In 2003 at the 27th CIFF we launched our Someone to Watch Award series. The purpose of this program is to showcase the work of mid-career filmmakers who we believe are rising stars in international filmmaking. Over the years we have celebrated filmmakers whose talent has been embraced at movie theaters across the country and around the world. This year is no different.

Mike Ott

Mike Ott

Mike Ott studied under Thom Andersen at the California Institute of Art where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film/Video and started out directing music videos for such bands as Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Blood Brothers, and The Cave Singers. Mike's second feature, LITTLEROCK, won numerous awards, including a Gotham Award and the Audience Award at the 2010 AFI Fest. In 2011 he won the Someone to Watch Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. His next feature, PEARBLOSSOM HWY, had its U.S. premiere at the 2012 AFI Fest and its international premiere at the prestigious Vienna International Film Festival in Austria. The film also screened at a number of festivals abroad, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the CPHPIX in Denmark, and the Melbourne International Film Festival. His recently released third installment of his Antelope Valley trilogy, LAKE LOS ANGELES, has already won multiple awards at festivals around the world. Presently, Mike runs the production company Small Form Films and teaches film directing at the University of Southern California.

Lake Los Angeles (USA, GREECE)
Pearblossom Hwy (USA, GREECE)
Littlerock (USA, GREECE)

Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross

Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross

Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross are brothers from Sidney, Ohio who graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Bill has taught filmmaking to students at the elementary and secondary level and conducted a summer film program for children in the Los Angeles area. Turner has worked in the art departments of numerous studio features, as well as at a handful of independent features. Together, the two directors are known for their cinéma verité documentaries. Their first collaborative film, 45365 (an ode to their hometown), won top awards at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and Film Independent Spirit Awards and was broadcast as part of PBS' Independent Lens series. Their second film, TCHOUPITOULAS, an artifact of their other home, New Orleans, received numerous accolades, including the Emerging Artist Award at the 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Their latest film, WESTERN, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, examines the American frontier of today at the border of Texas and Mexico.

Western (USA)
Tchoupitoulas (USA)
45365 (USA)

Previous Recipients of the CIFF's Someone to Watch Award are:

2014 РPJ Raval, Ch̩ Sandoval, Ryan White
2013 – Nic Balthazar, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Tom Gustafson and Cory Krueckeberg, Martin Lund
2011 – Dave Boyle, Ed Gass-Donnelly, Lisa Gossels
2010 – Emily Abt, Jesper Ganslandt
2009 – Ramin Bahrani, Gerardo Naranjo
2008 – Brillante Mendoza, Helen Hood Scheer
2007 – Matt Bissonnette
2006 – Ann Marie Fleming, Hiner Saleem
2005 – Ronit Elkabetz, Catherine Gund, Khyentse Norbu, Hans Weingartner
2004 – Josef Fares, Gaylene Preston, Pen-ek Ratanaruang
2003 – Alexei Balabanov, Susanne Bier, Agust Gudmundsson

CIFF40 :: Save the Dates >

CIFF40 :: Save the Dates

CIFF40 will take place March 30 - April 10, 2016 at Tower City Cinemas and neighborhood screening locations!

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