DTLA Film Festival Announces 2017 Filmmaker Awards

Tommy Swerdlow’s A THOUSAND JUNKIES Takes Best Picture

LOS ANGELES – September 30, 2017 – In Closing Night ceremonies earlier this evening for the 9th DTLA Film Festival, A Thousand Junkies — Tommy Swerdlow’s bittersweet dark comedy about a day in the life of three Los Angeles addicts — won this year’s top prize, Best Picture. The film will be released by The Orchard.

Best Director for documentary feature was awarded to Miranda Bailey for The Pathological Optimist about the controversial vaccine researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield, being released by Film Arcade. Adam Cushman was awarded Best Director for Restraint, his narrative feature about the dark side of suburbia.

The Best Documentary feature award was given to The Work, a powerful and poignant look at a new therapy changing the lives of convicts at Folsom Prison. The film, directed by Jairus Mcleary, will be released theatrically by The Orchard.

Top acting awards went to Sophia Mitria Schloss for Lane 1974 and Charlie Tahan for Super Dark Times, both being released by The Orchard.

Other top prizes announced this evening were Best Screenplay for Zach’s Brown contemporary drama Hard Surfaces, Best Short Film for Reed Van Dyk’s Dekalb Elementary, Best Editing to Carl Ambrose and Francisco Bello for their work on the psychological thriller Most Beautiful Island, a Samuel Goldwyn release, and Best Cinematography to Luis Montalvo and Carlos Rossini for the atmospheric documentary The Cloud Forest.

The following special prizes were also announced: Jury Prize for Creative Vision to Art Jones for his drama Forbidden Cuba; Female Pioneer Award to Iranian director Shiva Sanjari for her documentary biopic Here The Seats Are Vacant, and actor Leo Ramsey for his Breakthrough Performance in the contemporary coming-of-age story Blue Line Station.

The festival’s Audience Favorite Award was a tie, given to both Dare To Be Different, director Ellen Goldfarb’s nostalgic look back at influential Eighties radio station WLIR, and The Dating Project, Jonathan Cipiti’s exploration of courtship in the digital age.

A complete list of award winners follows. The 9th DTLA Film Festival is presented by

The 2017 DTLA Film Festival is sponsored by Maven car-share, Cloud 19 digital media, 101 Keys website design and marketing, Level DTLA furnished living, Atelier luxury apartments, Regal L.A. Live cinemas, Los Angeles City Council District 9, Fort Point Beer, Social Media Elephant, Grafico, Falls Lounge, Share Grid, L.A. Weekly and DTLA News.


Press Contact
Alisse Kingsley
for DTLA Film Festival

Press Credentials
To apply for press credentials for the 2016 DTLA Film Fest, contact info@dffla.com.

About DTLA Film Fest
The only major film festival in the Capital of Cool – downtown Los Angeles – DTLA Film Festival was established in 2008 as a showcase for independent cinema in the historic core of the Film Capital of the World.  The festival embraces in its programming and mission the unique cultural, ethnic and gender diversity of downtown Los Angeles and its neighboring communities. DTLA Film Fest is produced annually by a nonprofit arts organization that is led by a volunteer group of filmmakers and community activists.

2017 DTLA Film Festival Awards


Best Picture:
A Thousand Junkies, directed by Tommy Swerdlow

Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Sophia Mitri Schloss | Lane 1974

Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Charlie Tahan | Super Dark Times

Best Screenplay:
Zach Brown | Hard Surfaces

Best Ensemble Cast:
Dog Park, directed by Jade Jenise Dixon

Best Documentary:
The Work, directed by Jairus McLeary

Best Director – Documentary Feature: 
Miranda Bailey | The Pathological Optimist

Best Director – Narrative Feature:
Adam Cushman | Restraint

Best Cinematography:
Luis Montalvo and Carlos Rossini | The Cloud Forest

Best Foreign Film (TIE):
Zoe Panoramas, directed by Rodrigo Guardiola and Gabriel Cruz Rivas

Female Pioneer Award 
Here the Seats Are Vacant, directed by Shiva Sanjari

Breakthrough Performance:
Leo Ramsey | Blue Line Station

Jury Prize for Creative Vision – Feature:
Forbidden Cuba directed by Art Jones

Audience Favorite Award (TIE):
Dare To Be Different, directed by Ellen Goldfarb
The Dating Project, directed by Jonathan Cipiti

Best Film Editing:
Carl Ambrose and Francisco Bello | Most Beautiful Island

Best Score:
Ben Frost | Super Dark Times

Best Actors in Supporting Role:
Blake Heron | A Thousand Junkies
Matthew Brumlow | Blur Circle
Michael Ferrell | Laura Gets A Cat
Betty Gilpin | Future ’38


Best Short Film:
Dekalb Elementary, directed by Reed Van Dyk

Jury Prize for Creative Vision – Shorts:
The Point System, directed by Conner Bell

Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast:
Lost Dogs | Chris Lee, Edward Hong, Linda Him, Jen Yim,
William Crespo, Joshua Han

Best Webisode:
Fakers, directed by Ryan Mitchel

Best Short Film – Series:
Sing For Me, directed by Sama Waham

Best Film – Student Shorts:
Geeta, directed Sohil Vaidya

Best Director – Student Shorts:
Noble Creatures, directed by Daniel Lafrentz

Jury Prize for Creative Vision – Student Shorts:
Light Sight, directed by Seyed M. Tabatabaei