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Winners & Special Mentions: Hollywood First-Time Filmmakers Showcase

Thank you to all the filmmakers who participated in the 2023 Hollywood First-Time Filmmaker Showcase. It has been a fantastic experience witnessing so many filmmakers taking part and the tremendous global support for authentic independent cinema.

After meticulous scrutiny, the judges' evaluations have been combined with the audience's feedback. We extend our warmest congratulations to the filmmakers who graced our screens! In particular, we commend the following films for their exceptional contribution...


Festival Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Hollywood First-Time Filmmakers Showcase in their respective categories! Huge congratulations to all the winners!

Red Balloon

Dir. Jiaxun Gao
Logline: Julie, a mid-aged housewife goes to an abortion center because of her husband’s demand, and after an internal struggle and an encounter with a young girl, she makes an unexpected decision by the end of the day.

Short Listed for First-Time Filmmaker

Memento Mori

Dir. Arianna Garcia
Synopsis: An unborn soul gets to preview her life in the form of a film screening and must make the ultimate decision: to go or not to go?

Short Listed for First-Time Filmmaker

Phi 1.618

Dir. Theodore Ushev
Synopsis: In the worst of times, science conquers death. A micronation of bio-titans is created -- a new breed of loveless asexual immortal men built to fit the golden ratio Phi 1.618. They prepare to leave behind the toxic planet Earth and colonize the Cosmos on board a colossal spaceship. The female sex has become obsolete as immortal men do not procreate. They will take on board only a single female body, a translucent Sleeping Beauty, kept minimally alive as a curious testament of the extinct past.

Short Listed for Best Feature Live Action Narrative

Short Listed Films

The Lift-Off Season Awards is an annual event that celebrates the very best of indie film. Following each Lift-Off film festival, films that have excelled in their respective category are short listed for a Season Awards Nomination.  At the end of the year, once all the 12 city-based festival have taken place, the shortlisted nominated films are reviewed again by the jury and Official Nominations are designated.  Click here for more information about the Lift-Off Season Awards.

Audience Choice

The Audience Choice award is given to the filmmakers whose film received the most votes during the festival. The filmmakers will be invited to join us on the Lift-Off YouTube channel for a directors commentary roundtable. Join in the conversation as we delve deeper into each film.

Christmas Glory

Dirs. Dylan Record, Spencer Day
Synopsis: Four friends live in a house. One day they make a new friend. This friend will change there lives forever.

Hybrid Brad

Dir. Edward Borlenghi
Synopsis: An earthly and unearthly tale about an Alien named Rex who creates a hybrid son using a Human donor egg, and by the time he's a teenager the son, Brad, wants to live on Earth.


Dir. Chakir Bouhatta
Synopsis: All that Holger ever wanted in his life, is to be prime ministre of North-Rhine Westphalia, but his oppenent has more power and is one step away from changing Germany´s history again