New Orleans Film Festival 2021 Award Winners Announced

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced the Jury Award winners of the 32nd annual Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival via the NOFF 2021 Filmmaker Awards presented by WarnerMedia on November 13. The awards show and award-winning films will be available to stream at until Nov. 21 at 11:59 PM CT. 

This year, the New Orleans Film Festival offered more than $120,000 in cash awards and prizes to filmmakers. 

The New Orleans Film Festival is one of only 14 film festivals in the country that is Oscar®-qualifying in all three short-form Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, and Animated Shorts. Jury Award-winning films in these categories automatically qualify for consideration for the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. 

Jury Award winners of Narrative, Documentary, and Animated shorts which are now qualified for Oscar® consideration are Al-Sit, directed by Suzannah Mirghani; You Can’t Stop Spirit, directed by Vashni Korin; and Trona Pinnacles, directed by Mathilde Parquet, respectively.

The Conference of the Birds, directed by Kevin Contento, won the Narrative Feature Competition receiving a $15,000 Panavision camera rental package and a $13,500 Light Iron Post Production Services Tax Incentives Consultation with Media Services. On the Divide, directed by Maya Cueva, won the Documentary Feature Competition receiving a $10,000 equipment rental package from PRG.

“The festival’s Oscar-qualifying status provides such an incredible opportunity for the artists participating in the festival,” said Clint Bowie, Artistic Director of the New Orleans Film Society. “We’re honored to work alongside the Academy to ensure that we’re offering pipelines like this to the emerging talents showcased in the festival.”



Download award-winning film stills here.


Narrative Features Competition: The winner of this award will receive a $15,000 Panavision camera rental package and a $13,500 Light Iron Post Production Services.

Jurors: Carlos A. Gutiérrez (Cinema Tropical), Kate Gondwe (Dedza Films), and Maya Cade (Black Film Archive, Criterion Collection)

Jury Award: The Conference of the Birds –– dir. Kevin Contento, prod. Frank O’Neill, Helen Salamanca

Special Jury Mention: Perfume de Gardenias –– dir. Gisela Rosario, prod. Arleen Cruz-Alicea, Gisela Rosario Ramos, Consuelo Castillo, Adriana Ángel


Documentary Features Competition: The winner of this award will receive a $10,000 equipment rental package from PRG.

Jurors: Lauren Domino (Academy Award Nominated Producer), Michelle Hamada (Director of Industry & Filmmaker Relations at Syrn Media Ventures), and Theresa Navarro (Producer, VP of External Affairs at PBS POV)

Jury Award: On the Divide –– dir. Maya Cueva, prod. Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Amanda Spain, Elizabeth Woodward

Special Jury Mention:  Shared Resources –– dir. Jordan Lord, prod. Jordan Lord


Louisiana Features Competition: The winner of the Louisiana Features Competition will receive a $15,000 Panavision camera rental package.

Jurors: Mia Bruno (Distribution, Sales, Marketing Consultant), Naomi Walker (Documentary Production Consultant), and Monique Walton (Creative Producer)

Jury Award:  The Neutral Ground –– dir. C.J. Hunt, prod. Darcy McKinnon

Special Jury Mention: Many Fires This Time: We the 100 Million –– dir. Jason R.A. Foster, prod. Jeremy Liu, Michael  “Quess?” Moore, Jason R.A. Foster


Best Cinematography Prize – Louisiana Feature: The winner of this category will be awarded a $10,000 camera package from Keslow Camera.

Winner: Many Fires This Time: We the 100 Million –– cinematographers: Zac Manuel, Spencer Mann, and Jason R.A. Foster


Narrative Shorts CompetitionOscar®-qualifying category: The winner of Best Narrative Short will receive $2500 in Kodak film stock.

Jurors: Benjamin Lopez (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), Romola Lucas

(Third Horizon), and Tiffany Vazquez (GIPHY)

Jury Award: Al-Sit –– dir. Suzannah Mirghani, prod. Suzannah Mirghani, Eiman Mirghani

Special Jury Mentions:

  • Peau de Chagrin –– dir. Baloji, prod. Janke Brands
  • Execution –– dir. Stavit Allweis, prod. Shuchi Talati
  • Pearl and Henry –– dir. Gibrey Allen, prod. Greta Hagen-Richardson, Weenta Girmay, Kenny Reynolds 


Helen Hill Award for Animated Shorts CompetitionOscar®-qualifying category. 

Jurors: Everett Downing (Academy Award-Winning Director), Ingrid Tous Tovar (Creative Executive, Moonbug), and Jenga Mwendo (Community Organizer, Former Animator), Sihanouk Mariona (Emmy Award-winning Animator)

Jury Award: Trona Pinnacles –– dir. Mathilde Parquet, Marion Lacôte, Christophe Camoirano

Honorable Mention: Anxious Body –– dir. Yoriko Mizushiri, prod. Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron


Documentary Shorts Competition – Oscar®-qualifying category: The winner of this award will receive a $10,000 equipment rental package from PRG.

Jurors: Dolly R Turner (Filmmaker), Dana Merwin (IDA), and Ranell Shubert (Producer, What’s Up with Docs Podcast)

Jury Award: You Can’t Stop Spirit –– dir. Vashni Korin, prod. Vashni Korin

Special Jury Mentions: 

  • Death is Our Business –– dir. Jacqueline Olive, prod. Jacqueline Olive 
  • Ya Heard Me? –– dir. Milo Daemgen, prod. Chanice Holmes, Jessica Eugene, Catherine Caldwell


Louisiana Shorts Competition: The winner of this award will receive a $5,000 Storyville Post package.

Jurors: Laci Dent (Writer, Director, Producer), Ro Haber (Writer, Director), and Jenny Slattery

(Early Bird Films)

Jury Award:  This Body – dir. Zac Manuel, prod. Lauren Cargo 

Special Jury Mention: You Can’t Stop Spirit – dir. Vashni Korin, prod. Vashni Korin


Cinematography Award – Louisiana Short: The winner of this prize will receive a $10,000 camera package from Keslow Camera.

Winner: BABYBANGZ, cinematographer Spencer Mann


Experimental Shorts Competition: 

Jurors: Crystal Kayiza (Filmmaker), Simon Liu (Filmmaker), Rawane Nassif (Filmmaker)

Jury Award: Two Sons and a River of Blood –– dir. Amber Bemak and Angelo Madsen Minax, prod. Amber Bemak and Angelo Madsen Minax

Special Jury Mention: Fireflies – dir. Léo Bittencourt, prod. Julia Murat and Léo Bittencourt


Reel South Short Award: The winner of this award will each receive $500 and the opportunity to screen as part of Reel South’s programming slate.

Winner: You Can’t Stop Spirit –– dir. Vashni Korin, prod. Vashni Korin


John-Carlo Monti Memorial Award: The winner of this prize will receive $1,000 from the John-Carlo Monti Memorial Award Fund for below-the-line, on-set crew members, not traditionally recognized.

Winner: Andres Ballesteros



South Pitch Narrative presented by WarnerMedia: The winner of the WarnerMedia Narrative South Pitch will receive an artist grant from WarnerMedia 150. Additionally, all finalists received a $1000 cash award.

Winner: Christine Huang – Fly Girl


  • Asad Farooqui – The Immigration Game
  • Andie Morgenlander – Whistle Down Wind
  • Eva Contis – Bathroom Drama
  • Lorraine Caffery – Hunger
  • Paavo Hanninen – Remote View


Student Documentary Pitch Awards: The winner of this award will receive a $500 cash prize. 

Winner: Stephanie Crawford (Spelman College) – Unpacked (Short)


Student Narrative Pitch Awards: The winner of this award will receive a $500 cash prize. 

Winner: Julia Perret (Loyola University) – Another Scary Movie (Feature)


South Shorts – IF/Then Post-Production Lab: Grantees for the South Shorts Post-Production Lab each received a cash grant of $5000, and awardees included the following: 

  • Sewing [HER]story – directed and edited by E’jaaz Mason
  • Hundreds Of Thousands – directed by Christian Vasquez & Stevie Walker-Webb, edited by Christian Vasquez, produced by Stevie Walker-Webb
  • Malditas – directed and edited by Bree Nieves
  • When It’s Good, It’s Good – directed and produced by Alejandra Vasquez, edited by Sam Osborn



The 32nd New Orleans Film Festival’s Marquee sponsors include WarnerMedia; Film New Orleans and City of New Orleans;  Gilead Sciences, Inc.; Louisiana Entertainment; and Second Line Stages. 


Producing level sponsors include The Helis Foundation. Premiere Trade sponsors are Panavision + Light Iron; Keslow Camera; PRG; and Element. 


The New Orleans Advocate – Times-Picayune is the festival’s Signature Media Sponsor

Media partners include 4WWL TV, ANTIGRAVITY Magazine, The Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans Magazine, Burnaway Magazine, OffBeat Media, Telemundo New Orleans, WWNO, and WGSO.


New Orleans Film Society and the 32nd New Orleans Film Festival are supported by grants from the Ford Foundation; The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; a WarnerMedia Arts & Culture grant funded by the AT&T Foundation; Perspective Fund; the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts, and administered by Arts Council New Orleans; Greater New Orleans Foundation LGBTQ Fund; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation; the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Louisiana Culture Fund; and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for Louisiana Culture Care Fund grants has been administered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative





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