Award Winner

The Smiling Man Wins Best Short Film at the 2016 Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival

We are super grateful to announce that The Smiling Man has taken home the coveted Growler award for Best Short Film at the 2016 Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival amid strong competition! Other festival winners include a sweep of the feature competition by Sundance darling The Eyes of My Mother and an Emerging Filmmakers award goes to Luchagore Productions.

Congratulations to all the winners and films in competition! You can check out the complete list of award winners on the website here:

About the Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival

Founded in 2015, Fantastic Cinema brings you the best of genre cinema; featuring Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Crime, and hybrid movies from Arkansas, the United States, and around the globe.

Also in 2016, along with the fantastic movies, we are excited to add an exciting new component to the festival… the best craft beer in the state of Arkansas.

Fantastic Cinema & Craft Beer Festival will combine two passionate fan bases that are a natural fit and will become a festival destination for Arkansans and the surrounding region!

Join us April 7-10, 2016 at Riverdale 10 VIP Cinema for a celebration of genre films and craft beer!

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins 4 of 5 Award Nominations at the LA Shorts Awards

We are excited to announce that The Smiling Man was Nominated for 5 awards and gets the win for 4 of them at the LA Shorts Awards! The Smiling Man was nominated in the following categories: Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. We took home Gold wins for Best Original Score and Best Editing and received second place Silver awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography!

Thanks go out to our amazing cast and crew, including our Composer Vivien Villani and his 18-piece orchestra for creating our fantastic score, and to our DP David Holechek and his team for the amazing visuals.

This is such a great way to close out the year, and we've got some exciting Festival news coming up soon as we hope to continue this run well into 2016.

The Smiling Man Wins Best Film Overall at SF Indie's Another Hole in the Head 2015

Well folks, I have to say, this is pretty damn special. The Smiling Man just took home Best Film Overall at the 12th Annual Another Hole in the Head Festival in San Francisco! We are truly stunned for this audience award, which chose our film out of 11 days of programming covering 26 features and 90 short films in several categories.

Seriously, holy crap, right?

Super grateful for the opportunity to drive out to the city and catch the screening with a great crowd, and I even got to meet up with some dear old friends and catch some great films and chat with some filmmakers and film fans.

Huge thanks go out to the organizers of Another Hole in the Head, including the fine folks at SF Indie and the awesome New People Cinema in Japantown. We hope to see you there with another film next year!

About Another Hole in the Head

SF IndieFest's Another Hole in the Head genre film festival runs 11 days Dec 5-14 2014.This is our 12 year anniversary and we're going big. Our annual festival of horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy and exploitation cinema defies convention to bring you the most outrageous genre films from both emerging and established filmmakers. Almost two weeks of celluloid mayhem not usually found in your local cineplex!

“San Francisco’s original genre film festival is characterized by a scrappy, DIY aesthetic that eschews big studio content and recent trends towards elevated genre. Holehead’s programming remains curatorially committed to the genre’s graphic roots in shockploitation, visceral thrills and gleeful mayhem.” – Michael Guillen, The Evening Class

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man takes home 3 Awards at Fright Night Film Fest 2015

The Smiling Man has taken home three awards at the 2015 Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville, Kentucky! Amid a fantastic selection of horror shorts which made for very stiff competition, The Smiling Man won Best Paranormal Short, Best Actor (Strange Dave) and Best Director (A.J. Briones). This is the first Best Actor award for our very own Strange Dave, and we are so excited for him, as he's been scaring audiences all over the world during our fantastic festival run.

About Fright Night Film Fest

One of the oldest and most respected film festivals. For over a decade we have worked to put independent horror films in front of as many fans as possible. Like all children we have grown and experience growth pains as a result. Never wavering from the initial mission of giving the fans the best and truest in independent cinema. Our scope of films has reached the slasher to the thriller from supernatural to the sublime. Cult to pop culture we challenge the discriminating film lover with our selection every year. Held in conjunction with our Fright Night Horror Weekend every year.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best Director award at Midwest Horror Shorts

Well this is an awesome surprise! The Smiling Man took home the award for Best Director at the Midwest Horror Shorts Film Festival! It's our second award of the weekend from Oklahoma City, and we can't be any happier! Now, as much as I'd like to horde the glory for myself, we all know that making a film does not happen alone, and The Smiling Man is no exception! I would like to thank the entire cast and crew for making this film happen!

We would also like to thank the festival organizers and the audience at the Midwest Horror Shorts Film Festival for giving us the opportunity to screen our film there, as well as the other filmmakers whose work we are grateful to screen alongside. It was such an honor!

About the Midwest Horror Shorts Film Festival

The Premier of the 2015 Midwest Horror Shorts Film Festival is set to bring together filmmakers, fans and fanatics of all things HORROR for an evening packed full of scary short films from all over the world. The setting is Halloween Eve, in beautiful, downtown Oklahoma City, home to a thriving night life.

You will not want to miss this special event with Oklahoma horror film legend, Count Gregore hosting the awards ceremony, fittingly taking place Halloween weekend, October 30th, 2015 in beautiful downtown Oklahoma City. Count Gregore draws a crowd and your short film, as an official selection, will be seen by true lovers of all things horror.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best U.S. Short Film at the Twisted Horror Picture Show

We're so proud to announce that The Smiling Man has taken home the award for Best U.S. Short Film at Twister Alley International Film Festival's Twister Horror Picture Show! This is a great win for our team, as we were against some very strong competition, the likes of film festival favorites Invaders, Bad Guy #2, Night of the Slasher and others. We were also nominated in 3 other categories (Best Director, Best Actor, Best Poster) and we are very happy for the winners in those categories and congratulate them on a great win.

Huge thanks to the festival directors and staff, as well as the great crowd who saw our film. We've already received some messages from festival goers, and beyond the awards, it's always an honor to hear from the audience!

About the Twisted Horror Picture Show

The Twister Alley International Film Festival presents the Twisted Horror Picture Show. One night of screening Weird, Dark and/or Twisted indie shorts and features along with 1 classic horror film. All films will play on the big screen of the beautiful and haunted Woodward Theater in Woodward, OK. Winning films will have automatic invitation to screen at 2016 Twister Alley International Film Festival.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man wins Best Monster Micro Short Film at Fear Fete 2015

We just got word that we took home the Best Monster Micro Short Film award at the Fear Fete Film Festival! We were also nominated for Best Director, Best Actor. Congratulations to The Smiling Man team and the other winning and nominated filmmakers! We would also like to thank the festival organizers, judges and attendees for making our Biloxi premiere a memorable one! We would also like to thank the filmmakers, vendors and staff that made this all possible.

For a complete list of award winners, check the Fear Fete website at

About Fear Fete Horror Film Festival & Convention

Fear Fete Horror Film Festival and Convention brings together the greatest horror fans, filmmakers, and professionals in the genre for a weekend of spine tingling entertainment at the MS Coast Convention Center in Biloxi, MS. Fear Fete features chilling horror films, horror attractions that will leave you breathless, entertaining fan panels, hands-on workshops, killer cosplay, and even more insane events. If you're looking for the ultimate horror experience, then you've found it!

Fear Fete has been recognized as one of the best horror film festivals in the country, earning numerous awards from respected industry organizations and the media. Fear Fete works closely with several media and distribution partners to bring horror film fans the best independent films from around the world.  

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best Post Production Award at Connect Festival USA 2015

The Smiling Man just took home the award for Best Post Production against very strong competition across all genres at the Connect Festival USA. We are very proud to bring this award home with us and congratulate the nominees: A Peaceful Man, Detectives of Noir Town, Frog, Little Red Riding Hood (starring Christina Ricci), Swiped, Krisha (SXSW Grand Jury and Audience Award winner and our personal favorite film of the fest), and Day One (a Project Greenlight finalist).

Our visual effects team consists of veterans in the industry spanning decades of experience,  and we are grateful to them for all their efforts in helping make The Smiling Man a creepy-ass experience for audiences all over the world!

The screening was very special for me, as I am always excited to screen in a non-genre festival with an audience has no idea what they are about to experience. The Downtown Independent is also one of my favorite single-screen theatres: great seats, excellent BARCO DP4K-32B projector, 7.1 DATASAT surround, a huge 34 foot screen, and the projectionist with the propensity to keep the volume nice and loud. 

It was a blast to sit in a full house and watch them squirm, scream, and laugh nervously through the tension and anxiety. I also got to enjoy some very engaging conversations with audience members and other filmmakers. We got so much love from the audience at this screening, it was such an honor. Seriously, no award beats the feeling of experiencing that.

Thanks so much to festival founder Lindsey Loon and her team for an unforgettable event! Also, thanks to Connect Festival for all but one of the photos! Man, I'm terrible at taking photos.

About Connect Festival

Share great films. Connect with great filmmakers. Make better films together.

Why Connect?

Connect Film Festival combines a short film festival and creative hub.

Founded in Australia, Connect Film Festival expands to Los Angeles in 2015.

Connect is an IMDB-listed festival granting 8 recognised awards for short film achievement. 2014 Connect films screened at Cannes and won awards in festivals in Toronto, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Houston, and Berlin.

More than anything, Connect is a filmmaker’s hub and a creative movement. An idea born in a pub and raised in an art space, Connect celebrates superb short films and encourages a vibrant filmmaker community.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best of the Fest at Idaho Horror Film Festival 2015

The Smiling Man just took home a fantastic trophy, winning Best of the Fest the 2015 Idaho Horror Film Festival. Screening in front of the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Leatherface actor Andrew Bryniarski, we had a great showing with an overwhelmingly positive audience response.

It was my first time in Boise, Idaho and I was floored by the city's beauty and the warmth of the people of Idaho Horror Film Festival. This is also a pretty significant win for us, as The Smiling Man was in very tough competition against a strong lineup of shorts from around the world.

About the Idaho Horror Film Festival

The Idaho Horror Film Festival is a non-profit international film exhibition whose mission is to shine a spotlight on Idaho’s emerging filmmakers. The genre of horror is the common thread that has stitched itself into the fabric of the filmmaking community.  Through the mediums of independent film, food, music, literature and art, we strive to expand the cultural experience within Boise’s vibrant community.   We aim to develop a supportive framework for Idaho’s emerging filmmakers with the mission of providing more access to resources and education for individuals wanting to explore the medium of film. By strengthening the film making community in Idaho, we will fan the flames of creativity and set Idaho’s film industry ablaze.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best Editing Award at Diabolique International Film Festival


The Smiling Man was nominated for a total of 4 awards at the Diabolique International Film Festival (Best Cinematography, Best Short, Best Sound/Score), taking home the prize for Best Editing. While The Smiling Man walked away with the award, we have to acknowledge the fantastic shorts we were in competition with! We also would like to congratulate the other award winners.

I've always asserted that awards are not as important as the messages and emails we receive from people who have seen The Smiling Man, but I must confess that this award does bring me a lot of personal joy, as I spent quite a lot of time agonizing over the edit of The Smiling Man over many, many weeks in the early mornings and late evenings.

For a complete list of all the DIFF 2015 award winners, look on their website here:

About the Diabolique International Film Festival

The Diabolique International Film Festival is presented by Diabolique Magazine, the fastest growing publication in the world dedicated to genre cinema. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Sony as an official Festival partner for 2014.

Join us September 25-27, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana for the premiere showcase of independent genre cinema, featuring horror, sci-fi, fantasy and animation.

The Diabolique International Film Festival began life more than 9 years ago as the Dark Carnival Film Festival. Since 2007 we have screened over 250 films from more than a dozen countries, and we’ve had the honor of hosting visiting filmmakers from around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Spain, and the UK.

Over the years, we have gained a reputation as a festival that truly values independent genre films and the people who make them. Many of the movies from past fests have been picked up by major distributors, and our event has provided numerous networking opportunities. The publishers of Diabolique Magazine bring their industry connections and marketing reach to the table in a way that offers our filmmakers exceptional exposure for their films.

Find out more on their website at

The Smiling Man Wins Best Super Short Film at Shriekfest 2015

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend!

The Smiling Man took home the award for Best Super Short Film at the 2015 Shriekfest Film Festival! It's a great honor, as Shriekfest is one of the premiere genre festivals in the world, listed as one of "13 Horror Film Festivals to Die For," and among the top "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by MovieMaker Magazine!

It was such a great experience being able to attend the festival, as it's a rare occurrence for me. I met some really great people, filmmakers and genre fans alike, and got to spend quality time in the dark watching truly inspiring and stunning films. Furthermore, it was a real treat to have long conversations about film and the craft of filmmaking with like-minded folks.

It was an honor just to see our little film counted among the brilliant selection of films, so it was a great surprise to find out that we won Best Super Short Film. Huge thanks go out to the entire team who made The Smiling Man possible: from my producing partners Tefft Smith II and Nathan Hopkins, to our brilliant actors Strange Dave, Mellisa Chally and her talented daughter Abbi Chally, our DP David Holechek, the fantastic makeup fx team led by Melanie Leandro, and the entire crew that worked diligently and passionately, enabling us to shoot on time and (mostly) on budget! On the aural end of the spectrum, our genius composer Vivien Villani provided the eerie and haunting melodies and the great Jamey Scott filled in the soundscape and ensured that our mix sounded absolutely amazing. I also should thank our vendors SimpleDCP and Gotham Press!

Lastly, and definitely not least, the Smiling Man team would like to thank Shriekfest festival director Denise Gossett for running an amazing festival for 15 years! I can't state enough how thankful I am for the experience!

At the end of the day, the awards are definitely flattering, but what matters the most is watching the reactions from the audience and talking with them after the fact. The messages and emails we receive from film fans mean so much to us!

Next up: we will be screening at the Sacramento Horror Film Festival, where Abbi and Mellisa Chally will be in attendance, and in two weeks I will be heading off to Boise for the Idaho Horror Film Festival! Hope to see some of you there!

Meanwhile, for a look at the complete list of Shriekfest 2015 Award Winners, check out their website here:

About Shriekfest

Shriekfest is an international film and screenwriting contest celebrating the work of independent artists in the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy film genres. Los Angeles’ longest-running horror festival, Shriekfest is now celebrating it’s 15th year. Superior screening facilities, parties, and panels make this a wonderful networking experience for all. Awards will be given in most categories and prizes include cash, product awards, trophies, etc. The festival will be taking place in early October. More information about Shriekfest can be found on,, and


The Smiling Man wins Best Monster Show Short Film at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2015!

We're excited to announce that The Smiling Man took home the award for Best Monster Show Short Film at the 6th Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego. The Smiling Man was in competition for 4 awards: Best Director, Best SFX, Best Cinematography and Best Monster Show Short.

It is a true honor,  as we were up against an amazing lineup of truly imaginative and creative films.

The festival, which was held in the historic Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park was one of the best we've been to. Our screening was just fantastic, with some truly great short films and some of the most intelligent and thoughtful questions I had ever been asked at a Q&A. The audience I.Q. was definitely top notch at this fest, I could probably talk with them about films for hours!

I also had the wonderful experience of meeting and making friends with some of the great filmmakers whose films I admired. I sincerely wish I could attend every festival we could get our little film into, so I really cherish the moments when the stars align and I'm able to take part of it.

It was such a blast to attend, and I hope to be back next year!

You can check out the complete list of nominees on the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival website here: