In honor of the recent Academy Awards ceremony, let’s honor some local films and filmmakers from last year with their own golden trophies. Here are the winners in the top five major categories. These Hoosier efforts swept us up as if they came right from Hollywood.
BEST ACTRESS: Ellie Church, Plank Face
In this strange slasher film, Ellie Church proves to be more than a mere scream queen. She shows a raw sense of humanity and fear that you can feel deep in your bones.
BEST ACTOR: Sandy Danto, Funny Fat Guy
IU alumnus Sandy Danto reveals the vulnerability beneath the bravado of a John Belushi wannabe in director Ryan Penington's biting satire of Hollywood. Danto's character, Charlie McStean, is a comic with all the problems of Belushi but only a fraction of the talent. He makes us laugh, cringe and ache throughout the pitch-black comedy.
BEST SCREENPLAY: Scott Schirmer, Harvest Lake
An arthouse riff on backwoods slasher flicks like Friday the 13th, Harvest Lake focuses on fungal creatures that send campers into a sexual trance. It’s a stunning debut from the Bloomington production company, Bandit Motion Pictures. The film offers a pulpy yet powerful exploration of the primal nature of sexuality.
BEST DIRECTOR: Bobby Easley, The Devil Dogs of Kilo Company
Best Director should ideally go to a filmmaker with a distinct, singular vision. Last year, Bobby Easley delivered exactly that, making a stop-motion animated World War II drama with more than 400 toy soldiers. Shot mainly in Carson Park and Easley’s basement, the film masterfully recreates the battlefields of Nazi Germany. It’s the kind of fantasy that kids picture in their minds when they play with plastic Army men in their backyards. Easley’s film is a wonder to behold.
BEST PICTURE: The Invisible Patients
Featured in both the Indy Film Fest and Heartland Film Festival, this devastating documentary follows nurse practitioner Jessica Macleod on monthly visits to the homes of four patients in Evansville. Director Patrick O’Connor respectfully peers into painful moments of their lives as they deal with dire circumstances. Heavy subject matter handled with a gentle Hoosier touch.