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UFFyc Announces 2023 Awards

ROCK HILL, SC – From March 22 - 25, the Underexposed Film Festival yc welcomed filmmakers and movie lovers to Dina’s Place on the campus of Winthrop University, York County Library – Rock Hill, and The Mercantile’s Burro Alley in Old Town Rock Hill, SC. The 2023 festival showcased 66 of the best in independent filmmaking from around the world, allowing audiences to take a trip around the world without leaving their seat!


Reflecting on the films screened at the 2023 festival, Karen Collins, Festival Director, notes, “Year 10 did not disappoint! This season yielded an outstanding selection of films from 23 countries. It was made sweeter because so many filmmakers came to present their films. As festival director, I love the level of enthusiasm directors showed by hopping on planes to join us.”


Filmmakers from across the world attended including, Kim Brattain (The Nest), Jim Carson (Kiri, The Interrogation), Brian James Crewe (Cabeceo, Flat Earther), Anil Dhokai (Grandma’s Hats, Everybody Don’t Electric Slide), Chelsea Engle (The Nest), Cole Frederick (The King in Yellow), Chris Gervais (Grandma’s Hats, Everybody Don’t Electric Slide), Caitlin Gray (Reverie), Brad Hord (Dead Men & Devils), Andrew Huggins (Cabarrus), Joyce Kernodle (Grandma’s Hats), Jim McQuaid (Fine Lines), Ng’endo Mukii (Kesho Pia Ni Siku: Tomorrow is Another Day), Karen Myers (Grandma’s Hats), Evginie Nudelman (Misophonia), Forest Rain (Rite), Rachel Roff (The Bus), Rodney Stringfellow (Everybody Don’t Electric Slide), Micah Troublefield (Grandma’s Hats, Everybody Don’t Electric Slide), Aiste Vaiciunaite (Rite), and Linda Wingerter (Misophonia).



First presented in 2015, the Cotton Alley Award is an honorary award that recognizes outstanding contributions and commitment to the world of independent filmmaking.


Both Jonathan and Marty have focused their careers on independent filmmaking. With a combined 40 years in the industry, this Wilmington-based filmmaking team has conquered the Carolinas with their locally made, independently produced short and feature length films. The works supported by their production company, Brand Spanking New Productions, reflect their commitment to local, independent filmmaking. There, they have produced films like Remember Yesterday, The Last Summer, Beyond the Living, and Positive Impact. Their films have screened at Cucalorus in Wilmington, York County, SC’s Underexposed Film Festival yc, and Charlotte’s 48 Hour Film Project.


Of the Landaus, Karen Collins, Festival Director of the Underexposed Film Festival yc states, “It is often presumed that to be a successful filmmaker one must go to Hollywood. Jonathan and Marty Landau bucked the system by believing not only in their own talent to successfully make movies in the Carolinas but by believing in the talent of the cast and crew living in their own backyard. By doing so, they have provided opportunities for like-minded filmmakers who wished to ‘work from home.’ In addition to supporting locals, they have mentored those wishing to enter the field. The Landaus do not just support filmmaking but the festivals that screen their work by attending their films’ screenings and participating in question & answer sessions and panel discussions during the festivals.”

Past honorees include Patrick Fugit, actor – Outcast, Rita Mahtoubian is not a Terrorist, and Almost Famous in 2015; Dale M. Pollock, producer, founder – River Run Film Festival, author – Skywalking: The Life and Times of George Lucas in 2016; and Joanne Hock, producer, writer, director – When We Last Spoke, Purple Dreams, The Ultimate Legacy, Trinity Goodheart in 2017.



In addition to the Cotton Alley Award, eleven awards were presented in 2023 - the Grand Jury Prize; the best of each category: animation, documentary, experimental, narrative, and puppetry; Cinema Carolina - awarded to the best independent film made in North or South Carolina regardless of category, content, or subject; Woman to Watch (best female director); Best Student Film | Collegiate; Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award; and the new Amy Lynn Rector Kids’ Choice Award.


Grand Jury Award

Prize: $750


NARRATIVE | 2021 | 15 min. 00 sec.

COUNTRY | Lebanon, France


PRODUCER | Coralie Dias

DIRECTOR | Dania Bdeir

WRITER | Dania Bdeir

CAST | Khansa

[Sundance Film Festival • IFFR Rotterdam • Clermont-Ferrand ISFF • European Premiere National Competition]

A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he can find his freedom.


Best Animated Film

Prize: $200

Ice Merchants

ANIMATION | 2022 | 14 min. 00 sec.

COUNTRY | Portugal

LANGUAGE | No Dialogue

PRODUCERS | Bruno Caetano, Michaël Proença

DIRECTOR | João Gonzalez

WRITER | João Gonzalez

[2023 Academy Awards OSCAR Nominee • Semaine de la Critique du Festival de Cannes • Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film France • Guadalajara International Film Festival • Internacional Prize Rigo Mora - Best Animation Short Film Mexico • Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival • Motovun Film Festival • Melbourne International Film Festival • Imaginaria International Animation Film Festival • Toronto International Film Festival • Taichung International Animation Festival]

Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.


Best Documentary Film

Prize: $200

Neighbour Abdi

DOCUMENTARY | 2022 | 29 min. 00 sec.

COUNTRY | Netherlands


PRODUCER | Richard Valk

DIRECTOR | Douwe Dijkstra

WRITERS | Douwe Dijkstra, Abdiwahab Ali

[Locarno Film Festival]

How can you understand a violent past? Somali-born Abdi is furniture designer and support worker. He reenacts his life, marked by war and criminality, with the help of his neighbour and filmmaker Douwe. Through playful reconstructions in a special effects studio, Abdi and Douwe embark on a candid and investigative journey through a painful history, focusing on the creative process throughout.


Best Experimental Film

Prize: $200

MeTube: August Sings “Una Furtiva Lagrima”

ANIMATION | 2020 | 8 min. 00 sec.

COUNTRY | Austria, Hungary


PRODUCERS | Daniel Moshel, Eugen Klim

DIRECTOR | Daniel Moshel

WRITERS | Daniel Moshel, Eugen Klim

CAST | August Schram, Elfie Wunsch, Sira Topic, Thomas Weinhappel, Michael Schertenleib, Alessandro Bressanello, Selina Ströbele, Emem Augendopler

[Indy Film Fest Indianapolis • Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival • Worldfest Houston International Film Festival • Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival • Santa Fe Independent Film Festival • Nashville Film Festival • Winter Film Awards Independent Film Festival • Denver International Film Festival • North Carolina Film Awards • Beloit International Film Festival • Cucalorus Film Festival • Fargo Fantastic Film Festival • Loft Film Fest Tuczon • San Francisco Short Film Festival • Canted Angle Film Festival • San Francisco Indie Shorts • Santa Clarita International Film Festival • Vancouver International Film Festival • jellyFest • New York State International Film Festival • Southern Gothic • New Jersey Independent Film Festival • Fishnets and Film]

The third part of the internationally award-winning MeTube short film series. This time the intergalactic music nerds August and Elfi conquer the opera stage and orchestrate their final adventure in an opulent manner.


Best Narrative Film

Prize: $200

The Bathtub

NARRATIVE | 2021 | 19 min. 15 sec. 

COUNTRY | Spain 

LANGUAGE | Catalan 

PRODUCER | Josep Pi 

DIRECTOR | Sergi Marti Maltas 

WRITER | Sergi Marti Maltas 

CAST | Abel Folk, Paula Jornet

[36 Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Goya Awards Best Fiction Short Film Candidate • Bardolino Film Festival • Butoni Film Festival • GATFFEST Film Festival • International Amity Short Film Festival • Kingston International Film Festival • Love Your Shorts Film Festival • Palisade Film Festival • PuntoDiVista Film Festival • Riurau Film Festival • Sentiero Film Factory • Short Out • Skyline Benidorm Film Festival • Two Riversides Film and Art Festival • Visioni Corte International Short Film Festival]

Ramon Riera is taking a well-deserved bath when his cell phone suddenly rings. On the other side of the line is Clara, a girl who insistently tries to sell him a life insurance.


Best Puppetry Film

Prize: $200


PUPPETRY | 2022 | 9 min. 07 sec.

COUNTRY | United States

LANGUAGE | No Dialogue

PRODUCERS | Linda Wingerter, Alex Griffin, Jessica Simon

DIRECTOR | Linda Wingerter

WRITER | Linda Wingerter

[Silence is Golden Film Festival • Puppet Shorts! Detroit Puppet Company • Bridges Festival]

A quiet bus ride home from the city library turns into an aural nightmare for a book-reading commuter. With every stop the bus fills with people and sounds, becoming a chaotic cacophony joyful to everyone but her. Only when the bus finally reaches her seaside stop does she find escape, slipping back into the watery silence of her natural habitat where we discover she is not the average commuter. Misophonia's richly layered and textured world transcends the humble reused materials it’s made from. Filmed with live-performed puppetry on a multiplane stage, puppets made from pizza boxes elegantly move through breathtaking cityscapes of vintage papers and painted cellophane, immersed in an ever-building atmosphere of sound.


Misophonia is a 9-minute film by The Stringpullers Puppet Company, written and directed by Linda Wingerter, commissioned by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Series.



Woman to Watch (Best Female Director)

Prize: $200

Elvira Barboza

Elvira Barboza is born in Buenos Aires in 1974 but her family is exiled in Madrid when she is 3 years old, during the Argentinian dictatorship. She studies film at Madrid’s Universidad Complutense and at Paris 8. Here she makes her first short film, «Lines», an experimental movie in 16mm. She starts working at Duboi, a postproduction company, in the special effects department («Amélie Poulain», «Jeanne d’Arc»…). Later on she starts working as an editor in French television. In 2004-2006 she attends an acting course run by Carlo Boso that focuses in Commedia dell'Arte, where the emphasis is placed in improvisation. Here she starts to act and participate in plays created collectively. She then decides to further explore the principles of improvisation, this time applying them to the following short films: «Red or white?», "Roseline," and «Making the first move».


In October 2021 she made "The shadow of the crows," a short film (fiction and animation) produced by Les 48 ° Rugissants.


The Shadow of the Crows

NARRATIVE | 2022 | 29 min. 56 sec.

COUNTRY | France

LANGUAGE | French, Spanish

PRODUCER | Adeline Le Dantec

DIRECTOR | Elvira Barboza

WRITER | Elvira Barboza

CAST | Alicia Debruyne, Soledad Romero, Rafael Bianciotto, Daniel Tabet

[Festival Cinematográfico Internacional del Uruguay • Festival Internacional de Cine Político • Festival Internacional de Cinema de Cerdanya Puigcerdà • Filmets Badalona Film Festival • Compétition Bretagne • Festival del Cinema Ibero-Latino Americano di Trieste • Festival Internacional de Cine por los Derechos Humanos de Bogotá • Colombia Festival Internacional de Cine Rengo • Corto Dorico Film Fest]

1986, in a village in France. Natalia, of Argentinean origin, is 11 years old when she discovers strange scars on her father's body. From then on, the shadow of the past hangs over the daily life of the little girl, whose childish gaze questions exile and the adult world.


Cinema Carolina

Prize: $200

Grandma’s Hats

NARRATIVE | 2022 | 15 min. 28 sec.

COUNTRY | United States

LANGUAGE | English

PRODUCER | Strawhouse Pictures

DIRECTOR | Anil Dhokai

WRITER | Anil Dhokai

CAST | Sarah Villalobos, Stephanie Lindsay, Dianne Paukstelis, Annette Saunders, Joyce Kernodle, Arthur Lightbody

A granddaughter sorts through a hat collection left behind by her recently deceased grandmother. Upon trying them on, she discovers that the hats give her the ability to peer into her grandmother's memories.


Best Student Film | Collegiate

Prize: $100

Swing to the Moon

ANIMATION | 2022 | 6 min. 40 sec.

COUNTRY | France

LANGUAGE | No Dialogue

DIRECTORS | Marie Bordessoule, Adriana Bouissie, Nadine De Boer, Elisa Drique, Chloé Lauzu, Vincent Levrero, Solenne Moreu

[Animac • Independent Filmmakers Showcase]

Living in the forest, little spider Temi dreams of catching the Moon. For that, she will do anything.


Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award

Prize: $100


ANIMATION | 7 min. 43 sec. 

COUNTRY | United States 

LANGUAGE | English 

DIRECTOR | Forest Rain 

CAST | Aiste Vaiciunaite, Anthony Strangeweather

[Festival Premiere]

Spearheading the search for sentient life on other worlds is the job of Odyssey 1, solo space pilot and explorer. His boots-on-the-ground mission takes him to a barren land inhabited by the ruins of an ancient civilization. As the night approaches, melodic tones illuminate the forsaken dunes, welcoming their guest with visions of a mysterious feminine presence, one whose existence is seemingly tied to the planet’s past. The line between dream and reality is blurred as Odyssey 1 is drawn into her caverns below the surface like a moth to a light. He soon discovers that he’s been selected to be part of something greater.

            MORE INFO |


Amy Lynn Rector Kids’ Choice Award

Amateur Operatives

PUPPETRY | 2022 | 13 min. 53 sec.

COUNTRY | United States

LANGUAGE | English

PRODUCER | Daniel Joseph Silverman

DIRECTOR | Daniel Joseph Silverman

WRITER | Daniel Joseph Silverman

CAST | Daniel Joseph Silverman, Jack Capellini

A new neighbor moves into Tyler and Andy's neighborhood. However, he looks quite similar to a known criminal on the loose. The duo then goes on to investigate themselves.



Thanks to the 2023 jurors for their time and consideration: Rob Adler (iVote, You Too?), Shareen Anderson (The Murder of Laci Peterson, To Catch a Smuggler, It Couldn’t Happen Here, Suspicious Minds), Meghann Artes (Sesame Street), Joaquin Baldwin (Encanto, Zootopia, Moana, Sebastian’s Voodoo) Coretta Bedsole, Jim de Sève (ManDove, Tying the Knot), Darryl Dillard (Ozark, Legacies, Sistas, Who’s With Me?), Charles Easley, Josie Fife (A Life Less Ordinary, Dumb and Dumber, Hereditary), Nicola Hepp (Songs of the Underworld, Home, Echo), Joanne Hock (When We Last Spoke, Purple Dreams, The Ultimate Legacy, Trinity Goodheart), Greg Holfeld (Pinchpot, Mortal Kombat, Get in the Car, Cartoon Sushi), Cashell Horgan (Ancient Lights, The Clockmaker’s Dream, Paddy), Arpita Kumar (My Dear Americans, Sita, Holding It Together), Ladd Lanford (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Armageddon, Titanic), Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona, Drop Dead Gorgeous, L.A. Story, Addams Family Values), Haven Nutt (Mr. Man, Gun, Maskerade, Greener Grass), Christine Papalexis (Team America: World Police, Amaterasu, Dude, Where’s My Car, Men In Black II), Dale Pollock (Set It Off, Mrs. Winterbourne, Beetlejuice), Kenji Qurata (Novela Picaresca, Indigo Chidren, Manka Movie A3! Autumn & Winter), Michael Rivers, J. Michael Simpson, Karen Stock (Winthrop University), Adria Tennor (One Moment, Mad Men, The Artist, Pie), Kian Tjong (ManDove, Tying the Knot), David White (Going to the Devil: The Impeachment of 1868, Elephant, Stone Cold Fox, Single. Parents. Collection.), David Wohl (Winthrop University).



The Underexposed Film Festival yc is sponsored by Morton & Gettys; Karen Collins; Comporium; OTS Media Group; Sharp Business Systems; City of Rock Hill Parks, Recreation, & Tourism; Melton Insurance; Old Town Rock Hill; Rock Hill Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Winthrop University College of Visual and Performing Arts; Dr. Susan Collins; Lanford & Associates; Founders Federal Credit Union; and Betty and Terry Plumb; with partnerships from Don’t Sweat it, Inc; Winthrop University, Live Fire Feasts, Slow Play Brewing, and York County Library.


Learn more about the 2023 Underexposed Film Festival yc at


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