2021 Arizona Underground Film Festival Award Winners

2021 was quite a year for the Arizona Underground Film Festival, with tons of great films screened. See you next year!

Best Narrative Feature

The Alternate

The Alernate

2021 / 87 min / USA / Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama

Directed by Alrik Bursell
Cast: Ed Gonzales Moreno, Natalia Dominguez

The Alternate follows Jake, a videographer who discovers a portal to another dimension in which he has everything he has always wanted: the perfect version of his wife Kris, the filmmaking career of his dreams, and the daughter he never had.

Jake quickly starts traveling back and forth between these two worlds – spying on his other self, falling in love with the alternate Kris, and getting to know his daughter. Jake soon sees that his alternate is not as perfect as he seems and decides to change places with the alternate Jake and take the good life for himself.

Best Horror Feature

The Parker Sessions

The Parker Sessions

2020 / 72 min / USA / Horror

Directed by Stephen King Simmons
Cast: Rachell Sean, Danny James

Atroubled young woman with a disturbing past goes to see a counselor about her night terrors.

Shot in high contrast black and white and split up into four acts. This nightmarish plot will keep the audience guessing until the final act.

Best Documentary Feature

Vinyl Nation

Vinyl Nation

2020 / 92 min / USA / Documentary

Directed by Kevin Smokler

Adeep dig into the crates of the vinyl record resurgence to discover what an old technology says about our relationship to music and each other in a divided time in America.

Best Experimental Feature

5000 Space Aliens

5000 Space Aliens

2020 / 84 min / USA / Animation, Experimental

Directed by Scott Bateman

Meet 5000 space aliens in 5000 seconds in this fun and totally bonkers animated film that uses computer-manipulated found footage and collage, all created by director Scott Bateman.

Best Exploitation

Divide And Conquer

Divide and Conquer

2021 / 94 min / USA / Exploitation, Grindhouse, Troma Movie

Directed by Mercedes The Muse
Cast:  Mercedes The Muse, Irie Divine, Knotty Peach, Lloyd Kaufman

Meanwhile in Tromaville, three women warriors find themselves on the run and kicking in the teeth of every misogynist that dares to cross their path! Lloyd Kaufman calls it, “A Feminist movie for the 21st century!” This estrogen fueled grindhouse tribute is written/directed & co-starring Mercedes The Muse (Honor Killing).

Best Narrative Short



2021 / 6 min / USA / Comedy, Experimental

Directed by Phillip C. Sedgwick
Cast: Joel Foster

An astronomer sharing online backyard observations of the center of our galaxy has a run-in with mosquitoes and a not so trusty bug zapper.

Best Horror Short

Between the Trees

Between the Trees

2021 / 15 min / USA / Horror, Fantasy, Drama

Directed by Kelli Horan
Cast: Danielle Ploeger, Duncan Coe, Chelsee Jernigan

Alone on a camping trip in a national forest, Darcy must overcome the threat of a serial killer and a supernatural being to survive.

Best Documentary Short

The Maroon Bomber

The Maroon Bomber

2020 / 10 min / USA / Documentary

Directed by Joshua M. Thomas
Cast: Lucy Thomas, Monty Thomas, Henry Thomas, Emma Thomas

Four siblings walk down memory lane with the family’s old, beat-up Ford truck. Their love is tested when the truck acquires a new, controversial, accessory. Will they still love their old friend?

Best Experimental Short

Exit Strategy #5

Exit Strategy #5

2021 / 9 min / USA / Experimental

Directed by Kym McDaniel

An origin story and the rebirth of an identity after trauma. Blood, desire, and fucking. The fifth in a series regarding my emotional and physical traumas.

Best Animation

Enjoying a Nice Life

Enjoying a Nice Life

2021 / 5 min / USA / Animation, Experimental

Directed by Rainbow Timothy

Trust, drugs, love, religion, homelessness, selfless acts, aliens, gun violence, tech, porn, nature and industry are all interconnected. It’s this fabric, or web that weaves through us on both sides of reality. Transcending our perceived reality to tie all forms together in an ever-changing dance of tension and vacuum.