Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival Winners
The Con’s Best Kept Secret
Monday, July 28, 2014
Aired 7/28/14 on KPBS News.
KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando looks at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival award winners.
Judge’s Choice/Science Fiction/Fantasy: “Last of You”
Best Action/Adventure: “The Professor”
Best Animation: “Mite”
Best Comedy: “Stockholm”
Best Comic Oriented: “Badbug”
Best Documentary: “Stripped”
Best Horror/Suspense: “Dog Food”
Sunday night the 45th annual Comic-Con International wrapped up but earlier the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival gave out its awards.
Comic-Con felt very big this year — proof is in the first blisters I have ever gotten from traversing not just the quarter-mile dealer’s room floor but also trekking through the extended Comic-Con campus. The crowds on the main floor felt big but instead of people congregating around the movie and TV booths, the crowds seemed to extend equally throughout the San Diego Convention Center floor, even spilling out into Artist Alley and Small Press.
There was some talk in the media about Hollywood's diminished presence but Marvel brought almost its entire cast of “Avengers 2” and “Ant Man” (including Con newbies Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd), which was pretty impressive and did not feel diminished at all.
But one of the Con’s best kept secrets is its film festival. Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF) is a celebration of genre films and it's out on the periphery of the Con out in the Marriott Hotel’s Hall 2. You had to be pretty determined to find the place (the trick was to follow the signs for volunteer check-in) but if you did you were rewarded with some great films. One of the judges for this year's panel was actor Doug Jones who played Abe Sapien in “Hellboy.” He was impressed with the festival and what it's trying to do.
“I found myself getting batches of 20 films at a time and it was like unwrapping a Christmas present, like ‘Oh my gosh!’ But because of the quality of film that I was seeing,” Jones told me after the awards ceremony on Sunday. “Comic-Con is the celebration of all that is geekery so this film festival the categories being action adventure, horror, comedy, animation was a huge category I was actually shocked at how many animated films we watched and the documentaries were along the lines of comic books and comic book artists that was the main thrust of the documentaries that we saw. So it was very Comic-Con centric, it was very Comic-Con celebratory, this film festival. So with that film and television influence that Comic-Con has in general, it only makes sense to have a film festival here as well too, to celebrate the upcoming independent filmmakers that will hopefully one day be in that studio system and getting gobs and gobs of money for it, I hope.”
Joining Jones on the judging panel were Valerie Perez, cosplay model and actress, and Dave Gallegos, founding member of The Vault LA Production Company.
Among the festival winners was an amazing piece from Korea called “Badbug.” It won Best Comics Related Film for its story about a man who uses a comic book he created to deal with issues in his life. This was the first U.S. festival they entered. The filmmaker was from Korea and the award was accepted by its L.A.-based composer Deon Lee.
“The story is related to comics because the main character talks about his life through the comic,” Lee said after receiving the award, “So he’s in the comic and reveals his life through the comic that he draws. We thought it was a perfect match for this event and we are so honored to have received it for this exact fit for the movie.”
They are hoping to turn the film into a feature and are currently looking for investors.
The Judge’s Choice Award went to the Sci-fi Fantasy winner from Israel called “The Last of You,” about coping with loss. Ari Lubet picked up the award for director Dan Sachar.
“Comic-Con is one of the best blends of all sorts of various genres and television and film and to have emerging filmmakers come here and premiere a show and be a part of the festival is a great opportunity, said Lubet.
The festival is a great recent addition to Comic-Con and I hope more people seek it out.