Fusion Announces Winner of Third Annual Fusion Doc Challenge at the Slamdance Film Festival

Jan 24, 2017

Top 12 Finalists Screen Films at Slamdance, ‘Sanctuary’ Named 2016 Doc Challenge Winner

MIAMI – JANUARY 24, 2017 — FUSION announced the winner of the 2016 FUSION Doc Challenge at the Slamdance Film Festival this week. The winning film selected by FUSION was ‘Sanctuary’ which profiled an abandoned church that was given an unexpected second chance; ‘Seeking Shelter’ was recognized with an honorable mention. This year marks the third annual FUSION Doc Challenge, which challenges young filmmakers around the world to create short-form documentaries (4-7 minutes) that revolve around the shared values and passions of diverse youth.

The winner receives a cash prize and the top 12 finalists will see their films distributed across FUSION’s television and digital platforms over the next 18 months. Additionally, the finalists will make their Los Angeles premiere at the Audience Awards Film Festival on Friday, April 7 at the El Portal Theatre. The top 12 films, which premiered this weekend at Slamdance, included:

  • ‘Sanctuary’ by Ashley Seering and Cory Byers | An abandoned church is given an unexpected second chance.
  • Seeking Shelter’ by James Goldberg | The City of Los Angeles has one of the largest stray dog populations in the country. ‘Seeking Shelter’ examines the current system in place that’s dealing with these dogs, the people fighting to make it better, and the dogs caught in between.
  • The People’ by Fernando Lara | In a time where the citizens of the United States are so divided, this film explores how the people protesting President-elect Donald J. Trump are planning to make their voices heard, while having hope for a brighter future.
  • Cowgirl Up’ by Nathan Willis | A cowgirl from Mississippi pursues her lifelong dream to be the first African-American woman in the National Finals Rodeo.
  • On the Wall, Off the Chain’ by Greg Carlson | Adam Turman is a gentleman in everything he does: bicycles, art, and family.
  • Beacons’ by Whitney Skauge, Drew Daly, Channing Nunn and Taylor Lennox | ‘Beacons’ delves into the thoughts and reactions of six LA-based artists in the aftermath of the historic 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Open Exhibition’ by Bobby McCallen and Tommy Tang | An exploration of Seattle street art that follows painters, stencilers, and taggers to find out what makes the art of graffiti both empowering and controversial.
  • Mo’ Freaka’ by Joey Vokac | Jacksonville hip hop artist “MO’FREAKA” recently quit his job at the Lumber Yard in hopes of becoming a globally renown rapper.
  • Rimas’ by Christopher and Kyle Ransom | A visual exploration of the relationship between technology and human connection through the sharing of experiences.
  • Blind Soccer’ by Kai Ho Lee | ‘Blind Soccer’ is a short documentary about a newly formed youth blind soccer team going to China’s capital Beijing and competing for the national championship for the first time despite all the difficulties they face in their lives.
  • Astonishing’ by Annalise Pazstor, Mattie Bayne, Mo Thompson and Paul Phou | In the wake of the 2016 election, college students reflect on protest, art and the country’s divide.
  • En Pointe’ by Matthew Kaplowitz | David Baxter is destroying stereotypes by showing that a 6′ 3″ 280 lb man can be a ballet dancer and burlesque superstar, spreading body positivity through his art.

A full list of films recognized is available here. The films were judged by a panel that included Ben Bryan, Director of Feature Films and Executive Producer at Red Bull Media House; Ken Jacobson, programmer at the Palm Springs International Film Festival where he oversees the documentary lineup; Dersu Rhodes, the Design Director for VICE; Tracy Flannigan, award-winning independent filmmaker; and Dan Gloeckner, an award-winning filmmaker, activist and public speaker.

Filmmakers had five days to produce their films from start to finish; they were able to choose the five days they would like to make their film between August and November. Contestants were given the theme (“You’re not going to believe this, but…”) and assigned a genre (Biography/Character Study, Historical, Music, Nature/Environmental, Science/Technology, Social Issue/Political, Sports, LGBTQ, Adventure, Art). The FUSION Doc Challenge is run by the Audience Awards on behalf of FUSION.

CONTACT: David Ford 305-925-8882



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