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.”

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.