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Lake Travis Film Festival wraps up second edition of the fest with announcement of filmmaker awards


Sevgi Hirschäuser’s Toprak wins Best Narrative Feature Film

and Nico Perrino, Aaron Reese, and Chris Maltby’s Mighty Ira

takes the Best Documentary Feature Film award


Austin animation house Minnow Mountain is given

the LTFF “Make A Splash” Award


Bee Cave/Lakeway, TX (June 16, 2021) – The Second Lake Travis Film Festival announced its filmmaker awards during a brunch at Bee Cave’s famous Star Hill Ranch (15000 Hamilton Pool Rd) as LTFF wrapped up a celebratory weekend packed with film fans and filmmakers converging on the Lake Travis areas of Bee Cave and Lakeway for four days of screenings, panels, parties, and events that energetically shook off the year of pandemic-rooted isolation that preceded it. Sevgi Hirschäuser’s Toprak took the jury prize for Best Narrative Feature Film and the directing trio of Nico Perrino, Aaron Reese, and Chris Maltby won the Best Documentary Feature Film award for Mighty Ira.

Lake Travis Film Festival Founder and Executive Director, Kat Albert, said, “We didn’t go into the second year with huge expectations, but we were blown away by the sheer numbers of the audiences and attending filmmakers. Obviously, people missed the connection of seeing films together and the magic of meeting the people behind the curtains.”


Minnow Mountain’s Rachel Dendy, Craig Staggs, Christopher

Jennings, and Steph Swope (Photo by Leo Sopicki)


Albert also made a special presentation of the LTFF Make a Splash Award to the Austin- based and Emmy-award winning Minnow Mountain animation company. Responsible for the animation for Keith Maitland’s critically-acclaimed Tower, among other projects, Co-Founder and Director Craig Staggs, Co-Founder and Producer Steph Swope, Lead Animator Christopher Jennings, and Line Producer Rachel Dendy were all on hand to receive the award.

Additional winners taking home the Lake Travis Film Festival’s signature Kaleidoscope Lens Award were Sharon Arteaga’s When You Clean a Stranger’s Home (Best Narrative Short Film), Melissa Kirkendall’s You Are Me and I Am You (Best Documentary Short Film), Lincoln Edwards’ 01 Escalade (Best Youth Film), and Manuel Vargas’ Ghost (Best Music Video). Script competition winners included Isahah Mouw and Mark Botts’ “Lily of the Valley” (Best Feature Script), and Frank J. Avella’s “Fig Jam” (Best Short Script).


Award winners Sharon Arteaga and Melissa Kirkendall

Accepting their awards (Photo by Dev Shapiro)


The Lake Travis Film Festival opened with a red carpet with filmmakers making the trip from both coasts and several states in between to represent their films. A “Space Out Showcase” slate of short films loosely revolving around NASA and outer space followed, as did Sevgi Hirschhäuser’s Turkish drama and eventual award-winner Toprak. Also featured on Opening Night was Matt Richmond’s documentary Brauhaus: A German- American Fairytale, with the filmmaker making the trip from Chicago to participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Additional personal appearances that were big hits were American Civil Liberties Union leader, Ira Glasser, the subject of the award-winning documentary Mighty Ira, and Brooklyn-based animator, Emmett Goodman, who fronted a special animation presentation of curated shorts on the Great Lawn at the Hill Country Galleria (12700 Hill Country Blvd.). Screenwriter JV Hart also taught a class on writing for film.

During the awards ceremony, Albert announced that the film festival has already begun its Call for Entries for 2022, with dates set next year for September 15-18.



Manuel Vargas (Ghost), Lee Ann Edwards (01 Escalade),

Lincoln Edwards (01 Escalade), Sharon Arteaga

(When You Clean a Stranger’s Home), Cody Dixon (01 Escalade),

Melissa Kirkendall (You Are Me and I Am You), Daron Edwards (01 Escalade)


2021 Lake Travis Film Festival Filmmaker Awards



Minnow Mountain




Director: Sevgi Hirschäuser



Mighty Ira

Directors: Nico Perrino, Aaron Reese, Chris Maltby



When You Clean a Stranger’s Home

Director: Sharon Arteaga



You Are Me and I Am You

Director: Melissa Kirkendall



01 Escalade

Director: Lincoln Edwards




Director: Manuel Vargas




“Lily of the Valley”

Writers: Isahah Mouw and Mark Botts



“Fig Jam”

Writer: Frank J. Avella




Lake Travis Film Festival (LTFF), is a vibrant experiential festival with an eye to showcasing filmmakers around the globe with authenticity, vision, and purpose. The festival connects independent filmmakers and industry professionals with an eager community audience. Located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country which offers natural beauty and an abundance of visitor activities including many hotels and locations suited to the screenings, parties, and workshops that will accompany the event. Featuring intimate discussions, exhilarating after parties, and unparalleled access to some of the most exciting venues in the Lake Travis area make he Lake Travis Film Festival a destination for filmmakers and a cultural enhancement for the community. In addition to an annual slate of films in juried competition, the festival offers a showcase for young filmmakers to screen their work.

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