2009 Elgin Short Film Festival

Kicking off with an impressive red carpet arrival of judges and finalists in a stretch lim, the first annual Elgin Short Film Festival (ESFF) drew a crowd of nearly 600 to the Hemmens Cultural Center Saturday, September 26 to view and participate in this inaugural event.

WGN film critic Dean Richards led a distinguished panel of judges in viewing the top five finalists’ films, which had been selected from over 51 films submitted to the festival. Their votes, along with the audience ballots, were tallied to determine the placement of 1st- 5th place winners. The five films were rated in the following order:

First Place: “House of Cards” directed by David Priego of Chicago, Illinois
Second Place: “Crossing the Line” directed by Tim Miller of Louisville, Kentucky
Third Place: “The Visionary” directed by Gwydhar Bratton of Chicago, Illinois
Fourth Place: “Booby Trap” directed by Simon Pennekamp of Chicago, Illinois
Fifth Place: “Erogenous Zone” directed by Nick Abdo, of North Hollywood, California

The cash prizes consisted of $1,000 for First Place; $500 for Second Place and $300 for Third Place. Honorable mention awards of $100 each went to the fourth and fifth place winners.

Pete Garlock, Chairman of the Elgin Short Film Festival expressed his pleasure with the event."We couldn't be happier with the way things turned out for our First Annual Elgin Short Film Festival. We had five exceptional and entertaining films, and a great crowd that exceeded our expectations and who really seemed to enjoy themselves. Dean Richards was outstanding as our host, and several of the filmmakers said this was the best film festival they've ever attended.

Everyone associated with the festival felt it was an overwhelming success. The only negative comments I heard is that it wasn't long enough!"
Both the audience and the film makers expressed their pleasure with the event, sending accolades via email, facebook and handwritten notes. Here are just some of the comments:
“The Film Festival was great.  Beautifully planned and executed.  What a great night for
Elgin.  I look forward to next year.”   Sue McCracken
“On behalf of both cast/crews from House of Cards and The Booby Trap, I'd like to thank you for everything!  From the incredible organization of your staff to the wonderful awards themselves; from the delightful charm of Mr. Garlock to the honor we all felt from meeting Mr. Richards, I cannot encompass the gratitude we all felt, outside of saying "for everything." This was, by far, the most glamorous festival screening I've ever had the privilege of playing at, and I sure hope you do it again next year!  Whether as a participant or as a viewer, I'm looking forward to seeing you again in 2010.  Until then, I wish you and all those who worked to put the festival together the very best!  Thanks again, for everything.”
Eric Bednarowicz
Thank you so much for putting together an absolutely wonderful festival. We had a great time and couldn't stop talking about it for hours after we left! The people of Elgin and Chicago in general were all very friendly and made us feel welcome and right at home. Our only regret was that we couldn't stay longer and explore the city. We plan to submit a film to the festival next year and, finalist or not, we plan to attend, bring our wives and experience more of Elgin.

Thanks again and we will see you next year!
Become a fan on our Facebook page.

Go to 2018 Elgin Short Film Festival

The Visionary
Produced and Directed by: Gwydhar Bratton, Chicago, Il.

Synopsis: A gentleman sits in an art gallery featuring the work of the artist Gustav Chauvin- an artist who continued to paint even as his eyesight failed. As Chauvin’s works come to life on the walls around him, the gentleman experiences an understanding between his own life and the artist’s.

The Visionary
Crossing the Line
Director: Tim Miller, Louisville, Ky.

Synopsis: What goes around comes around. A taste of your own medicine. Two wrongs don't make a right. Junk in the trunk. All of these can be applied to “Crossing the Line,” in which our main character, perturbed by the rudeness and sloppy parking job of another, sets out to teach a lesson, only to have it backfire with disastrously hilarious results. Armed with few resources, he struggles to free himself from the bed that he has made. Keep this film in mind the next time you think about crossing the line.

Crossing The Line
The Erogenous Zone
Director: Nick Abdo, North Hollywood, Ca.

Synopsis: Marty Malloy is a seventeen year old straight ‘A’ student. A champion swimmer with multiple scholarship offers in the horizon. But a big problem has sprung up. A problem so rare it only affects male teenagers. A problem not only of sight and sound, but of mind and body. A problem that can only be found in “The Erogenous Zone”.

The Erogenous Zone

House of Cards
Director: David Priego, Chicago, Il.
Producers: James Nocera, Jr. & Eric Bednarowicz

Synopsis: “House of Cards” is the fiery story of a divorcing family, collapsing upon its material desires. As Juan (Adrian Gonzalez) and Hanna (Ravi Batista) charge into the inevitable battle over the division of the material remnants of their family, forces clash, words collide and dignity is thrown out to the wind. Only in the face of heart-stopping tragedy are the two warriors able to understand the importance of family.

House of Cards

The Booby Trap
Director: Simon Pennekamp, Chicago, Il.
Producers: Eric Bednarowicz & Jeremy Peruski
Synopsis: “The Booby Trap” is a comedy about two young boys who discover a breast-feeding video and decide to watch it while they’re home alone. Trouble arises when Mom comes back and the tape gets stuck in the VCR.

The Booby Trap