Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

Shorts Jury Awards Program

Year: 2021
Country: International

Shorts Jury Awards Program



Rebecca Blumhagen – Rebecca Blumhagen is a filmmaker and actor originally from Van Meter, Iowa. Her short documentary "The Happiness Machine" screened at 27 festivals across the world since premiering at Cinequest Film & VR Festival in Spring 2018, including DOCNYC, America's largest documentary festival. It has won 13 awards, including five Best Documentary Short Jury awards, Audience awards at four festivals (including Heartland Film Festival's Indy Shorts), and the distinction of being runner-up in the Oscar-Qualifying Short Documentary Jury award at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It had its broadcast premiere on Iowa Public Television on March 7, 2019 and has been nationally distributed through PBS since October 2019. She currently works as a freelance filmmaker, actor, and producer, most recently with originals at Apartment Therapy Media and on a nationwide project celebrating PBS' 50th anniversary called PBS American Portrait.


Mridu Chandra – Mridu Chandra is a New York-based filmmaker and veteran producer of award-winning documentaries and narrative films that have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, and Hot Docs, aired on PBS, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix, screened for members of U.S. Congress and the United Nations, and showcased at museums and film festivals worldwide. Credits include "Ask the Sexpert," "Cured," "Brother Outsider," "Out in the Night," "Electoral Dysfunction," "Whose Streets?," and the five-part PBS series "Women, War, and Peace." Most recently, she served as the founding director (2016-2019) of IF/Then Shorts at Tribeca Film Institute, where she designed, launched, and managed a new film fund and distribution initiative to support the professional development and increased visibility of filmmakers working regionally across the U.S. and around the world.


James Choi – James Choi is a prolific, award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of film industry experience in Los Angeles having worked in representation production and digital media. As an independent producer, James has produced two feature films from first-time directors that have premiered at SXSW and won awards. "Made in China" won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Female Director Award and was distributed by IFC Films, and "Saint Frances" won the Breakthrough Voice and Audience Award and was distributed by Oscilloscope. "Saint Frances" was also nominated for two Gotham Awards and is up for the Cassavetes Award at the 2021 Spirit Awards. James is consistently selected as one of Newcity's Film 50—the leaders of Chicago's film culture. Having been in the forefront of the micro independent film movement in the last decade, James has produced and directed numerous films that have screened widely around the world, winning awards and receiving distribution. James is based out of Chicago and teaches film at DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts.

Three jurors select winners of the Best Animated, Best Documentary, and Best Live Action categories. Winners of these awards will qualify for consideration in the Short Films categories of the annual Academy Awards®. The Programmers’ Choice Award is determined by the CIFF Short Films Programming Team.

The winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize and be announced during our virtual Closing Awards Ceremony. We hope you will join us on the CIFF YouTube page on Saturday, April 17th at 9:00 PM ET!

The Shorts Jury Awards Program will be available to view on the CIFF virtual cinema platform from 11:00 PM ET on Saturday, April 17th through the end of the festival at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, April 20th.

Best Animated Short
Sponsored by MP Star Financial
This award winner will qualify for consideration in the Shorts Films Animation category of the annual Academy Awards®.

Best Documentary Short
Sponsored by Jules and Fran Belkin
This award winner will qualify for consideration in the Shorts Films Documentary category of the annual Academy Awards®.

Best Live Action Short
Sponsored by Anne E. Bloomberg and Alan Gordon Lipson & Judy Harris
This award winner will qualify for consideration in the Shorts Films Live-Action category of the annual Academy Awards®.

Programmers' Choice Award: In Celebration of the Life of Toni Oliverio
Sponsored by The Sloop Family
In memory of long-time CIFF shorts programmer, Toni Oliverio

CIFF45 Screenings

Scheduled Screening

Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:00 PM -
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Streams Access: United States and US Territories
Accessibility (?)
Closed Captions: No
Audio Description: No
English Subtitles: No

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