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Smile As You Kill directed by Michael Sarrow
Smile As You Kill directed by Michael Sarrow

Michael Sarrow’s Smile As You Kill won Best Narrative Feature and Lana Pavic’s Opera Selecta took the prize for Best Documentary Feature at the San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFF) 2023 Fall Edition

SPIFF Festival Director Ziggy Mrkich, said, “This edition of the San Pedro International Film Festival had a strong literary feel to it, not simply because we incorporated two book signings in the mix of our screening schedule, but the films themselves, as well as our On-Set Intimacy Coordinating panel played into that thoughtfulness and added a depth to the presentations for our film fans.”

Additional award winners included Zachary Alturas Spitz’s Hysteria winning Best Short Film, with a Special Mention in the category going to Jonathan Elliott’s Ohskenten Owra (Little Deer), and a Special Mention (Animated) nod going to Peter Gardner’s Adventures With The Caretaker.

Joseph Nizeti’s Fungi: Web of Life won Best ECO Documentary, and Best Music Video went to Elie Fahed’s Awal Kelmi. The Screenplay competition winners included Jim Norman’s “Corey’s Hand” for Best Feature Length Screenplay, and Ryan Skinner’s “Gallatin” for Best Pilot Screenplay.

Festival highlights included the highly anticipated big screen presentation on Nick Broomfield’s documentary The Stones and Brian Jones on Opening Night, and a Croatian films focus which featured Pavic’s Best Documentary winner Opera Selecta, and Dubravka Tulic’s Academy Awards Best Foreign Film submission Traces (Tragovi).SPIFF’s Eco Documentary screenings at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium were anther hit, as was the special filmmaker panel on Intimacy Coordination of film sets. Special appearances included Kathy Baker with veteran producer Carol Baum at the Closing Night screening of the Robert DeNiro/Ed Harris starrer Jacknife (1989), and a book reading and signing of Evelyn McDonnell’s The World According to Joan Didion.

The 2023 San Pedro International Film Festival – Fall Edition’s Award Winners:

Best Narrative Feature
Smile As You Kill
Director: Michael Sarrow

Best Documentary Feature
Opera Selecta
Director: Lana Pavic

Best Short Film
Director: Zachary Alturas Spitz

Special Mention – Short Film
Ohskenten Owra (Little Deer)
Director: Jonathan Elliott

Special Mention – Animated Short Film
Adventures With The Caretaker
Director: Peter Gardner

Best ECO Documentary
Fungi: Web of Life
Director: Joseph Nizeti

Best Music Video
Awal Kelmi
Director: Elie Fahed

Best Feature Screenplay
“Corey’s Hand”
Writer: Jim Norman

Best Pilot Screenplay
Writer: Ryan Skinner

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