Janesville's Pickering takes home award at Beloit Film Festival

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Gazette staff
Friday, February 21, 2014

JANESVILLE — Janesville's Stephen Pickering took home “The Hendricks Feature Award” for films of overall excellence at the Beloit International Film Festival for directing and producing the documentary “Vets Roll.”

The documentary follows 200 World War II and Korean War veterans and Rosie the Riveters on the four days they traveled from Beloit to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials that honor their service, according to a news release.

The 2014 BIFFY awards were given to honor screen plays, art direction, soundtracks and best pictures. In total, 17 BIFFYs were handed out at Thursday evening's ceremony. Most of the filmmakers were on hand to receive the awards, according to the release.

There also were five “feature” awards for overall achievement, designated by the selection committee that viewed all 700 submissions to BIFF this year.

This year's “Best” awards were:

-- Best Feature: “Jimmy in Pink”, a South African comedy that follows a seventh-generation farmer through his efforts to save the farm, directed by Hanneke Schutte and produced by Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat.

-- Best Documentary: “Date America”, the tale of one bachelor's travels through eight states in search of the online date that will fulfill his life's dreams, by Milwaukee-based filmmaker Bob Murray.

-- Best Short Film: “Studies in Space”, a dance film shot in ultra-slow motion exploring movement, dance and space, by Milwaukee filmmaker Tate Bunker.

-- Best Animation: “Look”, a Swiss sci-fi short film created by Jane Mumford and Gerd Gockell about a dark world where light is the biggest attraction.

-- Best Comedy Short: “Golden Ticket”, a film by Canadian filmmaker Patrick Hagarty in which the main character is having a very bad day (dumped, evicted, and fired) until a stranger offers him a “golden ticket,” allowing him to act without consequence for the remainder of the day.

-- Best Student Film: “Story of Lights”, a short French film about an American student in France, directed and produced by Zachary Gerberick.

-- Best Screenplay: “The Human War”, a feature length dramedy that deals with expectations, choices and survival in a society at war, directed and produced by Pirooz Kalayeh and Thomas Henwood.

-- Best Soundtrack: “B Side”, a feature that examines the mounting pressures of life that threaten an idyllic New York romance, directed by Amos Posner and produced by April Lamb.

-- Best Art Direction: Aaron Schimberg for “Go Down Death”, a feature length comedy that has been described as “a unique, strange, unforgettable film, a half-remembered dream that will trouble and beguile the subconscious long after you've moved on.”

-- Best LGBT film: “Hot Guys With Guns”, directed by Doug Spearman and produced by Spearman and Joel Heisey about private investigators in training.

-- Best Illinois Film: “NightLights”, conceived of and directed by special education teacher and filmmaker David Midell, and with support from grassroots organizations around the country, it is an earnest and proud tribute to the resilience of family in all circumstances.

-- Best Wisconsin Film: “Billy Club”, a witty throwback to the slasher films of the 1980s directed by Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer and produced by Blaine Vess and Eric Gerber.

-- BIFF Year Round People's Choice Award: “Putzel”, a clever comedy about love, smoked salmon and the Upper West Side directed by Jason Chaet.

Feature Awards for Overall Excellence:

-- The Power of Film Award, identifying a film that has shown the power of film to change the way we think: "Trans", directed by Chris Arnold and produced by Mark Schoen, an up-close and very personal journey into the transgender world through the memorable stories and the unusual lives of a remarkable cast of characters.

-- The Josh Burton Award for general excellence, honoring the creative spirit of the late Beloit actor and director: "When the King Tilts", directed by Drew Brittonand produced by Britton and Logan Lark, exploring obscure hidden corners of the human psyche, namely the many different ways we react when faced with the unknown.

-- The Executive Director Award for outstanding artistic achievement: Howard Goldberg and producers David K. Wilson, Elias Koteasand Goldberg for the romantic comedy "Jake Squared" in which a film director hires an actor to play himself only to find that everyone in the film has tons of advice on how he should fix up his screwed up life, resulting in either a mystical experience or a nervous breakdown.

--The Creative Director Award for originality: "Channeling", directed by Drew Thomas and produced by Gerry Santos, Laila Ansari, a feature sci-fi drama in which a soldier returns home to examine the strange circumstances surrounding his brother's death.

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