Beaufort News

And the festival’s winners are ...

Fare (USA) Directed by: Thomas Torrey, Fort Mill, S.C. A driver for hire finds himself transporting the man who is secretly having an affair with his wife.
Fare (USA) Directed by: Thomas Torrey, Fort Mill, S.C. A driver for hire finds himself transporting the man who is secretly having an affair with his wife. Courtesy of Beaufort International Film Festival

The Beaufort International Film Festival wrapped up its 11th annual event on Sunday at Beaufort’s Center for the Arts with an awards ceremony to celebrate 13 top-notch artists in the film industry.

More than 300 submissions for the five-day festival were received from 44 countries, leading to the 39 films and seven screenplays chosen to screen at the festival, according to a Beaufort Film Society news release.

These were the 13 award winners for the International Beaufort Film Festival, according to the news release.

1. Robert Smalls Merit & Achievement Award

Julie Dash won this inaugural award after screening the 25th anniversary edition of her film, “Daughters of the Dust,” originally filmed in Beaufort in 1991. The award was presented by Michael Boulware Moore, great-great-grandson of Robert Smalls. According to Dash’s website, the filmmaker “broke through racial and gender boundaries” with the film, which won for best cinematography at Sundance Film Festival. She went on to write and direct for CBS, BET, Encore Starz, Showtime, MTV movies and HBO.

2. Behind the Scenes Award

Filmmaker Brad Jayne of Charleston was presented this award by South Carolina Film Office representative Tom Clark. According to his website, Jayne “specializes in high-end broadcast and internet media content” while he “works with programs that support the media arts in the Southeast and the world.”

3. Best Feature

“Saturn Returns,” directed by Shawn Tolleson of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, was named the best feature of the festival. According to her biography on the Women in Film and Television Vancouver website, this film won first place in the Mountain Film Festival, as well. Tolleson began her career as an actress and has since worked as a director, writer and producer.

4. Best Documentary

Peter Miller’s “Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices” won best documentary for the festival. This Atlanta man also has worked on films such as “AKA Doc Pomus,” “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story” and “Sacco and Vanzetti,” which was shown all over the world, according to the “Robert Shaw” film website. Miller also has produced several PBS series.

5. Best Short Film

“Mia,” directed by Felix Martiz from Los Angeles, Calif., won best short film. According to a Kickstarter campaign for the horror film, this project was a retelling of “La Llorona” or “The Cry.”

“Most of my films deal with the effects of losing something special and the consequences that occur when one doesn’t let go,” Martiz wrote on the page.

6. Best Student Film

Orange, Calif., student Tom Teller’s “Icarus” won best student film. Teller is a student of Chapman University and Dodge College, according to the release. According to a Kickstarter campaign for the film, the film is about “a young man’s struggle to cope with failure and overcoming the death of a loved one, within the vacuum of outer space.”

7. Best Comedy

“Long John,” directed by Joe Bellavia of Rochester, N.Y., won for best comedy. The film’s trailer on Vimeo shows a young man made “miserable” by a cold winter. The long underwear brings him relief from the cold but becomes a little awkward in his dating life.

8. Best Animation

Gavin Lankford’s “Splash” stood out for best animation at the festival. The University of North Carolina School of the Arts student directed the animated short, which explored the “adventures at bath time” in which “bath toys band together to save themselves after being left behind” by a little boy, according to the school’s website.

9. Best Screenplay

Bernard Smith’s “Robert Smalls’ Great Escape” was awarded best screenplay for the festival. This is the first entry into the festival focusing on Robert Smalls that has been accepted into the festival, The Beaufort Gazette previously reported.

10. Best Actress

Rukiyat Masud of New York City won for best actress in the film “Children of the Mountain.” According to the film’s website, Masud was born and raised in Ghana and started acting after she graduated high school in 2010. She studied broadcasting and drama in college. While pursuing an acting career, she also is studying marketing and public relations at the Ghana School of Journalism.

11. Best Actor

“Fare” actor Thomas Torrey of Fort Mill won for best actor. He is the writer, director and lead actor of the film, according to the film’s IMDb web page. He is also known for his films “House of the Righteous,” “Old Henry” and “Little Star.”

12. Best Director

Thomas Torrey also won for best director for “Fare,” a film in which “a ride-share driver finds himself transporting the man who is secretly sleeping with his wife,” according to IMDb.

13. Audience Choice

Festival audiences chose “Almost Paris,” directed by Domenica Cameron Scorsese for this award. The trailer for this film shows a man who has to move back home and lay down roots after losing his job on Wall Street. He reconnects with his family and makes a new connection with a woman he knew before he moved away.

For more information on the festival, visit

Joan McDonough: 843-706-8125, @IPBG_Joan