Odessa wins the Grand Jury Prize at the Gasparilla International Film Festival
Odessa, by American and Canadian award-winning team Sean Michael Turrell (director), Doug Johnson (writer) and producers Grace Santos & David Moscow, premiered at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Florida in the presence of the cast and crew. The team brought home the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film.
“Aside from its crisp production value, Odessa – a short film mind you – accomplished what the majority of today’s features lack: It made me think, feel, and most importantly, want to explore more of the world the filmmakers and actors created”, says Joe Belcastro of the Florida Film Critics Circle and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, a member of the Gasparilla International Film Festival 2015 Grand Jury.
The Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) was listed by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for both 2013 and 2014. GIFF is part of Gasparilla Arts Month (Music, Art, Film) in Tampa/St.Petersburg Florida where over 100,000 arts patrons are expected each year for all the events over the month of March. In 2015, 60 features and 70 short films were screened. The 2015 Grand Jury consisted of Leslie Cohen (HBO’s Vice President of Film Programming), Stacey Schroader (editor of FOX’s “The Last Man On Earth” and HBO’s “Eastbound and Down”), and others.
Odessa is a quiet and powerful dystopian drama that slowly gives up its secrets. A mother makes a strangely familiar and lethally dangerous border crossing in order to save her ailing daughter’s life. But she turns out to be crossing OUT of the US and into the Sovereign State of Texas, which has seceded from the union and controls most of the deeply impoverished USA’s petroleum supply.
“The goal of Odessa is neither to vilify nor sanctify Texas, simply to challenge our own identity and the far-reaching effects that seismic shifts and partisanship can have in a new gilded age”, explains the writer Doug Johnson.
Apart from being a stand-alone short, Odessa also serves as a pitch-episode for a serial drama consisting of more characters than are in the film.
“I’m excited about the various characters Doug is creating. The unique post-apocalyptic world is cool and is one of the reasons I purchased the screenplay and have persuaded Doug to write a series treatment, but the characters are what will draw audiences into the story”, adds actor/producer Grace Santos.
Odessa will have a market screening at the Cannes’ Short Film Corner this May 2015, along with two other of Grace Santos’ productions: A Tricky Treat (directed by Patricia Chica) and Election Night (directed by Tessa Blake).