Doorpost Film Project Awards $100 000 to Filmmaker John Gray

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Fri, 10/03/2008 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The Doorpost Film Project announced that filmmaker John Gray won the $100 000 grand prize for his dramatic short film Before I Wake which explores one man’s confrontation and eventual emotional release from the haunting paralyzing effects of familial sexual abuse in his past. The Doorpost Film Project in its inaugural year is an international online short filmmaking community designed to serve visionary filmmakers; the Project convened in Nashville September 11-13 for its culminating symposium and awards ceremony.

 “The topic of the film is hope—it’s the story of a damaged man who has been given the opportunity to face the demons in his past and to walk towards freedom deliverance and intimacy ” says Gray. “I am grateful for the Doorpost Film Project for giving me the resources to develop and show my film. This was only my second time directing so I look forward to continuing to grow and mature in the craft of filmmaking.”

 In addition to the $100 000 grand prize Gray will receive scheduled meetings in Los Angeles with development studio executives at motion picture studios. The Doorpost also awarded $30 000 to second place winner Nashvillian Erik Hollander and $20 000 to Los Angeles-based Bragi Schut who took third place. Hollander’s emotionally-charged short Alius Primorus tackled a father’s guilt over his estranged relationship with his son whom he lost on 9/11 while Schut’s light-hearted Charlie Thistle follows the protagonist’s humorous journey of self-discovery working at the Department of Normality. “The Doorpost’s primary objective is to locate and then equip emerging filmmakers in the entertainment industry while encouraging a serious dialog about film’s ability to enact change in the world ” says Nathan Elliott director of the Project. “The response was enormous. Doorpost received nearly 300 submissions and the Web site received over 250 000 hits from more than 122 countries around the world—a reflection of people’s excitement and hunger for this type of project. We are already looking toward 2009 being even more successful.”

 During phase one of the Doorpost Film Project hopeful filmmakers from around the globe tackled the topics of love greed redemption pain forgiveness freedom and energy in non-genre specific five-minute shorts. Each submitted film went through a two-level judging process: online viewers and a panel of prominent film industry professionals. Each of the selected 15 finalists were provided $10 000 to produce a final-round short film (eight-15 minutes) based on the designated topic of hope.

The awards presentation was attended by special guest and producer Ralph Winter (X-Men Fantastic Four Star Trek series The Visitation Mighty Joe Young and in pre- production The Screwtape Letters) who conducted a Q&A with each of the winning filmmakers. The Festival itself was captured via a live stream to the Doorpost Web site where online viewers could watch the night unfold.

Prior to the awards ceremony family friends and fans joined the top 15 finalists on the red carpet at Nashville’s independent Belcourt Theatre. Each of the top 15 finalists received a crystal plaque trophy to commemorate their accomplishment. Following the ceremony the finalists migrated to a local restaurant to celebrate at an after-party. 

 “The success of our inaugural year proves that there is a strong market for online short film ” Elliott says. “There is a new generation of filmmakers capable of telling stories that can overcome division and make a positive statement to the world through the international language of film.”  Topics for the 2nd annual Doorpost Film Project will be freedom redemption forgiveness humility and joy. Submissions will be accepted starting January 1 2009.  
 The Doorpost Film Project