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Winners & Special Mentions: Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival 2023

Thank you to all the filmmakers who participated in the 2023 Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival. 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 Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival in their respective categories! Huge congratulations to all the winners!


Dir. Jae Hyun Park
Synopsis:Choi Woo-ri is a 22-year-old woman who works as a YouTuber specializing in ruined movies.
Her dream is to become a film director.
However, due to an incurable disease that came unexpectedly, she lost her sight.
She is concerned if her dream of becoming a film director would disappear, but instead, during the six months her remaining eyesight she decides to make the first and last film of her life.

Short Listed for Best Feature Film


Dir. Ryan Goble, Malcolm Serrette
Synopsis: In the wake of George Floyd's murder, a Nigerian-born man takes a knee in the middle of a Venice, CA street for 8 minutes and 47 seconds, as his own statement of peaceful protest. When his "kneel" starts to become a nightly ritual, attracting followers who look to him for guidance, he's forced to confront his own views of racism, bias, and complicity.

Short Listed for Best Short Documentary

I Cheated

Dir. Ben Escobar
Synopsis: Yo he sido infiel," Spanish for "I cheated," is whispered as the premise of a father's attempt to rebuild a relationship with his son. Shrouded by the shadows of a blue hour on a fishing dock, the two navigate their lasting shame and grudges in an effort to reacquaint as the best friends they once were.

Short Listed for Best Short Film

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.

Winner Fights The Moon

Dir. Lucas Jones
Synopsis: Arris (25) has recently been released from prison after serving a five year sentence. Having never met his daughter Riley outside of a prison visitation room, Arris is desperate to make up for lost time. In an effort to reconnect with his daughter and ex-girlfriend Lauren, Arris promises a long overdue family day at the beach. But the young family soon discover that the past doesn't always stay in the past.

Short Listed for Best Short Film

Here : Memories of a soul (feature)

Dir. Julia Delbourg
Synopsis: This is a film made along the music album "Here" by Skysia. Through out the various sequences imagined as memory pieces, we follow the life of Ava, a renowned scientist, who creates a machine which allows her to record her memories, relive them and even change them when she wants to forget dark parts of her past… risking her life through the void of memories, incapable of being present. Aren't we all the unreliable narrators of our own story ?

Short Listed for Best Feature Film

The Reflection Of Francisca Newman

Dir. Jon Frenkel Garcia
Synopsis: In this cinematic fairytale, Francisca Newman, a psychologically disturbed ballerina, fails at her life audition. Her perfectionism starts to take a noticeable toll on her mental health, where in a world of passion and beauty, sensibility and enlightenment becomes darkness.
In this increasingly violent and surreal competition at the hands of her own reflection, a familiar voice starts talking to her as an old forgotten friend. A voice that takes her on a journey through her own memories in order to find herself, before her reflection becomes a stranger.

Short Listed for Best First-Time Film

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.

Talk to Your Fish

Dir. Stella Fife
Synopsis: When 19-year-old Sam who struggles with spectrum-related disabilities and is adjusting to living alone is given the sudden responsibility of taking care of the cat belonging to his hospitalized neighbor, he is forced to understand how to accept change in his routine, self-reliance, and discover new joys in life.


Dir. JP Bradham
Synopsis: Tammy discovers one night that her shopping addiction might become the death of her.


Dir. Federico Napoleone
Synopsis: George Harrington, an exuberant fintech entrepreneur, runs online courses that promise success and wealth to its subscribers. However, behind a magnetic screen appeal, George is a high profile scammer and deceiver, using his courses to defraud the public instead of enriching them.

The Astrid Experience

Dir. Cal Barnes
Synopsis: An artist in recovery meets a free spirited actress when he helps her out of a difficult situation at a casting studio. To thank him, she takes him on an all-night adventure through Los Angeles that shows him he has something more worth living for.

H.O.E.s: The Bulge

Dir. Robin Leabman
Synopsis: A single camera comedy that shows the on air/off air shenanigans at the Home, Outdoor, and Entertainment shopping channel. Rhonda Stevenson comes to H.O.E. to sell her latest item for male consumer confidence, The Bulge!.