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2021 Awards

2021 Awards Bash



The Vision Award, pays tribute to industry icons who have provided the keen insight, influence and initiative needed to see their creative visions come to fruition.

RECIPIENTS: Ethan Hawke and Gal Gadot


The Pioneer Award, presented by Variety, is given in recognition of an industry innovator: one whose work on-screen or behind the camera embodies the trailblazing spirit.


high scribe

High Scribe

The High Scribe honors an emerging voice in screenwriting with Bradley Thomas (producer The Mule and All the Money in the World) serving as judge and mentor of the contest. Three finalists were selected which include:

WINNER: The Paisley Witch Trial, written by Julia Campanelli

Two disenfranchised single mothers, a White midwife with an illicit past and a formerly enslaved Black emancipator, form an uneasy bond when both are arrested for witchcraft in the true, untold story of the last witch hunt in Scotland.



Few festivals are able to truly make a difference in a filmmaker’s journey in getting their project to the big screen! Together, Ford and SVFF are doing just that.

The selected winner will walk away with a $25,000 Ford Producers Grant to take their project one big step closer to reality.

WINNER: Tiger Girl – Andrew Huang

All The Names We Buried – Thomas Torrey 
Midday Black Midnight Blue – Samatha Soule and Daniel Talbott

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.

RECIPIENT: Brian Skerry 

audience award

The films which received the most votes from audience attendees. This year there was tie.


Playing With Sharks, writer, director Sally Atiken

From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the incredible story of pioneering Australian scuba diver and conservationist Valerie Taylor, who has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding our fear of sharks and whose footage has been featured in trailblazing films such as Jaws.


Everything in the End, writer, director, Mylissa Fitzsimmons. Producer, Brenden Hubbard

Stranded in a small village during Earth’s final days, a man seeks solace in the brief human connections he encounters.

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. The awards were announced by the 2021 SVFF Pioneer Award, presented by Variety, recipient Shaka King.


Marvelous & The Black Hole, director Kate Tsang

A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming of age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.

One in a Million Award DOCUMENTARY WINNER

Kid Candidate, director Jasmine Stodel

Helmed by first-time director Jasmine Stodel, this is a funny, irreverent and impactful doc about Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old experimental musician whose viral videos for fake City Council campaigns in Amarillo inspired him to take action and actually run, showing that young people are stepping up to make a difference in their communities.

best feature films

Best Narrative Feature Film

Awarded to the best narrative feature film in the festival. The award was announced by 2021 SVFF Vision Award recipient Ethan Hawke.

WINNER: See You Then, director Mari Walker 

A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch-up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition. Over the course of a one night encounter, they engage in a series of increasingly intimate and vulnerable conversations, before a shocking revelation is unveiled.

Best Documentary Feature Film

Awarded to the best documentary feature film in the festival. The award was announced by 2021 SVFF Vision Award recipient Gal Gadot.

WINNER: Searchers, director Pacho Velez

Alternately humorous and touching, Searchers draws on encounters with a diverse set of New Yorkers as they navigate their preferred dating apps, searching for their special someone.


The best short film across all categories. All shorts are eligible for this award. Two films will share the award this year.

The SVShorty Award

WINNER:  Bruiser, director Miles Warren

After his father gets into a fight at a bowling alley, Darious begins to investigate the limitations of his own manhood.


The SVShorty Award

WINNER: What I See When I Look, director Lindsay Calleran

The filmmaker recreates memories from their childhood to present the complicated dynamics of one family, as observed by a child.


future filmmakers forum

The Future Filmmakers Forum showcases student-made films and encourages students in their craft, storytelling, and self-expression.

The Future Filmmakers Forum is made possible by Bex Wilkinson, Peter Burke, The Marshall Frankel Foundation, and The Nordstrom Family.

HOT SHOT WINNER: Sprout, director Luca Csathy (18) from Rancho Santa Fe, CA