As part of our ongoing contest series, we teamed up with Oscar-winning film editor Kevin Klauber ACE to challenge you to make a three minute documentary about overcoming an obstacle.
Kevin has been busy reviewing your films! We received over 110 eligible submissions that told incredibly moving stories about a variety of experiences — from bouncing back after a serious illness to conquering PTSD.
We’re excited to announce that Kevin has selected a Grand Prize winner and two Runners Up. The general public also voted to select an Audience Award winner. The winners will receive filmmaking gear from a prize pool worth over $10,000. Watch the winning films below!
Congratulations to all four of the prize winners, and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took time and energy to create and submit something awesome. We hope you enjoyed the challenge and that working on it stretched you to learn something new as a creator.
The journey this film took me on was extraordinary. I was astonished by the filmmaker's ability to use personal footage to continually keep the audience in the moment, in the immediate experience of Rachel and her family from her brain hemorrage, to the birth of her child, and through her incredible recovery. And to do all that in 3 minutes... is truly incredible.
This film uses evocative, emotionally driven cinematography, along with brilliant story pacing to paint a beautiful portrait of Martha standing up to her fears to do what is best to fight her illness. I was especially struck with how the combination of close-up cinematography, sensitive editing, and modern orchestral music invites the audience into EXPERIENCING Martha's vulnerability, ultimately revealing that courage doesn’t come from the absence of fear but the judgement that something is more important than it. Truly a fantastic piece of work!
I think one of the most important elements in storytelling is surprise because truths— real DEEP truths— are often found in contradictions. I was struck by how this film embraced surprises and contradictions. From the first moment of wrestling moves paired with delicately sensitive music while Ben describes being shot in face— yet he tells us that was the easiest part of his journey (because the recovery was the hardest), to wrestling saving him from succumbing to PTSD and depression, to women being welcomed as bothers in the military, to losing 14 friends to suicide since 2014… it’s all woven together to reveal the beautiful strength that comes from vulnerability. Also, bravo for the brilliant editing choice of leaving us with the images of the wooden boards building the wrestling ring while Ben talks about high veteran suicide rates. I couldn’t help but connect the boards of the stage to the building of coffins, the final shot leaving us the viewer entombed within one, as though we cannot escape Ben’s own psyche. Powerful work.
What struck me most about this film is how it’s told: with the brutal honesty and strength of a survivor, of a fighter. The first 30 seconds hooks us when Ryan's love of running is taken away by a horrible tragedy. His mother’s interview cements this, making us feel even more for Ryan. By the end, we understand how Ryan's strength has allowed him to push beyond the tragedy and grow from it.
Kevin Klauber ACE, is an Oscar-winning film editor and writer who attended USC School of Cinematic Arts, Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School, and is a NFFTY Alumnus. Kevin's editorial debut, Pearl Jam Twenty, came under the direction of Academy Award-winner Cameron Crowe. He's worked on numerous documentaries shown on Netflix and HBO, and is best known for editing two Oscar-winning documentaries: 20 Feet From Stardom and Icarus.