Lower East Side Film Fest Announces 2020 Jury Award Winners

LESFF 2020 feature film winner

The 2020 Lower East Side Film Festival is coming to a close online and the jury has selected this year’s winners. Top honors went to Rachel Beth Anderson and Timothy Grucza’s “Unschooled,” a feature documentary that follows three inner-city high school students as they embark on a radical educational program in North Philadelphia dedicated to empowering students to direct their own education.

LESFF writes:

Samantha Bee, Indya Moore and their fellow jurors also awarded Christopher Low’s “Black Ghost Sun”, a short film about a first generation Chinese-American learning to become a father while his son navigates the spaces between ethnicity and identity, with the “Best of Fest” shorts award, and Julia Kennelly’s “Marcy Learns Something New” starring Rachel Dratch about a widow exploring the dominatrix community, took home “Best Live Action Short.”

“When we decided to go digital this year, it was because we wanted to make sure these amazing films, that our programmers had worked so hard to curate over the past year, still had a platform to be seen. Our first year being virtual was a huge success in our eyes,” said Lower East Side Film Festival Director, Roxy Hunt. “It was so cool to see people streaming films all over the world and by conducting filmmaker Q&As over Zoom we were actually able to connect with more filmmakers in one year than ever before. We can’t wait to get back to our theaters, pool parties, favorite LES venues, and more, but are so thankful to our supporters for making this virtual fest it’s own exciting, unique and memorable experience.”

All films are available to watch online through June 29th. To stream and find more information on all of the 2020 LESFF competition winners, visit lesfilmfestival.com.

LESFF shorts winners

Here is the full list of juried winners:

Best Of Fest Winner

Black Ghost Son

Directed by Christopher Low

Best Live Action Short

Marcy Learns Something New

Directed by Julia Kennelly

Best Animated Short


Directed by Nadja Andrasev

Best Documentary Short

Sundays at The Triple Nickel

Directed By Jessica Colquhoun

Best Music Video


Directed by Vedran Rupic

The Neighborhood Award

Cinema Rules Everything Around Me

Directed by Rachel Wolther

Stream winning shorts HERE.

Lower East Side Film Festival Goes Virtual


As per the necessity these days, The Lower East Side Film Festival is presenting their lineup online this year, kicking off their 2020 Virtual Schedule tomorrow night. The fest is highlighting premieres of feature films, beloved themed short film showcases, virtual events (Trivia Night!), Industry Livestreams (panels and conversations), with Judges Indya Moore (Pose), Samantha Bee (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), and more at the helm.

This year’s theme promises to spotlight immigrant and 1st/2nd generation filmmakers with the 2020 film line-up that acknowledges the character of The Lower East Side itself.

Feature films include:

Blunderpuss – Directed by Shaina Feinberg; After a stint in rehab, a clown goes on an apology tour. Eager to reinvent himself he purchases a pair of tap shoes. Starring Chris Manley, Drae Campbell, Mona Chalabi, Karolena Theresa, Jeff Seal and Chris Roberti.

Mentally AI – Directed by Joshua Edelman; featuring Judd Apatow and Sarah Silverman. A character study of, “the funniest comedian you’ve never heard of,” and an exploration of how we define artistic success, Mentally AI follows Al Lubel, a former Star Search grand champion as he struggles to get by, perpetually broke and sleeping on friends couches, as he continues to pursue his artistic dreams into his sixties.

Unschooled – Directed by Rachel Beth Anderson and Timothy Grucza; Unschooled follows three inner-city high school students as they embark on a radical educational program in North Philadelphia – a program dedicated to empowering students to direct their own education.

Featured festival events include:

Inside The Writers’ Room of Hulu’s Ramy with Ramy Youssef and the writers behind the upcoming 2nd season, in conversation with The Writers Guild of America East, discussing the process of writing about comedy, relationships and religion.

Rebecca Miller In Conversation with Shaina Feinberg,” a conversation with filmmaker Rebecca Miller and LESFF Alumni filmmaker Shania Feinberg as they discuss the creative choices they have made when faced with overcoming obstacles, and how – pandemic or not – indie-filmmaking requires an ability to adapt and how that adaptability has shaped their work and their careers.

LESFF Panels 2020

Viewers can purchase individual tickets for features and short showcases ($10 each) or an All-Access Festival Pass ($30). All panels and Trivia Night are free.

See the full schedule HERE.

All films will be live starting June 18th at 6:00pm. The festival will unveil new content everyday at 6:00pm through June 22 but will be available to stream through June 29th.

Winners will be announced online on Monday June 22nd at 6pm.