GenreBlast Film Festival Concludes Extraordinary Weekend, Announces Award Winners


by Sam Kolesnik

GenreBlast Film Festival recently concluded its 4th annual edition over Labor Day weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse in Winchester, VA and the word from filmmakers and fans alike is that it was a huge success. It’s a festival that draws a core group of loyal attendees year after year, as well as lots of fresh talent and enthusiastic moviegoers. The festival, with its tagline of “All the Flavors” is organized annually by friends Nathan Ludwig, Raygan Ketterer and Chad Farmer.

GenreBlast attendees at the event’s after party

GenreBlast attendees at the event’s after party

Pictured (left to right): Wendy Keeling, Greg Sisco, Rakefet Abergel

Pictured (left to right): Wendy Keeling, Greg Sisco, Rakefet Abergel

Rakefet Abergel, who won Best Director in the short film category for her horror film, Boo, said this of the experience, “GenreBlast is one of my favorite times of year because it feels like film camp! Everyone is so supportive and loving and it really is just about watching great films and hanging out with great and talented people. Nathan, Raygan, and Chad have really created something special. A true community.” Abergel wasn’t the only one to sing the event’s praises. Filmmaker Marc Cartwright, who won Best Short for his film, We Die Alone, had similar things to say, “GenreBlast is by far one of the best festival experiences you will encounter. If you get the opportunity to attend, do yourself a favor and go!”

GenreBlast isn’t just a hit with filmmakers, though. It has a large draw for screenwriters, who come from all over to attend the festival and network. Award-winning screenwriter Greg Sisco, who won at Austin Film Festival with his feature screenplay, Patience of Vultures, attended GenreBlast this year as a finalist for his screenplay, Deprivation. This wasn’t his first time at the event and when asked why he returns every year, Sisco remarked, “It's the perfect mixture of curation, community, venue, everything. I haven't found anywhere else that makes you feel like part of such a talented and friendly group. I've been there three years in a row and I'll make an effort to come back every year I can for the foreseeable future.” Screenwriter James Fox, who won this year’s award for Best Unproduced TV/Webisode Script, added, “GenreBlast is everything a genre film festival should be. It's stunning projects, incredibly talented people, and brilliantly executed organization.”

The festival weekend was full of camaraderie, networking, and lots of genre films. New friendships and collaborations were forged. By the time the awards ceremony took place Sunday night with festival director Nathan Ludwig as ceremony host, the atmosphere in the air was not one of competition, but one of loving communal support. Filmmakers, actors, screenwriters and fans all cheered each award winner on.

Some special awards were given out, like the notable Les Femmes du Genre award, which is a custom GenreBlast branded wrestling belt. This special award went to famed independent horror actress, Ellie Church, who starred in the Brian K. Williams feature, Jessie’s Super Normal Regular Average Day. At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, the crowd gave organizers Ludwig, Farmer, and Ketterer, as well as their support staff, a lengthy standing ovation. Ludwig emphasized in his closing words that the event is all about supporting filmmakers, screenwriters, and new art. For someone who had just worked all year to put on an event for others, Ludwig sounded humble and grateful most of all. Perhaps it’s that attitude and grace which inspires the commitment and fervor of GenreBlast fans year after year.

Below is a list of all the GenreBlast 2019 award winners:

Pictured: trophy for “We Die Alone” directed by Marc Cartwright, foreground at the GenreBlast Film Festival awards ceremony

Pictured: trophy for “We Die Alone” directed by Marc Cartwright, foreground at the GenreBlast Film Festival awards ceremony

  • GB Audience Award - Reckoning
    GB Jury Award - Reckoning

  • The Les Femmes Du Genre Award - Ellie Church

  • Best Overall Feature Film - Swing Low
    Best Overall Short Film - We Die Alone

  • Best Director Feature Film - Dionne Copland, Cold Wind Blowing
    Best Director Short Film - Rakefet Abergel, Boo

  • Best Actress Feature Film - Danielle Deadwyler, Reckoning
    Best Actor Feature Film - Christopher Soren Kelly, The Tangle

  • Best Actress Short Film - Jackie Quinones, Sick
    Best Actor Short Film - Morgan McLeod, The Thing About Beecher's Gate

  • Best Screenwriter Feature Film - Brian K. Williams, Jessie's Super Normal Regular Average Day
    Best Screenwriter Short Film - Brittany Brock, Broadside & Little

  • Best Cinematography Feature Film - One Must Fall
    Best Cinematography Short Film - The Desolation Prize

  • Best FX Feature Film - Bloodsucker's Planet
    Best FX Short Film - The Conduit

  • Best Score Feature Film - Artik
    Best Score Short Film - The Dial Tone of Doom

  • Best WTF Short - Timecrowave
    Best Micro Short - Bar Fight
    Best Animation or Music Video - Jinja

  • Best Supporting Actress - Katrina Law, Zeroes
    Best Supporting Actor - Jerry G. Angelo, Artik
    Best Hero - Cory Kays, Straight Edge Kegger
    Best Villain - Barry Victor Piacente, One Must Fall
    Best Ensemble - Lake Michigan Monster
    Best On-Screen Duo - John McKeever & Ryan Farrell, Zeroes

  • Best Poster Feature Film - Straight Edge Kegger
    Best Poster Short Film - The Pickman Model

  • Best Song - "Oh My God Bitch, I'm God" from Jessie's Super Normal Regular Average Day

  • Best VA Feature Film - Assassinaut
    Best VA Short Film - Cardinal

  • Best Unproduced Feature Script - Jeremy Herbert & Wolf Stahl, The Other Poseidon Adventure
    Runner-Up Unproduced Feature Script - Jeanie Clark, The Steagles
    Honorable Mention Unproduced Feature Script - Brandon Lescure, Four Weddings And... Another Wedding

  • Best Unproduced Short Script - Travis Heermann, That Long Black Train
    Runner-Up Unproduced Short Script - Vanessa Ionta Wright, Invidia
    Honorable Mention Unproduced Short Script - Anna Eichenauer, Pretenders

  • Best Unproduced TV/Webisode Script - James Fox, Sol
    Runner-Up Unproduced TV/Webisode Script - Mark Dispenza, Doppelganger
    Honorable Mention Unproduced TV/Webisode Script - Anees Benferhat, John David Brookshire & Julie King, Hamptonitis

  • VA Screenwriting Award
    Winner - Matthew Lucas, Moonshot
    Runner-Up, Adam Lapallo

  • The Nuclear Pen Awards
    Brian W. Smith
    Jason Tostevin
    Jeffrey Howe
    John Harris
    Justin Moran
    Kornblum Katz
    Maninder Chana
    Ron Riekki
    Ryan LaPlante
    Travis Heermann

GenreBlast is now open for submissions for its fifth edition. You can submit your films or screenplays via the submissions platform FilmFreeway.