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2020 AT&T Film Awards Winners


The 2020 AT&T Film Awards is a celebration of innovative and immersive filmmaking by aspiring creators whose unique stories are shaping the future of entertainment. In partnership with Submittable, the AT&T Film Awards is thrilled to announce prize winners—one grand prize and two runner-up official selections—in three categories: Merged/Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mobile/360 Drone. One winner in each category was also recognized with the Underrepresented Filmmaker Prize, which is awarded to a filmmaker from a traditionally underrepresented background.

Please join us in congratulating these nine outstanding filmmakers, who will receive a total of $37,500 in cash and prizes, and visit the official guidelines to find out more about the competition and view the winning entries.

AT&T Film Awards 2020

Merged/Augmented Reality

Awarded to the top short film shot incorporating mixed or augmented reality.  

Grand Prize – $10,000

Backwards God, by Natalie Cook

Backwards God tells the story of how man made God in his image.

Official Selections – $2,500 each 

A Sari for Pallavi, by Sunita Deshpande

When Traditional Thini gets into a fight with Promiscuous Pallavi, a hilarious Indian culture clash unravels.

Detained, by Khushnuda Shukurova (Also awarded Underrepresented Filmmaker Prize)

Two Syrian refugee siblings receive official legal documents to permanently join their father in the United States. However, when the plane lands in JFK, they are taken into custody for interrogation by Customs and Border Police.

Virtual Reality

Awarded to the top short film incorporating virtual reality.

Grand Prize – $10,000

New World, by Taryn Southern

A 360 VR music video about the future of trust, the piece integrates AI, blockchain, and VR animation technologies, with lyrics written by more than 200+ people utilizing blockchain technology and animation using Google Tiltbrush, Blocks, and Maya.

Official Selections – $2,500 each 

Anoma Lía, by Jean Lee (Also awarded Underrepresented Filmmaker Prize)

Drag performer Anoma Lía describes the significance of her art in Puerto Rico, particularly in light of Hurricane Maria and its effect on the LGTBQIA+ community.

Dreams of Color, by Ponvishal Chidambaranathan

A visual narrative exploring the different degrees of interconnectedness and introspection of international students through immersive storytelling techniques in order to humanize their journey into the US.

Mobile/360 Drone

Awarded to the top short films shot incorporating one or more of the following technologies: Mobile (smartphone or tablet), 360, or Drone.

Grand Prize – $10,000

Night Diner, by Khaled Ridgeway

An allegory, Night Diner centers on a Yelper who gets more than he bargains for when he crashes a 5-star diner after hours.

Official Selections – $2,500 each 

Relative Living, by Alisha Heng (Also awarded Underrepresented Filmmaker Prize)

The exploration of technology and human interaction through a combination of experimental film and stop-motion animation.

The Harvesters, by Derek Howard

The Harvesters is a short observational documentary about three Maasai men harvesting honey in the Mau Forest in Kenya. Without any dialog and with a pensive camera, The Harvesters is a carefully composed portrait of often invisible labour in a now extinct forest.

Other announcements

Earlier this year, winners were chosen in two other categories: Youth Film Concept and Spanish Language.

The Youth Film Concept awarded five top scripts by youth filmmakers age 13-18, with films focused on the following themes:

  1. Protecting the environment
  2. Using positivity and kindness to stop bullying
  3. Distracted driving

Congratulations to the following winners:

  • Dexavior Smith for The Cycle
  • Herry Garcia for Point and Shoot
  • Carla Rios for just stop
  • Ava Snow for Reality Changed
  • Nathaniel Armstrong for Child’s Play

The award for Spanish Language was awarded to the top Spanish-language short film from current undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, or postdoctoral students enrolled in an accredited college or university, with the majority of the film made in Spanish.

The winner was Blink, by Carlos Matos.

Thank you to everyone who submitted films for consideration. The AT&T Film Awards team and our reviewers were impressed by the quality of short films received and really appreciate the time and effort each crew put into their project.

This blog was sponsored by Submittable partner AT&T Film Awards. 

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is Senior Editor for Submittable's Marketing Team. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: rachelmindell.com