In the grade and middle school category, third place went to The Attack of Scorpazilla by Sarah Jordan of Wigwam Creek Middle School, which told the story of a chemically-enlarged giant scorpion and, with the help of Marie Curie, the quest to bring an end to it's destruction.
Second place went to The Candy Dealer by Isaiahs Rivera of Wigwam Creek Middle School, following a student dealing candy after the school had banned it and the girl trying to rat him out.
Alyssa Bartlett also of Wigwam Creek Middle School nabbed the first place award for the grade and middle school category with her short Herbert the Killer Kitten. Similarly to The Attack of Scorpazilla, Bartlett's short followed a team trying to remedy a chemical accident resulting in a giant, destructive kitten. Again, after a little help from Marie Curie, the team succeeds in this part live action, part stop motion film.
But it was the high school awards, which seemed to go toward the more abstract and rather dark films over the story-driven ones, that we questioned.
Third place went to Ruth Daemon by Daniela Mock-Zubia of Metropolitan Arts Institute, which showed the film's namesake, maybe a mayonnaise-eating, obsessively-counting demon, seemingly having a psychotic breakdown after she gets lost in an unknown building.
Metropolitan Arts Institute's Nina Nandin took home second place for Pining. Honestly, we're not entirely sure what happened in this short. It begins with a girl waking up in a dark room, lighting a candle, and then writing with a dip pen. It flashes to the same girl in a classroom, writing in a notebook. The scenes flash back and forward for a bit, and then the girl in the classroom gets a mysterious note on a paper airplane, reading "Hello there..."