The 18th Annual SoCal Film Awards Announces Winners, Honorable Mentions, and Official Selections

by Gordon Shelly

The SoCal Film Awards is a long-running event that has wrapped its 18th year honoring the independent film and screenwriting community once again.

The event started back in 2005 and screened movies in a live environment until quarantine hit in 2020. Since then, the SoCal Film Awards has been entirely an online-based event but still continues to honor and showcase creative artists.

This is an open-form and open-genre event so it has a pretty wide selection of entries. There are three main categories honoring features, shorts, documentaries, and screenplays, with the Diamond Awards being the top honor.

Matthew MCaulley’s feature film, unDefiled (featured picture above), took top honors as the Diamond Award Winner for Best Feature Film. Nocturne, directed by Alysha Haran, grabbed the same honor for Best Short. Best Actress in a Lead Role went to Missing (Desparaecida) star, Mariana Sanjuan. Best Actor was awarded to the familiar face of Raymond J. Barry in The Painter for his outstanding performance.

A complete list of winners and honorable mentions in all categories is listed below.

Raymond J. Barry wins Best Actor for “The Painter”

For more about the SoCal Film Awards and a full list of the more than 100 movies chosen as Official Selections, visit their website.


Best Feature Film: unDefiled, dir. by Matthew McCaulley
Best Short: Nocturne, dir. by Alysha Haran
Best Documentary Feature: Grant Sheehan: Light, Ghosts & Dreams, dir. by Robin Greenberg
Best Documentary Short: Planet Ocean Blues, dir. by Michael Buckley
Best Screenplay (Long-Form): #instaboys, by Matthew Rodney Chess
Best Screenplay (Short-Form): The Black Cross, by Korea Black and Gianna Rose


Best Feature: See Me Once More, My Dear Kid, dir. by Bihong Sha
Best Short: The Painter, dir. by Jahanshah Vafaeisefat
Best Documentary Feature: 
The Race of Our Lives, dir. by Roy Medawar
Best Documentary Short: Ñunuyachiy: Breastfeeding with Affection and Care, dir. by Jose Miguel Soriano and Ricardo Macian
Best Screenplay (Long-Form): Code 10, by Matthew Margo
Best Screenplay (Short-Form):  Girls Like Me, by Bruce Hickey


Best Feature: 12th of April, dir. by Antonello Deidda
Best Short: Moonlight Dancer, dir. by Dun-Ru Chiang
Best Documentary Feature: Vaklush, dir. by Nikolay Vladimirov Vasilev
Best Documentary Short: Wild Mustangs of the Sagebrush, dir. by Mary Piller
Best Screenplay (Long-Form): Prince of Chicago, by Bruce Hickey
Best Screenplay (Short-Form): Rough Cut, by Matthew Margo


Actor in a Lead Role:
The Painter, Raymond J. Barry

Actress in a Lead Role:
Missing (Desparaecida), Mariana Sanjuan

Animated Feature
With You, dir. by Evan Doll

Animated Short:
The Donut Mob, dir. by Stephen Bushnik

The Nightmare Eater, dir. by Ruei-Ci Jhou

Cultural Impact:
The Enigmatic Power of a Bitch, dir. by Sharon Cleveland Blount

Ellie, dir. by Vinny O’Brien

Over Coffee, dir. by Ger Skinder

BirdBrains, Inc., dir. by Kayla Farber

Experimental Movie:
Spells Before Destiny, dir. by Akisai M.

Faith Based Movie:
The Best Gifts, dir. by CarrieAnn Lee

Family Film:
Cookie and Caramel, dir. by Sunghwan Lee

First-Time Filmmaker: 
Group, by William R.A. Rush

Gamer Video
How Am I Here, dir. by Mey Seifan, Tanween Collective, and Slowfuture

International Film:
Die in Seoul, dir. by Choi Hancho

Micro Short:
New Me, dir. by Chico Bennett

Music Video:
Dirty Freaken Joe – Sci-Fi Sam, dir. by Timothy A Bennett

Missing, dir. by Julian Scherle

Sound Design:
The Devil’s Entrance, dir. by Tom Michaels

Screenplay Adaptation:
The Twelve Brothers, by Jacqueline A. Blackwell and Rachael N. Blackwell

Deforestation, Dir. Kyle Zanika

Web Series:
Cinching Saddles, dir. by Kevin Sengara and Aman Pannu

Youth Movie:
Vampire Sandwich, dir. by Ethan Wahamaki

YouTube Creation:
Prophecy Till the End of Time – Tui Bei Tu, dir. by Shihyun Wang


Long-Form Screenplay Honorable Mention
Aiden, by Michelle Cherland
Agency, by Helen Sun and Laura Malatos
Lucid Dreams, by Benjamin G Neuber
Sacred Sun, by Michael Louis Gould
The Colour of the Horse, dir. by Kristina Schippling
The Seduction of Ruby Jewel, by Donna Loehrer
This Thing of Ours, by Ben Monaco
The Warden, by Korea Black and Gianna Rose
Two Kinds of People, by Thomas Pace

Short-Form Screenplay Honorable Mention
Shut In, by Michael Morales
What Would Lombardi Say, by Patrick Cottington

Honorable Mention Movies
Clout Chaser, dir. by Lubomir Atan
DHĪ(ਧੀ): Daughter Bound by Society, dir. by Achint Singh
Jinn Chapter 1, dir. by Hamid Baig
Masquerade, dir. by Gina Salatino and Lucy Corey
Opaque Buckets, dir. by Hayden Bone
Odd/Even, dir. by Ya-Ting “Itchy” Yang
Shadows, dir. by Tom Lovegrin
Survival of the Sexiest, dir. by Sam Stewart
The Necklace, dir. by Kyle Gaunt
Wherever You Are, I Know You’re Dancing, dir. by Olga Hajnosz