July 12th, 2017

The Rundown of RAWFF 2017

Published in RAW Features


Opening its first submission in FALL of 2015, the indie film festival RAWFF was born. Coming from acclaimed arts showcase presenters, RAW: Natural Born Artists, adopting the theme of local, high-concept, and art-forward. The festival’s mission wasn’t just to create an annual competitive film festival focusing on local filmmakers but to highlight the art behind the film. Going beyond the film through performances, and gallery installations meant showing how multifaceted the medium is.


The festival this year took place on Sunday, June 4th at Echo Park’s snug and trendy venue, Bootleg Theater. RAWFF brought its “A” game with its all-star panel of jury members, 41 mind blowing shorts, virtual reality, delicious tacos, jaw dropping installations, and wicked live performances.  

Consisting of some more familiar, and some not as familiar to the Festival, this year’s panel was a quite the group. Making their grand return from last year’s panel was Sundance Ignite & TED Fellow Kayla Briet, and Crowdfunding Director for Seed & Spark Gerry Maravilla. Some of the fresh new facesto the panel was NewFilmmakers Los Angeles’ Co-founder and Executive Director Larry Laboe, and EuropaCorp Manager of Worldwide Acquisitions Zachary Garrett.

Out of the 41 killer submissions, four awards were given out. One for top narrative short, top experimental/music video short, top documentary short, and the 4th award for the audience favorite. We asked Festival Director, Nick Night, how did the judges go about making this tough decision? He answered,


“The jury had a really hard time coming to a verdict due to the caliber of short films presented. The Narrative block award got stuck in a 4-way tie! In the end, though a decision had to be made. “Seth” for example was a clearly a crowd favorite and got huge laughs in the theater. All in all, the winning shorts just resonated with the jury/audience and impacted them in a strong emotional way.”


He also talked to us about some of the themes and concepts presented in the program this year and how they contrasted from the previous year. He shared that last year's program was mostly focused on the intersection of various planes of reality, and altered mental states. This year’s lineup felt more personal and more intimate. Bringing out some conceptual themes of kinship, and a focus on interpersonal relationships.

Krumping Zombies, Paper-mache Flowers, The Bug man of Hollywood, and a Q&A with the filmmakers of the Narrative Shorts’ Block were a few of the many highlights of the festival. Krumping Zombies was Martel Rudd and Kris Mcafee did a live rendition of their dance performance from (Winner of Best Experimental/Music Video Short), “We Together” by Henry Kaplan, where two zombies reclaim their humanity through krumping. Paper-mache Flowers filled the stage while the infamous MRK performed an intoxicating live music set. “The Bug Man of Hollywood” also known as, Steven Kutcher, did a live demo of his paintings where he places insects on a spinning canvas and makes incredible art from their paint-laden tracks. Narrative Q&A Panel with numerous filmmakers repping their shorts was definitely one of the big highlights of the night. Getting to see Sarah Burns from (I love You Man, Married) and Eric Edelstein (We Bare Bears, Twin Peaks) join the Q&A to answer questions about their stellar roles in Where You Are by Graham Parkes was also incredible.


RAWFF 2017 Results:
Best Narrative Short:
by Zach Lasry of Fever Dream Productions




SETH from Fever Dream on Vimeo.



Best Experimental/Music Video Short:
“We Together”
by Henry Kaplan of American Painkillers




We Together from American Painkillers on Vimeo.



Best Documentary Short:
“High Chaparral”
by David Freid with MEL Films



High Chaparral from MEL Films on Vimeo


Audience Choice Award:
“Where You Are”
by Graham Parkes




Where You Are from Graham Parkes on Vimeo


As for RAWFF 2018 Festival Director, Nick Night mentioned there are a lot of cool things in the works, but that it’s still too early to say. For those who missed this year’s festival, the bad news is that most of the submissions aren’t accessible via online. The good news is that the links to RAWFF 2017's winners are above. So make sure to check those out, and to be at the next RAWFF in 2018! As for filmmakers, get ready because submissions for RAWFF 2018 will be open in October 2017! Don’t wait until it’s too late! Visit rawfilmfestival.com/submit for more info.Stay updated on all the latest RAWFF news! Follow them on

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