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9th Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Announces Award Winners


“Unicorn Boy,” “A Still Small Voice,” “Where the Road Leads,” and “To Kill A Tiger” Receive Top Jury Prizes.


Mammoth Lakes, California (May 30, 2023) – The 9th Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (MLFF) announced this year’s jury and audience award winners at the Closing Night Award Ceremony in Mammoth Lakes on Sunday, May 28, 2023. The festival, held from May 24-28, screened over 100 features and short films, hosted screenplay competition finalists, and presented over $45,000 in awards and cash prizes to the winners.


“This year’s festival was a testament to the importance of an event that creates community and support for personal, innovative filmmaking — we had a record-breaking number of attending filmmakers,” said Shira Dubrovner, Festival Director and Founder. “We consciously seek out the kind of bold filmmaking that deserves a showcase,” said Paul Sbrizzi, Director of Programming. “We program entertaining and culturally impactful work that represents the voices of the future.”


Films winning the top awards from the jury included Best Narrative Feature “Unicorn Boy,” directed and written byMatt Kiel, and Best International Narrative Feature “Where the Road Leads,” directed and written by Nina Ognjanović. “Where the Road Leads” also won the Audience Award for Best International Narrative Feature. The feature length documentary winners were “A Still Small Voice,” directed by Luke Lorentzen, for Best Documentary Feature, and “To Kill A Tiger,” directed by Nisha Kumari Pahuja, for Best International Documentary Feature. “Love Dump,” directed by Jason Avezzano and written by Leila Gorstein and Jesse Kendall, won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; “Name of the Game,” directed by William Forbes and Douglas Skinner, was awarded theAudience Award for Best Documentary Feature, and “Naked Israel,” directed by Inés Moldavsky, won the Audience Award for Best International Documentary Feature.


The full list of Juried and Audience Awards is below:

Jury Awards

Best Narrative Feature: “Unicorn Boy,” directed and written by Matt Kiel.

  • $1,000 cash award, $10,000 Panavision Camera Rental Grant, $13,500 LightIron Postproduction Package and a Slated script and financial analysis bundle.
  • Honorable Mention awarded to “Love Dump,” directed by Jason Avezzano, written by Leila Gorstein and Jesse Kendall.


Best International Narrative Feature: “Where the Road Leads,” directed and written by Nina Ognjanović.

  • $1,000 cash award


Best Documentary Feature: “A Still Small Voice,” directed by Luke Lorentzen.

  • $1,000 cash award


Bravery Award for Documentary Feature: “Mississippi River Styx,” directed by Tim Grant & Andy McMillan.

  • $1,000 cash award


Best International Documentary Feature: “To Kill A Tiger,” directed by Nisha Kumari Pahuja. 

  • $1,000 cash award


Best Screenplay: “Field of Weeds,” by Kelly Jean Karam.

  • $1,000 cash award and a Slated script and financial analysis bundle.


Best Narrative Short: “Play This At My Funeral,” directed by Ray Smiling.

  • $500 cash award
  • Honorable Mention: “Filling Holes,” directed by Miriam Gabriel and Sophia de Baun.


Best International Narrative Short: “Sanaa, Seductress of Strangers,” directed by Jan Eilhardt.

  • $500 cash award
  • Honorable Mention: “Summer Rain,” directed by Shao Lin.


Best Documentary Short: “A Throwing Forth,” directed by Xiao Zhang.

  • $500 cash award
  • Honorable Mention: “Let Me Take You Home,” directed by Evelyn Hang Yin.


Best Animation Short: “Our Pain,” directed by Shunsaku Hayashi.

  • $500 cash award
  • Honorable Mention to “La Última Historia (The Last Story),” directed by Vicente Molina Pardo. 


Best Music Video: “Under No Nation,” by Goat, directed by John Mark Lapham.

  • $500 cash award
  • Honorable Mention to “Funeral Solution,” by Osees, directed by Logan Feser.
  • Special Mention to “Rakiya Su Katamam,” by Altin Gün, directed by Sylvain Rusques and Simon Moreaux.


Audience Awards

Best Narrative Feature: “Love Dump,” directed by Jason Avezzano, written by Leila Gorstein and Jesse Kendall.

  • $1,000 cash award and $5,000 Panavision Camera Rental Grant


Best International Narrative Feature: “Where the Road Leads,” directed and written by Nina Ognjanović.

  • $1,000 cash award


Best Documentary Feature: “Name of the Game,” directed by William Forbes and Douglas Skinner.

  • $1,000 cash award


Best International Documentary Feature: “Naked Israel,” directed by Inés Moldavsky.

  • $1,000 cash award


The 2023 Jury Members: Allison Amon (Producer), Ryan Betschart (San Diego Underground Film Festival), Kimberley Browning (Touchstone Television), Sandrine Cassidy (USC), Sarah Crowe (Amazon), Sarah Diamond (Slamdance), Shaun Hill ((Indican Pictures), Brian Morataya (Projectionist), Dan Perlman (Creator of Flatbush Misdemeanors), Scenery Samundra (Music Supervisor), Margeaux Sippell (MovieMaker Magazine), Ana Souza (Sundance), Scott Steindorff (Producer), Jacques Thelemaque (Filmmakers Alliance), Brian Welk (IndieWire).


On Saturday, May 27th filmmakers attended a panel moderated by Jacques Thelemaque (Founder of the Los Angeles Filmmakers Alliance), where Allison Amon (Producer), Greg Gertmenian (Slated), Shaun Hill (Indican Pictures), Dan Perlman (Filmmaker), Margeaux Sippell (MovieMaker Magazine), and Scott Steindorff (Producer) discussed “Kickstarting Your Career and Trends in Film Distribution.” 


For information on the 10th annual festival taking place 05/22/2024 - 05/26/2024, visit


About the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra region of California, brings together world-class cinema, emerging filmmakers, industry veterans, and audiences from around the world to celebrate films with thought-provoking vision. The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a non-profit 501 (c)3 under the Eastern Sierra Arts Alliance, which has contributed to the arts and culture of the area for the last 15 years through theatre and film festival programming. Visit for more information or connect on FacebookInstagramand Twitter.


2023 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Sponsors include Panavision, Tambour Foundation, Limelight Residences Mammoth, Slated, Mono County, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mammoth Brewing Company, Mammoth Lakes Recreation, Visit Mammoth and more.


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