On Friday, November 10, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, in partnership with NASA, screened 13 finalists from 650 entries spanning nearly every continent worldwide at the Rice Cinema in the CineSpace short film competition and awarded top prizes totaling $26,000, which were judged and selected by Academy Award-nominated director Richard Linklater.

The top prize of $10,000 was awarded to Lunar, by Christian Stangl, Austria. Second place $5,000 went to Nadir, by Pedro de Filippis, Hungary, and third place $3,000 was awarded to The Invisible Border by Shannon-Leigh Reeve and Chelese Belmont, California.

Award winners for the Special Judging Categories ($4,000 each) went to Apizaco, by Alex Moreno, Mexico for Film Best Depicting the Benefits of Space to Humanity and The New Sea, by Jamie Drew, United Kingdom for Best Film Depicting the Spirit of Future Space Exploration.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Director of the Johnson Space Center, NASA representatives Dan Jacobs and Carlos Fontanot, Houston Cinema Arts Society Executive Director Patrick Kwiatkowski, and Professor Carlos Villanueva of the University of Yucatan welcomed attendees at the beginning of the program and spoke to the huge growth in the number of entries in CineSpace, which continues to expand in myriad ways as its global footprint extends.

Prior to the start of the evening’s presentation, guests mingled in the STELLA Lounge and enjoyed the majestic views from telescopes provided by the Houston Astronomical Society.

The CineSpace finalist short films that spanned the globe were comprised of Apizaco (Mexico), Eight-Ball (Australia), The New Sea (United Kingdom), The Great Portals of Cyberspace: Doomsday (Sweden/France), I’m Here Now Somehow (Germany), The Invisible Border (United States), Lunar (Austria), Miss Baker’s Ride (United Kingdom), Nadir (Hungary), Planet, California (United States), The Space Between Us (Australia), To the Sky (Chile), and Transmitter Receiver (Canada).

Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting innovative films, media installations, and performances that celebrate the artistic process and enrich Houston’s culture and urban vitality. Created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and philanthropist Franci Neely, it organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing, and literary arts. The Festival celebrates the diversity of the arts in Houston and elevates the city’s film and arts scene. Houston Cinema Arts Society sponsors include premiere sponsor Houston First Corporation, signature sponsor Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and featured sponsor Levantine Films. HCAS is also supported in part by the Franci Neely Foundation; the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance; an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; the Brown Foundation; and a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 2017 Houston Cinema Arts Festival takes place from November 9-13, 2017.

CineSpace is a collaboration between NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) that offers filmmakers around the world a chance to share their works inspired by, and using, actual NASA imagery through “CineSpace,” a short film competition. Winners were announced and screened along with all finalists at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, November 9-13, 2017.

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