The future of film is now and a new generation of talent is emerging with an unprecedented understanding of the medium, unparalleled opportunities for exposure, and an unrelenting passion to share their stories. Join Crave Arts Executive Director, Tom Oliva, for intimate and engaging interviews that peel back the curtain of the best emerging filmmakers from around the world. If you love film and want a behind the scenes glimpse at how future legends of cinema hone their craft, you've got to hear this!
We were introduced to Grace back in 2017. Her film “The Missing Piece” illuminated her ability to expose intimate, personal themes of the teen experience with a soft and subtle approach. In 2019, her talents had matured, earning her several category nominations and the award for Female Rising Star. Her films, “Close From Afar” and “Jonah and Julie” are focused on strong female leads... dynamic characters who exhibit a delicate but profound growth as they navigate the complexities of family relationships. Her approach to directing is refreshing and instantly appealing… illustrated through a less is more, show don’t tell mosaic of emotions and an insight for letting the images breathe for the audience to absorb. Her films are further enhanced by her gifts as a writer and cinematographer, providing a welcome and beautiful backdrop for stories rooted in realism but full of the light of lives worth sharing.
Check out Grace's work HERE
Dallas, Texas native and AAHSFF '14-'17 alum, Cal Etcheverry, first came on our radar in 2014 with multiple Official Selections that illuminated his ability to embrace a wide range of genres with a keen interest in revealing genuine human connection triumphing over adverse circumstances. His dark comedy, “Surgeon of Seoul” won Best Comedy in 2015, further displaying his limitless range and passion for exploring the psyche of unique characters navigating equally unique trials. The fact that Cal’s writing and production craft was so diverse and mature at 15-years-old certainly caught our attention, but it was his film “The Art of War” winner of Best Editing in 2017, that truly solidified our belief that Cal was a remarkable talent. The story’s exploration of the duality of politics and war embraces a worldly perspective far beyond his years and the deep emotional core is bolstered by a masterful marrying of technique with message.
Check out more of Cal's work HERE
Isaac came out of nowhere in 2017. Unlike many of the young filmmakers who submit projects to us throughout high school, their talent maturing with each submission and each year, Isaac only ever submitted one film. It just so happens that this filmmaker from a tiny town in South Carolina, and a tiny school with no film program, created one of the most complete and professional films we have ever received. His film “Journeybound” winner of Best Overall Film in 2017 is a fearless production that dares to go big without sacrificing any of the authenticity that often dooms student projects. The film is a triumph on every level - from the classically inspired but surprisingly inventive script to the engaging and lovable ensemble cast, to the rich and rewarding story arc full of inspiring surprises -- this film and this filmmaker seemed to appear fully formed out of some kind of Hollywood mirage… If you are curious about what the best of student filmmaking looks like… Look no further!
We have a talk with AAHSFF alum ‘17-’19, Nepal Arslan to dig deep into what drives this emerging filmmaker. Nepal began submitting films in 2017, so we’ve had the pleasure of watching his talents mature for three years - his passion was first recognized with several Official Selections and ultimately with his win for Best Drama in 2019. Nepal pursues stories rooted in character explorations - whether making documentaries or narratives, his films consistently reveal the realistic challenges individuals face and the power of the human spirit to overcome them. The viewer leaves his films with a sense of overwhelming positivity, but not before being taken for a raw, authentic ride through relatable trials. His 2019 film, “Strings” offers a great example of this dynamic presenting a carefully constructed, tense, and complex relationship between a father and daughter - all told through the prism of their connection to music.
Check out Nepal's work HERE
AAHSFF '19 alum, Quinn Fluet is our most recent winner of our top award, Best Overall Film, for his insightful and pleasantly delicate story of two teens struggling to connect and come-of-age under the shadow of an imminent alien invasion. The story concept of the film “Ground Control” sounds big, and it is, but what won over our judges was Quinn’s ability to balance the dramatic conflict, subtly focusing both his lens and his broader themes, on complex characters rooted in realism despite the extraordinary circumstances they face. The result is a rewarding visual experience that shows rather than tells, allowing the audience to explore larger questions of identity and the power of love to overcome adversity, through the subtle development of the characters. Perhaps the best compliment I can give Quinn, beyond his obvious talent for storytelling, is that his direction reveals a profound resourcefulness that does more with less transcending the limitations of student filmmaking.
Check out Quinn's work HERE
AAHSFF ‘15 alum Carol Nguyen's films explore her evolving relationship with her cultural heritage, often presenting abstract and dreamlike reflections of her emotional journey while employing mixed media to evoke a powerful sense of tone and atmosphere that compels the viewer to become engaged with the deeper themes of her projects. Her process and style provide a wonderful glimpse into a truly unique and passionate artist with an unmistakable voice.
Check out Carol's work HERE
AAHSFF ‘16 alumni Jackson, Nick, Allan and Ricardo (collectively Hot N Tedious Productions) are the epitome of the power of collaboration, seamlessly blending writing, directing, cinematography and acting talents to tell stories drenched in a sunny Southern California charm that lures the viewer in through hilarious humor and keeps them engaged with much deeper explorations of the complexities of being human. Their 2016 submission, “Noose” exemplifies their ability to balance the duality of life’s little mishaps with larger themes, all wrapped in an incredible understanding of the power of the elements of film to create an immersive cinematic experience. It’s no wonder they took home the award for Best Overall Film - their collective work is a testament to the marriage of words and visuals, direction and performance - all at once a joyous celebration and a contemplative reflection. They represent talent beyond its years… Talent destined for the big screen... And it is my pleasure to be joined by them today.
Check out their '16 AAHSFF Best Overall Film "Noose" HERE
AAHSFF '13 Alum Emily Cohn was part of our very first festival, all the way back in 2013, and she was a big part of helping us affirm our belief that the future of film was bright and that talented young filmmakers needed our support and recognition. Emily’s early films were full of strong and engaging female characters, navigating complicated relationships and coming of age in a world rife with uncertainty. Her film, “Pierced” (winner of our first Best Drama Award) explored the complex dynamic between two friends going in very different directions - the fantastic screenplay and overall production offer a window into a real and relatable world - one filled with both darkness and light. It was clear from Emily’s earliest work that she had the rare gift of marrying passion with talent, vision with creation - and based on her continued efforts and success - it is clear that her fire for filmmaking burns as bright as ever…
AAHSFF '17 Alum Caleb Wild is the writer and director of "Cycle" a film mature in theme, rich in symbolism, and beautifully rendered on screen while simultaneously grounded in authentic youthful perspective and emotional exploration. Caleb writes stories that expose a raw, universal human condition and then employs the elements of film to illuminate the depth of these stories in remarkably poignant ways.
Check out Caleb's work here
AAHSFF ‘16 alum Christina Xing is a writer and director of immense talent. Her 2016 submission, “Goldfish” made an irresistible impression on our judges, taking home the award for Best Drama. Her refreshingly unique coming-of-age story provides a rich study of character and conflict as it explores an unlikely and challenging romance and its power to overcome trauma. But this film was clearly just the beginning… Christina continues to create boundless stories rich in diversity and surprises - all punctuated with an unmistakable style and vision.
Check out Christina's work HERE
Dan Kelly, AAHSFF alumni ‘14-’16 is living a young filmmaker's dream, traveling the world capturing hip-hop’s biggest stars, with amazing social posts and insanely energetic and beautifully shot music videos. As head of media for Wiz Khalifa’s record label, Taylor Gang Entertainment, Dan Kelly, is not up and coming, he has already arrived.
View Dan's work HERE