LES Film Festival Announces 2021 Winners

LESFF event photo courtesy of LES Film Festival

The 11th Annual Lower East Side Film Festival recently wrapped its hybrid fest and has announced the winners. After being forced to present last year’s festival virtually, due to the pandemic, Co-founder Roxy Hunt and Festival Director shared the team’s relief to be able to host in-person events again. The festival is known for its inventive Lower East Side screening locations and fun, neighborhood-centric parties and events.

In a press release Hunt said:

“For many of our audience members and our staff, it was their first time back in a movie theater in more than a year, and we felt honored that they chose LESFF for that experience. Seeing our community together again was incredibly special, and we are grateful to our loyal audience and filmmakers for coming back to LESFF again and again and supporting independent films. We couldn’t stop smiling and hugging each other!”

The LESFF Prix D’Or – Best of Festwent to Sundance winner The Touch of The Master’s Hand directed by Gregory Barnes.

The Audience Award went to the suspense thriller American Insurrection directed by William Sullivan and starring Nadine Malouf (High Fidelity), Michael Raymond James (Trueblood, Once Upon A Time), Sarah Wharton (The Ring Thing, That’s Not Us), Brandon Perea (The OA), Nick Westrate (TURN: Washington Spies), and Jarret Kerr.

Best Feature went to the documentary feature The Revolution Generation from directors Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell, featuring Michelle Rodriguez, Shailene Woodley, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Comedian and actor Tig Notaro sat on the LESFF jury and was featured in a live Q&A.

LESFF 2021 Judges included Tig Notaro – an Emmy and Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian, Tiffany J. Johnson – a filmmaker and storyteller who recently directed episodes of BLACK MONDAY, Chioke Nassor  – writes and directs for film, TV, and the web (Hulu’s  Woke, High Fidelity, ABC’s Black-ish, NBC’s Superstore,  AppleTV’s Little America, HBO’s High Maintenance) Visit here to see this year’s full jury.

The Full List of Winners from the 2021 Lower East Side Film Festival is below:

Still from The Touch of the Master’s Hand, Winner – Best of Fest 2021

Troubled by an unnatural temptation, a young Mormon missionary must confess the humiliating depths of his pornography addiction. Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction. Directed and written by Gregory Barnes. 

From directors Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell (Kiss The Ground, Fuel, The Big Fix), narrated and featuring Award-Winning Actor Michelle Rodriguez (Lost, Avatar, The Fast and The Furious), THE REVOLUTION GENERATION is a manifesto for today’s youth on the societal forces that have both shaped and held back their generation. Importantly, this film gives a roadmap for how today’s youth can revolutionize systems that have exploited and failed them. This upbeat documentary, featuring interviews from Shailene Woodley, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, explores “an alternate history” of the sweeping changes that lead to the world that young people are inheriting and paints a powerful, hopeful, and actionable picture of how today’s youth can solve both the US political and global environmental crises.

While dancing in the subway on the eve of starting her first job, a Harlem teen suspects that her love for dance and her new responsibilities will inevitably collide. The film is a rumination on childhood and dreams deferred, collaborating with young women Litefeet and Harlem Shake dancers. Director: Joel Vargas

Two 80-somethings discover the healing power of laughter as they embark on late in life careers as stand up comedians. Starring George Saltz and Natalie K. Levant. Directed by Elizabeth Zephyrine McDonough (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee).

Dir. William Sullivan’s suspense thriller American Insurrection imagines a near-future dystopian America where a civilian militia – the self-proclaimed “Volunteers” – have started tracking anyone who is not white, Christian, straight and cisgender through a barcoding system. Desperate to flee the escalating violence and oppression, a group of friends try to escape over the border into Canada. Starring: Nadine Malouf (High Fidelity), Michael Raymond James (Trueblood, Once Upon A Time), Sarah Wharton (The Ring Thing, That’s Not Us), Brandon Perea (The OA), Nick Westrate (TURN: Washington Spies), and Jarret Kerr.

In episode one of this comedy series, Alisa heads to a coffee shop to get some writing done. Unable to understand the Wi-Fi password from the barista and too embarrassed to ask again, Alisa escalates the situation, which results in dire consequences. Directed by Jacqueline Dow, and written by Seth Birkan.