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UI film grad wins back-to-back Grand Jury prizes


Film still courtesy of the director
Film still courtesy of Jesse Kreitzer

The hard work and vision of a UI film grad seems to paying off, as Jesse Kreitzer and his now award-winning short film Black Canaries has been garnering awards from coast to coast. At the 12th annual Holly Shorts Film Festival in Los Angeles last week, Black Canaries took home the Grand Jury prizes for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Short Film.” The prizes — $20,000 worth of post-production services from Company 3 and $5,000 in Kodak film stock — were awarded by Steven Bellamy, president of Kodak Pictures. Kreitzer’s work was the only film shot on 35mm out of the festival’s 3,000 entries, and one of only two motion pictures shot on film.

“Making a 1900s coal mining story on a digital format was never an option. In fact, it would have been more costly and probably a bigger disappointment to shoot digitally and attempt to emulate the look of film in post-production. I’m not a purist, but in this case, as with most of my work, the content naturally lends itself to film. Simply stated, I’d never make a period film with digital technology. It’s too sharp, too clean, too present,” said Kreitzer.

Bellamy was not modest in his admiration for Kreitzer’s work, taking to Twitter to heap on the praises:

Still courtesy of Jesse Kreitzer
Still courtesy of Jesse Kreitzer

And this Monday it was announced that Black Canaries won the Grand Jury prize for “Best Integration of Music Into Film” at the Middlebury New Filmakers Festival in Middlebury, Vermont. As part of this award, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra will provide the score for Kreitzer’s upcoming project.

What is Kreitzer’s upcoming project?

“It’s the reason I’m back east in the first place,” said the director, who hails from Marlboro, Vermont. ”
“It’s a project I’ve been carrying with me [for over a decade] titled CAREGIVERS — a documentary-narrative hybrid told over the course of four seasons about hospice workers and midwives in the mountains of rural Vermont. It’s a character story just as much as its about the landscape, following the relationships between the hospice workers and their patients, the midwives and their mothers. I still cannot believe the Vermont Symphony Orchestra will provide the film’s score, which will be performed live at select screenings.”


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