Morgan & Nick Nummerdor) | A candid look into the nearly 100-year tradition of the Mt. Garfield All-Pro Motorcycle Hillclimb. The film is a snapshot of the riders, their bikes, and the enthusiasts that camp out on the shores of Lake Michigan for this exciting historic event.