The Reel Teal Film Festival announces winners for the 16th annual festival

Caroline Straubel, Contributing Writer

The 2021 Reel Teal Film Festival announced the winners for the 16th annual festival on March 15, 2021. The winners were selected from 37 film finalists, and selected by UNCW student judges. The winners are as follows:

Best Documentary: “Baby Steps” directed by Kira Findling of the United States and “Satellite Boyfriend” directed by Lucy Collins of the United States. The film “Satellite Boyfriend” traces the key-events in a Chapel Hill rock band’s history. The documentary explores their coming age during the Cold War, to their disillusionment with their parent’s politics and the drive to play music on a larger scale, without the restraints of college courses.

Best Animated Film: “Her Song” directed by Éabha Bortolozzo of Ireland. The film tells the tale of the Irish legend of the banshee and interweaves the story of one crying woman to those of the hundreds of mothers who suffered in silence, through the once prominent mother-and-baby homes across the nation. The film’s cast includes actress Nicola Coughlan who stared as Penelope Featherington in the Netflix series, “Bridgerton.”

Best Experimental Film: “Unheimlich” directed by Catalina Altuna of Spain. The term Unheimlich is a German word describing an uncanny or strange sense. A fitting title for a black-and-white film which follows a woman as she stumbles upon a stranger residing in her home.

Best Local Film: “Circle of Bulls” directed by Isaiah Forte-Rose and “Threads That Bind: Queerness and Fashion” directed by Brett Dunlap.

Best Music Video: “Floating” directed by Jasmin Luu of Germany and “Flying High” directed by Anja Gurres of Germany. “Floating” is described as a story of identity and “following your own voice, even when society’s pressures seem to be ever-increasing,” in a synopsis of the film for the Reel Teal Film Festival. The music video for “Flying High” was created for the band Roller Derby, an indie-pop trio based in Hamburg, Germany. The music video is reminiscent of the bonds people form, without the ability to physically touch as the COVID-19 virus continues to dominate social interactions.

Narrative Film: “Mugging: The Art of Social Distancing” directed by Dave McGrath of the United States. The film uses a comedic approach to highlight how social interactions like muggings have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a character uses a measuring tape to maintain the proper 6 feet of social distance between himself and his mugger.

Audience Award: “Building Bridges” directed by Masai Matthews of the United States. The film tells the story of Ruby Bridges, a young African American girl desegregating an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1960 and shows the discrimination she encountered on a daily basis.

Grand Prize Winner: “Circle of Bulls” directed by Isaiah Forte-Rose. The film follows a drug-dealer who attempts to protect a friend from an abusive relationship.

The Audience Award Winner received a cash prize of 50 dollars, the Grand Prizer Winner received 150 dollars and the winners of other categories received certificates.