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NSI Online Film Festival "Best of" Award

The eight minute drama Loonie has been selected as the winner of the $2,500 cash prize for ‘best film’ in the first round of the NSI Online Short Film Festival run by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI).
The NSI Online Short Film Festival is a year-round, 100% Canadian online film festival showing around 100 short independent films each year. The NSI website also features audio interviews with each film’s director. All NSI website content can be accessed for free.
Written and directed by Michelle Nolden and produced by Chris Szarka from Toronto, Loonie observes the poignant meeting between a homeless woman who lives in an alleyway and a sympathetic young man, and features performances by Allegra Fulton and Jack Knight.
In their decision to present the award to Loonie, the NSI Online Short Film Festival jury cited "amazing" performances by both actors, technical excellence in evoking the film’s mood, and a "powerful, surprising story that touches the audience at a deep emotional level." The film marks the directorial debut of Michelle Nolden, a seasoned film and television actor in Canada and the U.S.
Two films from the festival’s first round were singled out for Honorable Mention: Kyle Sandilands’ (Oliver, BC) gripping drama Breathless which unfolds in under two minutes and which he wrote, produced and directed, and Miranda & Gordon, an evocation of the magic of childhood directed by Graeme Lynch, written by Mark Lutz and Polly Shannon, and produced by Kerry Young (Toronto).
The jury members were Carla Nolan, Stéphanie Chapelle and David Ray.
Carla Nolan has worked as a producer at YTV Canada Inc. and has freelanced for companies including Disney and the Life Network. She is the producer of two short films. In 2002 she founded the World of Comedy Film Festival.
Stéphanie Chapelle has produced a number of short films and is a graduate of the Producer’s Lab program at the Canadian Film Centre. She is currently developing the science-fiction thriller Level 16 with Buffalo Gal Pictures.
David Ray is a Vancouver-based writer/producer/director. His credits include the feature film Fetching Cody, lead writer on the video game Need For Speed: Carbon (Electronic Arts), and writer/producer of the documentary A Safer Sex Trade (CBC).
The second round of the festival has recently launched with two new films being added to the NSI website each week. Winner of the ‘best of’ the second round will be announced in early December.
In addition to the NSI Online Short Film Festival, the NSI website also has an Online Industry Centre with professional development resources including blogs, industry articles and video and audio interviews with writers, directors, producers and actors from the film, television and digital media industries.
The NSI Online Industry Centre has been made possible in part through the support of Presenting Sponsor Telefilm Canada. We also gratefully acknowledge the ongoing financial contributions of our additional Founding Site Sponsors: Rogers, Canwest, Insight Film Studios and MANITOBA FILM & SOUND.
The National Screen Institute is widely known for its prestigious training programs for Canadian writers, directors and producers working in film, television and digital media. Most programs are part-time so students keep their day jobs while they train. Participants do not have to relocate – intensive training happens in one place and participants return home to work with a mentor for the rest of their program. All training is delivered by senior industry experts.

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