2019 Winners

Flint: The Poisoning of an American City

David Barnhart - USA

Frank Little Award for Self Sacrifice and Social Change

100,000 people have been poisoned by lead, a lifelong affliction, yet somehow this shocking event has been normalized in the US. “Flint: The Poisoning of an American City” gives voice to the current struggle of city residents and follows the environmental history of the river and how the continued abuse and neglect of city infrastructure and environmental regulations have led to the poisoning of a city.

The Blood Hunter

Trevor Styles & Chas Llewellyn - MT, USA

Best Cinematography for Narrative Film

A feature film about a broken man who has lost his purpose and faith and finds it again when he joins a group of Vampire Killers called "The Blood Hunters".

Dodging Bullets - Stories From Survivors of Historical Trauma

Bob Trench, Sarah Edstrom, Kathey Broere, & Jonathan Thunder - USA

Best Cinematography for Documentary Film

The documentary feature Dodging Bullets breaks new ground in form and in its subject matter. The filmmakers offer a series of largely episodic stories, intimately documented, about Native American individuals who have been impacted by ethnic genocide in the United States.

Grand View Blvd

Spencer McCall - USA

Best Editing for a Narrative Feature Film

An ex cult-guru attempts to make amends for his past transgressions by hiring a failed workplace-conduct videographer to tell his highly subjective life story.


Andrew Paul Davis - USA

Judges Choice Award - Best of Fest

The family-fractured lives of a politically-riled auto-mechanic, a retired widower, and a repressed college student intertwine at a bar in rural Indiana.

Saving The Burg

Jim Jenner - MT, USA

Best Editing for a Documentary Film

An award-winning filmmaker was an eyewitness and investor in one of the great economic revival stories in recent Montana history. In “Saving the Burg” Jim Jenner details the last quarter century in tiny Philipsburg, MT. Once a booming mining town it almost became a ghost town in the 1980’s. Then a grassroots local effort gradually restored the historic downtown and earned national recognition for reinventing the local economy. A fascinating and heartwarming story of an historic community comeback.


Cassidy Friedman - Oakland, USA

Best Documentary Feature Film

Eric Butler, a Hurricane Katrina survivor and pioneer of the restorative justice movement, relocates and finds work at an Oakland, California, high school enforcing his no-nonsense approach to counseling vulnerable Black and Latino teenagers.

My Summer as a Goth

Tara Johnson-Medinger - USA

Best Director Either Narrative or Documentary

My Summer as a Goth is a coming-of-age story about the sometimes painful-often entertaining-search for identity and love in adolescence. After the sudden death of her father, 16-year-old, Joey Javitts is sent to stay with her eccentric grandparents while her author mother promotes her latest novel.

Bring me an Avocado

Maria Mealla - USA

Best Narrative Feature Film

When a violent encounter leaves Robin in a coma, her family struggles to maintain a life while managing their grief.

Liang Chen for The Therapy Trip

Hui Zhang - CHINA/USA

Award for Best Acting in a Feature Film

The Therapy Trip talks about the story of the couple Zhiguo Lin and Yun Lu visiting their daughter who is studying in US. Both generation gap and cultural barrier are standing between the two generations. How to overcome it is the challenge for them. In additional, the couple have a significant mission which is wandering on the edge of death need to deal with…………. They start their therapy trip to see if they can find out their last hope…..

Best Screenplay

Lost In Control

Maria Massei-Rosato

Achievement in Filmmaking

Best Short Form

A Bitter Reckoning, dir by Albert Fry Jr., Amber LeRae Earls - USA

Crowbar, dir by Lee Ryan Coston - MT, USA

Last Stand to Nowhere, dir by Michelle Muldoon - USA

Precious Metal, dir by Tara Walker Lyons - CANADA

Tumble Dry, dir by Delia Kelly, Stephen Riscica - USA

Achievement in Filmmaking

Youth Category

Cart Blanche, dir by Gabby Fiszman - USA

Drive, dir by Tsvetalina Pourciau - USA

Short of the Year

Singh - USA

Dir. by: Jenna Ruiz

CIFF Volunteer of the Year


Troy Greenwood

2018 Winners

Resistance is Life

Apo Bazidi - TURKEY

Frank Little Award for Self Sacrifice and Social Change

EVLIN is an 8-year-old girl who escaped with her family from their village in Kobane, Syria in September 2014, fleeing the terror of the militant Islamic State (ISIS). She now lives in an overcrowded refugee camp on the edge of the Turkish-Syrian border, so close that you could still hear the explosions. Evlin joins the adults who pray and sing on the border, watching the smoke rise above their beloved Kobane.

Broken Ghost

Richard Gray - AUSTRALIA, MT

Best Cinematography for Narrative Film

Teenager Imogen Day and her parents Samantha and Will move to Montana to escape the past. Desperate to make a new life for herself, Imogen must overcome new tormentors, old secrets, and a strange presence in the house.

Ecology of Jazz

Rob Whitehair - MT, USA

Best Cinematography for Documentary Film

The Ecology of Jazz is a feature experimental documentary that embraces slow cinema and breathes new life into the simple pleasure of deep listening while poetically exploring the art of nature and the nature of art.

The Thin Line

Neil Thompson - MT, USA

Best Editing for a Feature Film

An aimless beauty looks to break her cycle of dating bad men by going after one she can't stand in the first place.

Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury

Matt Hinton - USA

Judges Choice Award - Best of Fest

Luxury is a band that began in the 1990’s in the small town of Toccoa GA, but from the start, it was clear that their aspirations and influences were elsewhere.

Sounding like Fugazi or Shudder to Think fronted by a younger, more vicious Morrissey, they were an anomaly, in Toccoa, or almost anywhere. They brought together such disparate influences that one could barely imagine them co-existing in a band, much less pulling it off as a thoroughly distinctive sound.

Silcone Soul

Melody Gilbert - USA

Best Editing for a Documentary Film

Silicone Soul explores the emotional connection some people have to their synthetic companions and what that means for the future of human relationships. Ultimately, this is a film about love, loneliness, secrets and, perhaps, acceptance. Who are we to judge who…or what…people choose to love?

Will Work for Views - The Lo-Fi of Weird Paul

Joseph Litzinger - USA

Best Documentary Feature Film

At age 13, Paul Petroskey started making videos of himself in hopes of becoming famous. 30 years, 2,000 videos, 160 songs, 42 records, and 11 cameras later, he's still trying.

Zen Dog

Rick Darge - USA

Best Narrative Feature Film

Mud (Kyle Gallner) has been trapped in his daily routine for a long time. He runs a struggling virtual reality startup that promises to transport users to exotic locations from the comfort of their homes. Plagued by recurring nightmares of a stranger’s suicide, Mud has a difficult time coping with his monotonous existence.

Owen Dara for The Holy Fail

Owen Dara - IRELAND

Award for Best Acting in a Feature Film

"The Holy Fail" is an Irish comedy about four friends who rob a safe in an attempt to save a marriage. All is going great until they get caught by a force even greater than the law.

Best Screenplay


Lorraine Portman - USA

Achievement in Filmmaking

Best Short Form

Elana Vance, dir by Bryan Hiltner - USA

Silencer, dir by Ahmed Lucan - USA

En Quiche, dir by Ricardo von Gaona - USA

Check, dir by Meeshelle Neal - CANADA

Lew, dir by Tom Colley - USA

Achievement in Filmmaking

Youth Category

Constructed, dir by Gabby Fiszman - USA

Total Bliss, dir by Tsvetalina Pourciau - USA

Best Micro-Short

Charles Perry - USA

Charles Perry for My Covellite Experience

2017 Winners

Voices Beyond the Wall

Brad Cooley - USA, HONDORAS

Frank Little Award for Self Sacrifice and Social Change

Rescued from the streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, murder capital of the world, orphaned girls find their voices in poetry as they heal traumas of their past and prepare to transition into an uncertain future.

The Watchman’s Canoe

Barri Chase - USA

Best Cinematography for Narrative Film

The Watchman’s Canoe follows Jett, a girl of mixed caucasian and indigenous descent, and her struggles with these two labels. She has difficulties at school with the teachers and at home with her brother who has dumped her as his best friend to join the local reservation Fort Gang Boys, who relentlessly torment Jett as she does everything she can to get into their boys only group.


Jérémie Battaglia - CANADA

Best Cinematography for Documentary Film

Synchronised swimming is for girls. It’s for girls who can run a 400-metre sprint while holding their breath, and smiling. Perfect is a feature documentary that dives beyond the sequins and mascara to follow a team of elite athletes who will do whatever it takes to make it to the Olympics. They’ll suffer concussions, black eyes, dislocated knees and endure incessant repetitions, self-denial and sacrifice all on their quest for perfection. When the glitter and make-up is removed, this is a story of high-level, performance athletes who are perfectly imperfect.

Crazy Right

Ian Fowler - USA

Best Editing for a Feature Film

After the traumatic loss of his wife, a man attempts to recover the details of the demise of their relationship amidst his alcoholism and stress induced agoraphobia. A Walkman and a stash of old cassettes may hold clues to what actually occurred... or, he may simply be losing his mind.

Scent of Cigar

Nandajan K.A - INDIA

Judges Choice Award - Best of Fest

An actor encounters in his life exactly what he was acting on the drama as a character or was it he empathize his character and life

Among Wolves


Best Documentary Feature Film

When war correspondents move on to their next conflict, a more personal struggle is just beginning for those left behind. Poverty, PTSD, and political corruption continue to stifle recovery nearly 20 years after the brutal civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina. Luckily for some in the small mountain town of Livno, an unorthodox leader has emerged, giving struggling veterans and their community an unlikely path to healing.

Forever Fighter

Johnny Rayne

Best Narrative Feature Film

Jack is a lost soul traveling down the wrong path; he just can't seem to find his way in life. When Jack's Mom, Emily is diagnosed with breast cancer, Jack is there as she wins her courageous battle. Our story picks up three years later as changes in life are happening; Jack has fallen in love with a nurse named Annie from the hospital, and surprise.

Achievement in Filmmaking

Best Short Form

Spring: the Fairest of the Seasons - Dir by John Henry Haseltine

Douchaholics - Dir by Sean McCarthy

To Breath Free - Dir by David Barnhart

Mental - Dir by Jax Smith & Meeshelle Neal

Achievement in Filmmaking

Youth Category -

Utforska - Dir by Gabby Fiszman

Same Old - Dir by Michael Yu, and Yul Ahn

2017 Gallery