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Victory at South Dakota Film Festival!

Oct 7, 2015

This year at South Daktoa film festival, Bus Stop Films was lucky enough to have two of it’s films screening s as part of the program. Both Heartbreak and Beauty and The Interviewer were screened on Sunday, with Heartbreak taking out the Jury Prize for most Inspirational Film.  We have had a wonderful relationship with this festival since we first entered with The Interviewer, which took out the SDFF Best Film back in 2012.


Gerard O’dwyer in The Interviewer

The reaction to our inclusive films made in collaboration with mentors and our students was wonderful. Three years since it first appeared at SDFF, The Interviewer was still making people laugh (and cry) while Heartbreak and Beauty’s visual poetry spoke uniquely to many different people. I received wonderful feedback about both films and everyone involved in making them, especially our hard working students, should be very proud!

Watch the making of Heartbreak and Beauty here:



I had the opportunity to post some goodies from the festival back to Genevieve in Australia, which will be presented to the students of Heartbreak and Beauty at a special reception at Government House in December, it’s really important that the students understand the significance of this accomplishment, it is difficult for any film to win an award at a festival, let alone a non-linear, experimental film like Heartbreak and Beauty.

SDFF is a truly beautiful festival. Run by a team of incredible volunteers and two of the biggest film lovers of all time, Producers Brent Brant and Thomas Black, the festival boasts 70 films over 5 days, all screened in the beautiful Capitol Cinema on High Street, Aberdeen.

The festival boasted some fantastic new feature films from the US, touching on a range of different social issues.

Wildlike, directed by Frank Hall Green and shot in the incredible Alaskan wilderness is a story of a young girl escaping sexual abuse by a family member. Staring Ella Purnell and Bruce Greenwood, this very controversial topic is handled in an authentic and truthful way. The film has played over 150 festivals, this film will hopefully be available on VOD or limited screen cinema release next year. Wildlike took out Best of Fest Jury Award.

Also playing was Big Voice, a documentary directed by Varda Bar-Kar, a documentary that chronicles a year in the life of high school choir director Jeffe Huls and his most advanced ensemble. This film gave a touching and powerful insight into one teacher’s efforts to push his students to greatness and their experience of school/life balance and growing up. The film has not yet officially been released, so probably won’t be widely available until mid 2016. Big Voice took out the Jury Award for Best Family Feature Film.

With Heartbreak and Beauty, The Interviewer and Big Voice all playing on one day at the festival, it was hard to find many dry eyes in the cinema by the end of the day.

The whole experience of South Dakota Film Festival was moving in many ways, showing what true community togetherness is can be, and not only how it bought together the Aberdeen community, but bringing together a passionate filmmaking community from across the world. It’s so awesome that Bus Stop’s films could be a part of it!

Click here for more info on SDFF

To watch the Interviewer

– Eleanor Winkler