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The Midwest Indie Winners

By Chris Karr in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 9, 2005 9:14PM

Last Tuesday, Chicagoist went down to the Landmark Century Theater to check out the 2005 awards for the Midwest Independent Film Festival. (See our earlier interview with the founders.) The evening kicked off with a social that included a rock band made up of cats, free drinks, and a drawing for screenwriting software. Around seven thirty, everyone piled into the theater to watch the ceremony. Half the awards show was spent announcing the winners in twelve categories, and the other half was spent watching some of the winning shorts. Here's how it all turned out:

Best Music Video - "Always", Directed by Caton Volk

Best Sound Design – Michael Toth, "Cast In Gray"

Best Student Film – "Mindy", Directed by Ai Lene Chor of Columbia College

Best Actor – Timothy Burke, "Cast In Gray"

Best Actress – Melissa Sienicki, "Apology"

Best Comedy – "Godfather of Green Bay", Directed by Pete Schwaba

Best Editing – Steve Ordower, "A Series of Small Things"

Best Art Direction – Larry Lundy, "Following Paula"

Best Cinematography – David Blood, "Lifelike"

Best Drama – "Sugar Mountain", Directed by Aaron Himelstein

Best Director - Tim Hoover, "The Divine"

Best Picture – "Sugar Mountain", Directed by Aaron Himelstein

After the presentation, three of the winners were shown to the theater audience. "Always" (linked above) was an incredible example of what computer-based editing can bring to filmmaking. "Lifelike" showed how subtle writing and vivid cinematography can make the most ordinary places and things fascinating. Finally, Aaron Himmelstein's "Sugar Mountain" is probably the best short drama we saw all year. (Himmelstein was only eighteen when he wrote and directed this film.)

If you missed out on the First Tuesdays with Midwest Independent Film Festival this year, try and make it out to the first film of the 2006 season. The festival will be hosting the Chicago premiere of "Casting About" on Tuesday, February 7.

Photo by Fred Teifeld.