‘Balloon,’ ‘The Orphan’ and ‘Sister’ Win Oscar-Qualifying Awards at HollyShorts Film Festival

The three awards automatically qualify their winners for this year’s short-film Oscars


Jeremy Merrifield’s “Balloon,” Carolina Markowicz’s “The Orphan” and Siqi Song’s “Sister” have won the top awards at the 2019 HollyShorts Film Festival, which handed out its awards on Saturday Night at the Harmony Gold in Hollywood.

Those three films won in categories that automatically qualify a short for the Best Animated Short or Best Live-Action Short categories at this year’s Academy Awards.

“Balloon” stars Jonah Beres and Paul Scheer is the story of a high schooler who discovers he has super powers. The film, made at the American Film Institute, is also a finalist at the 2019 Student Academy Awards.

“The Orphan” is based on true stories and deals with a teen orphan given up by his adoptive parents for being too effeminate.

“Sister,” which is also a finalist in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival, is an animated fantasy that explores the one-child policy that prevented Chinese families from having additional children for much of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

In other categories, “Homesick” won two awards, Best Director and the Grand Jury Impossible Dream Award. The latter award means that it will be turned into a feature film courtesy of Impossible Dream Entertainment.

Judges for the awards were Sharon Lawrence, Matthew Modine, Anthony Russo, Weiman Seid, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Laura Fischer, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Brooke Keesling.

The full list of winners:

Best Short Film Grand Prix – “Balloon,” Jeremy Merrifield
Best Live Action – “The Orphan,” Carolina Markowicz
Best Animation – “Sister,” Siqi Song
Best Action – “Mama Bear,” Matt Cohen
Best Cinematographer – “On The Border,” Jinhang Wang
Best Comedy – “Adams,” Tom Stern
Best Coming of Age – “Now You Know,” Molly Gillis
Best Director – “Homesick,” Koya Kamura
Best Diversity – “Catch A Girl,” LeRon Lee
Best Doc – “Lazarus,” David Darg
Best Drama – “The Neighbors’ Window,” Marshall Curry
Best Editing – “For The Love I Show,”
Best Female Director – “Tangles and Knots,” Renee Petropoulos
Best Grand Jury Impossible Dream Award – “Homesick,” Koya Kamura
Best Horror – “Oscar’s Bell,’ Chris Cronin
Best International – “Mum’s Hairpins,” Tatiana Fedorovskaya
Best LGBTQ+ – “Starboy,” Joelle Bentolila
Best Music Video – “Pa’lante,” Kristian Mercado
Best Narrative – “Lady Parts,” Erin Rye, Jessica Sherif
Best Panavision Future Filmmaker Award – “Esta Es Tu Cuba,” Brian Robau
Best Period Piece – “The Legend of Grayson Crockett,” Adam Bagger
Best Producer – “Piel Canela,” Ramon Peon
Best Romance – “Evelyn x Evelyn,” Eric Pumphrey
Best Sci Fi – “Storm,” Will Kindrick
Best Screenplay – “Desmond’s Not Here Anymore”
Best Shot On Film – “Spin Cycle,” Spin Cycle
Best Student – “Tree #3,” Omer Ben-Shachar
Best Thriller – “Shehita,” Dean Gold
Best TV Category – “Rainbow Ruthie,” Ruth Marantz
Best VFX – “The Shipment,” Bobby Bala
Best Web Series – “Black Girls Guide to Fertility,” Crystle Roberson
Honorable Mention – “A Million Eyes,” Richard Raymond
ISA Story Award – “T A L K”
PaperChase Films Award – “The Old Wolves Club”
Screenplay Runner Up – “Fireflies,” Malhaar Gupte
Screenplay Runner Up – “Meadow Valley Dollhouse Competition,” Kristy Ellington