List of Vail Film Fest winners includes Rising Star, Audience Award & more |

List of Vail Film Fest winners includes Rising Star, Audience Award & more

Vail Mountain School graduate wins Audience Award

"Banana Split" won the award for Best Narrative Feature at the 16th annual Vail Film Festival.
Special to the Daily

Organizers of the 16th annual Vail Film Festival, which celebrated women in film Aug. 15-18, have announced the official award recipients for this year’s festival.

“We are incredibly proud to shine a light on female filmmakers. The films being screened are interesting not only for the themes that are explored but how women specifically address these themes,” Vail Film Festival director Corinne Hara said in a news release. “We are thankful to the many innovative and groundbreaking artists who joined us for this year’s festival. We also want to thank our signature partners, the town of Vail, CineBistro and All Points North Lodge, as well as our patrons, volunteers, staff and sponsors for their generous support.”

This year’s Vail Film Festival honored actor, writer and director Hannah Marks with its Rising Star award for her work in both film and television. Marks was the female lead opposite Elijah Wood in the hit TV series “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” wrote and directed the acclaimed independent film “After Everything” and wrote and starred in “Banana Split,” winner of the festival’s Best Film Award.

Film winners

The 16th annual Vail Film Festival screened over 40 films, including narrative features, documentaries, short films and student films. The Vail Film Festival jurors recognized exceptional films in the following categories:

Best Narrative Feature: ‘Banana Split’

  • Directed by: Benjamin Kasulke
  • Written by: Hannah Marks
  • Starring: Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato, Dylan Sprouse, Luke Spencer Roberts, Jacob Batalon, Addison Reicke and Jessica Hecht
  • Synopsis: Over the course of a summer, two teenage girls develop the perfect kindred spirit friendship, with one big problem: one of them is dating the other’s ex.

Best Documentary: ‘Don’t Be Nice’

  • Directed by: Max Powers
  • Produced by: Cora Atkinson and Nikhil Melnechuk
  • Synopsis: A team of young New York City Slam Poets finds its voice as it competes for the National Championship during the summer of 2016.

Best Short Film: ‘Cannonball’

  • Co-written by: Sean Fredricks and Simon Nicholas
  • Directed by: Sean Fredricks
  • Starring: Trevor Torseth and MJ Brackin
  • Synopsis: A type-A Brentwood mom hires a superstitious hit man … but the universe teaches them one big lesson: inertia can be a problem.

Best Student Film: ‘Variables’

  • Written and directed by: Sabina Vajraca
  • Synopsis: In the middle of the Bosnian War, a teenage math-wiz is given a way out of the bloodshed when his math club gets an invitation to compete at the 1995 International Math Olympiad in Canada.

Audience Award: ‘Being Frank’

Miranda Bailey grew up in Vail and now works as a producer, actor, director and writer in Los Angeles.
Nick Holmes / Special to the Daily |
  • Directed by: Miranda Bailey
  • Written by: Glen Lakin
  • Starring: Jim Gaffigan, Logan Miller, Danielle Campbell, Samantha Mathis and Anna Gunn.
  • Synopsis: While celebrating spring break, 17-year-old Phil is shocked to see his father with another woman across state lines. His life gets turned upside down even more when he learns that good old dad actually has an entirely different family living in town.

Feature Screenplay winners:

  • 1st: “Foxed” by James Stewart
  • 2nd: “Rewind” by Rich Sheehy
  • 3rd: “Ripple” by Heather Farris

Short Screenplay winners:

  • 1st: “Reset” by Emily McDermott
  • 2nd: “The Cartoonist” by Pat Keegan
  • 3rd: “Tuesday” by Jess Ansik

For more information about the Vail Film Festival, visit

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