2 Movies with Rochester Ties Earn Top Honors at Mitten Film Fest
'Amendment,' which was filmed in Rochester, and 'The Zombie Factor,' which was made by a Rochester man, tied for top award.
A movie filmed in part at Knapp's Dairy Bar in downtown Rochester, along with another movie made by a Rochester filmmaker, won top honors this week in the 2011 Mitten Movie Project.
The Zombie Factor, a spoof of reality shows and zombie movies created by Rochester resident Matt Cantu, and Amendment, a drama filmed in parts of Rochester by Macomb resident Tom Hahas, tied for the festival's top honor.
Local filmmakers and supporters gathered at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak Tuesday to compete for the title of the best of the Mitten Movie Project in 2011.
The 11 films vying for top recognition were screened earlier in the year during the monthly film festival. Each was selected as the audience favorite. The top film from each month goes on to compete for the title of the year’s best.
About 200 people were in attendance at the event on Tuesday. Selected audience members were chosen to be judges along with independent filmmakers.
After all films were shown, Mitten Movie Project Curator Connie Mangilin announced the winners at an afterglow at Mr. B’s in Royal Oak. For the first time, it was announced that two films had tied for the honor of best film of 2011.
The Zombie Factor was named as audience favorite in November as part of the Mitten Movie Project’s Zombie Night.
“I was really happy. There was a bunch of awesome films tonight,” said Cantu. “It’s just great to be able to rise to the top; to compete against eleven other films and get to the top.”
Tying The Zombie Factor for the best of 2011 was Amendment, a tearjerker about a man struggling with the death of his young daughter, who crosses paths with a young girl coping with the death of her father.
Production for Amendment began in November of 2010 and continued sporadically over 7 months. It premiered at the Main Art Theatre in June of 2011 and was named audience favorite at the Mitten Movie Project in August. The short film was written and directed by Nahas.
“It’s a good feeling, knowing that you’re captivating somebody, holding their attention,” said Nahas. “Hopefully they can come out of there feeling something from the film. And I think when you get the tears, you’ve accomplished that.”
“I think it’s a great avenue to get your stuff shown," Amendment Producer Phil Lupo said of the Mitten Movie Project. "It’s actually just an honor to be here with 10 other great movies. Just to be in the final showing was just an honor. We had excellent filmaking judges and it’s an honor that they picked our film. It’s awesome. It’s a good feeling.”
Curator Connie Mangilin said the Mitten Movie Project is an excellent networking opportunity for local filmmakers.
“The Mitten Movie Project provides a venue for independent filmmakers to actually watch their short and get real live audience feedback,” said Mangilin.
The Mitten Movie Project’s 2012 season kicks off on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at the Main Art Theatre. Most of the short films have already been selected and the audience will once again be asked to select their favorite, which will then place it in the running for the best of 2012.
For more information visit the Mitten Movie Project’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mittenmovieproject