AIFF prides itself on awarding cash prizes to winning films as a way to help support independent artists and filmmakers. Awards and prizes will be announced soon!

  • Best Short Film
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • Best Student Short Film
  • Best Documentary Short Film
  • Best Foreign Short Film
  • Best Actor – Short Film
  • Best Feature Film
  • Best Documentary Feature Film
  • Best Actor – Feature Film
  • Ensemble Acting Award – Feature Film
  • The Lisa Runnels Shelton Emerging Artist Award
  • Jury Prize – Short Film
  • Jury Prize – Feature Film
  • Grand Jury “Golden Anchor” Award – Short Film
  • Grand Jury “Golden Anchor” Award – Feature Film

2018 Winners

Grand Jury Prize: The Guardians

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Grand Jury Short: Manicure




Jury Prize: The Limits of My World


The Limits of My World (Film Still)


Best Short Film: Tuesday Crowd


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Best Foreign Short: The Ticket


The Ticket Poster


Best Animated Short: Mogu & Perol


KEY1 cooking



Ensemble Acting Award: Generations


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Best Student Short: Burning Empty


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Newcomer Short: Poppies


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Newcomer Short: Kill AL


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The Lisa Runnels Shelton Emerging Artist Award

The late Lisa Runnels Shelton’s first and final documentary was STAGE 4: BRAVING UNCERTAINTY, where she acted as Executive Producer and the film’s main subject.  The film tells the story of three people courageously leading full lives while living with a terminal disease.  Born and raised in the San Francisco Suburb of Newark, California, Lisa Runnels-Shelton spent the first half of her life in the Bay Area before moving to Modesto, California.  It was in the Central Valley that she and her husband raised her only child before returning to the Bay Area.  In the latter part of her life Lisa worked extensively as a sales coordinator and event planner.  Lisa spent her final two years as an active member of the Walnut Creek Cancer Support Community, where she took part in seminars and weekly support groups. While in production and post-production of her documentary, Lisa grew ever ambitious and had several ideas for other films she wanted to make.  Sadly, two months after completing her documentary, she succumbed to her disease at the age of 47.

The Lisa Runnels Shelton Emerging Artist Award will now stand as a lasting testament to Lisa’s filmmaking legacy, as well as providing a platform for deserving women to share their films with the world.

This year’s recipient:

Mandi Reno $500


Mandi Reno (pictured left) has extensive experience in physical production and joined the Director’s Guild of America in 2016 as a unit production manager. She has spent time working in film sales, and has also worked on a wide range of Independent Films and Network Television, and continues to consult companies with films looking for financing. Her career goals have evolved to focus on more creative development of personal projects to direct and produce, with her partners Joseph and Phillip Matarrese under their company, Welcome Mat.

Mandi competed in her first pageant at age 7. She is a former titleholder from California and has volunteered over the last two decades in the Miss America Organization. Having grown into adulthood in the pageant community, she felt a call to action surrounding the email scandal that leaked in 2017 surrounding the program.


Saving Miss America – Nearly a century after her inception into pop-culture, Miss America undergoes a dramatic change in the wake of a #MeToo landscape. For the first time in modern history, women control the narrative of the program. Amidst a wake of other social movements, this documentary film will journey to question the relevance of pageants and Miss America in modern society, and observe the evolution of the tradition across cultures.