Tops at deadCenter

This year’s awards from the deadCenter Film Festival
Screen Shot 2021 06 17 At 104938 Am


The deadCenter Film Festival has announced the 2021 award winners for it’s 21st anniversary celebration. Out of a record-breaking 180 films that were curated for the festival, winners were chosen in 16 categories. After this opening weekend’s select in-theater and outdoor venues, the remainder of the festival will be available online, and passes are still available at

The winning films were selected by an independent panel of film industry professionals, including respected directors, writers, producers, and actors from around the country. New this year is an award for Best Indigenous Short Film, which is sponsored by the Cherokee Nation Film Office with the largest, to date, cash prize of $1,000.


The winners of each category at the 2021 deadCenter Film Festival are:

Best Narrative

Feature: Inbetween Girl, Dir. Mei Makino. Inbetween Girl is the story of a teen artist, Angie Chen, who turns to secret hookups when her parents get a sudden divorce.

Best Documentary

Feature: Holy Frit, Dir. Justin Monroe. In Holy Frit, artist Tim Carey wins the competition to create the largest stained glass window of its kind… something he doesn’t know how to do. After years of searching, he finally finds a famous glass maestro who can help.

Best Live Action

Short: Play It Safe, Dir. Mitch Kalisa. Play It Safe is a story about implicit bias, which is shown when drama student Jonathan is typecast into the role of a black hoodlum and decides to demonstrate to his peers their prejudices.

Best Short

Documentary: The Box, Dirs. James Burns, Shal Ngo. The Box is a short film that utilizes a variety of mediums to convey the stories of three people who endured a combined nine years in solitary confinement.

Best Indigenous

Short: Totsu (Redbird), Dir. Jeremy Charles. Totsu (Redbird) is about an indigenous woman who must confront a mysterious enemy while bridging parallel worlds of prehistory and dystopian future.

Best Animation:

The Chimney Swift, Dir. Frédéric Schuld. The Chimney Swift focuses on a chimney sweep forcing children to become workers, and explores vicious cycles.  

Best Music

Video: Ekaterina Yashnikova – Recover, Dir. Yulia Uzkikh . Recover is a music video that features three boys seeking adventure on the road.

Best Screenplay:

Too Many Wades, Written by Stirling J McLaughlin & Wilder Konschak. Too Many Wades features a main character who wants to be done with her ex-boyfriend Wade, but a strange infection is turning everyone she knows into another version of him.

Best Episodic:

Blackwater, Dir. Boise Esquerra. Blackwater follows Birdie Blackwater, once popular Native American country singer, as she goes through weekly wellness therapy.

Virtual Cinema

Visions Award: The Eye Doctor of Death, Dirs. B Rich, Brian Schrank, Brian Andrews. The Eye Doctor of Death is about the young daughter of an experimental ophthalmological surgeon and the victim of a failed experiment who wants revenge on the family.

Special Jury

Narrative Feature: Moving in 2008, Dir. Calogero Carucci. Moving in 2008 follows several families as they contend with the struggles of the 2008 recession.

Special Jury

Documentary: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). Summer of Soul documents the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and stands as a testament to the healing power of music.

Special Jury

Short: Touch, Dir. Nir Berger. Touch is a dark romantic comedy about teenage internet trolls with a protagonist who communicates only through text messages.

 Best Okie Short:

Totsu (Redbird), Dir. Jeremy Charles. Totsu (Redbird) is about an indigenous woman who must confront a mysterious enemy while bridging parallel worlds of prehistory and dystopian future.

Best Okie Feature:

Sakthi Vibrations, Dir. Zoe Sherinian. Sakthi Vibrations is about two radical Catholic nuns who use Tamil folk arts to develop self-esteem in young Dalit (outcaste or untouchable) women. 

Best Oklahoma

Screenplay: 4.19.95, Written by Matt Skuta. 4.19.95 is one of several Oklahoma screenplays given a table reading during the festival.

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