SOMERVILLE, MA – Pilotgroove Pictures had a fine showing at the “Best of Boston 48 Hour Film Project ” awards show. Sixteen of the best films from Boston’s 58-team filmmaking competition got an encore screening at the Somerville Theater last night. Among them, Pilotgroove’s Don is the New Death was nominated for 4 judged awards and took home 3, including Best Use of Genre, Best Actor (Ben Peirce) and Best Writing.
The 48 Hour Film Project tasks filmmakers with producing a short film in just 48 hours, while incorporating certain prescribed elements and adhering to a randomly-selected genre. Don is the New Death won the award for Best Use of Genre, for its use of the “Fish out of Water” theme. In the film, Don Foreman is reluctantly cast into the role of Death, when the position is unexpectedly vacated. The Cornhole Kid (Sports Film), The War of Two Sides (War/Anti-War FIlm) and Expiration Date (Horror) were also nominated for Best Use of Genre
In a surprising turn, Ben Peirce took home the award for Best Actor for his whimsical performance as Don’s mentor and “Interim Death”, Lawrence Soto. Peirce was nominated alongside Raif Johnson-Kennedy (The War of Two Sides), James LeBlanc (Probation) and Dave Connors (Lost In Time). P.J. Huot who co-directed alongside Peirce, told him after the awards show, “I didn’t know what you were doing at first. Then after we shot the first scene I was like, I get it. I get it and I like it!”
Soto, a mentor, was the prescribed character for 48 Hr. Film Project Boston. The portrayal also earned Pilotgroove Pictures a nomination for Best Use of Character – but the award went to Extra Medium’s Fists of Clay, which also took home the award for Best Film and will represent Boston at Filmapalooza. The Cornhole Kid (Charles River Swimming & Diving) and The Evel Bracelet (MadCat Productions) were also nominated.
The biggest excitement came when Don is the New Death was announced as the winner for Best Writing. Huot, Peirce and Jay Syrene are credited with the script, but the list of contributing writers is long and includes Dominique Del Prete, Greg Giorgio, Jennifer Peirce, Chris Shannis and Mike Testa – deserves special mention for introducing the idea of the 5 stages of Grief as a way to frame the film. Testa, also composed and performed the film’s score. Other nominees for Best Writing were Carlos Greaves, Loi Huynh, Suzanne Lehman and Jordan Waterworth for Menstruation. Art Sesnovich and Andrew Justin Smith were nominated for Bad Memories. Slaaka Obnots was also nominated for The War of Two Sides.
The Boston 48 Hr. Film Project awards were judged by Ty Burr, reporter and film critic at the Boston Globe; Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association and Film Critic for JoycesChoices.com; and Tom Meek, President of the Boston Society of Film Critics.
With 4 nominations and 3 awards, Don is the New Death moves past A Bloodless Crime (which was an Audience Coice winner in 2014 and was also nominated for Best Actor and Best Writing) as the most critically-successful Pilotgroove Pictures film to date. Our thanks and congratulations go out to the entire cast and crew, to Boston Producers, Ben and Rachel Guaraldi and everyone else who helped make the film possible. THAT’S a wrap!