Documentary Jeremy Mendes & Leanne Allison

Bear 71

The life of a grizzly in a Canadian national park from the perspective of data points and surveillance cameras presents a fascinating look at what it means to be wild in this interactive film from the NFB.

Last year saw interactive films finally come into their own as a format for real storytelling. This year, Bear 71 upped the ante with even more interactivity allowing viewers to navigate a map of security cameras as they track a bear across a wildlife refuge. Beyond the environmental message, this film grapples with some of the most important questions facing us today. In a world of increased tracking, are we losing a sense of our true nature?
Sci-Fi Neil Harvey


Robbie, NASA's sentient robot astronaut, relates his life and times in the space program. A powerful narrative constructed entirely of archival footage.

Surprisingly, this remix film made from found footage about a robot was one of the most emotional films to come out this past year. Robbie is a testament to the power of great storytelling—the materials and tools are there waiting to be re-imagined.
Experimental Andrew Huang


An experimental film dealing with themes of separation and connection, Andrew Huang's latest is a jaw droppingly gorgeous visual symphony in 3 movements.

The amazing visual effort in Andrew Huang’s experimental masterpiece was easily one of the most beautiful films we’ve seen all year. The colorful combinations of textures and explosions feel decidedly fresh as they play against themes of isolation and our struggle to find meaningful connections.
Honorable Mentions
Best Branded Film—The Forty Story The best branded films align a brand’s core idea and a filmmaker’s vision to tell a story that both entertains and informs. Although the tidal wave of branded films seems to have subsided this past year, The Forty Story stood out as a stellar beacon of what branded films should be—a great brand paired with a great classic story. Best Sci-Fi Effects Film—Sight Of the dozens of sci-fi shorts that made waves online, none combined a thoughtful technological premise with a powerful story like Sight. ‘Thoughtful’ is the word that separates Sight from the dozens of other sci-fi shorts that lit up the online world this past year. You see it in the film’s very modern themes of gamification, privacy, and the moral hazards new tech brings up.