The 2017 Atlas Awards International Film Festival, the online film festival and awards programme hosted by Atlas & Aeris, showcased films and screenplays from around the world to an international audience in January. The festival featured 45 films and four screenplays from independent filmmakers in 15 countries. American films were the highest-represented in the festival’s official selection and awards programme. Outside the U.S., the highest-represented country in the festival’s official selection was Iran, and apart from American films, the country whose films received the most awards was Spain.
The festival’s top prizes, selected by an independent jury of award-winning filmmakers, went to a diverse selection of films. The Atlas Aeris Prize for the year’s best film of any genre was awarded to Heartbox, a short romantic drama directed by Richard Anthony Dunford of the U.K. The Atlas Vitri Prize for the year’s best foreign language film was awarded to the animated children’s short Agrinoui, directed by Alexis Chaviaras of Cyprus. The Jury Prize went to Artem Makarevich’s Russian science fiction film Eclipse, while the festival’s Peace Prize was awarded to an American film, Skyward, a drama about drone warfare.
Eleven of the 45 films selected by the festival were directed by women (>24%), while 12 of all 49 works, including films and screenplays, were either directed or written by women (>24%). Eleven of the 45 films featured women leads (>24%), and 13 of all 49 selected works had a woman as the leading character (>26%).
Topics explored in the festival’s selected works ranged widely, including the ethics of time travel (Flash!), the fate of refugees rationing food in a refugee camp (A Share of Share), access to education in Bangladesh (Contrast), the personal repercussions of joining the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (An Unfinished Film, for My Daughter Somayeh), impending drought (The Endless River), deadly white-nose syndrome in the bats of North America (Lil Bat), the perils and abuses of gold mining in Benin (Nobody Dies Here), transgender rights in Iran (I Don’t Like It Here), mushroom hunting (Cheers for Mushrooms), Canadian comic book artists (Heroes Manufactured), and American drones (Skyward).
Among the many emerging independent filmmakers featured in the festival was Bryn Chainey of Australia, whose work has been featured at the Berlin International Film Festival, where a jury led by Stephen Daldry awarded him the emerging director prize, and whose feature screenplay Nothing Else Mattress received a World Production Award at the Torino Film Lab, and with the support of Screen Australia, is currently in development. ■
For more information about the Atlas Awards, visit our Awards page.
Featured Image: Courtesy; ‘Eclipse’.