WATERTOWN – ‘Frozen Out,’ written and directed by Hao Zhou, won the Grand Prize at the eighth annual Snowtown Film Festival, held Feb. 19-27.
The five-minute short depicts an émigré retreating to frozen meadows and forests, hoping to find a meaningful story and escape the anxieties of dislocation. Delivered as a “film letter” to the protagonist’s sister in rural China, the film considers her queer self-exile and the vulnerable nature of home, relationships, and self.
“Frozen Out” was filmed in the United States and China. Its synopsis: “An immigrant artist in Iowa retreats to frozen prairies, forests and swamps, trying to find a meaningful story and escape the anxieties of dislocation.”
Director Hao Zhou, born in Nanchuan, China, is a filmmaker, photographer and actor. He refined his cinema at La Résidence du Festival de Cannes (Paris), Talents Tokyo and Berlinale Talents.
“Frozen Out” received a gold medal at the 48th Student Academy Awards and screened at numerous film festivals. The film was selected by the Snowtown Film Festival jury from over 500 films submitted to this year’s festival.
In addition to the grand prize, the following films were also honored by the festival:
Best Drama Short: “Wasted Talent,” directed by Derrick Benton (Oswego/Brooklyn, NY)
Best comedy short film: “Buona Notte”, directed by Victor Bindefeld Gregoire Bensimon (France)
Best Animated Short Film: “The Statue”, directed by Mohsen Salehi Fard (Iran)
Best Foreign Language Short Film: “Deaf”, directed by Nuria Muños-Ortín & Eva Libertad (Spain)
Best Documentary Short: “Wild Side”, directed by Brian Hansen (Milwaukee, WI)
Winter Through Film Award: “It’s Cold”, directed by Danil Ivanov (Russia)
North Country Filmmaker Award: “Murray Triumphs!” directed by Megan MacDonald (Watertown)
North Country Filmmaker Award: “The Birthday Hunt,” directed by Wayne Landreth Jr. (Black River,)
North Country Filmmaker Award: “The White Throated Sparrow Project,” directed by Tiffany Deeater (Clinton)
North Country Filmmaker Award: “Yancey’s Sugarbush: First Crop of the Year”, directed by Xiuke Wei (Canton)
Official selection: “Shred of Decency”, directed by Dan Fowlks
Official Selection: “Jack Wyatt and the Gun From Hell”, directed by Clay Dumaw
Official selection: “Roman Candle”, directed by Joe Blank
Official Selection: “The Town That Moved a Mountain (And Then Forgot They Did It)”, directed by Rick Groleau
NNY Screenplay Award: “2001”, written by Jagger Walters (Los Angeles)
The “Write Here” Award for North Country Screenwriters: “Keep Digging,” Written by Derek and Daniel Morrow (Alexandria Bay)