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2020 SVFF Award Winners


In partnership with Ford Motor Company, four finalists have been selected to participate in Ford Pitch Fest for the opportunity to receive a $25,000 grant to take their in-development film one big step closer to reality. Finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their projects online to a panel of judges. The launch of this grant continues to showcase Ford’s long-standing commitment to the entertainment industry and its rising filmmakers.

WINNER: Picking Cotton – Jessica Sanders 

Rocket Night – Scott Taylor 
Foreign – Mariyam Mahbub 
Memphis – Ben Edelman

High Scribe

The competition gives finalists an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with some of the industry’s finest to discuss their work; the winner receives mentoring from an experienced professional.

WINNER: Minor Modifications, written by Shia LaBeouf

Producer’s Vision Award

This award recognizes a producer’s ability to keep a dramatic, feature length film in focus during the journey of the project.

WINNER: Nine Days, producer Jason Michael Berman

One in a Million Awards

The One in a Million Awards honor feature length stories made for under one million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film are each awarded.
NARRATIVE WINNER: Once Upon A River, directed by Haroula Rose
DOCUMENTARY WINNER: The Donut King, directed by Alice Gu

The Shorty Award

The best short film across all categories.

WINNER: Titanyum, directed by Gökçe Erdem

Gem State Award

This award recognizes the Idaho made film that best reflects the beauty and diversity of the Gem state.

WINNER:Whitetail Bucks, directed by Derek Tonks

The Film Lab

Tito’s Handmade Vodka presents The Film Lab, judged by Academy Award winner Peter Farrelly. Winners of the competition receive the chance to screen their work-in-progress film with the Austin Film Society, receive personalized feedback from Mr. Farrelly, and ultimately get the chance to make use of over $185,000 worth of post production services from Picture Shop and The Formosa Group in Los Angeles. Variety is a partner of the program.

2020 Winner: My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To, written/directed by Jonathan Cuartas, produced by Kenny Riches, Anthony Pedone and Patrick Fugit.

National Geographic Further Award

The National Geographic Further Award recognizes a leader whose work is uniquely innovative, timely, and impactful—someone who has boldly pushed the boundaries of his or her field, and who serves as an outstanding ambassador for that breakthrough work.

WINNER: Ann Druyan, creator, writer, director and executive producer of COSMOS 


In partnership with LUNA Bar, this award recognizes an emerging female filmmaker with a promising future ahead of her. Female-directed feature films eligible.

WINNER: For Walter and Josiah, directed by Jamie Elias

1 Potato Winner

With collaborating sponsor Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) this short screenplay competition awards the screenwriter a $5,000 stipend to help shoot their film in Idaho.

WINNER: Dust, written by Dwayne Blackaller, Matthew Cameron Clark and Cody Gittings

Future Filmmaker Forum

Showcases student-made films and encourages students in their craft, storytelling, and self-expression.

Hot Shot Winner ($500 prize): Peter Daniels: A Child Survivor of Theresienstadt, by Alex Ankai, Fiona Fortunato, Keila McCabe, Idalis McZeal, Anahy Portillo

Gem State Jr. Award ($250 prize): Ski Season Transitions, by Justin Maxwell


Support for new voices in film as they face vital career transitions, with a $5,000 cash grant.

WINNER: Rafael Pease

SOHO House Award

With the support of IWC Schaffhausen, The Soho House 2019 Script House receives thousands of short film scripts, 10 finalists are selected, 2 films are produced, and only one short film wins the honors.

WINNER: Coffee Shop Names, directed by Deepak Sethi