Clay Riley Hassler’s ‘Homeless’ Wins Top Prize at Dances With Films Festival

Benjamin Meyer’s “Fools” emerges with the Audience Award

Director Clay Riley Hassler’s “Homeless” won the the Grand Jury Award at this year’s Dances With Films, festival organizers announced at Sunday’s closing night gala.

The film follows an 18-year-old boy who navigates his way through life in a shelter after the passing of his grandmother.

The Los Angeles-based festival, founded in 1998, bestowed the Audience Award on director Benjamin Meyer’s “Fools,” about the complexity of modern relationships.

“‘Fools’ captivated audiences from the first frame, so it’s no surprise that audiences made their voices heard by presenting it the audience award,” said Festival Founder, Michael Trent.

This years Dances With Films included 62 world premieres and 12 North American premieres.

“This year’s slate continued our mission of bringing compelling cinema to industry and non-industry audiences a like,” Leslee Scallon, the Festival’s Co-Founder said in statement.

Competition films were selected from more than 2,000 film submissions, and  programmed from blind submissions.

Here are the award-winning movies:

GRAND JURY AWARD | COMPETITION FEATURES:

“Homeless,” Directed by Clay Riley Hassler

Honorable Mentions:
“Soledad” – Written and directed by Eduardo Maytorena, Wayne Mitchell
“Astraea” – Directed by Kristjan Thor

GRAND JURY AWARD | COMPETITION SHORTS:
“Monkeys” — Directed by Christopher Soren Kelly

Honorable Mentions:
“Madam Black” — Directed by Ivan Barge
“At the Seashore” — Written, directed and produced by Martin Gradek

OVERALL AUDIENCE AWARD, FEST SHORTS:
“A Man Wakes Up”  – Directed by Voki Kalfayan

AUDIENCE AWARD | COMPETITION FEATURES:
“Fools” – Written and directed by Benjamin Meyer

AUDIENCE AWARD | COMPETITION SHORTS:
“Guest Room” – Written and directed by Joshua Tate

AUDIENCE AWARD | DOCUMENTARY FEATURES:

“The Ataxian” – Written and directed by Kevin Schlanser and Zack Bennett

AUDIENCE AWARD | DOCUMENTRY SHORTS:
“Man In the Can” -Directed and Produced by Noessa Higa

AUDIENCE AWARD | FUSION SHORTS:
“A Man Wakes Up”  – Directed by Voki Kalfayan

AUDIENCE AWARD | MUSIC VIDEO:
“Silver Girl” – Directed by Min Reid

ICA | INDUSTRY CHOICE AWARD:
“Knucklehead”  – Directed by Ben Bowman