THE 17th Annual


October 2020

TV Writer Article by Dawn McElligott "Composer Cracks Glass on Way to Carnegie Hall"



5 Minute Film Talks

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT! We recently had the pleasure of hosting a film talks event with special guest J.D. Dillard. Check out this 5 minute segment with JD.


FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS ANNOUNCED Three days, 140 submissions from 34 nations viewed by six judges, with 50 films competitive and non-competitive screened by thousands of audience members at the biggest and best film festival in Upstate new York — and we have winners to announce:
Short Films Fiction Winner - “Carry My heart To The Yellow River” Directed by Alexis Van Hurkman. 
 A bike tour to the Yellow River by a high school graduate in faraway Gannan. Judges Citation - “Atlas” (Poland) Directed by Maciej Kawalski. A psychiatric hospital receives a curious patient who doesn’t move nor speak, but spends his days standing with his hands up. The only thing known is his nickname—“Atlas.” Audience Award - “The Catch” Directed by Sam Avery. The line says, Sometimes it really is a fish story. Short Films Documentary Winner - “For a Better Life” Directed by Yasmin Mistry. Sold for $100 at the age of 5, Fekri suffers through years of abuse before his plight is discovered. Judges Citation - “Vaarheim” (Belgium) Directed by Victor Ridley. Out Skerries Island, with 70 inhabitants, the film follows the closure of the high school and the fish farm. Audience Award - “The Starfish” Directed by Tyler Gildin. The Starfish is the true story of a German Jewish boy whose life was forever altered at the age of 10, when his parents sent him and his two older sisters to live with non Jewish families in Sweden to escape Nazi persecution. Feature Film Documentary Winner - “White Light” Directed by George Gittoes (“White Light also received the festival’s Bassel Shehade award for social justice). A deep looks at gun violence in Chicago. Judges Citation - “Dosed” Directed by Tyler Chandler. After years of prescription medications failed her a suicidal woman, Adrianne, turns to underground healers to try and overcome her depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction with illegal psychedelic medicine like magic mushrooms and iboga. Audience Award - “Picture of His Life” (Israel) Directed by Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir World renowned wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum has one final photographic dream remaining - to photograph a Polar Bear underwater, while swimming alongside it. Feature Film Fiction Winner - “Senior Love Triangle” Directed by Kelly Blatz. An 84-year-old charming but delusional WWII veteran, William, forms romantic relationships with two elderly women, Adina and Jeanie, respectively, and goes on a crusade to save them from the isolation of their retirement homes in East Hollywood. Inspired by the true story documented in the photo series “Senior Love Triangle” featured in Time Magazine. Judges Citation - “Bozkir Looks at The Birds” (Turkey) Directed by Mehmet Tanrisever. About Abdullah and Cripple Ziya who are gun dealers in the Bozkir district of Konya, and who put honesty, honor, and dignity before anything else. Audience Award - “Two Heads Creek” (Australia) Directed by Jesse O’Brien. After the death of their adoptive mother, a shy butcher and his drama queen sister leave the UK and adventure to Australia in search of their biological mother, but the local townsfolk of Two Heads Creek are hiding a dark secret: the pair must reconcile their differences to fight for their lives in this playfully dark comedy-horror. Though not in competition, the artistic director and associate artistic director of the Festival want to pay special recognition to Monkey Ostrich and Grave (Oleg Mavromatti, Belarus) for it’s unique artistic achievement and extraordinary performance by an actor. This is the story of the video blogger Genadi Gorin of Lugansk (the capital of the new republic, which appeared during the Russian/Ukrainian war in 2014), whose life floats parallel to the horrific reality of the unfinished war.
Thank you to all of you who submitted your films, and attended this years festival. See you next year!


The Syracuse International Film Festival was created in 2003 as the place where information by, for and about film and media-related programs could be brought to the community: members produce, present and promote programs throughout the year that are created to engage, inspire, and entertain.

Our Mission is to engage, entertain, inform and inspire the community through innovative film and media programs and  film-based special events throughout the year; to build partnerships and present programs that will enrich the CNY community through the world of international film.


Our Vision is to bring to the community the latest information on the Syracuse filmmaking scene.  SIFF works with the Onondaga County Film Commission to make possible local, national, and international filmmaking projects that add economic, cultural, and educational value to Syracuse and Central New York.


Our Founders, S.U. Professor Owen J. Shapiro and his wife, Christine Fawcett-Shapiro created the SIFF organization in 2003. Their dedication towards the film industry, continues to guide SIFF and has helped it become what it is today.


Our Growth is made possible by a volunteer Board of Directors and support from such institutions as Syracuse University, Le Moyne College, Onondaga County, CNY Film Professionals, and various businesses, individuals, and organizations help support our work in the community and beyond. Over the past 13 years, Syracuse International Film Festival has grown beyond an annual festival event to become a year-round producer of screenings and media-related programs for the whole community.


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