Viewster Online Film Fest Announces Winners

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This year’s Viewster Online Film Festival has officially wrapped, and the grand prize has gone to Brazilian director Claudio Ellovitch with his film Pray. Ellovitch was awarded a $70,000 prize for the film, which is currently available for free via Viewster.

Take a look at the full list of winners below and click on each title to watch the films for free, although they may only be available for a limited time.

#VOFF 3 ‘Be Afraid. Be VERY Afraid’ was the latest edition of the global online festival, and it celebrated ‘genre’ creations – pulling together influences from science fiction, horror/paranormal and fantasy. 500 films were accepted from 60 countries worldwide, and participants competed for a chance to win a share of $100,000 USD. 

The final shortlist was decided by viewers, and then the winners were selected by the VOFF jury: independent film producer Ted Hope (21 Grams, American Splendor, Martha Marcy May Marlene), celebrated cult movie actor Udo Kier (Dogville, Melancholia, Blade,Armageddon), Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) and award-winning German actress Nora Tschirner (Keinorhansen).

The winners were announced Timo Vuorensola during a ceremony at the Raindance Film Festival in London, at the Closing Night Gala which was held in partnership with Viewster.

Timo Vuorensola said at the ceremony: “I know the value of new models in the film industry, from my own experience. What #VOFF offers filmmakers is the chance to get their content in front of a truly global audience, and the prize money the winners get will make a real impact on helping them with their future projects and on the progress of their careers. The winning films are really diverse – from their influencing genres and subjects, to where in the world the filmmakers have come from.”

First place and the top prize of $70,000 was awarded to Claudio Ellovitch of Brazil for the 2014 film Pray, his vision of a terrifying religious experience.  The jury praised the visual quality and subject matter of the work, saying: “Pray is very special; it goes beyond what is expected of a horror film – not exploring horror as such, but the essence of it and the elements that create it. We were impressed by the poetic and artistic quality of the film; it grasped at the heart, and then right through to the backbone. We hope that this prize money will help Claudio with his progress as a filmmaker and we look forward to seeing him working on feature films in the near future.”

In his winner’s statement, Ellovitch added: “Pray got turned down by some of the more traditional festivals because of old fashioned rules that don’t apply to the world today. Through #VOFF, I’ve been introduced to a community that I’ve wanted to be involved with, but so far had to watch from a great distance. #VOFF’s audience is also so much bigger than that of traditional film festivals – which is great for filmmakers, because having people watch our films is the whole reason we make them.”

Second place and $15,000 was awarded to P. Tavares of the USA for Do Not Disturb about a man and woman who wake to find themselves tied up, facing death and an unknown terror. The jury said it was ‘a brilliant film, and one that kept our attention from beginning to end’.

Arved Lindau of Germany won third place and US $5,000 for Grizzly. The judges admired the comedy-sci-fi, about a terror stalking the forests around a German village, saying “we loved the film’s exuberance, its attitude, and its characters – you can feel the pleasure that the filmmakers had in making it’.

Fourth place and $5,000 was awarded to Ujkan Hysaj of Kosovo, for Column, set during the Kosovo War. The jury noted that it showed ‘a different way to be afraid, presenting a world in which ethics and moral rules no longer apply’.

Nick Merola of the USA received fifth place and a prize of US $5,000 for Shattered Memories, the story of a father whose young son is possessed by a demonic spirit. The jury praised it as a film that ‘truly hit on primal fears, the horror of having to kill something that you love, and the ever-present bewitching quality of death’.

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