BHFF 2017 Winners’ Highlight

The Beverly Hills Film Festival is extremely proud of all the screened films and accepted screenplays during its 2017 competition; it was truly one of the best years so far in terms of exceptional story telling, production aspiration, and raw talent.

It is with great pleasure to introduce the 2017 WINNERS:


2017 Golden Palm Winner 

2017 Best Foreign Film Winner

Short, Documentary

Producer(s): Martin Markovits, Matt Weinglass, Peter Marshall Smith, Andrew Rosati (co-producer), Carlos Corredor

Director(s): Martin Markovits

Writer(s): Andrew Rosati, Martin Markovits

Cast & Crew:

Run Time: 62 minutes

Synopsis: A deep dive into the violent world of the Tupamaros — leftist vigilantes that patrol the streets of Caracas, Venezuela, fighting gangsters, government forces and even themselves.


2017 Best Directing

2017 Best Feature (Audience Choice Award)


Producer(s): MaryAnn Tanedo

Director(s): Sam Upton

Writer(s): Sam Upton

Cast & Crew: Sam Upton, Jared Abrahamson, Mark Boone Junior, Kate Vernon, Cassi Thomson, Laila Ali

Run Time: 90 minutes

Synopsis: A washed up, alcoholic ex-prizefighter makes a comeback to boxing after his top-middleweight contender son is wrongfully blinded in the ring.

Zen Dog

2017 Best Producer


Producer(s): Rick Darge, Damien Monier, Mark Watts, Morten Hansen

Director(s): Rick Darge

Writer(s): Rick Darge       

Cast & Crew: Kyle Gallner, Adam Herschman, Celia Diane, Clea DuVall, Devin Finch, Alan Watts, Leah Russell, Shawn Smith, Richard Gonzalez, Craig Samuels, Fletcher Alliston, Sasha Glasser, Diana Khimshiashivili, Andrew Henry

Run Time: 95 minutes

Synopsis: Trapped by daily routine, a man experiences complete freedom by dreaming himself across the country in a psychedelic Volkswagen with the guiding words of philosopher Alan Watts.

The Shadow Hours

2017 Best Cinematography 


Producer(s): Kyle HigginsNick EricksonJJ Vazquez

Director(s): Kyle Higgins

Writer(s): Kyle Higgins

Cast & Crew: Tom RileyBritt LowerBear McCreary, Lindsey Moran, Michael Nie

Run Time: 19 minutes

Synopsis: A Neo-Noir following twin brothers born with a mysterious condition: only one of them can be awake at a time. Posing as one person, each awake for only half of a day, they make a living as private investigators… until a budding romance threatens to ruin their lives.

The Girl Who Invented Kissing

2017 Best Actor (Dash Mihok)


Producer(s): Corey Large, George Zakk

Director(s): Tom Sierchio

Writer(s): Tom Sierchio       

Cast & Crew: Dash Mihok, Suki Waterhouse, Vincent Piazza, Abbie Cornish, Johnny Messner, Luke Wilson

Run Time: 106 minutes
Synopsis: The Girl Who Invented Kissing is a beautifully written ensemble drama by veteran screenwriter Tom Sierchio (‘Untamed Heart’). Set in Bloomfield, New Jersey, The Girl Who Invented Kissing is an intimate story about a nameless, pill-popping drifter girl who enters the life of two lonely brothers and changes them forever. It is the tale of Victor, a lovable lummox who is often the butt of the joke in the neighborhood.

It Happened Again Last Night

2017 Best Short (Jury Award)

2017 Best Actress (Gabrielle Stone) 


Producer(s): Gabrielle Stone (Co-Producer)

Director(s): Gabrielle Stone (Co-Director), Roze (Co-Director)

Writer(s): Gabrielle Stone (Co-Writer), Roze (Co-Writer)      

Cast & Crew: Elizabeth Mihelich (Production Manager), Alex Lynn Ward, Randy Wayne, Adalgiza Chermont, Amanda Wyss, Christ Mulkey, MQ TRan, Sydney Sweeney, Jayson Crothers, Lauryn Berger, Chad Braker, Daniel D. Smith, John Avarese, April Garcia, Julie Marquez

Run Time: 14 minutes

Synopsis: Paige must choose between love and fear before she has no choices left to make.

Before The Fall

2017 Best Editing


Producer(s): Kamelya Alexan

Director(s): Kamelya Alexan

Writer(s): Brian Soszynski

Cast & Crew: Brian Soszynski (Art Director, Production Designer), Cooper Hill, Emily Adams, John Mays, John Soszynski, Kristen Magee, Tim Caldwell, Megan Donnelly, Nickolas Talbot, Welson Youkhanna, San Zabinski, Adrian Anguiano, William Cox, Blake Lawrence, Justin Daughtery, Matt Russell, Michael Forrest, Tyler Roth, Billy Wikerson

Run Time: 12 minutes

Synopsis: In the midst of the American Civil War, a young boy named Thomas, determined to cure his dying mother, wanders into the woods motivated by a mythical story he was once told. It’s here that Thomas must decide the ultimate price he’s willing to pay for the life of someone he loves.

Trees of Eden

2017 Best Animation

Animation, Short


Director(s): Dwight Hwang


Cast & Crew:

Run Time: 15 minutes

Synopsis: When Esarhaddon, a cruel Assyrian King conquers an unsuspecting nation, a mysterious old man appears and transforms the king into the image of the defeated, forcing him to experience the very lives that he has sought to destroy. Based on Tolstoy’s ‘Esarhaddon, King of Assyria’.

The Artist’s Awakening

2017 Best Student Film

Short, Student

Producer(s): Daniel Mejia

Director(s): Daniel Mejia

Writer(s): Daniel Mejia

Cast & Crew: Isaac Spooner, Matt Nickley, Samantha Binkered, Maria Gregory, Waydon Thomas, Mu Su, Rebecca Gianforcaro, Andres Forero, Roberto Garcia, Harald Bern Jahn, Wei Du, Shou Si, Anne Wold, Jade Scott,

Luis Reyes

Run Time: 9 minutes

Synopsis: An uninspired artist goes in a quest to recover his inspiration.

Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches

2017 Best Documentary 


Producer(s): Stephan Wellink, Robert de Young

Director(s): Robert de Young

Writer(s): Stephan Wellink, Robert de Young

Cast & Crew: Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Veronica Cartwright, Tippi Hedren, Jack Thompson, Rod Taylor

Run Time: 80 minutes

Synopsis: With his recent role is in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards, Rod Taylor also featured in many influential films: The VIP’s, The Birds, The Time Machine, 36 Hours, Sunday in New York, Young Cassidy, The Glass Bottom Boat, Hotel, and Zabriski Point. He was one of the first leading actors to voice a Disney animated character when he portrayed the hero, Pongo, in 101 Dalmatians. The film features Maggie Smith, Tippi Hedren, Angela Lansbury, Veronica Cartwright, Baz Luhrmann, Stephan Elliott, Susie Porter, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Keith Michell, and Rod himself.


2017 Best Short


Producer(s): Adam Hancock, Joe Bartenhagen, Kelsey Daniels

Director(s): Adam Hancock

Writer(s): Joe Bartenhagen

Cast & Crew: T.J. Lowther, Paul Kiernan, Michael Patwin, Caitwin Barrett, Rick McFarland

Run Time: 17 minutes
Synopsis: A deeply troubled man, reeling from a failed office romance, journeys into new mental territory and quite possibly time travel.


2017 Best Feature (Jury Award)


Producer(s): Kieran Valla, Alvaro Baquero, Daniel Marks, Levi Smock

Director(s): Kieran Valla

Writer(s): Kieran Valla, Levi Smock (co-writer)

Cast & Crew:  Alex Shaffer, Bill Sage, David Fierro, Erin Drake, Kevin Bigley, Kim Director, Matthew Shear, Sam Dillon, Rollin Hunt, Vanara Taing, Megan Spatz

Run Time: 97 minutes

Synopsis: Delinquent is the thrilling and dramatic exploration of a teenager’s struggle to manage the fall-out of a robbery gone wrong.

John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs

2017 Best Documentary (Jury Award)


Producer(s): Derek Wayne Johnson, Chris May, Emmett James,

Director(s): Derek Wayne Johnson

Writer(s): Derek Wayne Johnson       

Cast & Crew: John G. Avildsen, Burt Reynolds, Jerry Weintraub, Martin Scorsese, Ralph Macchio, Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire

Run Time: 78 minutes

Synopsis: An examination of the life, career and films of the Oscar-winning director of ‘Rocky’ and ‘The Karate Kid’ featuring exclusive never-before-seen interviews from Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Burt Reynolds, Jerry Weintraub, Talia Shire and many more.

2017 Screenplay Winners

Golden Palm Award for Best Screenplay: “The Midnight Son” by Levi Taylor


1st Runner up:This Close” by Marc Messenger

2nd Runner up: “The Race to The Top of The World” by Nick DeRuve

Student Screenplay Award: “Sunset” by Nicholas Rodriguez