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‘Enforcement Hours,’ ‘Departing Gesture’ Take Top Prizes at TheWrap’s Shortlist Film Festival 2019

ShortList 2019: Two documentaries take top prizes and ”No Sanctuary,“ by Nathan Knox of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, wins the student competition

“Enforcement Hours,” director Paloma Martinez’s timely documentary short about a hotline for immigrants in San Francisco, won the Industry Prize at TheWrap’s Shortlist Film Festival on Thursday.

Brian Bolster and Jonathan Napolitano’s “Departing Gesture,” a documentary short centered on a funeral director in the heart of the South confronted by societal shame and ignorance as he handles the bodies of people who have died of AIDS, took the Audience Prize at an awards ceremony held Thursday at the W Hollywood and hosted by Harvey Guillén, star of FX’s “What We Do in The Shadows.”

"Departing Gesture" Directed and accepted by Jonathan Napolitano and Brian Bolster shortlist film festival

“Departing Gesture” directors Jonathan Napolitano and Brian Bolster accept the Audience Prize (Photo by Ted Soqui)

“No Sanctuary,” a short exploring human nature through the personal lens of those who have been affected by America’s indifference to gun violence, won the top prize in the student competition for University of North Carolina School of the Arts student Nathan Knox. His film received the most votes in an online poll.

“Enforcement Hours” tells the true story of the volunteers at the San Francisco Response Network who field calls from scared immigrants who’ve heard about impending ICE raids as well as angry anti-immigrant citizens who want to berate the hotline volunteers or simply tie up the phone lines.

We found this film to be emotionally compelling, high stakes, timely and have the DNA of present-day America embedded within it,” a jury of industry veterans and award-winning filmmakers said in a statement. “It uses a clever storytelling device to put a face on an issue — without actually using any faces — and compresses a complicated topic we hear about every day into something we can begin to understand and empathize with.”

“Enforcement Hours” and, “Departing Gesture,” which received the most votes in an online poll over the last two weeks, will each receive a cash prize of $1,000.

Producer Moriah Hall No Sanctuary ShortList 2019

Producer Moriah Hall of “No Sanctuary” at the ShortList 2019

The ceremony on Thursday featured a screening of select finalist films as well as panel discussions with the filmmakers and jury members moderated by Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief of TheWrap and Steve Pond, awards editor for TheWrap. The evening wrapped up with a reception where industry vets and up-and-coming filmmakers mingled.

The 12 films in the main competition were a mix of foreign language, drama, comedy and animation created by filmmakers from around the globe.

The four student films from top colleges and universities listed in TheWrap’s ranking of film schools included filmmakers who studied at UNCSA, UCLA, University of Texas at Austin and Chapman University.

This year’s jury members include Topic VP of Development & Video Programming Gena Konstantinakos, “When They See Us” actress Marsha Stephanie Blake, “It’s a Disaster” filmmaker Todd Berger, Bentonville Film Festival President of Programming Wendy Guerrero, “The White Helmets” director Orlando von Einsiedel and 30WEST EVP Tristen Tuckfield.

TheShortlist Film Festival is presented with the generous support of Alexa, Delta, Lionsgate and Topic.